Overview: You CAN create fun electives for high school for your homeschooled teen. Listen (or read) to learn how!
Guest podcaster Sara Jordan shares how she creates fun electives for high school for her delight-directed teens. It’s really “not that hard!” 5 simple steps will give you the flexibility you want and the credits your teen needs.
Sara talks solely about creating your own electives in this podcast. If you want more information about electives in general, see The Complete Guide to High School Electives for Homeschoolers.
And for more information about how credits work, see Clearing Confusion about Homeschool High School Credits.
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This episode sponsored by My Father’s World Curriculum
If home is the center of education, God’s Word should be the center of the home. With My Father’s World Curriculum, God’s Word is not just a subject. It’s central to everything your child will do every day. From preschool through high school, My Father’s World combines the best of Charlotte Mason’s ideas, classical education, and unit studies with a Biblical worldview and global focus.
For high school families, My Father’s World has teamed with Unbound to provide an exciting new coaching program helping students and parents through the difficult high school years. Students will receive 18 bi-weekly group coaching calls as well as gaining access to an online community of coaches and like-minded students in a secure, private environment. Quarterly “Design Your Future” calls with student leaders will provide insights on the struggles and rewards of a Christ-centered life in this season.
From preschool through high school, My Father’s World has you covered. Go to mfwbooks.com today, download a catalog, schedule a free consultation, and let us help you find the fun, engaging, life-transforming curriculum your family has been waiting for. Go to mfwbooks.com today!
Episode 85: 5 Steps to Create Fun Electives for High School from Your Teen’s Interests
You can also listen on:
- Apple Podcasts (may take up to 24 hours to show),
- Google Play
- Amazon Music
- And now playing on KEY Radio 89.3 FM in Osage Beach, MO!
Please leave a review on your favorite platform so they will know you’re out there! THANKS!
Heart and Soul Homeschooling — Sara’s website
6 Simple Steps to Restful Homeschooling — get Sara’s free guide!
Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School – how to know which credits your teen needs
How to Learn Life Skills for High School Credit – with a review of Voyage curriculum
ALL of my reviews of curriculum for electives – scroll down the page to the Electives section (past all the core courses)
Ann Karako: Hi, this is Ann Karako, and you are listening to episode 85 of the It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School podcast.
Welcome to another episode of It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School, the podcast for real people so that you can confidently, competently, and yes, even contentedly provide the high school education that is best for your teen and your family. I’m your host, Ann Karako, from notthathardtohomeschool.com.
Hello, everyone, and welcome. I am super excited today because we have a guest podcaster today. Sara Jordan from Heart and Soul Homeschooling is with us today to share five steps to create fun electives for high school out of your child’s interests. Sara is a mom to three creative girls, as well as a writer and homeschool consultant. She holds a degree in social work, specializing in early childhood development, which led to her interest in individualized educational options like homeschooling. She believes that learning should be a lifelong adventure, not just a checklist to get through. Sara has been homeschooling since 2006 and blogging since 2008 at Heart and Soul Homeschooling.
This topic today is going to be super helpful. It’s very informative. Especially for you delight-directed folks, this is going to be what you need to feel confident creating electives for your kids, but anybody can use this information. I’m going to let Sara take it away and then I’ll be back at the end just to finish us up.
Sara Jordan: High school electives can be a tricky topic for homeschoolers. What counts as an elective? How do you find them? How many elective credits do you actually need? Some of these answers can be found in your state homeschool regulations. Others you’ll have to find on your own, which we’re used to as homeschoolers, right?
When we reached the high school years with my oldest daughter, I really wanted to continue our delight-directed learning path as much as possible. That informed our choices about electives.
First, I thought about the electives I took in high school, courses like journalism, home ec, computer science, and things like that. I was a little concerned that we wouldn’t have access to great choices for electives without spending lots of money. As I began to do some research and talk to friends who had been through the high school years, I realized that this didn’t have to be so difficult. In fact, electives can be really fun for kids when we use their interests and create electives from those interests. You don’t have to use the formal curriculum to do this. It’s actually really simple.
If you want to create fun electives for high school from your child’s interests, here are five things you can do to get started.
1) Make a list of your child’s top 10 interests, including hobbies and career choices.
Sit down with your children and make a list of at least 10 interests. You can include hobbies such as, do they enjoy playing an instrument, drawing, singing? You can include career interests. Do you have a child who wants to teach, who wants to be an artist, who wants to do graphic design? Put down any interest even if you initially think there’s no way to make an elective from it. Trust me, it’s possible to capitalize on almost any interest.
