Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is your high schooler taking the "right" electives?

Electives are supposed to be the fun part of homeschooling high school.  They sound great.  Undoubtedly, you've seen or heard at least some of the following:
  • Electives give you an opportunity to follow your child's interests passions.  
  • Electives are a way to make a transcript really stand out.
  • Electives give your child the chance to explore something new.
  • Electives are a chance to think outside the box!
  • College recruiters love seeing unusual electives!!
  • You are going to fail your student forever if you don't pick electives wisely!!!!
Okay, I haven't actually SEEN that last one.  But I've felt it.

(Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?  Why?!?)

On a relatively sane day, where I'm not beating myself up for every stupid little thing, the whole idea of electives is fun.  On my "I'm screwing up my kids" days, well, electives are just one more enormous stress.

Do you do that too?

Stop it.  Just stop.

Think back to high school.  I've been doing that a lot lately, as I have a big class reunion happening this weekend.  I won't be there, unfortunately.  But regardless, it has me thinking back to my high school.

You know what?  I'm hard pressed to remember what electives I even took.  Okay, I had orchestra for a couple of years.  And, umm.  Oh, I took an office machines class.  You know, where we learned how to turn a computer on and off.  And where we learned how to operate a card reader machine.  A skill I've never once needed in my entire life, outside of that class.  Ever.
I learned to process cards like these.

(To be fair, though, that class did qualify me for a summer job at the school district, which was a fabulous job, and that job did have a big impact on the rest of my life.  It was just the punchcard part that was totally worthless.)

I think my typing class counted as an elective.  And Accounting definitely did, which is what I ended up majoring in at the University of Minnesota.  But I think I would have majored in accounting with or without the class.

My electives were ways for me to expand my horizons a bit and to do some things I enjoyed.  And I'm positive my parents never even once judged their parenting skills by what electives I did or didn't take.

So I need to not beat myself up about what my kids are (or aren't) doing either.

What are the "right" electives?

It is the course that your child is interested in taking, or the one they have a perfect opportunity to take.  It doesn't have to be exciting to anyone else, or eye-popping on a transcript.  It might be something you think they really need to take, which 'kinda sorta' makes it a required course, not exactly an elective.  Like I'm requiring my kids to all take economics.  That probably will be labeled as a social sciences course, but in a sense, it is an elective.

Connor has 1/2 credit of Alternative Energy, and all three of my high schoolers are working on a credit in Astronomy.  Those will be listed as in "science," but since my requirements are 1 credit each of biology, chemistry and physics, they are still electives.  Connor also is likely to end up with at least a half credit for some sort of computer course, where the final project involves assembling various parts into a functioning (hopefully) computer.

William wants to do lots of history, so he is going to have a lot listed in that category.  Which is completely okay.

Thomas wants to take art classes, and still has interest in a Biblical Archaeology class.

So what if none of their electives scream out and holler for attention from anyone looking at their transcripts.  That's not what this is all about. 

Homeschooling High School Blog Hop 2015

Fortunately for you, my Crewmates on this blog hop are far more creative than I am, so you can probably actually learn something by reading their posts.  Go.  Check them out!

Read More on Electives in the High School Years


Jennifer said...

I must admit your title scared me. Yes, I've been afraid of failing my student. The girls' ACT scores finally confirmed they are indeed getting what they need. (much of it from the crew!) I tend to follow their interests with their electives.

Chareen said...

I love this post. I feel more confident about electives after reading it. Electives frighten me but this has made me more confident for the years ahead with Nathaniel :)