Homeschool Electives Curriculum
Electives are courses that students choose to take to suit their individual interests and goals. Most states require electives for high school and middle school students, and homeschooling parents can offer electives to younger children as well. This article explains how.
First Steps for Planning Your Homeschool Electives Curriculum
Many states require that a certain number of elective credits come from subjects such as science, math, fine arts, vocational education, the social sciences, and/or English. As you plan your homeschool electives curriculum, you should consult with your state’s department of education to determine what their requirements are. Go to nces.ed.gov to find your state’s department of education, and check out the article “Getting Started with Homeschool Curriculum” for more tips on using your state department of education.
Electives are a good way to explore interests and career possibilities and prepare for college, so its important to keep these goals in mind while deciding what electives to include in your curriculum. For instance, many colleges require students to have two years of a foreign language for admittance. Also, the electives should be tailored to the student’s interests and abilities.
Some common electives that states encourage or require students to choose from include:
- Foreign languages
- Art or art history
- Theater or speech
- Animal, agricultural, or plant science
- Accounting or business
- Career education
- Computer science or programming
- Home economics (cooking, fashion design, interior design, child development)
- Wood or metal shop
- Auto mechanics
- Bible studies or religion
- Journalism or desktop publishing
- Creative writing
Tips for Planning Your Homeschool Electives Curriculum
Electives are one area where you and your child may be able to exercise more creativity and freedom in designing a curriculum. State and school district requirements vary, but many will allow parents to create a course for elective credit around a topic of interest. Even in cases where the school will not give credit for a subject, a student may still benefit from studying a topic of interest in addition to required classes.
Parents may feel overwhelmed about teaching elective subjects. Teaching some elective classes may require a large number of participants or skills a parent does not possess. In this case, parents can look to other resources in the community as they plan their homeschool electives curriculum. Some resources may include:
- Community organizations, such as theater groups, orchestras, bands, 4-H, debate or speech clubs, or other special interest clubs
- Local institutions like nature centers, churches, and music or art stores that offer special programs and classes
- Local homeschool groups that pool resources and use their numbers to arrange discounts on field trips and other activities
- Classes offered through community centers or local colleges
- Parents who are willing to trade teaching, such as teaching auto repair in exchange for piano lessons
- Online or self-directed education courses
- Local public or private schools that allow homeschool students to come to school part time to take elective classes
Many school districts also offer credit for work or volunteer experience, which gives young people a chance to learn new skills, get work experience, and explore careers while getting school credit.
As you assess your student’s interest, the school’s requirements, and local resources you should be able to develop a homeschool electives curriculum to meet your needs.
US Department of Education - nces.ed.gov
Cindy Downes, Oklahoma Homeschool, “Elective Course Descriptions” - oklahomahomeschool.com