We are getting over the flu here at our house. My teen spent a lot of time getting needed rest and birdwatching. Our favorite woodpecker, a flicker, stopped by long enough for me to get a picture. Aren't they so beautiful! By Tuesday, my teen was getting better so she started working on her video project for her elective again. Her video is on democracy, and she spent time editing this week.
Wednesday was all about catching up on Physics, and Thursday, was a day for English. We have been reading Julius Caesar, and my teen had one more essay to finish, now that she was done with the book. Next week, we'll start to tackle Beowulf, unless we are still working on the essay....Too soon to tell...My teen didn't do her activities this week, as she was still getting over the flu. But that gave me time to sit down, and write about them!
High School Electives
I am sure that you are familiar with the notion that colleges want to know about a student's activities and interests. They show your teen's unique interests and skills, and help the college admissions dept to get to know your student and her accomplishments. On the college application, there is a place to list your student's activities and accomplishments. They can also be highlighted in the college essay, depending on the questions that your college asks for in their personal essay.
So, as just one example, what did we do for activities and electives?
I just encouraged my daughter to explore her interests and to try out different activities that she might be interested in, over the years. Isn't that what homeschooling is about anyway? I am sure that my teen's activities helped her in the admissions process. And I just followed her lead on this...and her activities were varied..then later led to her interest in leadership.
Assisting in a science class:
In middle school, my daughter was particularly interested in science, so when an opportunity to assist in a science class,we set that up for her. My daughter developed confidence through this experience. The co-op teacher helped her to assist with the science labs, and lead one class by herself each semester. She liked doing this, but decided that she didn't want to become a teacher after all! But that she wanted to explore being a leader in another way..., and maybe not in science...
This TA experience resulted in a college recommendation letter from the co-op science teacher! The common application for college usually requires a letter from a teacher and the school counselor. But for homeschoolers, we can use letters that come from coaches, co-op teachers, or other leaders in your student's activities. (from the email group called firstname.lastname@example.org)
Many of the families there used multiple recommendation letters for their college applications.
My teen started irish dance in 3rd grade, and then continued with it through high school. This was an interest of hers, and her friend was in the class. She took irish stepdancing until 17, then took a modern dance class. We included the irish dance activity in the college application, as this had done this for over nine years. And she showed a progessively developed skill. This showed perseverance and a skill in an area of interest. Modern dance was also a help in our homeschool, as it was a great way to get in PE, but since it was only for one year, we didn't include it in the app.
Irish also helped in another way...One of our colleges asked for an essay on multicultural issues. My teen shared her experiences in irish dance, and how she had learned about the irish culture, and developed an appreciation for cultural differences.
Sorry, I had to put the modern dance on in here, too...( My teen is going to be commuting to college next year, so I am a little nastalgic!)
My teen volunteered at our local Museum of Flight, for a couple of summers. Volunteering is such a great way for teens to gain experience, and our college choices loved to hear about her volunteer efforts.
This experience included some leadership and counselor training, which got my teen interested in developing her leadership skills further.
Youth and Government:
Then, we heard about a Youth and Government delegation that was led by a homeschooling mom, in our area. So my daughter joined, and ran for office. She was able to serve for three years, starting with secretary. She also found a number of friendships there. And this also resulted in another college application recommendation letter! So helpful!
My teen is an only child, and also an extrovert, so we used a number of community resources and activities. I share our activities just as a way to talk about electives and aiming towards college. Using activities to develop your teen's skills can work just as well in a large family, using co-op experiences and church activities as well as in the community, if needed, depending their interests and time available.
So that's what we did in our house this week, and some of what we didn't do...! What have your kids been up to lately? Link up with Finishing Strong and share your story!
Betsy is a unit study loving homeschooler, mom to her 18yo, and blogger at BJ's Homeschool, who shares how she helped her always homeschooled daughter get accepted by (four) colleges. She offers free homeschool help to new families here.
This post is linked to: Homegrown Learners
Weird unsocialized Homeschoolers
Managing Your Blessings