Thursday, August 3, 2017

2017 ElCloud Graduation

We graduated our third homeschool student in May. Yes, I'm a little late posting about it, but we were also preparing for a double bridal shower in June and two weddings in July. Naturally, blogging just wasn't high priority as we focused on our oldest three daughters this summer.

We have now had three different robe/mortarboard colors in our graduations. Our oldest daughter chose white, our second daughter chose navy blue, and C chose traditional black.

We kept her ceremony short and simple, but my husband and I each shared a brief speech before presenting her diploma to her. It was a special ceremony, with close friends and family present.

I love this next picture.  It just makes me smile. Homeschooling is so worthwhile!

My 3rd daughter, C is an avid reader, so we decided to forego our navy and gold school colors, and focus on a book theme for the decor in her graduation reception and ceremony. She chose turquoise as the main color she wanted to decorate with.

We used two adjoining classrooms at our church. One for the display and food tables, and a standing graduation ceremony. The adjoining room had tables for eating, visiting, and viewing a slideshow of pictures (which ended up not working). My daughter had a playlist of carefully selected music playing in the room with tables.

For the decor, we started with using pages from an old copy of Little Women that was falling apart to make the heart banner you can see going across the top of the following picture. We used a heart shaped hole punch to create the banner. We hung one in each of the two classrooms.

That left us with a lot of heart cut outs, which we used for table confetti, and to make heart banners, as well.

We used a vintage hat box we had in our basement that had belonged to her Great-Grandma as a card box.


You can see some of the heart banners we created hanging behind the cake table in the next picture.

For once, I didn't make too much cake. Just two cakes, and we did have leftovers, but not enough to last more than two days at home.

We realized after we had taped the heart banners around this table, that we had the table cloth on crooked. We left it because we didn't have time left to untape the banner and start over.

For table centerpieces, we laid down a fat quarter of fabric and stacked carefully selected books on top. We also placed a candle and a white milk glass vase of silk flowers on each table. Lastly, we had little metal keys to use as table confetti. Those were supposed to have been large enough to tie in bunches and lay on top of the books, but I didn't accurately read the measurement scale in the picture when I ordered them. Oops!

Overall, the decorations really suited my daughter. They were inexpensive to make, easy to set up, and we felt they were elegant and beautiful!  We still have the book banners and heart banners in case she wants to use them in her room or apartment after she moves out. And I have the fat quarters of fabric that I can use to make throw pillows or other craft items. The one down-side was how much stuff we had to carry to the church, and home again, including about 40 hardcover books.

We discovered this year that Amazon has the best price for 12 packs of disposable table cloths, in both round and rectangular. They are thicker (and less expensive) than the ones I can buy in Wal-Mart's party section. We were even able to save most of them to re-use at a later point.  I've bought them in several colors since then, when we were planning for the bridal shower and weddings. Just search disposable table cloths and look for the company with the 12 packs in a variety of colors for $20. It's so simple, and we even used the leftover round ones over a black table cloth on the rectangular tables!

Pinterest can be your friend, but it can also overwhelm you. I looked for book related decor there and found paper roses made from book pages, wreaths and mobiles made from book pages, and so many things that were just overwhelming. In the end, I had to narrow it down to what I felt I had time, money, and ability to manage. The book stacks, and the heart-punch banners were simple and affordable. Just use pinterest wisely, and don't let it become something that discourages you.

I hope you find something helpful here as you prepare for your own homeschool graduations. Mostly, just let it be a relaxed time of celebration with family and friends, not something so formal or stiff that your teen's going to dread it.

Enjoy the journey, and the celebration of reaching your destination!
April E.