teaching tips blog


Apr 10, 2014

High School Graduation: Ideas to Personalize the Big Day!

Diane Kummer

Graduating from high school is a milestone for your students. It marks the end of one chapter and the excitement of beginning a new chapter in their lives! Whether your teen is headed directly into employment, the military, college, or another endeavor, use their high school graduation as an occasion to bless them, make memories, and rejoice in the goodness of the Lord.

Homeschool parents have the advantage of creating a unique graduation celebration for their teens. 

Some choose to go the traditional route complete with a graduation ceremony, caps and gowns, graduation announcements, and a party! Check out the HSLDA Store for graduation items. 

Others will choose to celebrate in different ways:

a. Give your teen a budget and let him plan an exciting trip (near or far – this will depend on your finances). It could be a surprise senior year trip!

b. Instead of spending money on a graduation party, let your teen invest in lessons in an area that she’s interested in such as culinary, art, music, photography, scuba, sky diving, or countless others.


The graduation ceremony at the end of the year may mark the culmination of the high school years, but you can work on making the entire senior year unforgettable.

For example, at the beginning of the senior year give your teen a book of coupons that he/she can redeem throughout the year for: a movie night with mom or dad, a “one day off school” coupon to use whenever the fancy strikes (!), a picnic in the park, a gift card to his favorite fast food joint, a batch of his favorite cookies, a small gift basket filled with his favorite gum, munchies, and cereal. 

Or, secretly begin to work on a scrapbook or photo book and collect items that you can add to the book throughout the year. Surprise your teen at the end of the year with the memento.

Another idea is to help your teen come up with a bucket list of activities he would like to accomplish before his high school years come to an end. Then work with him to set in place the plans that need to happen to bring these things to reality. Maybe he’d like to take flying lessons, work on a political campaign, log a specific number of volunteer hours, work on public speaking, or start a life long hobby.


Discuss with your teen how he would like to celebrate his graduation from high school. Does he want to take part in a group graduation or celebrate in a more private way? 

Many homeschool support groups and state organizations offer graduation ceremonies in a variety of formats from ones including all of the pomp and circumstance of traditional ceremonies, to others that are very personal and family-oriented. Ideas include creating a slide show of picture highlights from your teen's life complete with musical background (it's amazing what can be done on a personal computer), or presenting him with a journal of your homeschool memories and prayers for his life.

The traditional senior prom can be replaced by a Spring Formal that includes family and friends of all ages dressed in evening attire. Cater a dinner or have the dads be chauffeurs to a fancy restaurant. Entertainment can include a short lesson to teach everyone proper traditional English country steps before dancing the night away.

One parent suggests taking lots of pictures and surprising each participant with a CD of the evening's highlights.


  • Barbecue or picnic
  • Amusement park
  • Museum
  • Recital given by your student or attending a professional concert with a group of friends or family
  • Joining with two or three other families and rent a beach house for a week or weekend celebration
  • A party/reception for relatives, friends, and neighbors with each one bringing a Bible verse to pray for your teen in this new season
  • Open house in honor of the graduate
  • Dinner at a restaurant with the graduate’s relatives and special friends
  • Graduation ceremony for just your student (at home, at your church or other facility)
  • Weekend camping trip with your teen and mentors/special people who have had a significant influence in teen’s life – Ex: could include an evening around the campfire to bestow a mantle (a real one or figuratively) or a “rite of passage” ceremony as he/she enters a new stage of life

You can also check out our Graduation Pinterest board for more ideas!

Have a discussion with your teen and ask him/her what would make graduation day special. Each teen is unique, so design a day that has particular meaning. Ways to celebrate your teen’s graduation are limitless! 


Photo Credit: All photos copyright HSLDA; first photo graphic design by Charity Klicka; second photo graphic design by Noelle Blankenship.