by Barb Shelton
Homeschool Presentation Night is the "Big Event" of the year, the culmination of our school year, group-wise and individually. We invite grandparents, friends and relatives and have an evening filled with a variety of special presentations. All the families who have been involved in the group have the opportunity to share their talents, projects, photos, presentations, etc. at the end of the year! Parents have given certificates, roses, and award ribbons to their children for progress in academics and other skills; children perform short pieces on instruments, sing or lip-sync songs, do short skits (with simple costumes), The more creativity, diversity, and variety the better!
To participate in this event, you need to be a member and have been to at least a few (three or four) meetings through the year. We want this to be something that we as a somewhat cohesive group present to our relatives and friends. (And each other, of course!) There is much work involved in putting an event like this together, so we feel that those participating ~ which is a privilege ~ need to be part of the work aspect ~ responsibility ~ of making it happen.
There are two aspects of this evening:
table presentations and presentations in front of the group. First
I'll explain the table presentations...
This is just one aspect of our "presentations"; the other is...
IN FRONT OF GROUP
Carlianne did a report on a trip to London, a report on rocks, a baton-twirling routine, short skits, mime, "Scripture Scenes" (ask Barb about this!), a short report on pyramids.
One year I choreographed a very sweet minuet kind of dance of five
little girls and five little boys, when Sharnessa was about 8 and Tory
6. It's was SO fun to go back years later and re-watch the video,
and see Sharnessa quietly but emphatically helping the boys remember
and do their parts! (Her skills started early!) The other mom
(of three of the little girls, one of whom ended up being one of
Sharnessa's bridesmaids) and I sewed darling look-alike dresses for all
the girls, which they wore for their family portrait that year.
Every time I see it, it brings back sweet memories. The boys were in white
shirts, black pants, and bow ties.
Another year Sharnessa and Tory did a short presentation on the Statue of Liberty. "Visual aids" are nice for reports, rather than just reading something. For instance, the kids showed a fingernail the size of a large piece of paper they had cut out ~ which was the size of Liberty's thumbnails!
Last year Claire Ouellette brought a rock poster and various rocks for her rock report,
and her dad, Pete, helped her do a report on it for the group.
Claire's older sister Laura showed the Music Notebook she had made and shared various items out of that, and then played a piece on the piano that she had given us a little background on. The more variety and creativity the better!
Here are some more ideas to whet your creative appetite and hopefully get
your creative juices churning:
A group of about twelve children sang a three-part harmony song.
The Drama class, which had met only six times, did a clever and humorous medley of parables.
One year our son, Tory, at age 8, wrote out on a portable blackboard all the Roman Numerals of the year "1988" and explained each step as he wrote.
Another year, when Tory was about 5, he and his Daddy dressed up like trees and lip-synced a song from "Big and Little Tree."
Sharnessa, with choreography in her blood from an early age, choreographed a dance one year. (We are aware of the need to be particularly careful of modesty with dancing as it can be offensive to some, and we just want to be considerate. However some consider dance of any kind to be "not good." Since "dance R us," it was something we obviously wanted to present, so the way we worked it out with others in the group was to put a gracious "disclaimer" on the back of the program.)
Jeremy, 11, used a puppet in a puppet house that he and his family had made, performed a clever summary of the year's activities of our group.
Three brothers, Timothy, Jonathan, and Stephen, did a short puppet show using props they had made themselves.
Children have done short piano (or other instrument) pieces, songs with tape accompaniment, piano, or acappella. The key here is to keep it short. This isn't a recital; just a quick glimpse at the talents of our kids; a "showcase" of our homeschooling efforts during the past year.
And here are a few more ideas, some are take-offs on presentations individuals in our group have done; some are totally new ideas that, judging from our observations, would be easy to do and be well-received:
A reading or recitation as from a favorite story, a poem, Bible verses, etc.
A special field trip report, using pictures (we enlarged ours at a color copy machine so they were large enough for the group to see), overhead projector, souvenirs from the trip, etc.
Demonstrate a science experiment. You'll want to choose a quick one that never fails to avoid frustration and embarrassment.
