Is your high schooler knee-deep in courses that make your head spin? APs. Upper-level sciences. Shakespeare plays. School can get overwhelming sometimes, especially when all those difficult classes fall on top of each other.

Want to minimize that overwhelming feeling? Try this! Take out one or two of those difficult classes and throw in an elective or two!

Put simply, electives are just classes that let your student take a break from the more academic-based courses, like science or literature, and do something that they enjoy. Think of them as a brain break but with a lot of benefits. They can help your high schooler hone their talents, explore topics of interest, practice and acquire life skills, and push career development.

It’s like the icing on a cake: school is fun and exciting and hopefully your student enjoys every day that they get to spend learning, but sometimes adding just a little something extra makes it even better.

Some states actually require your high schooler to take a certain number of electives, and they always look good on that high school transcript. In short, they are a wonderful–and at times, necessary–asset to your homeschool curriculum. Plus they are easy to add to your course load.

Ask your teen what they would like to learn, and which hobbies or talents they want to pursue, then help them get the resources they need to learn that. Check out online courses. Browse your local library for books on the topic. Comb YouTube for tutorials. If it’s something your high schooler wants to learn, they’ll chase it. Your job is to encourage them.

Does your student already spend time doing what they love? You can take those hours and turn them into high school credit. The HSLDA states that you need 150 to 180 hours of a subject to count for one credit hour, 60 for a half-credit, or 30 for a quarter-credit. Let me do some math for you: if your student spends two hours a week doing an activity that they love for a full school year (about 36 weeks) it ends up being enough to count for half of an elective!

Easy, right?

Take a look at all the things that your student does daily. Do they love photography and spend a lot of time behind a camera? Do they play a musical instrument? Participate in a sport? Maybe your student can earn high school credit just by doing something they already love to do!

Wondering how to incorporate them into a transcript with a grade? This mom has some great suggestions on how she did it with her high schoolers.

Last but not least…here are 20 electives you can consider adding into your curriculum to bring a little pizzazz into the everyday.

  1. Cooking
  2. Music
  3. Horticulture
  4. CPR/First Aid
  5. Animal Husbandry (4-H)
  6. Drivers Ed
  7. Foreign Language
  8. Geography
  9. Novel Writing
  10. Sign Language
  11. Entrepreneurship
  12. Photography
  13. Graphic Design
  14. Pottery/Ceramics
  15. Theatre
  16. Film Making
  17. Coding
  18. Figure Drawing
  19. Carpentry
  20. Sewing

Bridgeway offers online electives that let your high schooler learn about a myriad of topics, from Journalism to Public Speaking. All our classes are taught by qualified and certified teachers who bring interesting topics right to you via the internet. Explore those classes here or call 800.863.1474 to learn more!