Everyday Education- Making Time For Things That Matter


Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High School Paperwork by Janice Campbell

Introduction to Literature- Excellence in Literature- English I Literature and Composition- English II- Excellence in Literature American Literature- English III- Excellence in Literature British Literature- English IV- Excellence in Literature World Literature- English V- Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers- Excellence in LIterature - by Ian Johnston and Janice Campbell

Spelling Made Easy: The Homonym Way to Better Spelling

Grammar Made Easy: Writing a Step Above by Connie Schenkelberg

McGuffey Fourth Reader
McGuffey Fifth Reader
McGuffey Sixth Reader

We are redesigning the site for easier navigation, so be sure to watch for the new look!

- Excellence in Literature Gr 8-12

- Handbook for Writers

- The Elegant Essay

- 1857 McGuffey Readers

- Poetry Analysis

- Evaluate Writing the Easy Way
- Transcripts Made Easy
- Get a Jump Start on College!
- Conquer the Test- SAT* Prep

- Practical Math

-TimeFrame Timeline

- Grammar Made Easy
- Spelling Made Easy
- Microbusiness Curriculum
- College at Home
- Life Management
- Home Business
- Homeschool High School
- Links for Homeschoolers
- FAQ about Homeschooling
Janice Campbell-Speaker Info
Event: Beat the Clock Essay Workshop
Taking Time for Thing That Matter Blog
Do What Matters, Make it Pay Blog
About / Contact
Article Index

High School Electives: New Class Options Turning Throw-Away Classes Into Enriching Experiences for Students

By James Peters, Head of School, Giant Campus Academy

There's more to electives than books!Homeschool parents have the opportunity to make a significant impact on their child’s college and career preparation by handpicking the elective classes they bring into their home. These electives can be more than just a fun break from the more academically charged classes like math and science. They can give students the opportunity to explore a broad range of degree and occupational interests before making a costly or time-consuming commitment, like enrolling in a college course or pursuing an internship.

Yet a number of factors are leading homeschool parents to omit elective classes their children might otherwise like to take. For example, their main curriculum provider may offer only a limited or uninteresting selection of electives, while signing up with another specialized elective provider may be viewed as too much work. In some cases, parents may not be comfortable signing their child up for classes on topics they know little about. After all, what if their son or daughter has questions? And many other parents aren’t aware of new, full time schools that offer these specialized courses as well as core requirements all under one roof.

In this article, parents will learn more about how to better align their child’s interests with elective courses that will help them prepare for college and careers in the global economy. Similarly, parents will learn how to map their child’s interests with the offerings of curriculum providers to enhance their child’s high school experience. Parents will also learn that offering a broader selection of elective courses to their children does not mean taking on a management headache for themselves.

Breaking the Elective Rut

Homeschool parents typically like to work with one curriculum provider to help their child meet all their graduation requirements. This works great if the school provides electives that captivate the student, prepare them for college and help them sample careers. If the school falls short in the electives department, then the student will miss out on a terrific opportunity to prepare for the future.

This approach is easy for parents, of course, because they can continue to work with one main curriculum provider. However, this “quick pick” scenario does not maximize a child’s educational experience, since the student’s particular interests may not be addressed.

In fact, this challenge is often preordained, as many homeschool curriculum providers just “cover the bases” when it comes to elective class options. This is because many are focused on mimicking what the student would find on a regular high school campus, with courses like PE, keyboarding and speech. But meeting the public school standard certainly doesn’t mean the classes are worthwhile, meaningful and challenging to the student. Especially as school budget cuts have further narrowed elective class diversity in recent years.

Parents that provide these courses to students are increasingly being met with bored, inattentive children. This ultimately leads to frustrated parents, who question the quality of the education they are providing and/or performance of their child.

But elective classes don’t need to be a necessary evil. They can help students flourish in their studies, gain confidence and better prepare for graduation. When parents take the step of matching their child’s interests with cutting-edge elective courses they will see the benefits to their child almost instantly.

Signs of Elective Trouble

Curriculum providers often aim to be a one-stop shop for parents, providing all the classes a student needs to graduate. As mentioned above, this works great as long as the breadth of the elective coursework provides value to student. This approach is favored among parents, as working with one provider is straightforward and easy. Parents also tend to flock to coursework they are familiar with so they can easily offer guidance to their child.Signs your student may benefit from more electives

But being in this comfort zone does not equate to the best learning environment for a child. It can actually stunt a child’s educational growth and discourage continued education. The good news is this can be corrected quickly and easily. First, parents should look for signs that the elective courses they’re providing may be falling short. For example, students may appear bored with the topic, state that coursework is not challenging enough or doubt the long-term value of the class (“When will I ever use this information again?”).

If your child is exhibiting any of these signs, now is a great time to evaluate some alternative elective class options. This may require that parents step outside their comfort zone and work with a specialized online elective class provider. Yet many parents will be surprised to learn that extending these challenging courses to students won’t be a painful, taxing process.

Parents that work with a curriculum provider that offers a broad array of elective classes have the shortest path to meeting this objective. Simply dust off the provider’s catalog and let the child pick classes that interest them most. These parents just need to have an open mind; trust that instructors will guide your child to success.

