I confess. I am one of those homeschooling moms who wonder - what things will my kids be missing out on if I homeschool?! One of those "things" was kindergarten graduation. What about a graduation hat and tassel, participating in some cute song, walking across a stage, etc.?!?
Well, I am here to say - it CAN STILL be done! You CAN have an awesome kinder graduation if you homeschool! And the best part? You get to make the decisions! What song to sing, what to recite, even what color of hat and tassel you want - or whether you even want one at all!
Once I figured this all out (yep, I am a little slow in that department sometimes), it was SOOOO much fun and we had a graduation I was even happier with than if she had been in a class full of kids up on a stage in front of a huge audience.
Miss A is very into pink and fancy things and is very dramatic, soooooo that is the kind of graduation program we planned. We also completed some great school activities and worked on the cutest kindergarten memory book! Okay, enough talk and more pictures...
A fun graduation themed snack!!!
Main: Graduation hat made from a healthy muffin (bottom of hat) and graham cracker top spread with Nutella. The tassel is string cheese. The diploma is a rolled up tortilla with peanut butter and jam/jelly inside and tied with a piece of fruit roll-up.
Muffin cups 1 and 3: Hugs and kisses for our little graduating girl! :)
Muffin cup 2: Cheese stars and heart confetti.
Garnish: Nutella X's and O's (more hugs and kisses) and wording. Heart confetti.
Disclaimer: This is a special snack and not the kind of thing Miss A gets every day for snack. Our normal snacks do not usually include so much sugar. I just make these every once in a while as a special treat for Miss A!
One of the super parts of having your own graduation (just you) is that you get to pick the colors. Miss A ended up with a pink hat and a pink and white tassel. We bought these at a store, and I think it cost a grand total of $7 or $8. However, if you don't want to spend that much on a hat - you can certainly make one from paper (check Pinterest or search Google for tutorials on how to do this).
We also decided to make the hat fancier (another perk of not being in a classroom where everyone is required to wear the same style and color of cap), so we made sparkly polka dots on the cap using glitter. In addition to this, I glued pink rhinestones to the four corners and center of the hat for added glamour. AND let's not forget the tassel - at the request of Miss A, I also added some sparkly glitter dots to the numbers "2012".
Now how can one have an amazing hat and tassel and then receive just an ordinary diploma? The answer is - one shouldn't. Thus, we dramatically increased the fancy factor of her diploma (this was just a staged diploma - I didn't want to mess up the real one by rolling it up so she accepted this one on the stage) by adding glitter swirls to the outside and lots and lots of curly ribbon (did I mention LOTS)!!!
We created a stage backdrop for about $2 by purchasing two $1 white plastic tablecloths (party section in Walmart), taping them together in back, stringing a piece of yarn from a tree to a post and using clothespins to clip the large white backdrop of tablecloths to the yarn. We used some bricks to hold the corners down. It actually turned out really well! We also added a few tissue paper decorations to give it some added color and flair. :)
Yet another advantage to having your own kindergarten homeschool graduation is that you get to choose exactly what kind of program you want to have which best spotlights your child's strengths. My daughter is very dramatic and loves to sing and dance, SOOO we planned a show (see the program above - graphics from www.scrappindoodles.com) where she would recite a verse, sing a cute song, and then dance to some music (Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"). For the dance, we also bought some pieces of filmy material in different colors and she used those as part of the choreography of her dance to go along with some of the words referencing different colors ("trees of green, red roses too", etc.).
She LOVED it and so did I, not to mention her little audience of Daddy, Great Grandma, and grandparents (who watched via a webcam). It was soooo much fun to plan and practice! :)
At the end, I formally presented her with her diploma and moved her tassel for her. It was super sweet, and I didn't even cry (well, actually I did during the dress rehearsal but kept my composure during the real thing).
I couldn't find just the right song for my daughter to sing, so I finally decided to make up one of my own for her program. I was so pleased with what a precious job she did - we put actions to the song as well (those are in blue lettering above), and it was just adorable.
Please feel free to use this song for your own kindergarten graduation ceremony. I just ask that if you use the song and ESPECIALLY if you post the lyrics and actions to the song - that you credit it back to me/this blog as well.
Following the graduation ceremony, we had a party with fancy hot dogs and a banana split bar! :) And how does one make a hot dog fancy? I'll bet you didn't realize it was as easy as adding a frilly toothpick or a little umbrella, did you!
Besides practicing a LOT for our show and ceremony, we did some other cute graduation activities. The one above was a really neat TLC freebie from the Teachers Pay Teachers website. See it here.
For some math practice, I wrote addition facts on little pieces of paper and rolled them up, tying each with string to make little diplomas. Then Miss A opened and answered them.
Meet a kindergarten class which has a serious problem - somehow their graduation caps got all mixed up! At least that is what I told Miss A, and she had to help find the correct cap for each student. This was a rhyming exercise - on each cap was a word which would rhyme with a student's name. It was her job to sort them out and glue them to the correct heads. :) She also drew all of the cute faces!
One thing I really wanted to do with Miss A was to make a memory book for kindergarten. I searched and searched for something that would be just right but failed to find anything that really made me super happy. Thus, I decided to come up with my own and it turned out so, so, SOOO cute! Okay, maybe I am a little biased. ;) I guess you will just have to judge for yourselves...
The book includes a cover, two pages of kindergarten facts (favorite color, teacher's name, favorite snack, favorite trip, etc.), my favorite part of kindergarten page, I learned...page, AMAZING me page (self portrait), a handprint page with a delightful poem, a special helper page with another cute poem (showcasing people who helped Miss A achieve success this year), and a page for autographs and well wishes/special messages!
Most of the pages have fun borders that can be colored in. Miss A used a lovely pink and blue color scheme to fill in the border on her "AMAZING me" page. :) I love the picture she drew of herself! :)
This is one of my absolute favorite pages!!! I wanted to get a nice handprint as a keepsake for Miss A's kindergarten year and thought it would be cute if each finger had a graduation cap as well. I came up with a sweet little poem to tie the whole concept together and made it the border for the page! :)
This was another page I was especially pleased with. I wanted one which celebrated the support and love of others which helped contribute to Miss A's achievements leading up to her graduation day. I came up with a short poem and decided on the idea of having Miss A draw herself holding a bouquet of balloons (another idea would be a bouquet of flowers) and each balloon would be the thumbprint of someone who helped her that year. (Not everyone was there the night we made this page, thus the empty strings which will be attached to "balloons" later on).
The page is set up so a child could also draw pictures of people who contributed to the child's success if the balloon idea doesn't work for a particular class or family.
Don't ask me about the blue face. My daughter is not really blue. I guess she just felt extra colorful that day?
All wording on the above pages is copyrighted and may not be taken and used for different projects (including handprint art) without first contacting me AND obtaining my written consent.
I have the entire kindergarten memory book (PDF files) available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here, AND it is on SALE this week! Hope you will consider snapping one up to work on with your kindergartener-now-turned-first-grader over the summer or for when your child or class graduates next year!
PLUS, I have included a super sweet kindergarten diploma (see below) with the memory book files. Again, I couldn't find one I liked after searching online for a while, so I just created my own!
So to sum all of this up: YOU CAN HAVE AN AWESOME KINDERGARTEN GRADUATION, EVEN IF YOU HOMESCHOOL - INDEED, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HOMESCHOOL!
And to my beloved daughter on her graduation from kindergarten - we love you and are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO proud of you! I am already looking forward to a fun year of homeschooling with you in first grade! XXXOOO