One of the greatest perks of homeschooling is that it can be tailored to each child.  This perk not only applies to core curriculum but also to all the little extras.  You may be tempted to skip out on some of these.  However, these extras are what can take a typical homeschooling day from boring to extraordinary!

Do you see the value of the extras in your homeschool? Check out why I think the homeschool extras can take your day from boring to extraordinary! #homeschool #homeschooling #electives

Electives, jobs, college prepping, life skills- these are frosting on the cake. They take a good, solid plan and jazz it up into something grand and festive.  So how do homeschool extras add value?

1).  Homeschool Extras Explore Their Interests

One year, our freshman took the Grammar of Poetry, Middle East studies, Intro to Water Color and Bio lab in our co-op. He also took Chemistry Lab and Myths and Legends online. Why?  Because it was what interested him!  Another year he enrolled in music studies, a lab at a local hospital, as well as a Physical Science lab. Our kids have even studied Spanish at the local co-op with native Spanish speakers.  We have sought out opportunities for them to explore things that are their passion.

Find out what your child loves.  What sparks their passion?  What lights a fire in them?  Perhaps you have a child that loves cooking.  Then our culinary course would be an easy place to start fanning that flame.  Maybe you have one that loves art. Then don’t forget to check out our digital art design course.  Maybe a local art class would even spark their interest.

Explore their interests and match their curiosity.  You might be surprised where your adventures might lead you.

2).  Homeschool Extras teach Life Skills 

Our acreage and house-rebuild project have provided ample opportunity to learn life skills. Our kids know, in great detail, about parts of construction and remodeling.  All of the kids also know how to comparison shop, cook and meal plan. They know how to glean and acquire goods and clothing for next to nothing and still look well dressed and respectable.  Students learn life skills in several ways.

First, from simply living.

By living and working alongside each other. Most of the above were not curriculum but necessity driven. When my husband and I have not known how to do something (i.e. tile the bathrooms) we have found mentors and books and learned.  Our lifestyle has necessitated seeking out information and implementing it.

Life skills for our teens also include knowing how to introduce people to each other, carry on a civil conversation, make others feel welcome and at home and engage in moral, honest relationships. We love technology, but use it as a tool rather than being enslaved to it. Shaking hands and making eye contact with new acquaintances is a lost art and one we hope our kids embrace, even as they leave our home.  Everyday life offers so many opportunities for homeschool extras, embrace it!

Also, from part-time work or volunteering.

Our high-schoolers have often had jobs that have included part-time work at tea and coffee houses, office work, farm and ranch work and most recently working at an orchard.  Never undervalue learning from hands-on training.

3).  Homeschool Extras Help Prepare Your Child

What comes after high school? We have found college is getting more expensive, less academically challenging and of questionable value when coupled with crippling debt. We are also in that odd middle-income range that affords mostly nothing regarding government aid, but can’t justify $25K per year per child on college. Where does that leave us? With college hacking, vocational and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Homeschoolers can spend their high school years fine-tuning their plan.  They can ask what comes next?  With that dream in mind, they can form a plan and a strategy on how to implement it.  Do they want a career that will require college?  Then perhaps they can start with some cheaper classes at the local college.  They can even volunteer in their field of interest to help with scholarship applications.  Maybe college isn’t their thing; then they can always pick up a part-time job in their area of interest.

(Need help during those scary high school years?  Check out our homeschool advising service in our store!)

As I wrote this post, it seemed a bit superfluous. I mean, most of the extras look like stuff that we “do” as a matter of course through living our lives. I offer what we do and have done as mere suggestions – perhaps they will spark an idea for you.  So how about you, do you see the value of the extras?

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