Monday, July 21, 2014

Homeschool Graduation Program Template

In my last post  I told you that this post would be called, "The Perfect Homeschool Graduation Program Template."  Ha.  Wishful thinking.  This is just one example of a Homeschool Graduation Template and worked almost perfectly for our family, but since it may not be exactly right for your family, I took out the word perfect in the title.  We only lived in Germany for about a year and there weren't local homeschool groups having a high school graduation ceremony.  It made the most sense to me to have our own.

Here is an example of the agenda that I printed for the event. 
(Mine were printed on my favorite color paper, blue.)

Music.  I played Pomp and Circumstance and Luke walked in wearing his cap and gown and a big grin.  At the close of the ceremony I played Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  People unexpectedly got up and danced! 
Invocation.  Our wonderful, goofy, loving friend Jessie gave the invocation where he thanked God for Luke's life and the event that we were there to celebrate.

Message from Mom.  I spoke about what it was like to homeschool Luke and then told him there were three things I wanted him to remember.
           1.  He is a leader. 
                  This is part of my speech:  Theodore Roosevelt said citizenship in a republic is hard work, it takes strong character, someone who is responsible, courageous.  These are qualities that mark a masterful people.  Luke they mark you:  hard-working, strong character, responsible, courageous, physically strong, daring, and to quote my friend Laura, 'you have skills.'
          Roosevelt firmly believed that one learned by doing. It is better to stumble than to do nothing or to sit by and criticize those that are “in the arena” he explained. “The poorest way to face life is with a sneer.” It is a sign of weakness. “To judge a man merely by success,” he said, “is an abhorrent wrong.” The famous paragraph from that speech, reproduced below, expressed the standard by which he judged himself and others:  

       It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

      Parents commented about loving to watch you play soccer because you put your heart into it.  You give your all on the field.  Billy Graham said that courage is contagious.  When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened. You have a heart for doing what is right for our country and for knowing the foundations and laws and continue to uphold them and challenge the wrong.   Luke, you are the man in the arena.  You are a leader.
2.  I love him.  I encouraged him to use the gifts, skills and abilities that God gave him to do His will.  1 Tim 4:12  Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
3.  God loves him.  More from my speech:  I rejoice in the young man you have become.   I treasure the time that we had together in school and as a family.  I regret the times that I yelled at you, was impatient, didn’t understand you, and when I was wrong.   I am sorry.  I wonder if our relationship would be better if I had sent you to school and had chocolate chip cookies waiting for you when you got off the bus.  I hope that my failures show you that you need a Savior and that there is a God and he loves you.   I hope that through my failures you saw me relying on God to get me through.  I hope that through my failures you see that nobody is good and that we all need a savior.  My hope has always been that you would know Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Father's Blessing.  Steve spoke about it means to be a man.  We use the Modern Day Knight program with our boys and high school graduation was the next milestone to celebrate for Luke.   Steve blessed him as he entered into manhood.  He presented Luke with a REAL sword! 



There are five things that Steve told Luke a man should do:

1.        Accept responsibility

2.       Lead courageously

3.       Reject passivity

4.       Expect greater things from god

5.       Love selflessly 
Valedictory Speech.   I really wavered on whether I would require Luke to give a speech.  The recommendations I saw online were to either mandate it, or let the graduate choose because it's his day.  I chose to exercise my authority, and bow to the pressure of doing what's expected, so Luke was required to make a speech.  Apparently in public schools the administration must approve of the valedictory speech, but that's where I deviated.  I had no idea what he was going to say.  It turned out well, I think.  He gave a warm, charming, short speech saying that he was glad he was homeschooled (yes!) and thanking his friends and family for their role in his life.

Presentation of Diploma.  My high school graduating class had close to 1000 graduates so we sort of ran across the stage and grabbed our diploma.  Since we had just one graduate I presented the diploma to my son and actually read it.  Yes, I read it out loud.  I think that was a result of spending 20 years in the Army and being accustomed to having military orders read at every promotion and awards ceremony.  I realized later that wasn't necessary.  Just hand him the thing and move on. 

