Everybody says how fast time goes by, but I never believed it until one day I was snuggling my sweet baby girl nestled in my arms and the next we were planning her graduation. Just like that it happened.
In the middle of her senior year, we begin turning our thoughts to how we would celebrate this great accomplishment. I had read a few years ago that just because we home educate, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t have a graduation ceremony… and so started my inquiry as to what M wanted.
“Would you like to walk with the other home schooled graduates at our local home school building?”
“NO”, came her answer.
“Would you like to have a private ceremony?”
“Do people do that?” She replied in question.
That started the wheels of thought turning until one day, a private ceremony was exactly what she decided on. What that would look like… well, we really didn’t know!
My experience of graduations has only been with a public school or college. I had never been to or planned a private graduation ceremony let alone one for a single graduate. Remembering back to that article I had read about graduation options, I realized that we could do ANYTHING we wanted and we were going to do just that – we were going to plan one that exactly “fit” our precious M just perfectly.
And so began our planning.
I wanted it to be what M wanted so she was involved in much of our planning – although we did have a few surprises for her on graduation day.
Our first order of business was deciding how large of a gathering we would have at the ceremony, as that would dictate what our venue options were. M knew right away that she wanted a small, intimate gathering with her grandparents and close family friends ~ we would invite everyone to the open house party but the ceremony would remain quite small. That sounded simple enough – although adding up the numbers, we knew we needed a room different than our home could offer. We decided that the room our church rents for service on Sunday would be a good size so we also rented that room which is located at our local community center.
Since we are a home educating family, we didn’t necessarily have school colors so M decided that purple was “her” main color. We planned the decorations for both the ceremony and the open house party around that color. www.jet.com became an excellent source for us to use to order supplies. We also used www.tulleshop.com and decorated with tulle and flowers rather than streamers and balloons to give it more of an elegant feel.
While we took advantage of Facebook to invite people for her graduation open house, we used www.shutterfly.com to create an invitation for the ceremony. There were many options to pick from and we were so pleased with the end result.
M decided that she would rather wear a dress and forego the traditional cap and gown. We ordered the exact diploma we wanted from our local homeschool building after checking out options here. Be sure to check out your local resources ~ I found that it was less expensive to order the diploma locally than it was to order online.
Now we just wanted to add some personal touches that would be a surprise to M. My husband and I began searching for a couple songs that we could set pictures to. He is so good with putting together beautiful slide presentations. We were in tears of memories and hopes for M’s future as we listened to the songs and watched the pictures of precious times past. I couldn’t wait to share it. We also selected a bouquet of flowers for M to receive when she received her diploma. She loves flowers.
I found that the ceremony itself was the hardest to put together for me and yet it turned out to be the easiest once I chatted with our good friend and pastor who would preform the ceremony. About 5 minutes after our conversation, he emailed an order of service for us to consider…. and it was perfect.
This is it:
Presentation of Poem written by M
Message (based on Psalm 16:8 & Isaiah 26:3-4)
Presentation of diploma & flowers (by mom and dad)
Conclusion & Invitation to celebrate with punch and cookies
Our planning was well worth it for it was a beautiful ceremony! The poem M had written encompassed our years in homeschooling as well as how the Lord was leading her.
I could not be more proud of M ~ of all she has accomplished, but even more so, that she is following the Lord each step of the way into her future.