When I first made the decision to homeschool my son who was just starting Kindergarten, I began to look at curriculum. I soon discovered there were THOUSANDS of choices! And that was just for one subject! I soon found that there were favorites among homeschoolers – for example, the “Saxon-eers” and the “Math-U-See-ers”!
Electives are sometimes harder, though. Everyone is looking for core curriculum, but electives are based on interests, which can vary widely. While classes and activities are readily available, the sea of information can be overwhelming at times.
Personally, I am a big believer that our children should have some choice in their homeschooling, especially if there are struggles in one or more academic area. That is some of the benefits of homeschooling, and it helps prepare them for making choices and career decisions as teenagers and adults.
Here are a few ideas for pursuing interests through homeschool electives. Some are free, the others are worth every penny…
Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves Animals:
Does your child love animals? Does he love to go to the zoo, visit the animal shelter and pet shop?
- Science classes – classes are available on all kinds of topics – oceanology, zoology, entomology…these and more would be subjects this type of child would be interested.
- Pre-Veterinarian classes – hands-on experience by volunteering for a local veterinarian or horse ranch
- Unit studies about specific animals – there are lots available online, or make your own by pulling resources together. For ideas, visit SPED Homeschool’s Curriculum page on Pinterest
- Volunteering at the local animal shelter – Help train and care for animals to help them find their forever home
- Visit zoos and national and state parks – so much can be learned by watching and seeing animals in natural and man-made habitats! Most zoos offer educational programs and classes, and state parks often include educational tours and information.
- TNHA’s Biology Class – an awesome class for learning about animals down to the cellular level.
Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves computers:
From Powerpoint to coding, the computer can make schoolwork seem a lot more fun!
- Hour of Code – from pre-reading through high school, a great resource to explore and decide if this might be something you enjoy.
- TNHA’s C# Programming Class – a hands-on class for ages 12 and up!
- Game Design – Love computer games? Learn to design your own with this great class (12 and up).
- Loves Designing and Building – This is my boys – the Future Engineer and the Future Architect!!!
- Lego Club (check your local CO-OP or Library to see if they have one or start your own – Legos build problem solving skills and spatial awareness.
- Variety of Building Blocks – From magnetic blocks to tinkertoys, having a variety of blocks allow children to explore how things might fit together under different circumstances.
- TNHA’s Digital Art and Design – as our world becomes more digital, this is a growing and necessary area to explore and become familiar with!
- TNHA’s 3D Modeling – Pre-recorded awesome class students can complete on their own time schedule! Great ½ credit elective that his fun and exciting!
Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves Languages:
Languages help us to understand English better, as well as gives us access to the world.
- TNHA’s ASL I – Hands-on kinestethic language that is fun and useful in so many career and recreational applications! (Used by police officers, firefighters, scuba divers, etc).
- Hebrew Classes from TNHA – Learn about the language and culture of the Bible! By understanding the context, you gain a deeper meaning and appreciation for the Word.
- TNHA’s Latin Class – Latin is the foundation for many languages, it can help you to understand and appreciate many other languages including Spanish, French and Italian.
- Flip Flop Spanish – Conversational, visual Spanish curriculum (See It Say It begins at age 3) – Now also offers a High School Spanish Course – Spanish Geniuses!
Homeschool Electives for the Child that Loves to cook or Loves Food:
Explore the world through food – try new things and have fun!
- Explore cookbooks together – From Mediterranean to Rachel Ray, cookbooks can be a great learning experience! By trying new recipes, you can explore cultures and foods from around the world. Broaden it into a unit study to explore more about the geography, influences and other factors that go into determining why foods are preferred in different regions of the world.
- Volunteering at the local food bank or food kitchen – Community service can be a great way to meet people from around the world and from all walks of life. It is also a way to teach a giving spirit and a humble heart.
- TNHA’s Culinary Arts class – Fun to do together with your child, or allow your child to explore basics on their own!
Homeschool Electives for the child that loves space:
The moon and space seem so mysterious and far away, bring them closer with some awesome resources!
- NASA has videos, articles and other resources – a great way to explore about the universe and what we know so far
- Hubble Telescope Images – see pictures taken from space and what we are learning about our universe on a daily basis!
- Visit an observatory or planetarium in your area – Most offer educational tours and great resources for learning more!
- Loves Books – From classics to new, books open doors and allow your child to explore different universes!
- Check your local library for reading programs – ours include great prizes for children and even adults!! Also, check your favorite restaurants to see if they have a reading club or would be interested in starting one!
- TNHA’s C.S. Lewis Club – Explore these incredible books in this fun club!
- TNHA’s Classics Club – explore Greek and Roman life through this fun and exciting club while being engaged in some fun projects!
So what do you think? Do you believe in pursuing interests through homeschool electives? What are some of your favorite choices?
Amy Vickrey is a homeschooling mom of a six-year-old and almost two-year-old, and the wife and caregiver of a disabled veteran who struggles with health issues and PTSD. She holds a Masters of Science in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction, from the University of Central Missouri and a Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas State University. Also, she spent 2 years of college studying Interpretation for the Deaf and Deaf Studies and knows American Sign Language. Her teaching certifications include Special Education, English as a Second Language and Generalist (early childhood through fourth).