In high school your students get the chance to go beyond the basics of English, math, science, and history to explore other subjects. These are typically known as electives and are also often considered, at least many of them, to be valuable life skills.
Can Foreign Language Be A High School Elective?
High school electives commonly come into question when parents approach the time in which they will have to homeschool high school. In some states (like NY) electives are a required part of the homeschool process. While some topics seem to make obvious choices as electives, others cause people to question.
For instance, Foreign Language as a high school elective. Is this allowed? We know that colleges love to see at least two years of a foreign language on a transcript, and we know that many high schools require a foreign language for a certain number of years in order to graduate, but what about homeschoolers?
The answer is yes. YES Foreign Language can be a High School Elective!
This means you can “kill two birds with one stone”. Your student can take a foreign language in high school that will fulfill elective credit, and it will also look good on their college application!
Other High School Elective Options
A great way to select high school electives is to Turn Your Teenagers Interests Into High School Electives. In this way they have the opportunity to explore possible interests that could lead to a life long passion and career, while earning high school credit.
List of Common High School Electives:
- computer technology
Using photos from a trip, party, year, theme, etc. you can create a fun memory piece for yourself or as a fabulous personalized gift! Making a Scrapbook Photo Mosaic art piece is simple to do, while at the same time it can preserve precious memories for a lifetime!
Photo Mosaic Art Project
This is a great project for teens to preserve things like sports/team memories, prom, family vacations, best friend collages, etc.
- stack of desired printed photos (obviously this will depend on what size your project is)
- acid free canvas panel (whatever size you want to use)
- Mod Podge
- Spend some time selecting your photos.
- Print one copy of each photo you have selected.
- Cut photos into smaller sizes and shapes.
- Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to a section of the canvas (you may not want to do the whole thing at once as it might start to dry on you).
- Place photos in desired locations on the canvas.
- Once all the pieces are secured down let the piece dry completely.
- After the piece is dry, apply a thing layer of Mod Podge over the top of the entire piece. Once this layer is dry your project is complete!
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One great way to make full use of your student’s time in high school is by helping them to earn dual credit. What does dual credit mean? Dual credit is when you are in high school and can earn both high school and college credit for a course you are taking.
Earning Dual Credit in High School
As a homeschooler one readily available option for earning dual credit is by taking CLEP Exams. You can find out more about these at the College Board website. The basic idea is that you take a CLEP Exam to earn credit for knowledge gained outside the classroom.
In our homeschool our high schooler took U.S. History I and Psychology as high school courses at home. This earned her credit for these two courses in high school. Then to gain college credit for them as well, she used a CLEP prep book to study specifically for the CLEP Exam in each one of these courses. By taking and scoring high enough on the CLEP Exams she earned college credit for each of these courses.
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As students get older they have the capability for higher level thinking and analyzing. For this reason the writing prompts given in high school can be more in depth and require more thought than those in the younger grades.
Writing Prompts for High School
- What trip would you take if you suddenly had the chance? Would it be by land, air or sea? Would you take anyone with you? Write about the trip.
- Write a bucket list for yourself. Do one for the next 5 years, 10 years, or lifetime.
- If you could go back and re-do one event in your life would you? What event would you re-do. Tell about the event as well as why you would change it and what you would like to change.
- Preconceived notions are often false. Describe a time when you discovered that a preconceived notion of yours (about a person, place, or thing) turned out to be wrong.
- (In our house we are driven by music. Each of us with certain loves for certain moods and times. For instance we listen to harmonized duets in the care and we each sing a certain part.) Make a soundtrack for your life. Choose songs that describe different times of your life either based on circumstances or feelings, etc.
- What 3 books do you think every teen should read and why?
- What one teacher has truly changed the way you see something? Write about that teacher including what they made you see differently. Why were they able to do that? What or how made you make the switch? (I had a teacher in high school that totally lit a fire under me for historical fiction in just one book suggestion.)
- Write a letter to yourself as if you are out of high school and writing to tell yourself some important truth about yourself or the world around you at that time. (Think Brad Paisley and his song Letter to Me.)
One of the cool things about homeschooling high school are electives. They allow you the freedom to choose what your child is going to study. It is a chance for them to really explore things that interest them, and get credit for it too!
So what exactly is a High School Elective? High school electives go beyond the core classes of English, math, science, and history. Electives supplement the educational years with classes that interest your child and prepare them for adult life.
Turn Your Teenagers Interests Into High School Electives
Now you are thinking, “Really, how does that work?” It is easier than you think!
- Is your teen into movies? Do they want to make YouTube videos or create video productions on your phone or iPod all the time? Consider doing an elective pertaining to movie production, the how to’s of taking quality video, video editing, or film making.
- Does your teen like to tinker? Maybe they are into taking things apart or trying to fix them? Try something like auto repair/maintenance, or small engine type things like lawnmowers, leaf blowers, etc. Maybe the electronics is more their speed to so you provide things like radios, computers, cell phones for repair and study.
- Is your teen creative? There are tons of creative arts that make great electives. Things like painting, sculpting, woodworking, sewing, clothing design, interior design, and so many more!
- How about our photographers or digital editors? Learn programs like Photoshop or other graphic design programs. Or spend time learning more about how the camera works and techniques to improve their photography skills.
- Do they have a more physical en devour that they love? How about dance, gymnastics, equine science or horsemanship.
- Got a history lover? Try medieval history or mythology.
Whatever your teens passion is, consider turning into elective credit for high school. Add in hands on learning, reading, videos, outside courses or seminars, and so on. This is a great way for them to do what they love, explore it more in-depth, and possibly find something that might be a career path later on!
Having been a homeschooling parent for over 10 years now I have been able to part of the process at many stages. I have noticed throughout these years that the number of people who homeschool high school is significantly less than those who homeschool the elementary years.