Benediction.  Neither Jessie nor I really knew what the purpose of the invocation or benediction was.  I just knew that they were customary at events like this so I asked him to perform them.  He did a splendid job!   He blessed Luke at the end of the ceremony using humor in a way that only he could.  Thank you Jessie. 

Life of Luke.  This was the best part of the program.  It was a surprise for Luke.  I asked some of his friends to roast him.   Yes, I got the idea from my cousin.  We had lived in Germany for less than a year at the time of the graduation but there were at least 4 friends of Luke's that he'd known for 3- 8 years!   So, 4 of his friends and one of his brothers roasted him.  It was hysterical.   The level of humor and creativity was off the charts. 


Josh is our second oldest and ALWAYS has people laughing. 
He did a great job roasting his brother!

Recess.  After the program, which lasted about an hour, we had a great time socializing, eating cake and wonderful German food at the Bauhaus Kastel. 

Before my son's graduation I searched and searched online for a template I could copy.  But I couldn't find one.  As soon as the ceremony was over I discovered a wonderful website with a homeschool graduation template and much more.  It's another great resource for homeschooling high school
I would love to hear what your family does for
homeschool high school graduation!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Perfect Homeschool Graduation Ceremony

The only high school graduation ceremony I remember attending was my own.  I don't remember most of it.  After deciding to have a high school graduation ceremony for my oldest child, who has always been homeschooled, I had to come up with a plan

We live in Germany in a military community where, for some reason that I can't figure out, there are very few homeschooled high schoolers.   So, my high school aged children were not in homeschool coops and didn't really participate with the homeschool group that my younger children do.  I had to do something on my own.

Last year my cousin, who's son is not homeschooled, went to a homeschool graduation ceremony for her son's best friend. 

She said it was awesome. 

Awesome.  That's what I wanted too.

I've never been to a Homeschool High School Graduation Ceremony.  So, why did my my cousin say the one she went to was awesome?  What made it awesome?  What did they do?  And, the real question was could I copy it, or some of it, and have an awesome ceremony too?

Before resorting to total copying, I Googled "homeschool high school graduation ceremony."  I didn't find much.  So, I tried Goodling related topics but I couldn't find anything that gave me a template for what to do.  I like templates.  I was getting frustrated.  So, I asked my cousin to tell me what the ceremony was like that she attended. 

She's a superb writer.  It's what she does for a living.  So she described the evening in a way that I could picture it.  It was awesome because it was personal and shared with close friends and family.

Setting was the family home.  Son walked in to "Pomp and Circumstance" wearing a gown and Mickey Mouse ears.  He is a "theater person" my cousin said, so The Ears were not unexpected.  Mom spoke about the homeschool years with her baby which was a happy-tear jerking speech.  Dad said a few words.  Valedictorian spoke.  Mom gave the diploma. Then the theater-friends roasted the graduate which was, of course, hilarious because...They. Are. Theater people! Then food.  Families hang out and have a great time socializing and celebrating!

Let the copying begin!

I would have loved to copied the part about having the ceremony at my home.  Trouble was we were moving from Germany to Virginia at the same time our son was graduating and the only time we could have the event was after the Army moved all of our household goods out of our home and gave us temporary mattresses to sleep on until we moved into the military Guest House.

I decided to have the event at a restaurant, have the ceremony first, and then who ever wanted could stay and eat (no-host) or just hang out. I would have preferred having everyone at our home and providing food for them.  Another option would have been to have it at our church and cater the food.  That just seemed much more logistically challenging and a little boring to me.  We ended up at a German Bauhaus (brew pub).  That was a once-in-a-lifetime setting.  The podium was a beer barrel.  It screamed "authentic-German."

We added an event unique to our family which involved my husband presenting a sword to my son.  After I give you the template for our commencement program I'll tell you a little bit about what we did during each segment ; hopefully, it will rival my cousin's description.   One can hope. 

While it may not have been "perfect," it was perfectly extraordinary for our family.
Look for "The Perfect Homeschool Graduation Template"
coming next!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

7 Ways to Find a Homeschool Mentor

I'm following up my post about 
the importance of finding a homeschool mentor 
with one on  
how to find a homeschool mentor.


