Using Electives as Your Children Grow



Right now I am in the thick of planning our next year of homeschooling, and I am finding myself dealing with so many changes! Next year I will go from teaching an elementary student and a middle school student, to one in middle school and one in high school.

While we have always used electives in our homeschooling, how we use them-and choose them-is evolving.

According to our state, our homeschool core classes need to include language, math, social studies, science, and health. As a Christian homeschool, I consider Bible to be “core” as well. Any classes outside of those I consider “electives.”  When our children were small, I used electives for exposure. While I did take into account their interests and abilities, I wanted my kids exposed to lots of different possibilities. Though I didn’t see that we had a Rembrandt or Mozart on our hands, small children don’t necessarily demonstrate the abilities they may grow into later on. So, we had art, music, cooking, various sports, crafts, poetry, creative writing, keyboarding, and more.

As we are moving into creating a high school curriculum, our use of electives is becoming much more structured.

Our choices are no longer exposure driven. For one thing, we will be listing some of them on my children’s transcripts for high school credit. For another, we need to think about what courses they will need to have in order to be accepted into college, should they choose to go. And as they are beginning to stretch their wings toward independence, we are allowing our children much more choice in the matter.

My daughter has shown talent in music, both in singing and piano playing, so one of her electives will be a half-credit course I am calling “Music Performance.” I plan to include her practice and lesson time, as well as performances and church music team participation in this course. After looking through a list of possibilities, she also chose a keyboarding/word processing class as well. And we added Spanish 1, since foreign language is likely to be a requirement at any of the colleges she might attend. My son, on the other hand, is more interested in things like home repair and construction, mechanics, and baseball.

Are you stuck when thinking of electives that will work for your student, or what to call them?

Below you can find the list of possibilities that I showed my daughter. You’re sure to find an interesting idea among them:

  • Accounting
  • Astronomy
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Art
  • Botany and Gardening
  • Business
  • Computer Programming
  • Consumer Math
  • Cooking and Baking
  • Church History
  • Creative Writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • First Aid
  • Foreign Language
  • Home Economics
  • Home Repair
  • Journalism
  • Keyboarding
  • Logic
  • Music Appreciation
  • Music Performance
  • Photography
  • Shakespeare
  • Speech
  • Study Skills
  • Weightlifting
  • Word Processing
  • Worldview

What electives would you add to this list? Share your ideas with me!

Originally published at


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