This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Choosing Extracurriculars for Homeschool High School. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Choosing Extracurriculars for Homeschool High School
Teens love the adventures of homeschool high school extracurriculars. As their homeschool parents, we decide whether we want to count things as electives or extracurriculars. But how do we know what is an elective and what’s an extracurricular?
Choosing Extracurriculars for Homeschool Vs. Electives
We know it is not just about the grades when you are counting something as an elective. But there is a thin, yet blurry, line between electives and extracurriculars. Here is how to tell the difference:
You could be choosing something because of the choice of major or interest in college your child has.
If you have a child that is college bound and they want to have their transcript looking competitive, you can have electives that show they have done rich work in their area of interest.
- For example, if they want to be a physics major, they would do electives in that area, like extra sciences.
- If they were going to be a music major in college, then they would do electives in music. And so they put that on the transcript in the subject section.
Also, you will need to track elective credits by logging hours and document them so that you can show all that you have done. You need supporting documentation what what you have accomplished because it is tied to the college of interest or major of interest your child has and will support that.
If you are simply showing off how much was time spent on fun things outside class like sports teams – those could go under extracurriculars instead.
Transcripts can also have an extracurricular section where you put things that are not necessarily competitive for college as far as subjects go. Extracurriculars just show how your child is able to be involved in the community. It shows that they pick an idea and explore it, have connections with other human beings, and they are committed to a cause.
Extracurriculars show the richness of your child’s personality, and because of that, they do not go under the subject part of the transcript. Instead, they go at the bottom of the transcript in a section called “Extracurriculars,” and it should detail which years your child did them because some colleges really want to know there has been a commitment to an interest.
Even if you have a child who is just workforce bound, go ahead and put extracurriculars on the transcript too. Because a transcript is like a scrapbook that you look back over later in life – you get it out and you say to yourself, “Oh, he did a really cool job in high school! And it’s all right here on this paper.” If you did it, record it.
Even though you may want to record extracurriculars, like we mentioned for work, you do not have to do that kind of supporting documentation like you would for electives. You can simply make a note of it on their transcript, but you don’t have include all the details for extracurriculars, not like electives.
Tips For Extracurriculars For Homeschool High School
Ideas for choosing extracurriculars for homeschool high school are endless! Teens can do:
- speech and/or debate
- youth group service
- cinematography club
- and so many other fun activities!
And they are great for parents too! It is a great way to plug into the community and meet some lifelong friends and also acquaintances. It always nice to get to meet some of your children’s friends, too, don’t you think? We homeschool moms can make friends, too.
Don’t “Over School” Things
Sometimes we homeschool moms get fairly accused of turning everything into school because all of life is learning. And it is! But the fact that it is all learning does not mean we should turn all of it into rigid schoolwork.
We do not want to over-school some things, so it is quite possible for you to add an extracurriculars just for the fun social aspect of it, which would make it not feel too “schooly.” Extracurriculars give kids a chance to experiment a little bit with other kids and try on some hats or fill in gaps. Because of this, there’s not one right way to choose extracurriculars.
Choosing sign language as an extracurricular, for example, does not come across the same way as learning a world language the traditional way.
Don’t Stress About The Transcript
Do not stress about what the transcript looks like! You can move things around, and they don’t have to stay the way you originally wrote it on the transcript.
For instance, if you do not like a subject as an elective, you can bump it down to an extracurricular. Or if it is an extracurricular and then it suddenly turns into a real interest – like a career exploration thing – you can bump it out of the extracurricular place and put it down as an elective.
Do not change it after they graduate – do not make it look suspicious. You have four years to scoot things around as your kids grow. Take a breath and just let life happen.
The transcript should not just be some pre-made thing that you are checking off to make sure that you have all the things done that are required by some authoritarian person somewhere who makes up a bunch of rules.
Transcripts are meant to capture the learning that takes place in high school – exactly like our scrapbook we mentioned earlier – except it is just a little line of text instead of pages and pages of photos and memories. It is like a scrapbook at a glance of all the learning that took place in those four years, so you get to be a little flexible with it.
Nothing Is Ever Wasted
Even if teens do extracurriculars to fill in the gaps, they can still use all that richness they learned in those things in various ways for the rest of their lives. Nothing is ever wasted!
If you have a teen who is interested in small engine repair or auto mechanics, for example, extracurriculars allow them to dabble in some vocational training without having to really commit to it.
Choosing Extracurriculars for Homeschool High School
Extracurriculars are not just places for your teen to do something fun, but they are also for you as the homeschool parent to take off some pressure and just allow yourself to dabble and explore and try new, fun stuff.
They help our kids become well-rounded and connected, causing them to breathe deeply in between some of the times when they are working real hard and getting a little anxious about things.
All of life provides opportunity for learning, and the extracurriculars are a fun and relaxed arena for a few specific kinds of learning. Embrace them and lean into them. Talk to your kids about what they might be interested in trying.
When planning extracurriculars:
Do not just pick things just to pick things, like a local class because it is simply local or doing the thing that the older sibling picked, or even choosing the thing that you wish you had done when you were a teen and never tried. Talk to your teens!
They may not get a whole lot of say in what math they are going to do next year, but extracurriculars are a great place for them to have a lot of say. Have conversations with them and just have fun with it. Some of your extracurriculars might end up just being lifelong hobbies, or they might be a way that you meet a great friend.
Thanks to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for transcribing this episode.
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