Why Electives Matter In Your High School Homeschool

While elective classes may look a bit different in the context of homeschooling, they are no less valuable. Let talk about why electives matter in your high school homeschool.

Why Electives Matter In Your High School Homeschool

When I dropped my son off at the rock climbing gym last week, the owner of the gym waved me over.

“I just wanted to let you know, I think you are doing all the right things. Your support and commitment to this extracurricular activity is a big deal for his development.”

I teared up. I always do when someone compliments my mothering ability and decision making, not only because it means so much to me, but because for many years, most of the feedback I received was that I was doing it all wrong.

He went on to explain that he is working on an advanced degree in education and his current thesis is all about the correlation between electives and extra-curricular and overall success outcomes.

I told him he didn’t have to convince me. By far, the “soft skills” have mattered so much more than any one academic subject in our homeschool.

life skills in homeschool

High School Elective Requirements

I really started to see the benefits when we hit the high school years.

Our state has elective requirements for all high school students so there was never any question of whether or not these classes would be a part of our homeschool. Here is what our state requires:

  • 2 Years of Physical Education
  • Two Years Visual/Performing Arts or Career Technical Education

While this is the minimum, for my child, it has made sense to keep these standards each and every semester of high school, because they have been so beneficial.

So far, he has received credit for the following (as of his mid-sophomore year):

  • Art – Mixed Mediums
  • Voice
  • Guitar
  • PE (Rock climbing and conditioning)
  • Music Technology
guitar class

The Value Of Electives In Your Homeschool

The owner of the gym and I compared notes for a bit before I left. While he has the hard data to prove it, I shared what I have seen in my own home.

You will notice that in the weekly recaps and lesson plans I share each week, enrichment activities take up a large percentage of our time.

Here’s why:

  1. Self Confidence
  2. Self Advocacy
  3. Interest-Learning
  4. Physical Health
  5. Social Skills
  6. Emotional Regulation and Learning
  7. Balance and Joy

All 7 of these have increased and allowed for a more whole-child approach to our days and our learning.

Take look at this approach in real life.

Electives In Our Lessons Last Week

  • Tuesday
    • Art Class – Japanese Art History
    • Voice Class
    • Audiobook and Discussion
    • Current Events
  • Wednesday
    • Rock climbing – 3 hours
    • Mapwork – Japan
    • CTCMath
    • Reading – Japanese Gothic Tales
  • Thursday
    • Rock Climbing – 3 hours
    • Music Technology Class
    • Audiobook and Discussion
    • Current Events
    • Archery Lessons
    • Time with friends at school
  • Friday
    • Rock Climbing – 3 hours
    • CTCMath
    • YouTube Video – Sharks
    • Fish Store Visit

This Week’s Homeschool Lesson Plan

We have an interesting week planned. My niece will be homeschooling for the rest of this school year because of a move out of her school district.

Because I am helping her throughout the semester, my son will be “helping me” create learning plans for her. She is visiting with us this week and we have so many fun learning activities planned!

Because the best way to demonstrate knowledge is to teach it, my son has created an Edgar Allan Poe unit study for the two of them to complete together this week.

  • Monday
    • Physical Therapy – 2 hours
    • YouTube Video – Story of Edgar Allan Poe (my son is introducing her to Edgar Allan Poe this week)
    • Blood Plasma Infusion – 4 hours
  • Tuesday
    • Museum and Science Center
    • Audiobook in car – Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, The Pit and The Pendulum
  • Wednesday
    • Rock climbing – 3 hours
    • Mapwork – Europe (a la The Pit and The Pendulum)
    • The Spanish Inquisition (also The Pit and The Pendulum inspired)
    • CTCMath
  • Thursday
    • Rock Climbing – 3 hours
    • Music Technology Class
    • Time with friends at school
    • Audiobook – More Edgar Allan Poe
  • Friday
    • Rock Climbing – 3 hours
    • CTCMath
    • Poetry Writing
    • YouTube videos

Homeschool Record Of Learning: Age 6

As I share glimpses into past records of learning from our younger years, many of you have asked what it looked like in the very beginning for us. I did not begin any formal learning until my son was six, so this is about as early as it gets.

Here is our homeschool record of learning for a week when my son was 6.

  • Reading Eggs – daily
  • Math U See – daily
  • Read Alouds – The Story Of Ping, Mustache Baby, Stone Soup
  • Finger Painting
  • Homeschool Co-Op
  • Life Skills – Pet Care

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