When you ask around there are a couple of main reasons you hear but fear always seems to be the biggest one. Fear of what? Fear that you aren’t capable? Fear that they will miss out on social events? Fear of being unable to play high school sports?
Today I am here to tell you that YOU CAN HOMESCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL!
Reasons Why You Can Homeschool High School
- High School Students are capable of more independent study. As teens they should be taking on more of the burden of their education, and are mentally and emotionally more capable of handling independent work.
- There are many curriculum options that do the instruction for you. For subjects you are uncertain about, or feel incapable of offering quality instruction, there are other options. Things like online courses, DVD classes, tutoring, and community college classes.
- Local Homeschool Groups typically offer tons of social and educational opportunities. Even for teens, you may be able to find a local homeschool group or organization that plans activities, proms, field trips, volunteer opportunities and more.
- Milestones can be created and do not need to be equal! Just because it was a right of passage in public school does not mean you necessarily want that for your child. If you do, you can organize your own prom or graduation if you cannot find an organization in your area that is already doing one. Get a group together who wants these same things and plan it for your kids!
- There are lots of community and club sports. If your school does not allow your student to participate in high school sports, that is ok. There are tons of community and club sports they can participate in throughout their teen years. I have one in club swimming (where one of the coaches is the high school varsity coach), one in club gymnastics, and one in club soccer.
A portfolio is a great way to compile and showcase your child’s work throughout their homeschool high school experience. If your child is planning on applying to colleges, this is the perfect place to start. At a loss for where to begin? We’ve got some tips just for you. Check them out:
- You’re going to want to start out with a large binder. Split the binder into sections. There should be one section for each grade in high school.
- Split the yearly sections into even more sections covering each subject covered that year. So you should have the basics like math and science, but also any electives your child studied.
- For each of these smaller sections you’ll want to include a few important items. These include your curriculum, the materials used, papers/exams, grades, credit earned, and documentation of any projects your child completed.
- Add one more section for tracking any extracurricular activities your child does.This can mean community service, sports, music lessons – whatever activities you think are important.
- At the front of the binder, you’ll want to place a complete transcript. And then you’re done!
Good luck and don’t forget to check out SD Accelerate’s free trial!
If your child is in high school and planning to go to college, you might want to start thinking about ways you can help them earn college credit while still in high school. Earning credit early can save students and parents both time and money, since students can complete and earn college credit for a lot of basic courses before ever stepping foot on a college campus. Here are a few ways to go about homeschooling for college credit:
- Advanced Placement Classes: These are college level classes that end with an exam that judges how well your student has learned the material. If they pass, they earn college credit. There are a wide variety of topics offered, so you can pick exams with your child based on their interests, or based on the colleges your child is interested in and what AP Tests they will give credit for. It’s super simple to teach the information at home and then have your child take the exam. The coolest thing about AP’s is your child earns double credit: they receive credit from you for learning the information in high school and also earn college credit (if they pass the AP test with a qualifying score, of course). The exams last 2-3 hours and are scored on a scale of 1-5 with five being the highest. Each college decides what score they will except as passing; most colleges accept a score of 4 or 5 for credit, and only some will accept 3′s. Click here to see the credit policy at a particular college on the College Board website.
- SAT II Subject Tests: These are very similar to the AP Exams. Your child simply learns one of the subjects offered at home and then takes the exam. An adequate score can mean earned college credit. You’ll want to do a little research on potential colleges and make sure that they accept these scores for credit. They’re offered by the College Board, just like the AP Program. Click here to learn more about the SAT II tests on the College Board website.
- CLEP Exams: Another very similar program to the AP and SAT II exams. 2,900 colleges grant CLEP credit if students earn the minimum qualifying score (which is generally 50). With these, like the SAT II, you’ll want to make sure the colleges your child is interested in accepts CLEP scores. Most of the tests are about 90 minutes long and are offered in a variety of subjects from business to German language. Learn more about the CLEP and what colleges will accept CLEP credits.
- Community College courses for Dual Credit: Some community colleges will allow homeschoolers in the latter high school years to enroll part time in classes. You’ll have to check with the community colleges in your area to see if they do this and what the requirements are. This is a very common way for students to earn high school AND college credit, while getting their feet wet in the college world.
- Some tips: The key to success on the exams is preparation. Make sure your child learns all of the required material but also have them complete several practice tests before the real one so that they can get a sense of what it will be like. Go over each practice exam carefully and figure out what material needs to be reviewed more and what your child already knows really well.
Good luck and don’t forget to check out SD Accelerate’s free trial!
You’ll want to put an official high school transcript together if your homeschooler is planning on applying to colleges. This might seem like a bit of a daunting task if you haven’t kept the best of home school records over the years, and it’s never too soon to start keeping records. So, where to start? Don’t worry, preparing a homeschool transcript for college is not as hard as it seems. Here are some great tips to get you started:
Look up your state’s high school graduation requirements and combine those with this handy high school credit planner. This way you’ll know exactly what credits your child needs to have completed. Now, your state might be more flexible and not require your student to have completed all of these. Still, this is a good way to judge what colleges will expect from a high school graduate. If your homeschooler has a specific college in mind, you can even look up what the college’s minimum high school requirements are.
The basic high school transcript is a spreadsheet, including listed courses, credits, and grades for each year of high school. Pretty simple, right? If you don’t have exact grades, you’ll want to work out a system for translating your homeschooler’s achievements into grades. Of course, you should be as objective as you can with this.
What makes a transcript official? Just a few basic things. First, you’ll want to include all of your homeschooler’s important information. This means their date of birth, address, phone number, and date of graduation. Include the name of your homeschool, sign it, and have it notarized. And that’s all you need for a homeschool transcript!
Don’t forget to check out SD Accelerate’s free trial!