Words of appreciation from a parent to a child, or a child to a parent; planned or spontaneous. (I'd enjoy them either way!) The unexpected highlight was when Jeremy, an 11-year-old boy got up at the end of the evening, after his mom had honored him earlier in the program for doing so well during their first year of homeschooling and putting up with her awkwardness throughout it. In front of everyone, he said tearfully, "My mom gave me an award earlier, but really, she's the one who should be getting an award!" As he rushed over to hug her, all eyes in that room moistened!
A table exhibit highlight: Perhaps you have something on display you'd like to draw people's attention to or that could use some further explanation; perhaps it would be glossed over without some mention.
A History Presentation: Two kids might do a Barbara Walters type interview of a historical person, like George Washington Carver, or Abe Lincoln. (Our son and daughter did one on a Kid's Day where she interviewed the man who built the Statue of Liberty.)
Presentation of awards and/or promotions: We encourage giving an award for a character quality which your child has developed or exercised during the past year, rather than for a natural academic skill that could make other kids feel inadequate or even "dumb" by comparison B which is not the point of this event! Many parents give each of their children a certificate of promotion from one grade to the next. (Such certificates are available at Christian or stationery stores.)
Another year we divided up the twelve verses of a poem among twelve families. The poem was one I had written called "Heart-Strung Treasures" about each of the months of the year; one month per verse. The families illustrated these verses, one verse per family, on large sheets of white poster board. They were SO cute!!! (More ideas on this on my "Heart-strung Treasures" page ~ where the poem itself is ~ and on my "HSPN Committees Page" which you'll find a link to just a little ways down from here.)
If you opt to do awards of some sort... We have all agreed in the past that we like it best when Dad has a major role in the presentation. It's particularly distinctive for him, not just Mom, to say a few words of praise concerning his child(ren)'s individuality, growth, or something he's appreciated about what's taken place in their homeschool that year.
I must add that this is not a platform to either "sell homeschooling" or put down public education. I say this only because this has happened in the past, unexpectedly, and made the rest of us feel like crawling into a loop in the carpet! I'm sure it made our guests even more uncomfortable, if not understandably angry.
LENGTH OF PRESENTATIONS
It's wise to discuss with your group some limits for presentations; both in the length of each presentation and in limits to the number of types of presentation. For instance, one year we had four or five lip-sync songs. The first two were entertaining; the rest got "old" quickly, even though each of the kids did a good job. Another year we seemed to have endless Scripture recitations: too many, and too long. So consider limitations such as two verses, or one minute each; two lip-sync songs, 1 or 2 minutes for a piano piece, etc. Remember, this isn't a recital. Save lengthier presentations for a group activity day.
Now that you know what this even is all about, let's get into the behind-the-scenes stuff that actually makes it happen...
MAKING THE EVENT HAPPEN:
For complete job descriptions of each of
the following committee heads, please click here!
This is what makes the event HAPPEN!
M.C. (Master of Ceremonies)
THIS IS ME
Children fill in their page with their own information (over a period of several days; it's too much to do in one day), and paste and/or draw photos of themselves.
Another option is for you to get these blank forms online. However, be aware that, because of the web page formatting, they won't fit onto just one page once you print them out, nor will they look as nice as what I have printed up. But this will certainly be a fast, easy, and inexpensive option. The links to the three versions are right here:
For those of you who know how to make charts (also called "tables") in your word processing program, you are welcome to copy and paste any of the above pages into your own program, and then tweak them to your heart's content! And please remember there's no need to make them look just like mine! Use my ideas as a bouncing-off point, and change, add, delete anything you like until they are exactly what you'd like to remember about your children!
I share my most recent memories of one of our own Home School Presentation Nights, including a sample of the invitations in an article appropriately called Memories of One Homeschool Presentation Night.
If all this sounds like a lot of work, in some ways it is; but it's really very "do-able" ~ especially since "many hands make light the work." Each family takes care of their own family's presentation(s), whether they are before the group or on their own table. (And they are free to do one or the other, or both.) There is very little coordination of any of these other than taking sign-ups so we know how many to expect. But even set-up is done by the families themselves.
This special event ends up being like a quilt, which each "piece" being its own entity, and all the pieces together creating a very diverse yet united picture of homeschooling ~ and how unique each family is!
Local Meetings Page
Memories of One Homeschool Presentation Night
Homeschool Presentation Night Committee Heads
Main Lobby of Homeschool Oasis
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