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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Homeschool Graduation!

I am so excited! Towards the end of this month we are graduating our oldest son from high school. Twelve years of hard work has paid off. He is now prepared to enter the military or go to college. The choice is his, but we feel we have given him the skills to do whatever he chooses in life.

Seeing as our graduating class is a class of one, we were left wondering about such things as where to get a diploma, transcript, how to have a ceremony, party, invites and more. At first it all seemed a little overwhelming, but luckily others have gone before us and prepared the way! There are so many great resources out there to homeschooling families that is is both amazing and a little overwhelming. I thought I would share a few of our favorites here, as I am sure there are others graduating this year with the same concerns we had.

First, the most important item your student will need, even more important than the actual diploma is a transcript. This item is what colleges and the military are interested in seeing, not necessarily the diploma itself. There are many great programs out there to help you with this, you can even generate one yourself, but I have found the easiest and most professional looking is put out by Transcript Pro. One of the great things about this program is that even if you didn't keep perfect records or if like me your computer crashed that held all those records, you can still create a great looking transcript. This program also adds up all the credits and alerts you to any possible shortcomings in required classes or credits. I had tried using other programs since losing my records, but found them difficult to impossible to add in everything at one time without exact dates, grades, etc... I HIGHLY recommend this program, and it is usable for the whole family with just one purchase.

So, now you have your transcript, what about that diploma? While not totally necessary, I think everyone likes to have a visible certificate of their accomplishments. Again, I am sure you can generate a decent one yourself, but I found Homeschool Diploma to carry the nicest ones around and at a fairly reasonable price as well. I ordered the standard one for our son. Let me give some advice here that I wish I had thought of earlier. Be VERY careful in selecting your school name. When I first filed my private school affidavit twelve years ago, I quickly picked a name on the spot to file my paperwork. It seemed okay at the time, but as time went on I realized that it wasn't the best name and intended to change it one year, but never did. Well as to not raise any questions about the validity of our transcript and diploma, I had to use the name I have filed under all of these years, and lets just say my son is a little embarrassed, and I don't blame him! I wont share here, as it is THAT embarrassing to us, but use this as a warning to yourself, be, very, very selective in choosing a name for your school. Our isn't as bad as Star Wars School or Legos Academy(yes, I've really heard of those being used!) but it isn't a whole lot better! What is cute when Jr. is five or six, isn't quite as cute when Jr. is a nearly grown man and has to present these documents to universities or military recruiters!

So, now you have your transcript and diploma and you're ready to start planning your ceremony and party! What about cap, gown and those invitations? Homeschool Diploma makes some rather nice caps and gowns as well as invites. If I were to order a cap and gown, it would be from here. While they have some of the nicer invites I've seen yet, they were a bit out of my price range. I did find some lovely ones at a much more reasonable price at HSLDA. I went with these as they were pretty quick in shipping as well as priced right. Vista Print has some really nice customizable ones, priced reasonably, but it was many weeks shipping. Had I had the time, I may have gone with these. If you plan enough in advance, this is a great way to go!

My son really insisted he doesn't want a ceremony, but I was able to talk him into a party. We are trying to do it on the dime, meaning I will be making all of the food myself. We are ordering a cake from Costco and supplies from Oriental Trading Company.

If you're looking for nice graduation gift for your grad our another in your life we found some great ones HERE, as well as HERE.

I am so thankful for all of these resources. There are many more out there, but these are the ones that have worked best for us with our budget and for our needs. After spending twelve years of our lives educating our son, we want to celebrate in a memorable way as well as make sure he has all the necessary tools he will need as he prepares for his future. With these great resources we are able to do just that!

1 comment:

appleleaf said...

What a proud day! Congratulations to all of you. I applaud your son for being clear and definite about what he wants to do next.
The details about all the red tape was interesting to read. We all have to go there some day. Thanks.