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!!