End-of-Homeschool-Year Traditions: Graduation

ID-10045280In the 2004 Disney-Pixar film The Incredibles, superhero Helen says to her superhero husband Bob about their son Dash:

“And you are missing this! I can’t believe you don’t want to go to your own son’s graduation.”

Bob retorts, “It’s not a graduation. He’s moving from the fourth grade to the fifth grade.”

“It’s a ceremony!” says Helen.

“It’s psychotic!” says Bob. “They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity.”

Our family had a private laugh over that because we have a ceremony every year, not to celebrate mediocrity but to celebrate…well, I don’t know, but it’s another of our end-of-homeschool-year traditions and we love it.

In the last post I described our last-day-of-school game days that happen on a Friday in early June. Monday nights are always family night for us, but the Monday night following our last day of school is a special one, in which we have our own small graduation ceremony. Often we dress up for it and take pictures. We have no family who live nearby, but we have a good family friend who usually comes and stays for a long visit afterwards.

We begin with an “exhibition” in which the boys show off to their dad what they learned in all their subjects throughout the year. They have presented book reports, summaries of science projects, history reports, memorized poetry and passages from historic documents (we even did the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution in sign language one year), and played pieces of music. It’s become less formal as the kids have gotten older, but they still take a few minutes to tell some of the most interesting and fun things they learned during the school year, favorite field trips, events, etc. We also have a “gallery” of their art projects, science fair displays, and sketchbooks containing their historical timelines on view.

We then present them with a certificate of advancement. I have some parchment paper that I use to print those out. It’s a simple and nice way to recognize their hard work during the year and give them a sense of accomplishment.

We end with some refreshments, a little fancier than usual for the occasion. Once I decorated a sheet cake with some little candy mortarboards I found in a candy shop. Another year was homemade moon pies and strawberry ice cream, and another time we made banana splits.

Even more than the last day of school, there’s just something about that ceremony that makes the boys feel happy—like they really got another finished year under their belts and summer vacation can start.