There are many different paths you can take for your homeschooler in high school. No matter the path you choose, high school electives are an important part of the majority of credits and graduation plans.
Homeschool electives allow your student to explore interests and they enrich the learning experiences. High school electives for homeschoolers can be free, purchased, or designed by parents or teachers. There are pros and cons to each. Free homeschool electives are, obviously, great to find but you may have to spend a lot of time vetting the content. Purchased courses are a “done for you” convenience but they may be disappointing if you can’t preview the course. Parent or teacher designed courses could be a good fit based on knowing your student’s interests and learning preferences, but they can take a lot of time to build.
In traditional public school, electives for high school usually make up 2-4 credits on the graduation requirements. Personally, I think these types of classes should be required more than some of the other traditional content areas! Good high school electives are practice for career and important life skills for college and beyond.
Below are some questions for consideration and a complete homeschool high school electives list that you can use for reference no matter the path you and your student choose.
Does your (offline/pre-packaged) curriculum already include electives?
- All in one Homeschool Pre-Packaged High School Curriculum or workbooks (such as Abeka or BJUPress)
A pre-packaged curriculum will allow you to choose electives as part of the high school kit, but selection may be limited to what that company provides. You could still supplement electives courses but that could end up being an additional cost. To find out what electives are offered in the high school curriculum you’re considering, preview the index of the materials or do a search on that company’s website. If you are still unsure of what high school electives are offered, call or email the company to speak with a representative.
- Digital Homeschool High School Curriculum (such as Easy Peasy All in One, Power Homeschool or Time4Learning)
It should be easy to find which electives are offered with digital curriculums. Most online curriculums provide a syllabus for each course or an overview of what’s available. A quick search on Easy Peasy All in One for High School provided a grid of which courses were available as electives.
- DIY High School Homeschool Curriculum
If you are pulling from various resources for a high school curriculum, fun electives should be some of the easiest courses to find! You could start with a list divided by your homeschooler’s first and second choices. Then do a web search by using the student’s are of interest + the words “free online course” with a Google search.
A simple search of creative writing “free online course” resulted in a free MOOC course, complete with a syllabus and instructional videos! While you would want to preview these courses and ensure they are appropriate, there are many possibilities for finding free pre-made courses.
Other options that allow home education, but often require enrollment at an institution:
Public High School Online- Although this path requires enrollment at a public school, it does not require students to attend on campus. Some parents of homeschool high schoolers choose this path at the 9-12 level as virtual academy options continue to grow and expand. This way students can still learn in the home setting but the curriculum, electives and credits are mapped out and there is access to an academic advisor at the school.
Private High School Online- There are some online high school pathways available through paying a tuition, such as Liberty University or K12.com. Some parents choose an online high school path because their public high school may not have an online option or they do not want to be completely bound to requirements the school may have for attendance or testing.
Why does your high schooler need electives?
Electives are a component of graduation plan requirements and they are fun! The number of electives will vary according to how many graduation credits are required in your home state. As a general guideline, most states require between 2-4 credit hours for electives.
Electives should be chosen based on your child’s interests and career path they are considering. If you are building your own high school curriculum from various sources, there are hundreds of electives to choose from. You can pretty much find a course on anything that your student is interested in taking.
Some of the courses can provide a certificate or valuable skills to a potential future employer. A CPR/First Aid certificate shows a great deal of maturity and provides life-saving skills! A driver’s education course in some states can get new driver’s a discount on insurance.
Can electives be taken in content areas?
This depends on your content area requirements for graduation credit requirements. For example, if your high school graduation plan requires 4 credits in science and your homeschooler has taken physical science, biology, chemistry and physics (for example) for all of their credits, you could add other science electives such as environmental science, anatomy, forensics, zoology, etc.
Where can you find the best electives for high school?
If you are looking for electives outside- or in addition to- an all in one pre-packaged or digital curriculum, there are some free and paid resources that may help you find just what you are looking for.
