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There is so much more to homeschooling high school than just core studies. One of the main reasons that we homeschooled all the way was to foster our daughter’s interests and grow her gifts. And as she approached high school, they became her high school electives.
Having the time to delve deeply into my teen’s interests was priceless. I encouraged her to explore her to try out different activities throughout her homeschool years. Isn't that what homeschooling is about anyway?
High School electives also brought the fun into our homeschool. My favorite one was her irish stepdancing class, where my hubby and I got to watch them all perform each year on St. Patrick’s Day. What are your teens interested in? Where do their gifts lay?
Here are 100 ideas to consider for high school electives and high school activities. I hope this list gives you ideas for your teen. Many high school activities as many can be made into high school electives. Don't miss the giveaway at the end of this post.
100 High School Electives and Activities
Animal Care – Help with family’s animals, assist at the Humane Society, do an animal project 4H, compete at a state fair. This can easily be made into an elective.
Athletics – Are your teens interested in sports? Many Parks Department have leagues and classes, as does the YMCA, etc. Some public schools allow homeschoolers to join in their sports activities as well. –States that offer this option include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. For more information, HSLDA has a link here – http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/E/Equal_Access.pdf.
Parks Department Leagues, YMCA, etc.
Archeology – Take a course at the community college, or make your own.
Art -- We did classes at our Parks Dept. The YMCA offers them as well. My friend’s teen enjoyed Artistic Pursuits from www.christianbook.com.
-- Ultimate List of Favorite High School Art Resources by the Hodgepodge Mom, and it includes a year long high school course in Art Journaling
Bible Quiz – link - http://bq.ag.org/ This program- offer competitions at the district, regional and national levels in bible memorization skills. My daughter’s friend competed locally, then had the honor of doing it on the national level, and she enjoyed it very much.
Blogging – Set up a blog for your teen, or have them set it up themselves. What a great way to get your teen writing!
Book Club – Attend your local library’s club, or make your own.
Botany – Eva Varga has a great course in botany here - Botany - Plenty O'Plants - EvaVarga
Boy Scouts – Earning badges, and progressing in boy scouts, such as eagle scouts, is a great activity for leadership development www.scouting.org
Business Management – This could include running an etsy shop, taking a course, or making your own.
Career Exploration – This can be an elective for high school credit. Some ideas for this include interviewing family members and friends re their careers, doing online research into careers of interest, arranging to visit a site of interest. 7 Sisters offers a complete course in Career Exploration Curriculum Bundle, highly recommended.
Car repair – Learn along side dad, help with car repairs, take a class, etc.
Ceramics - Our parks dept. offered great classes in ceramics, which my teen enjoyed since middle school.
Chalk Pastels - Make your own fine arts course with Tricia Hodges's Art for All Ages Chalk Art Bundle.
Cheer - Cheer classes and or competitions
Child Development – The 7 Sisters offer a complete course in Early Childhood Education. Assisting in a church nursery, babysitting, helping in a co-op class, or helping with younger siblings over time can all contribute to the learing.
College Planner - We made our own course in College Planner, which included college prep activities, ACT test prep, college visits, and more. All of these activities can count as high school credit! Homeschooling High School with College in Mind is a do-it-yourself handbook with lots of help for getting your teen into college. It can be used to make your own College Planner course.
Computer Studies – Online, Programming, Web Design, etc. Making a website, and blogging can count as web design.
Creative Writing – We did this as one of our favorite high school electives. I am a writer, so I taught my daughter the basics, then we made our own homemade course with NaNovWriMo. I just share that as a reminder that you can teach your skills and hobbies to your child and make your own electives!
Another way to go is to use One Year Adventure Novel – www.oneyearnovel.com, or pick another resource such as Learn to Write the Novel Way from www.christianbook.com. This can also become an English credit. Creative writing is a great way to build up your teen’s confidence in putting words on paper. It’s fun, too.
Dance – My daughter enjoyed studying irish dance at a local dance studio for many years. There are many kinds of dance to consider, ballet, jazz, liturgical, etc. We started out with parks dept classes in preballet. What fun I had watching my little one learn to dance!
Fine Arts - My friend used this program by a veteran homeschooler Harmony Fine Arts
4H - www.4-h.org/ They offer a variety of activities to develop kids and teens’s citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills. My daughter participated in their annual competitions at our state fair each year, and enjoyed photography, art, knitting, baking, and more. This gave her outside feedback on her projects, which was priceless. Find a local 4H club here - http://www.4-h.org/get-involved/find-4-h-clubs-camps-programs/.
Gardening – Building a veggie garden, studying gardening online, planning a flower garden, helping with garden maintenance at home can all count.
Girls Scouts – www.girlscouts.org/
Gymnastics – My daughter took lessons at our local gymnastics center. This was a great way for her to build strength and it also showed perseverance on the high school transcript, as she did this over a number of years. (Usually you would only include the high school activities on the college application.)
Home Economics – Cooking dinner once a week could become a ½ or full credit in home economics, depending on whether it was done for one semester or a year. Making a recipe notebook, trying out new recipes, etc. Lots of potential for homemade courses here.
Homeschool Scouts – www.homeschoolscouting.com To find a listing of homeschool troops, click here – www.homeschoolscouting.com/homeschool-troops.
Homeschool Sports Network – http://www.hspn.net/homeschool-sports.asp. To find a homeschool sports program in your area, check out this website, which has a list of states that offer sports around the country.
1. Youth and Government is a hands on way of learning about state government, gaining speech and debate skills at the same time. They meet in small groups, as delegations, then compete in district events, while learning about state government and how a bill becomes a law. Meanwhile they practice debate skills, leading up to the statewide Youth Mock Legislature. All the teens gather together at the youth legislator and enact the roles of legislators and vote on mock bills, written by the teens themselves. This program is available in 33 states across the country, and is sponsored by the YMCA. They even elect their own youth governor each year!
