Wednesday, January 13

Crafting Your Own Electives

One of the best things about homeschooling through the high school years is crafting your own electives. You can capitalize on your teen’s interests and passions while also helping them prepare for their future.

Benefits of Homeschooling High School

The benefits of homeschooling high school cannot be overstated. First, your teens are usually independent learners at this point in their school career, so that opens the door for so many opportunities!

A traditional classroom experience in high school is focused on information cramming, test taking, and standardized results.  In your homeschool, you can capitalize on passion-driven education, love of learning, hands-on application of content, and customized plans.

What does this look like?

A Customized Education

First, of course, check with your local and state laws regarding what is required for graduating from homeschool high school. Note the classes, credits, and other details so that when your student reaches their senior year, you have covered all the bases. 

Next, discuss future goals and plans with your high schooler. Are they hoping to go to college? Do they want to pursue a bachelors degree? An associates degree? Or, are they hoping to enter the work force after graduation? Maybe they will start their own business right out of high school.

Depending on their future goals, create a flexible long range high school plan. First fill in your state graduation requirements. Then add in all the passion-driven ideas your teen has. These might include:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Starting a business
  • Specialized classes & courses
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Hobbies
  • Music Lessons 
  • Dual enrollment
  • Additional work opportunities

Now fill in your teen’s high school plan with these customized plans as well.  My high schoolers have been able to pursue things like starting a computer repair business, dual enrollment in college classes, pursuing more hours at work and becoming a crew trainer, working for a local entrepreneur, finding volunteer opportunities that align with their strengths, and more!

So, once you have a general plan for using the high school years to help your student prepare for their future, make sure you count these opportunities for credit on the transcript! Here’s how.

How to Craft Your Own Electives

Many states have certain credit requirements for core subjects like English, math, science, and history.  They may even require credits in fine arts. But your high schooler’s transcript will stand out from the crowd when they have unique electives that highlights their interests and talents.

Electives are basically courses that are not part of the core requirements. They might fit broader categories like art, business, shop, entrepreneurship, child development, or music. 

For an elective, you need to know:

  • How many credits will be awarded
  • What the final project will be that will demonstrate satisfactory understanding and ability to use the content

A credit is simply a unit of measurement that describes the amount of time required to complete the class. Most high school courses (worth 1 credit) show 120-180 hours of work, or approximately 45 minutes to one hour per day for 180 days of school. 

So, if your teen completes an elective in one semester, that would be ½ credit. 

Next, you’ll want to decide on the final project and goal of the course. What should your teen be able to produce at the end to show competence and knowledge of the topic? In other words, electives don’t have to require tests to assess competency.

For example, if your teen wants to learn how to sew period dresses and costumes, then you can craft an elective in which the final project is to sew a dress from the Victorian Era.

If your teen wants to learn podcasting, then figure out how he will learn this new skill and decide on the final project, which could be a fully launched podcast with ten episodes!

Maybe your teen would like to take a photography elective. She could complete the required online lessons and practical experience necessary for a credit. The final project might be an art show of her photography or maybe completing a family photo shoot for a friend.

Do you see how it’s completely possible to customize your teen’s high school years so that they are able to devote time to their strengths, passions, interests, and future goals?

But what about the pesky paperwork?

Keeping Track of Paperwork

When you’re homeschooling high school, and especially crafting custom electives, you’ll want to make sure you’re staying on top of the paperwork.

First, keep an ongoing record of all your teen’s coursework on a transcript. Many courses will be self-explanatory, like Algebra II or American History.

When you craft your own electives, you might want more paperwork in your file, like an Elective Tracking Sheet.

On this Elective Tracking Sheet, you’re keeping records of:

  • Time spent to qualify for a credit
  • Books, resources, online courses used for learning
  • Final project detailed and included

So for a student learning how to podcast, they would keep track of their hours, showing somewhere between 120-180 for one credit. They would list the courses, books, videos, or other instruction they used. They could also list the activities they were involved in, like graphic design of a logo, learning how to interview, conducting interviews, marketing, and so on. Their final project might be Season 1 of the podcast.

Keeping a portfolio during high school is a great way to document these custom elective courses. Take advantage of homeschooling high school and the opportunity to craft electives that are as unique as your teenager!

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As a former classroom teacher, now homeschool mom of five, Abby loves to equip & encourage other homeschool families.  Learn how to confidently homeschool your kids and unleash your productivity potential at  & the Homeschool with Moxie Podcast.  Check out our entrepreneurial courses for teens & Inductive Bible study courses at  ::  Facebook  ::  YouTube

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