7 Ways to Find a Homeschool Mentor

1.  Homeschool Groups:  The first thing that comes to my mind is a local homeschool group.  You could find out who has been homeschooling for awhile, talk to them and then if you communicate well with her, ask if you could meet a few times and then maybe form a relationship that way.  I found it easiest to connect with other homeschool moms when we met at a park and let the kids play while we talked.  Some homeschool groups have "mom's night out" and that would be a great place to find a mentor.  Ask if there is a mentor program.  Advertise to the group that you  are looking for one.

2.  Churches:  Another place would be a church.  If you attend a church you could ask the pastor or Youth Leader who the homeschool families are - they usually know!  And, then introduce yourself to them and get to know them.  Also, you may call some local churches to see if they have a large homeschool population and maybe they have mom's nights out for homeschool moms.  

3.  Businesses:  Yes, isn't that odd?  Many business have certain days or hours set up for homeschoolers.  Here are some ideas:  local library (not really a business), gymnastics, YMCA, art studios may have art classes for homeschoolers.  You may contact some of these places and check them out.  Often you can take the first class free. You may meet a mentor there. 

4.  Homeschool forums:  The forums would be online mentors, not face-to-face.  I have found the Sonlight Forum to be invaluable!!

5.  Homeschool Conference:  When you attend a homeschool conference there are breakout sessions where you can meet other homeschoolers...maybe the presenter would be your mentor.   Most of the speakers are veteran homeschoolers. 

6.  Blogs:  There are a ton of homeschool blogs out there with many people who love to encourage other homeschoolers.  I googled and found this site to be helpful. 
A List of Top Homeschool Blogs 
7 Sisters Homeschool   
7.  Homeschool Legal Defense Association I met one of my mentors online via HSLDA's High School Consultants and then I met her in person at a conference!!

Do you have a homeschool mentor?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why Would Anyone Homeschool High School?

My oldest will graduate from high school in a few days.

For years I've heard other say things like...the GOAL of education is discipleship, or it's not about academics but about glorifying God, or, more recently, we're not training our kids for society but for eternity. 

I think they are right.

Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge."  A writer on the Net Bible Study says that if the knowledge that our children lack is in God's word then they will be eternally lost.

A speaker at the first Titus 2:1 Confernce said that we are raising world changers.  Our children are weapons.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth (Psalm 127:4).  Why outsource that?  It's not whether our children will be taught.  The question is, Who will teach them and what will they be taught?

When we homeschool our children in/through high school we can put them an environment that will individualize their education based on their gifts, talents and calling.

Research shows that "age/grade isolation or segregation actually inhibits socialization," says Elizabeth Smith in "Why Homeschool Teens?"  Age segregation is also detrimental to teens' spiritual formation ( 

When we homeschool our children in/through high school we build family relationships and strength.  Satan is working to destroy this.  My kids bug each other...probably every day.  But, I think the best friends they have are their siblings.

There are more than enough resources for Americans to homeschool high school.

See my
for resources for those considering homeschooling high school 
and those already doing it but looking for more information.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Resources for Homschooling High School

Have you ever thought about homeschooling until high school?  Or, did you decide to homeschool high school and now you have questions?

I put together a list of resources and suggestions for those considering homeschooling high school, those who think they can't homeschool high school and those who are homeschooling high school now.

The list isn't formatted in a pretty way and it's not complete.  It's in a get-er-done format.   I'm giving a talk on this topic to my local homeschool group and I wanted them to be able to access the information easily so I hyper-linked as much as I could (as much as I had time for).   It would make more sense if you were sitting there with us I'm sure.

Please use it and share it if you find it helpful.  I hope you do.  My intent is to encourage those of you want to continue to homeschool high school and to encourage those of you who heard from somewhere that you can't homeschool high school.  Yes you can.

The question isn't whether you CAN,as in have the ability to,  homeschool high schoolThe question is whether you WANT to.

My list is in my tab (page) above called  
"Homeschool High School." 
Or, click here to go to it.

What do you think of the list?
Do you have questions about it?
Was it helpful??