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How to Homeschool High School Electives Naturally

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I remember getting excited about choosing electives when I was in high school. Finally, the chance to study something I really wanted to study, something that interested me. 

But rarely did things go as I hoped. Whether it was the limitations of what was offered or the time those classes were scheduled, I actually had very few choices. But your homeschool high schooler doesn’t have those problems! You have the freedom to homeschool high school electives and do it in a natural way. A way that allows them to explore, discover,  and learn!

How to Homeschool High School Electives Naturally

high school teens homeschool electives

Choosing Homeschool High School Electives

Designing electives can be one of the most beneficial and enjoyable parts of the high school years. I’m sure there are some specific things you may want your student to study, but the more control you can give your teen of this aspect of their education, the better.

Electives are the subjects where your teen can take ownership. They can choose what they want to study and even how they want to study it. That in itself is an incredible life-lesson if we truly want our kids to know how to learn and not just what to learn. It equips them to be lifelong learners. 

That doesn’t mean they don’t need you! According to their level and maturity, you’ll need to work alongside them to help guide the process. You will also need to help facilitate their learning by helping to find resources and opportunities. 

Begin with These Questions 

When trying to plan your homeschool high school electives, hold a planning meeting with your teens and help them think through the following questions:

  • What are my current interests?
  • I have unique gifts and talents. What are they?
  • Are there any careers am I interested in?
  • What sounds “fun” to me? 
  • If I could explore topics, I would pick… 
  • I get really excited about ….

Brainstorm Options for Homeschool High School Electives

Next, brainstorm some options. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Career Exploration
  • Public Speaking
  • Creative Writing 
  • Modern Written Communication
  • Computer Programming
  • Graphic Design
  • Motion Graphics
  • Computer Programing
  • Animation
  • Art—this could be the history of it, a specific skill, etc. 
  • Music
  • Life Skills
  • Personal Finances
  • Home Economics
  • Psychology
  • Missions
  • Discipleship
  • Genealogy
  • Interior design
  • Mechanics
  • Woodworking

The Natural Approach to Homeschooling High School Electives

Teaching high school electives naturally is about respecting how your student learns best. It’s about choosing resources that deliver the information in the most effective way for your students. It’s a common sense approach you can base around some simple questions:

Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Teens

How do my teens learn best? Some of the most common learning styles include auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (or experienced-based). Students also have different kinds of intelligences, also known as smarts. And each will have unique gifts and talents. All of these factor into answering this question!

  1. Have your teens take an online learning style assessment: EducationPlanner.org has one that breaks down the student’s learning styles by percentages. 
  2. Think through how your teens are “smart” by answering the questions in this assessment from the American Institute for Learning and Human Development.
  3. Ask your teens, “What do you think you are good at?” Then share the talents and gifts you see in them. That might include abilities and skills such as drawing or playing an instrument. But it can also be the way they interact with people or always work hard at what they try. 

What is the most common-sense approach to teaching/learning about these electives?

 Another way to think of this one is “What is the best delivery system for the information needed to learn this subject?” This will probably be a combination of more than one type of resource or method. For example, if your student wants to learn about public speaking, they may need books, videos, and actual practice giving speeches. Maybe they can attend some lectures or political campaigns or evaluate the sermons they hear at church.

Make a Plan for a Homeschool High School Electives

Once your teen has chosen what they want to study as an elective and thought through the most natural way for them to study it, it’s time to sit down and make a plan. 

1. Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What specifically do you want to learn about this subject? Sometimes topics are too broad and need to be narrowed down. For example “I want to study art” can encompass so many different things. Learning about art history is very different from learning specific skills to make art.
  • What opportunities are available? Will it be possible to talk to people in this field of study either online or in-person? Can you take relevant field trips?
  • What are some “out-of-the-textbook-box” ideas for studying this subject? 
  • What resources will I need?

2. Title the elective. 

Try to think “college speak” if your student plans on studying at a university in the future. Instead of Cooking call it Culinary Arts

3. Create a course description.

This is simply something to help focus your study. It will also communicate to potential colleges exactly what your teen has studied. A short paragraph is plenty!

4. Make a list of resources. 

This might include books, websites, online learning platforms, in-person interviews, field trips, hands-on experiences, etc. 

5. Keep in mind what constitutes a credit.

Generally, one high school credit is 120 hours of study in that area. Be sure to check with your state laws.

6. Decide what will need to be done each day. 

Finally, break down what needs to be done to earn the credit. You’ll want to work with your teens to create some deadlines along the way to help them stay on track. A simple planner will work for this and they can use it to record the time they spend on the subject there, too. 

Homeschooling high school electives allows you to truly customize your teens’ education, while also helping them learn how they can keep learning long after they graduate from your homeschool. 

Click here to get a FREE copy of Homeschooling Today’s Spring digital issue! Each issue will include more about how to homeschool “naturally” in my new column, Learning Naturally.

Tell us below, what is your first step in how to homeschool high school electives naturally?

***

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30 DAYS OF THE BEST ENCOURAGEMENT FOR HOMESCHOOLING MOMS SERIES CONTRIBUTOR:

Kay Chance homeschooled her children for fifteen years. While teaching them, she discovered a passion for writing and developing curriculum resources. She loves sharing natural learning methods and creative lesson ideas with other homeschooling parents.

Kay is the Co-executive Editor of Homeschooling Today magazine and the author of the older extensions for the Trail Guide to Learning series. She makes her home in Texas with her husband Brian. 

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