Homeschooling, Lifestyle

What Are Electives And Why Your Homeschool Needs Them

Okay, so you’ve decided to homeschool. You’ve focused on covering the core classes – English, Math, Science, etc. But what about those other classes?

The elective classes.

Electives are classes that extend beyond the typical core subjects. They can also be considered just as, if not more, powerful than the basics.

There are several ways to navigate electives and even more reasons why your homeschool needs them.

Choosing Electives

With the root word being elect, this insinuates a choice. Including your child in the decision-making process of electives is one of the best ways to ensure you are selecting classes they will naturally enjoy.

Within that choice is also the power of connection. When a child can see that learning also includes things that they like to do, they are less resistant and more interested in learning.

When deciding what elective classes to include in your homeschool routine, consider these tips:

  • Watch your child over a period of time to see what they naturally gravitate toward.
  • Ask your child a series of questions to see what they like.
  • Take note of subjects they are excelling in.
  • Also take note of subjects they are not doing so well in.

The answers to these questions will help you determine what classes to go on the hunt for, and which ones to steer clear of.

Why Your Homeschool Needs Elective Classes

Just in case you’re not sure if you should include electives, let’s chat about why your homeschool could benefit tremendously from having them.

Enhanced Options

One of the biggest struggles for homeschooling families is trying to figure out how [and what] they are going to teach their children. Most parents invest in the biggest, baddest boxed curriculum set that seems all inclusive.

Other parents join several homeschool groups that hopefully offer some type of COOP program so their child can “socialize” and get some extra learning in.

Choosing electives with a purpose simply enhances your options and gives you that much more control over homeschooling YOUR way.

Supports Core Classes

It’s not often thought about in this light, but it’s totally true. Elective classes support core classes.

Have you considered the math that is involved in robotics? Or the English, grammar, and language arts involved in a journalism class?

From Lego engineering to graphic design, electives tap into reading, writing, listening, speaking, etc. – all adding to engagement and the connection that learning can be both fun and natural.

Strengthens Weak Areas

This is a biggie because as homeschoolers, we tend to panic when we’re faced with a child who may be showing some type of weakness or delay in a particular area.

Assistance through outside help from counselors, therapists, and the like is one way to attempt to strengthen weak areas; however, elective classes are proven to do this as well.

Research shows that when a child is engaged in learning something that they share a common interest with, it helps improve their overall academic achievement.

I’ve heard parents talk about the drastic change they saw in their child once they stopped drilling them with core subjects to try to strengthen core subject areas, and instead used elective classes to naturally strengthen those areas.

How many times have you said, “Oh, you don’t like math? Well, here…. do these math worksheets!Or, “I don’t know why my child doesn’t like to read. I picked out these books for him/her.”

Instead of more worksheets, or picking out books for your child, try an elective that has a mathematical undertone (going back to Lego engineering here, LOL) or an elective that reading built into something they naturally like to learn about (like a nature study).

Builds Skills for the Future

Nothing’s better than knowing that your child is being set up to becoming a thriving adult. If you’re like me, you can look back and easily pinpoint skills that you wish you would’ve learned as a child.

But instead you learned what the system in that day wanted children to learn.

Another perk of homeschooling is you can choose an education that is tailored to your child’s natural giftings and abilities. Sometimes this looks like everything math, or science. Other times it may look like web design or getting dirty in nature every day.

Regardless, elective classes can help you offer countless opportunities for your child to build skills that will help them in the future, no matter what career path they choose.

How to Find Electives

The question now becomes – how do I find elective classes?

There are three things I recommend taking into consideration: time, money, and location. While searching for elective classes, ask yourself:

  • How much time do I have [or need] to invest in these types of classes?
  • How much do I need financially?
  • Which is more feasible – in person or online?

Once you have the answers to these questions, a meaningful search and begin, and you will be able to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for.

The key is to locate classes that are tailored to your child’s specific needs.

Where to Find Electives

You’ve jotted down what you want to get out of electives, now it’s time to actually locate what you need.

There seems to be a lot out there these days so don’t get overwhelmed nor deviate from you are looking for. To help navigate the hundreds of possibilities, ask yourself the following:

  • Does the program have a lot going on (tons of classes, tons of teachers, tons of options, etc.)?
  • Are the classes small (or large) in number?
  • Do the classes cover interesting and fun topics?
  • Is it important that the teacher has credentials?
  • Does the cost involve one class, multiple classes, or a semester rate?
  • Is their a “family fee” or is the price per child?
  • Do the classes come with a certificate of completion?
  • Are the classes offered in person or online?

These are just a few questions I recommend filtering through the programs you’ll come across once you put “electives for homeschoolers” in the Google search bar.

Oh, and keep in mind that electives aren’t just for high schoolers!

My Top Recommendations

Piano with Hoffman Academy

Hoffman Academy will always be at the top of our list. We have incorporated these incredibly kid-friendly piano lessons for two years now and we don’t plan on stopping now.

Mr. Hoffman makes learning how to play the piano fun and engaging, and the best part about it is IT’S FREE! Yep! Of course you could choose a membership and unlock even more awesomeness, but what is available for free is amazing.

Real Life Skills with Skill Trek

This is probably one of the most amazing ideas and least thought of by homeschoolers at the same time. For some reason we look past cooking, doing chores, and playing in nature being peak lessons.

The folks at Skill Trek have made it their mission to help teach kiddos the ins and outs of skills that will surely be important into adulthood. Courses by them will have your kiddo changing a tire, preparing first aid kits, and cooking up a good meal!

Innovative Electives with Huddleston Academy Live Academics (Yours Truly)

Of course I couldn’t end without throwing our own online Academy in the mix! Starting January 2019, we are opening our own virtual program with classes tailored to specific topics and needs.

If small classes taught by one teacher with a cost that includes your entire family are important to you, then I recommend checking out our Spring 2019 classes being offered.

Not to mention, our classes are virtual and can be taken anywhere there is Internet/WIFI! Switch it up and tune in from your local library, coffee shop, or even outdoors!

Each class is:

  • taught on a platform that doesn’t require any extra login by you
  • has the primary resource used for teaching/learning provided*
  • comes with a certificate of completion for your records

*unless otherwise stated in course description

It’s a win-win!

Check out these awesome classes and SIGN UP TODAY (spaces limited)!

CHIME IN: Are you currently incorporating electives into your homeschool routine/schedule? If so, which ones?

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