Whatever your educational background, I think most people would agree that one of the best parts of high school were the electives. That’s probably because teenagers want a bit of freedom and a voice in their educations and electives allow them to follow their interests and get high school credit for it.
I’ve shared 10 home ec skills all kids need to know. Today I wanted to offer 10 fun elective ideas for teens based on my experience with the teens in my life (and not just the ones who live in my house).
1. Photography. Megan got a good starter camera for Christmas and seems to have a natural eye for composition. She is excited about fostering that with some photography classes, either online or local. We’re still searching out our options, so if you have suggestions for online courses, please leave them in the comments.
2. Music. If you’ve read here for awhile, you know that Josh is a gifted musician. He’s already teaching his craft to others. We chose local classes, but there are a variety of online music class options.
If you’re like me and have a teen who is really talented at something that’s outside your abilities to teach, there are options for helping your kids explore their interests.
Because Josh has a high interest in music, we’ve broken down his electives into music instruction (guitar) and music theory (guitar), so far. If you have a talented student who will be playing the same instrument for several years in high school, too, consider narrowing their focus each year so that they can take credit for each year.
3. Film making. Two of my teens’ friends are very interesting in film making. One of them really hopes to pursue a career in the industry. She has taken several local classes, including one summer class through a local community college.
Brianna dabbled around a bit with video game design using Freshi Learning Online (FLO), but they also offer courses in film making. All of their courses are self-paced, video-based classes that use industry-standard texts and software.
4. Art. Art covers a wide range of mediums and interests. Your teen might choose to do a general course with local or online classes or narrow down his focus based on his interests. Some ideas include:
- Textile arts – knitting, sewing, crochet, quilting, etc.
5. Drama. If community theater is as big in your area as it is in mine, there is no shortage of options for teens to get involved in a variety of plays. We are fortunate in that we generally have a couple of types of plays available at almost any given time – the kid-friendly ones in which everyone who auditions gets at least a small part and the more serious shows in which only a handful of potential actors secure a role.
In most areas in which community theater is popular, there should also be plenty of behind-the-scenes jobs for teens who prefer painting and building sets; helping with costumes and make-up; operating lights and sound; or apprenticing with the director.
6. Driver’s Ed. Most teens will be excited about taking a driver’s ed course because having a driver’s license is the gateway to mobile independence. There are options from various curriculum providers. Our state produces a handbook for parents to work through with their teens, plus we opted for Josh to take a class (with both classroom and driving time) at a local driving school. We’re hoping the investment will be returned in insurance discounts.
7. Woodworking. If you’ve got a teen who loves to work with his or her hands, consider a woodworking class. Josh has also done leatherworking and blacksmithing because we are fortunate enough to have places for both in our area and a homeschool dad friend who is into stuff like that.
8. Entrepreneurial skills. If you’ve got a young entrepreneur, capitalize on that. Look for some classes on business math and management. You might even combine some of your student’s other interests with an entrepreneurial endeavor – let your woodworker, artist, or photographer sell his or her creations.
9. Psychology. Hands-down, my favorite class in high school was psychology. It could have been the teacher, who was fabulous and a favorite among all the seniors, or the fact that you had to be a senior to take the class, so there was a little status involved. Either way, it was a fascinating class and I still remember quite a bit from it. I’m keeping some homeschool resources in mind for my kids, such as:
- Intro to Psychology from Jump Course
- Intro to Psychology from a Christian Perspective from CurrClick
- Psychology from a Christian Perspective
Any other suggestions?
10. Archery. We have a local shop that teaches archery courses and, being smart business owners, they have lots of daytime classes for homeschoolers. It’s still on our to-do list because we’re trying to coordinate everyone’s schedules since it’s a class that all three of my kids and my husband and I are all interested in. I blame it on The Hunger Games.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an archery class, karate, swimming, or whatever. Any sport or activity that your student is interested in can make a great option for an elective.
I recently wrote about why blogging and video-sharing make sense for school credit. There is a local class that my youngest is very interested in. It’s a novel writing class and at the end the students’ books are published and are presenting at a book signing at a local bookstore. How cool is that for budding writers?
I hope this has given you some creative ideas for electives. If not, just look at the ways that your teens choose to spend their free time. Is there a way to turn those interests into an elective? If so, capitalize on that. Don’t take their hobby and make it school. Instead, just consider all of the educational aspects of their hobby and run with it.
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