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Graduation party questions, ideas?

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A few questions for those who have gone before...


Is it cliché to do an Oh, the Places You'll Go theme? (Not necessarily a Seuss fan, or the book even, I think I just like the balloons and travel concept.) What about a theme in general? I was thinking it would be just the colors of her chosen college, but now I'm wondering about something more. (Something about setting off on an adventure?) I'm thinking something more elegant, but I don't want it to look like a weeding or something. :D


What special things did you do? We will "graduate" her at the party, probably in a suit instead of a cap and gown (her choice.) I will have the usual picture video thing, and we will say a few words. No one attending has much of a clue about homeschooling, so I want to keep it somewhere between normal and meaningful. :D We don't care much about the traditional trappings of school in general.


We skipped the local homeschool group graduation, because she doesn't really know the other students. My family wants to mark this day, though she doesn't care as much.


So, basically, tell me all about your party. I've searched and read a few things, but I'd love to hear more.

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I haven't been down this road yet, far from it.  And those I've helped were all public school kiddos.  But I love to plan parties and even think about them. 


I love the idea of a starting on an adventure theme.  I would lean more towards suitcases and travel than balloons though.  Is she going away to college?  Maybe a map with the route to her school, or luggage tags for those close to her to leave notes and advice you can package for her to take with her to college for when she gets homesick or lonely.  My brain could really run with this, so if you want more ideas PM me.

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Our small town is big on open houses.  As much as we were opposed to this (nothing against them, it just didn't seem like "us"), we finally gave in because we didn't want our community to think we were shunning its tradition!  ha   We actually ended up really enjoying them, so I'll tell you a little about what we did.


Our son was planning a 1500-mile bike ride across Europe following high school, so we kind of based it on that.  He wanted to wear a suit and tie, and we had a "coffee bar" -- espresso, desserts, etc.  But after that it was kind of travel-related.  Not overdoing it, but I think we mentioned in the announcement that people should come with travel advice and left-over bike parts (as a joke) -- we said it in some humorous way.  We had SO many people respond to that, it was a lot of fun.  People brought bike horns, old bike tires (as a joke), lots of things bike-related.  (And a lot of the parts were brand-new and he ended up using them.  :)


Our next daughter was going to Costa Rica the following year, so we had kind of a tropical theme, with tropical fruits and fresh salads and things like that.  She also made a poster about Costa Rica and where she'd be living and working, etc.


Next daughter loves Middle Eastern food, so even though she wasn't going there  :), we had hummus and pita bread, hummus and veggies, stuffed grape leaves, baklava, homemade mint-tea... Kind of Middle Eastern appetizer-type food.


Next daughter was going to England so we had tea and scones and decorated with British colors and flags. 


Oh, all of our children are musicians and have a lot of musician friends, so we had an open stage at all of their open houses.  We set up speakers and mics and invited everyone to come with a song or instrument or whatever, if they wanted to.  It was really nice because we usually had background music the whole time!  And if there was ever a lull or people just wanted to sit and not talk (so many open houses in one day can do that to you!  :), it was nice to just sit and listen to the music for awhile. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My daughter had a pretty traditional party. We rented the social hall at the church we were then attending, made a balloon arch, served a buffet of her favorite foods, etc. She invited all of her friends from church, theatre and other activities and also all of the adults to whom she felt close. She invited folks to dress as formally as they would like, and we bought her a nice dress. 


Because we also had guests coming who didn't know a lot about homeschooling, I put together a couple of tri-fold boards (like the kind used for science fairs) that we used as decorations on the buffet table. One had pictures of her homeschooling years, including field trips and art projects and science experiments . . . The other had photos of her performing arts activities. I also did a one-panel board with pictures and information about the college/program to which she was going. And we chose two or three of the display board projects she had done as assignments and took those along, too.


We played a soundtrack of her favorite songs from Broadway musicals, and she and her friends danced and sang together. We took photos of her with each guest under the balloon arch. Mid-way through the party, we pulled her up onto the small stage at the front of the hall and presented her with her diploma. Instead of giving a speech, she chose to sing "Good Morning, Baltimore," from Hairspray, which seemed kind of appropriate.


My son is choosing to do something different. He has asked to take a small group of his closest friends to a nice lunch and then to a water park for the afternoon. We'll do the "formal" part at the restaurant, and I have put him on notice that he will be required to wear a mortarboard and submit to the creation of photographic evidence of the event.


I'm a little disappointed, actually, because this plan means I won't have a chance to do the stuff that I enjoy and would find meaningful, like assembling those display boards and planning a party and making/decorating a cake. (Aside from the whole "spending the afternoon at a water park without access to refrigeration" thing, my son doesn't actually like cake.) But I'm reminding myself it's not about me.


I'm also considering trying to corral the moms of the other dancers from his studio who are graduating this year into doing cake and maybe balloons and recognizing them at the reception following this year's recital. And I could volunteer to make the cake. 

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