2. TeenPack Leadership Schools – www.teenpact.com This is another well established leadership program which provides groups and workshops that equip teens to become leaders in politics, society and citizenship. They offer state classes, four day classes and a national convention, too. Their classes are held in 41 states at their state capitals. Many of my teen’s homeschool friends participated in these events and learned a lot there. They looked forward to it every year. To register for a state class click here - https://teenpact.com/events/
3. Counselor-in-Training Programs – The girl scouts, boy scouts and camp fire programs all offer counselor training to teens. Then they assist in summer day camps for younger kids.
4. Volunteering – Help at a food bank as a family, volunteer at a pet hospital, or the Humane Society, assist at a library as a volunteer page, help to lead a class at co-op, etc. By recording your teen’s hours, volunteering can be made into a homemade elective course.
5. Parks Department’s Teen Board – Many parks departments have youth teen boards, who meet regularly to plan activities for younger kids, and that is a way to learn leadership skills.
6. PoliceExplorers – Many police departments offer this program for high schoolers. It includes lots of volunteer opportunities and leadership training as well. Our family friend has been involved it this program for years, and is gaining helpful experience, that may lead directly to a career in law enforcement.
7. Speech and Debate - NCFCA – National Christian Forensics Communication Association – This is the longest standing nonprofit organization that offers speech and debate activities for homeschooled high schoolers. They meet locally in chapters, compete regionally, and hold a national championship yearly. Lots of my teen’s homeschool friends participated in this, and loved it.
Martial Arts – Many studios offer homeschool classes in martial arts. One of my teen’s friends is a student of martial arts, and it was a great way for him to develop discipline.
Music – Music lessons, composer studies, Squilt - http://www.homegrownlearners.com/squilt/, playing in a band or orchestra, singing in a choir, performing, attending performances call all lead to a high school credit in music. Our area had a homeschool choir available.
Music Appreciation - My friend, Tricia Hodges, from Hodgepodge used this course an recommends it 20th Century Music Appreciation Course.
We loved doing nature study, too. How about one of Cindy's nature study courses, such as Incredible Creeks from Shining Dawn Books?
Philosophy in 4 Questions - A whole credit of philosophy, by 7 Sisters, highly recommended. No busy work, and from a Christian perspective.
Photography – I taught my daughter photography, from age 8, and we did this together for many years, and it later became a homemade elective. There are also online courses in photography, and some parks dept’s offer classes as well.
Psychology - Introduction to Psychology - A Christian Perspective - from 7 Sisters
Would you like some resources for making your own high school English course? Make your own course, with novels such as these, for example:
These books include the original text, with a parallel translation of modern English on each page. Having the parallel text made this learning so much better and understandable for my teen.
Social Media - Advertising
Speech and/or Debate - NCFCA– National Christian Forensics Communication Association link - The longest standing nonprofit organization that offers speech and debate activities for homeschooled high schoolers. They meet locally in chapters, compete regionally, and hold a national championship yearly. Lots of my teen’s homeschool friends participated in this, and loved it. They also hold short film and writing contests.
Speech 1 - Public Speaking and Practical Life Skills - by the 7 Sisters, also highly recommended.
Stoa – Christian Homeschool Speech and Debate – This national organization offers Speech Events, Debate Events, and Tournaments here http://www.stoausa.org/ State Organizations are here. http://www.stoausa.org/about/stoa-state-links
Theater and Drama – Take a class, usher at a drama production, join a local community theater group. My nephew participated in a homeschool drama program offered by his co-op.
Video Courses - Tricia Hodges, from the Hodgepodge, has an extensive list of high school video courses in High School Homeschool Video Courses, including American History, Visual Latin, Economics and so much more!
Video Making - We made our own course in video-making, a true joy to do with my teen. It became a one-half credit elective on her homeschool transcript and was tons of FUN!
Volunteering – Such a great way to gain experience, build up confidence, leadership skills, and to try new things. Some places to consider – Church youth activities, church nursery, the public library, nursery room at co-op, the Humane Society, Girl Scout or Boy Scout day camp, Parks department special needs programs, mission trips, nursing homes, church camps, day care or preschool, food bank, YMCA, YWCA, etc.
My daughter volunteered at our local library one summer, and enjoyed it. They were already set up for volunteers there, so it was easy to set up. Some museums are also set up to offer teen volunteering. This led to a recommendation letter that we sent along with our college application.
YMCA – www.ymca.com They have a link there that will list all of the YMCAs in the US and will give you a guest pass to one to visit nearby.
HSLDA also has an extensive list of possible high school electives here http://www.hslda.org/highschool/Elective_Possibilities.pdf
Nothing like watching your teen as they discover and explore their special interests during the all important teen years!
I loved doing activities and electives with my daughter. I followed her interests, and did not load on extra electives or activities just to show them to the colleges. Instead, we made time for her to develop her gifts and talents as it fit into our homeschool days and our family’s schedule.
Now for the Giveaway!
We at BJ's Homeschool are offering a Giveaway!
Vicki Tillman from 7 Sisters - Early Childhood Education elective course. Add power to the homeschool transcript, prepare to be a good homeschooling parent, and provide enriching career exploration, while doing this course, which is FUN!
American Landmarks Chalk Art - This chalk art book is more advanced, ideal for high schoolers, and it can pair very well with your American History studies. A great way to complete a fine arts elective credit as well!
And my e-book with my best tips on college - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. Use it and make a College Planner course for your teen! Make your high school planning easier!...based on 3 years of research. Why reinvent the wheel?
Kindle and paperback are on Amazon
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