Parents who homeschool their teenagers often ask us how they should go about choosing their teens’ electives. High school is only four years long, so you can’t possible cover everything. How do you handle electives for homeschool high schoolers? How do you choose which courses will be best for your homeschoolers?
This post will cover the following topics:
- How do you know how many electives your teens should complete?
- What is the difference between an electives and an extracurriculars?
- How do you pick the right electives?
- Counting internship hours- how does it work?
- Homeschool co-op: How to handle electives.
Electives for Homeschool High School: How do you know how many electives your teens should complete?
You are aware that there is not a single correct way to homeschool during high school. But it helps to have guidelines.
Here are the ones we use:
It is advisable to include at least as many electives as your teen needs in their schedule. Most states require 24-26 credits for graduation. approximately 16-20 credits should be dedicated to core academic classes such as English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and World Language. The rest of the credits are divided between Physical Education, Fine Arts, and Electives. You can find your state’s graduation requirements either at your state’s Department of Education website, or at your local homeschool organization’s website.
Here’s something important you need to know:
You should consider taking an elective course each year. I think one of the best things about homeschool is our ability to fit in lots of electives that mesh with our kids’ interests.
You can also graduate with more than 24-26 credits. Students are able to list as many credits as they want on their transcripts. Therefore, your teenager should take as many elective courses as they need.
The following is a list of what should be included on a homeschool transcript. -The names of the courses you took -The grades you earned in each course -The credit value for each course -A description of the coursework you completed in each class
What is the difference between and electives and an extracurriculars?
The transcript will show what courses were taken as electives. Teens get credit for electives. Extracurriculars are important, but they are not recorded as courses. Teens do not earn credit for extracurriculars.
Electives for Homeschool High School: How do you pick the right ones?
There are SO many ways to choose electives.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to choose electives:
Explore an interest
Many teens already have interests. Some teens have hobbies or areas of interest that they have pursued on their own. They are already working on an elective even though they are not trying to.
This is an “organic” elective because your teen is already doing them. Remember that everything in life is a learning opportunity, so take advantage of opportunities to learn new things at home. These experiences can be recorded on your homeschool transcript.
To capture these credits for the transcript:
- Complete a textbook on the subject. For instance, many teens who are interested in Science will take extra Science courses that will be counted as Science electives. These can be topics like: Marine Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Astronomy.
- Log hours on what they are doing with their interest and have write a course description for your records.
- You can combine book-learning and experiences. A good example of this is History elective. Teens with a special historical era or historical topic of interest can build a unique.
- Or capture things your family naturally does, such as nature study while hiking or camping.
Our daughter was a passionate film-maker. We found opportunities for her to take short-term classes and some on-line instruction to round out an elective credit.
When teens invest in their interests, it helps them take control of their education.
Develop a life skill
- Homeschool high schoolers, like all teens, need life skills. Several important life skill electives include:
- ALL teens need to be able to care for themselves. Focus on cooking, caring for clothes and cleaning your home, car repair and minor home repair are all good ideas.
- Teens need to learn to manage money, create budgets, plan for the future and all those adulting skills that Americans often have problems handling. We have a long running Learning Financial Independence class that teaches personal finance, investing, and entrepreneurship for tweens to young adults.
- Even though many people would rather die than do public speaking, most people will be required to do a presentation of some kind, sometime in life. When teens learn the how-to’s of Speech in an understandable, doable format, they can ditch their fear and have fun instead.
- Many teens have access to Red Cross courses that will prepare teens in First Aid, Babysitting and CPR skills. (These could instead be included in a Health credit.)
How to Graduate Your Homeschool Student
How can my child get a diploma if we are homeschooling? is a question new homeschooling parents often ask, and the answer is surprisingly simple – You issue one yourself!
As a parent, you can graduate homeschool students. The administrators of homeschools in many states (the parents) have the ability to determine requirements for graduation, just like private schools. The law doesn’t require parents to be certified teachers in order to issue a legal diploma.
To graduate your child, they must meet the requirements set by the school. Once they have done so, you may give them a diploma. Template for a high school diploma can be found online.
Umbrella School Diploma
If your child is enrolled at an umbrella school, they will likely receive a diploma from the school once the requirements are met. If you’re considering enrolling your child in an umbrella school, find out if the school requires students to be enrolled for the entire four years of high school in order to receive a diploma, or if other options are available.
The GED test may be taken by students in order to receive a certificate of high school equivalency. If you are uncomfortable with awarding a diploma to your student, they can receive a GED certificate after proving their competency.
