One of the many aspects of homeschooling high school that our family really enjoys is the ability to craft electives that fit with the passions and strengths of our kids. And the best part is that you can include all that hard work on the transcript! Here’s how you can create an interest-led elective for your teenager. Plus you can grab a FREE tracking sheet at the bottom of this post!
What is an interest-led elective
An interest-led elective is usually a path of study that does not fit under normal content categories like history, science, English, or math.
While it might include aspects from a high school English course, for example, it probably zeroes in on additional niche skills. So an interest-led elective that might be related to English could be journalism or podcasting. While it could be related to a traditional course on the transcript, it most likely wouldn’t take the place of that course.
Interest-led electives can also have nothing in common with traditional subjects. For example, if you have an entrepreneurial teenager in your home, they might resonate with a course that teaches them to set up a handmade business or pursue antique and vintage reselling. These topics aren’t “normal” high school topics, but they certainly can be included in your child’s educational feast.
Check out these podcast links to learn more about entrepreneurial ideas for teens that can be turned into electives:
- The Homeschooling Entrepreneur Podcast
- Homeschooling with Technology: Ways Teens Can Make Money Online
- More on Starting a Micro Business for Teens
- The Homeschool with Moxie Podcast
The best way to choose an interest-led elective for your teen is to ask what they naturally love to do. What are they good at? Can you harness the time and energy required for that hobby and turn it into credits on their transcript? Yes, you can!
How to keep track of work
As a homeschool parent of a teenager, you might love the idea of letting your kids pursue some creative electives, but it might be the tracking aspect that’s holding you back from implementing.
High school electives usually equal 120-180 hours of work. This can include research, learning, time spent implementing and producing work related to the course. Just have your kids keep track of their hours and record the types of tasks they complete each day.
What kinds of tasks can be included in the coursework? Things like:
- Reading books on the topic
- Watching videos on the topic
- Making goals
- Completing tasks
- Working toward a final project in the course
If you want a form to easily keep track of the hours your teen puts into an interest-led elective, you can find it at 4onemore.com
How to show the elective on the transcript
As long as you can show that your teen has invested enough time into an elective to count it on the transcript, then you can award ¼ credit, ½ credit, or a full credit.
But what about grades? This can be a tricky topic for sure! Since you’re less likely to have subjective tests with an interest-led elective, the way you can assign a grade to your student is to decide on a final product before they begin. If your student successfully completes that final product with excellence, then you can give them an A on the transcript. If you don’t think it represented their best work or effort, then you might give a B or C. But if they are excited about the topic, they’re probably going to be working for an A!
So, for example, if your teen decides to take Podcast Launch for Teens, the final project would be a successfully launched podcast with at least a few episodes. Completing a product like a podcast proves that your student didn’t just learn information, but they can actually use it and create a product from zero to completion!
If your student takes the Selling on Etsy Masterclass for Teens, then a completed product would be a fully set-up Etsy shop with at least several completed listings for sale.
Are you having trouble coming up with elective ideas? Check Udemy.com for lots of options! Here are just a few suggestions to consider:
- Health & nutrition
- Graphic design
I hope you will realize it’s not that hard to craft creative electives that perfectly fit the interests and strengths of your teenagers. And it makes homeschooling high school a lot more fun!
Don’t forget to grab a FREE High School Elective Tracking Sheet over at 4onemore.com
Abby is a former public school teacher, now homeschooling her five children. She’s in the trenches just like you and knows it can be challenging to be home with your kids all day while you struggle to keep up with the housework and educate your kids (and maybe even work on the side!). She blogs over at www.4onemore.com and hosts the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.
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