Parents that need to team with a new curriculum partner to gain access to cutting-edge elective classes will be surprised to learn that many online elective class providers offer a very simple enrollment process. Once a student is signed up, students gain access to their elective classes online and can begin immediately. Instructors guide the students along the way, so no questions go unanswered. Many classes are available for a flat price with little or no equipment purchase necessary.

Since instructors guide the student step by step, parents can be confident their student won’t receive a bad grade just because they are not experts themselves. By layering these unique classes onto their child’s schedule, parents can ensure they are providing an educational experience that will last a lifetime.

Many parents are excited to learn that these specialized elective providers sometimes offer all the core requirements too, leading them to switch their main curriculum provider. This streamlined approach provides the student with a strong framework for meeting graduation requirements and preparing for college.

Align Elective Classes with Student Interests

Parents and their children have a wide variety of elective class options. So much that they may become overwhelmed when researching providers and class descriptions. However, the process doesn’t have to be daunting. It can help to follow these five easy steps.

1. Make a list of elective class interests. Sit down with your child and ask them a series of questions like what subjects they’d like to learn about, what classes they’d like to take in college and what careers they may want to pursue in the future.

2. Search for online school providers that offer classes that map to these interests. If a parent is interested in classes “a la carte,” parents should narrow their search down to these providers only.

3. Make sure the classes selected will provide your student with credit in his or her state. If these are supplemental classes (i.e., not taken for credit), find out if the student will receive a certificate or transcript so it can be added to a child’s graduation portfolio for college entrance.

4. Review the class objective and method in which your child will be instructed. Be comfortable with how and what your child will be taught. Find out how accessible instructors are and if your child will have the opportunity to interact with other students to bolster their teamwork, collaboration and problem-solving skills.

5. Before signing up, learn the full cost of the course. Inquire about tuition and equipment costs to avoid any surprise fees.

Elective Options Are Nearly Limitless

Many of today’s elective class options provide students with the unique opportunity to explore exciting, fast growing 21st century careers. Students that begin exploring their occupational interests early on are poised to make more confident decisions when they select a career or sign up for college classes and pursue internships.

Students can develop online games in this Game Design elective.Three new elective disciplines, digital arts, computer science and business & innovation are quickly gaining widespread popularity among students because they offer a sneak peek at today’s fastest growing careers.

Digital arts classes like computer aided design (CAD), Flash animation and web design give students a glimpse into cutting-edge digital careers. Computer science classes like C++ programming and online game design help students explore fast-paced technology careers. Business & innovation courses like marketing and entrepreneurship help students dip their toe into the exciting, high-demand careers of today’s global economy.

As an example, our online education company, Giant Campus, was recently honored for developing an online game design course designed specifically for high school students. Nominated as Best Instructional Solution in the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) awards program, Giant Campus’ online game design course is aimed at students that want to learn how to design Flash games online.

The course helps students develop the skills they need to design a variety of games for the Web using Adobe Flash, the world’s most popular authoring tool for online games such as Bejeweled and FarmVille. Students also learn basic programming concepts using ActionScript, the native scripting language of Flash. By the end of the course, students develop a fully functioning multi-level game that they can share with peers online.

Electives Brighten Your Child’s Future

Since many students don’t pursue careers directly related to core high school curriculum like social studies and foreign language, every step should be made to ensure elective courses are provided as options and give students a taste of careers that interest them most. Electives should not be viewed as “throwaway” classes students must take to graduate, but opportunities to sample different careers before making a long-term commitment.

In addition to sampling careers, students that take specialized elective coursework can enhance their graduation portfolio. This can give students a competitive edge when applying to colleges. And once enrolled, students have more experience to draw from when picking classes, studying and taking tests.

“I like that Giant Campus Academy helps me sample careers in business and technology while I take my core requirements for graduation,” said Charlie S., Giant Campus Academy student. “This is helping me figure out what career and college paths make the most sense for me. I’m really excited about the future.”
Homeschool parents typically have one overarching goal: provide the educational foundation their son or daughter needs to thrive after graduation. Extending a new variety of exciting elective courses is essential for fulfilling this objective. Parents that take the steps to find and introduce their child to a broad mix of electives are better positioned to meet this goal. Parents will see increased enthusiasm, confidence and other benefits in their child almost instantly.

© 2010 by Everyday Education, LLC


Free Rubric & Newsletter

Would you like a free copy of our reproducible writing evaluation rubric? Just type your name and e-mail below, and you'll be taken to a download link. You'll also receive my free monthly newsletter, with helpful articles and tips. Enjoy!

Your Name:
Your e-Mail:

What do you want to do?

Buy books

Learn about Excellence in Literature

Make a transcript

Calculate a GPA


Improve you SAT Scores by Studying Online

Bookmark and Share

*SAT, CLEP, AP, and PSAT/NMSQT are registered trademark of the College Board and/or National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which were not involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this website or products.

Privacy Policy - Return Policy - Contact Us
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape - Everyday-Education.com is Safe Surf rated for all ages. Safe Surf Rated for All Ages

(c) 2005-2014 by Everyday Education, LLC