How To Homeschool High School Electives (It’s Easier Than You Think!)
When it comes to homeschooling high schoolers, parents often blink in panic. Don’t.
If you have successfully homeschooled your kid until this moment, you can do it for the remaining four years.
You need to check legal requirements, choose the correct courses, and be stricter about bookkeeping, but I’m sure you won’t have problems during this next stage.
Also, choosing electives is the fun part of homeschooling, as you plan the classes your teenager loves or needs for their future career.
First, let me show you how to homeschool electives and succeed.
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What’s an Elective?
An elective is any course your child will do that is not part of the core or required curriculum: math, science, social studies, English/language, arts, and PE.
It means you can choose almost anything you like.
Your child can learn music if they’re interested in that field or astronomy if they plan to go in that direction. But remember, not all electives must be done for credit.
You can do them for enjoyment and evaluate them with a pass or fail. Electives can also be extra science or extra math if you already have reached the limit of the required credits in these areas.
Electives help you set a path to a great college, so remember what would be valued with your career choice.
How Many Electives Do You Need in High School to Graduate?
There’s no single general number. Unfortunately, in the U.S., it varies from state to state.
Check here specific high school graduation requirements for each state:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico (for displaced students)
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- West Virginia
Even if you feel like you know your state’s particular requirements, check it before you choose. The regulations may change from one year to another!
How to Calculate High School Credits for Electives?
Having a homeschool transcript to show at the end of high school is a must, as this is where you’ll store all the necessary information, credits included. (If you want to know more about how to tackle homeschool transcript, check it out here).
Translating everything your kid studies, including the electives, is not that difficult.
Remember, one credit may equal:
- Completion of a one-year high school course
- Completion of a one-semester college online course
- Completion of a one-year unit study with projects on a given subject
- Completion of at least 75% of a high school textbook
- 120-180 hours of work on a specific subject
So, if you homeschool electives, you could even convert cooking with your kid into a high school elective. All you need to do is to keep track of the hours and reach at least 60 hours to get 0.5 credit.
You also need to know that the whole elective course in the homeschooling environment doesn’t need to happen in the same semester or year as long as you record the hours.
You can simply put them together and place them on the transcript for the semester your kid finished the course.
Homeschool Elective Ideas
If you feel overwhelmed by the lack of limits when choosing high school electives, here are some ideas.
Some of these are no-brainers. But regardless, they will make your child look good on a high school transcript. They can also make the path to college easier, even if your kid’s not sure what to study next.
As a freshman, you can always start with these and add some more college-oriented options in the last semesters.
1. A Foreign Language
This is when I most appreciate homeschooling.
While studying in a traditional school, even a private one, your kid is limited to the languages the school offers. However, when homeschooling a foreign language, the sky’s the limit.
Does your kid want to study Manga Animation in Tokyo and would benefit from taking Japanese classes? Look for a Japanese textbook, tutor, app, or online program, and go for it!
Spanish? That’s probably even easier, as you’ll surely find native speakers close to you.
You can also outsource the classes through Homeschool Spanish Academy and their homeschooling tailored programs which automatically grant high school credits.
If you look for other options, Duolingo always comes in handy. You can learn Yiddish, Navajo, Guarani, or Zulu there.
For other ways of homeschooling foreign languages and more outsourcing options, check out 7 Easy Ways To Homeschool Foreign Language.
The Arts electives may include both performing and visual arts. So, for example, your kid can study music, drama, multimedia, art, photography, and other related subjects.
You can use apps (Simply Piano and Simply Guitar are wonderful), online programs (Hoffmanacademy for online piano lessons), or look for specific courses on Outschool (they have many dance, music, and arts-related 1-to-1 options).
You can also check if your local co-op offers any lessons in this area.
STEM courses have an important place on a high school transcript, and it’s always a good idea to add some credits.
Khan Academy is great for any online STEM courses.
It offers a bunch of science electives for high school students, including computer science, coding, and Pixar. It’s easy to follow, and students can do it by themselves.
Time4Learning also lets you outsource STEM electives, and the online work is graded automatically. Unfortunately, it does not assign credits, but you can calculate them yourself.
You might like: Top 11 Websites With Free Homeschooling Materials
4. Life Skills
Life skills have become very popular lately.
Nebraska state, for example, has recently determined that starting in 2023-2024, a course in personal finance or financial literacy will be obligatory for high school students.
Don’t forget that homeschooling electives are an excellent opportunity to make your kid a lifelong learner. Just show them the pleasure of learning more about things that interest them.
Check out 8 Best Online Homeschool Programs for High School for more online high school electives.
Excited About Choosing the Electives for Homeschool with Your Child?
Of course, these are just a few of what’s available in the high school electives universe.
But now that you know how to choose the electives, you can always explore other options.
You can be sure your kid is ready for graduation and, as a freshman, they’re on the right track for the next stage of education.
Learn More About Our K-12 Online Spanish Programs!
Join one of the 40,000 classes that we teach each month and you can experience results like these…
“This is the best way for your kid to learn Spanish. It’s one-on-one, taught by native Spanish speakers, and uses a curriculum.”
– Sharon K, Parent of 3
“It’s a great way to learn Spanish, from native Spanish speakers in a 1-on-1 environment. It’s been fairly easy to schedule classes around my daughter’s other classes. The best value for us has been ordering multiple classes at a time. All the instructors have been great!”
– Cindy D, Parent of 3
“HSA offers very affordable, quality, one on one classes with a native speaker. My son has greatly benefited from taking classes. We have seen his confidence increase as well as his pronunciation improve, because he learns from a native Spanish speaker. HSA has quick, personal customer service. Our family has been very pleased with our experience so far!”
– Erica P. Parent of 1
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