2) Search for already created materials that you can use.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Once you know what your child has an interest in, search to see if there’s already curricula out there to meet your need. You’ll be surprised what you can find. For instance, I’ve found online curriculum that’s available to teach life skills like buying a car, renting an apartment, choosing insurance, and applying for a credit card. This makes an excellent elective for just about any teen and it’s no stress since it’s already been created and you just need to sign up for an online course.
Ann: I’m just going to take a quick second right now and jump in to tell you that this episode is sponsored by My Father’s World. If home is the center of education, God’s word should be the center of the home. With My Father’s World Curriculum, God’s Word is not just a subject, it’s central to everything your child will do every day. From preschool through high school, My Father’s World combines the best of Charlotte Mason’s ideas, classical education, and unit studies with a biblical worldview and global focus.
For high school families, My Father’s World has teamed with Unbound to provide an exciting new coaching program helping students and parents through the high school years. Students will receive 18 bi-weekly group coaching calls, as well as gaining access to an online community of coaches and like-minded students in a secure private environment. Quarterly “Design Your Future” calls with student leaders will provide insights on the struggles and rewards of a Christ-centered life in this season.
From preschool through high school, My Father’s World has you covered. Go to mfwbooks.com today, download a catalogue, schedule a free consultation, and let us help you find the fun, engaging, and life-transforming curriculum your family has been waiting for. Go to mfwbooks.com today. That’s mfwbooks.com.
3) Create a course by writing a thorough description of what your child will complete throughout the year.
What if you can’t find an already created course that matches the interests of your child? It’s fairly simple to create your own course. I’ve been doing this for years with our delight-directed unit studies. Don’t let the high school years intimidate you.
Decide what your child wants to do and write a complete thorough description that explains what your child will be working on and what you’ll use to show completion or progress throughout the course. You could really do this with almost any interest your child has like learning a musical instrument, writing, or journalism, computer coding, sewing, gardening. Well, you get the idea. As long as you can describe what your child will be learning and doing, you can turn that interest into an elective course.
4) Track progress and hours spent on the course.
One of my concerns, when I first began doing this, was how would I prove that the elective we were creating was really worth a high school credit. The answer: track the time spent on the course.
(If you’re homeschooling in the United States, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association site has a great explanation of the value of credit hours when it comes to a high school course.)
If you aren’t using a traditional textbook for a course, you can log hours that your child spends on the course and come up with the equivalent of a high school course. Of course, you’ll need this for any high school transcripts to get into college, too; so it’s really a dual purpose.
As well as tracking hours, it’s a good idea to track progress with some courses. If your child is independently learning a musical instrument from YouTube or from a teach-yourself book, have them track the songs and concepts they are learning, as well as the hours they’re working. If they’re using cooking as an elective, have them keep track of cooking skills and recipes completed.
Having this record of progress is a form of documentation that indicates that this is an official course. It also keeps your child accountable. It helps them learn the skill of taking responsibility for their own education. In our state, we need to do a yearly portfolio review to show progress anyway. Again, this will serve a dual purpose for the elective and for the required paperwork.
5) Keep a high school elective portfolio.
All of this documentation of hours and record of progress can be part of a high school elective portfolio. It’s great to keep a portfolio of those high school classes that correspond with a career route or a college major choice because the student might be able to use information from that portfolio in a job application or interview or a college application.
When you aren’t using a prepared curriculum or textbook for an elective, this portfolio is a way that you can show your child’s effort, progress, and completion of the elective courses you’ve created.
Don’t let the idea of high school electives frighten you. Electives really are a way for kids to take some fun classes and learn more about their own interests and career possibilities. The sky really is the limit when it comes to creating fun electives for high school.
Ann: Hey, it’s me again. I hope you found that helpful. You can find Sara at heartandsoulhomeschooling.com. I will be putting links to all sorts of related resources, including her website, on the show notes for the podcast episode. You can, as you know, find those by going to notthathardtohomeschool.com, clicking on Podcast in the top menu, and then looking for episode 85. Then click on that, and you will see all of those related items.
Don’t forget to leave a review for the It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School podcast wherever you listen so that they will know. [chuckles] Thanks so much for being here. I’ll see you next time.
- Episode 87: How to RELAX about Homeschooling High School - September 16, 2022
- Episode 86: Affirmations for Teens – from YOU - September 2, 2022
- Episode 85: 5 Steps to Create Fun Electives for High School from Your Teen’s Interests - August 19, 2022