Fun and Meaningful Family Celebrations!
Graduation and Rites of Passage
It’s June! In the school world, it’s time for commencement exercises, graduation gowns, tasseled mortarboards, diplomas and speeches.
It’s hard to escape the school calendar and its associated events. I am always surprised when homeschoolers follow the traditional school year, and even more miffed when they engage in the ritual of graduation (for each and every grade level) in June. We have shunned school, so why do we embrace this very schoolish tradition?
The idea that kids are automatically ready to advance to the next grade (or head out into the big, wide world) because the calendar says “June” is bizarre. Not once in my homeschool experience did the Graduation Fairy thump me or my kids over the head with her wand and proclaim they were ready to move on to the next “grade.” The kids simply moved on to a new or more challenging area of interest when they were ready. It didn’t matter if it was June, December, or March.
School graduation ceremonies are relatively meaningless. They reward students with a piece of paper for enduring a year or more of standardized curriculum.
Homeschooling provides the opportunity to celebrate your children’s real and meaningful achievements whenever they occur. Rather than march to the dim-witted strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” at the end of every academic school year, your family can custom-tailor rites of passage and celebrations that suit each unique occasion all year long. You don’t have to award your child a plastic trophy or a diploma once-a-year as a form of obligatory recognition, you can create something more heartfelt and memorable.
Get creative with gifts and parties meant to commemorate special events in your family’s homeschool life! Personalize the events to really acknowledge and appreciate the individual. Here are some ideas:
- Create a keepsake album or scrapbook that contains pictures highlighting the endeavors of the individual being honored.
- Our family created personalized bookmarks with a laminated mini-collage of pictures and mementos that represented what the person had achieved.
- Create a “throne” for the honoree to sit on at the dinner table in recognition of an important day or event. Drape a chair in colorful fabric (a tablecloth or sheet will work). Set their place with special dishes, silverware, and a fancy crystal goblet.
- One family I know made a special cape of dark blue velvet studded with silver sequined stars, that was placed upon the shoulders of any family member who deserved special recognition as they were gathered at the dinner table. The honoree shared their success, and each family member in turn noted one thing that the person did to achieve their goal.
You can make one-of-a-kind celebrations that will provide a lifetime of cherished memories. If you need some helpful ideas, get “The Book of New Family Traditions” by Meg Cox. It not only provides all kinds of inventive ways to commemorate traditional holidays, but it offers really unique, practical, fun and profound ways to make everything special from birthdays to bedtime. There are ideas for rituals surrounding sporting events, pets, vacations, family meetings and more to create memories that will last for years to come.
Keep the homefires burning,
~Diane Flynn Keith
Editor of Homefires & Author of Carschooling