The GED exam can be taken at a local school district, community college, adult education center, or university.
For the location of a test site in your area, call the toll-free GED hotline at 800-626-9433 (800-62-MYGED). You can find more information about GED testing on the GED testing website at GED.com.
A Warning About Diploma Mills
Parents who homeschool their children need to be careful of “diploma mills.” These are places that give out diplomas without making sure that the student has actually earned them. Such entities typically offer a degree, diploma, or certificate in exchange for payment. However, the diplomas are not legitimate.
Please be aware that companies that provide fake diplomas are being sued. If an entity claims you can get a diploma after taking a basic test with no or little coursework, it might be a diploma mill.
The most fun part of students completing their homeschool journey is the graduation ceremony! Many people view continuing their education or finding another pursuit as a rite of passage into adulthood.
Local and regional support groups often host graduation ceremonies for parents and students. These ceremonies are similar to a traditional school’s graduation. The exciting difference is that parents participate with their students. This experience has created special memories for many families across Texas. Families have been able to spend quality time with each other and create long lasting bonds.
A coordinator for the support group will typically get a cap and gown, pictures, and invitations, as well as set the time and location. Sometimes a group of parents does this together.
The coordinator or parents also set the program for the graduation ceremony. Ceremonies with 20 or fewer graduates are usually intimate.
The reception is a special time where you can create priceless memories. Each graduate has a table decorated to reflect their individual journey, accomplishments, and future plans.
One common worry for new home educators is what will happen to their children after they homeschool them.
The same opportunities that are available to other high school graduates are also available to homeschool graduates. Some of the major life events that people go through include apprenticeship, college, employment, marriage and family, the military and trade schools.
Graduates of homeschool programs have gone on to do great things in terms of higher education, employment, and military service. Homeschool students should be confident in the quality of their education.
Vocational Training for Homeschoolers
Have you ever thought about the difference between homeschooling and going to trade school? Vocational programs help students to be prepared for their careers by teaching them both academic skills and specific skills related to their desired job. Vocational training includes, but is not limited to:
- Automotive maintenance
- Natural resources
- The arts.
Many traditional high school students take classes at local community colleges. This is a great option for homeschool students as well.
Homeschooled students generally have much more discretionary time than do students in traditional schools.How can you use the extra hours to benefit your homeschooled student and your family as a whole by engaging them in activities that lead to job skills? Simple. Chores!
More than just teaching children how to keep a house clean, teaching them how to keep house can stimulate their interests and help them find their potential career paths. Laundry can be turned into an elective lesson on fabrics, colors, mending, and potentially interest in fashion, tailoring, or costume design.
You don’t have to be highly skilled in any particular area to make your students’ school day more interesting and full of learning opportunities. It’s a great way to learn new things and improve your skills!
There are a few car and bike maintenance tasks that are simple and only require a limited number of tools and materials. To prepare your students for a career in automotive maintenance or as a bicycle mechanic, teach them how to change the oil in the family car, change a car or bicycle tire, and clean and lube a bike chain.
Choose a free accounting software, such as FreshBooks, and teach your budding accountant or entrepreneur about billing, accounts receivable, and how to set a business up for filing quarterly taxes.
A Change in Apprenticeship Laws and Regulations
The shortages of workers with specific training has affected many different types of jobs, including construction, farming, manufacturing, information technology, and health care.
In recent years, there have been few apprenticeships. The apprenticeship system in the United States is small, with only slightly more than a half-million jobs, or 0.35 percent of the total number of jobs in the country, being apprenticeships.
In June 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to increase the taxpayer money spent on learn-to-earn programs from $100 million to $200 million. The money for this new program would come from existing job training programs. Industries have the freedom and flexibility to design apprenticeships that are suited to rapidly-changing technologies.
The U.S. The Department of Labor is responsible for creating standards, while organizations such as the National Coalition of Certification Centers work to connect community colleges with industries looking for qualified recent graduates.
The good news is that apprenticeships in Texas may be eligible for Pell Grants and anyone who applies early is likely to receive some form of financial assistance. Have you considered investigating homeschool apprenticeship programs?
Discover an Interest or Skill
Many teens say they don’t have an interest yet. The pressure to seem interested and involved is often embarrassing for people. I always tell them not to worry! They simply have not found their interests yet. Although they may not do so immediately, they will eventually if they investigate further. Do new things. Take some completely different courses