In addition to the resources listed below, you can create your own courses. You will need to write a course description and determine the hours or requirements to complete the course. Check with other homeschooling families as there may be other ideas in your local area or families who are willing to share pre-made courses that may be of interest to your student.
Online Resources for Electives: (Some of these offer free courses while others have a subscription fee or pay per course).
- Khan Academy– Free! Click on courses on the top left for a huge selection of homeschool elective ideas.
- Udemy– Udemy is an online platform that holds more than 100,000 courses. Click on categories to sort through options and prices. Udemy runs a $10 course sale several times throughout the year for an affordable elective option.
- Coursera– Free and paid courses. Click on explore in the top left to sort through course options. Some top universities have partnered on this platform to provide quality content.
- Udacity– Some of these courses are designed for advanced career skills and growth, but there are also some free beginner courses available. This platform is especially designed for computer science and those with interests in technology. Below is a snapshot of a type of free course that’s available on the beginner rating scale.
- Codeacademy– Free option provides access to basic courses in learning to code.
- edX– Free! EdX partners with a range of academic institutions to provide self-paced online courses on a wide variety of content.
- Skillshare– Check out the https://www.skillshare.com/classes/free free courses available from experts in various fields of study.
- Academic Earth– Free online courses from top universities.
- Universities– Some universities provide free courses on platforms listed above as well as their own website.
Offline Resources for Electives:
- Technical Colleges- may offer electives on-campus or online (possibly free with dual enrollment options)
- Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts
- 4-H Clubs
- Internships at local places of business
- Local CPR/First Aid Training
- Local courses- check media and newspaper listings
Your child can benefit the most from electives when they are based on their interests and career paths they are considering. It may help guide their decisions when they get to college and give them skills and experiences to help with the college and/or career path.
Homeschool high school electives list:
- Business Management
- Business Math
- Hospitality & Tourism
- Human Resource Management
- Leadership and Supervision
- Office Management
- Project Management
- Resume Writing
- Social Media
- Soft Skills
Career & Technical Education
- Animal Care
- Auto Mechanics
- Computer Literacy
- Criminal Investigation
- Criminal Justice
- Early Childhood Education
- Homeland Security
- Interior Design
- Medical Assistance
- Medical Law
- Medical Terminology
- Restaurant Management
- Wildlife Management
Computer Science & Information Technology
- Adobe Photo Shop
- App Development
- Artificial Intelligence
- Computer Applications
- Computer Forensics
- Computer Science
- Computer Repair
- G Suite Applications
- Java Programming
- Media Technology
- Microsoft Office
- Video Game Design
- Web Design
Family and Consumer Sciences
- Culinary Arts
- Early Childhood Education
- Home Economics
- Human Growth and Development
- Life Management skills
- Service Learning
Health and PE
- CPR-First Aid
- Fitness and Nutrition
- Health & Fitness
- Sports Medicine
- Team Sports
Language Arts and Communication
- Creative writing
- Effective Editing
- Mythology and Folklore
- Non-fiction Writing
- Public Speaking
- Math Logic
- Personal Finance
- Human Anatomy
- Marine Science
- Veterinary Science
- Current Events
- U.S. or World Politics
- Art history
- Theatre Production
- Culture Religious Studies
- Old/New Testament Studies
- Religious History
- Topical Bible Studies
- Worldview Studies
- ACT Prep
- Driver’s Education
- GED Prep
- SAT Prep
- Study Skills
- Architectural design
- Art Appreciation
- Art History
- Graphic design
- Jewelry Making
- Web Design
- Sign language
Most of these courses offer an introduction and some have a second or third course to expand on the skills learned in the introductory course.
It would also be beneficial to look at the college requirements where your homeschooler is considering. Most colleges require 2-3 consecutive years of Foreign Language. If that has not been included in your regular curriculum, then you may want to pursue those courses as electives to meet college admission requirements.
Homeschool high school electives can also be even more meaningful if your student joins with another student or group in addition to courses that are independent study. These offer valuable collaborative learning experiences and lots of fun too!