72 Spring 2015 • Academic Spotlight www.TheOldSchoolhouse.com
Electives are often viewed as “extras” that are optional components of a good home- schooling program. Basically, electives in- clude subjects which don’t fall into the typical academic definition of school studies, such as
drivers ed, home economics-related topics, etc. But
electives can do much to spice up a typical curriculum. Most students welcome studying these important subjects which often have practical application
to real life.
Electives can also be a tool for parents to use to
reward their children for accomplishing other academic assignments. For example, a student might be
given opportunity to craft a woodworking project
when he finishes his math assignment for the day.
But electives, traditional and non-traditional, can
have much greater significance in a home educa-
tion program. First of all, electives give students
an opportunity to learn important non-academic
life skills. Homeschooling parents often teach these
subjects because they are necessary for independent
living as adults. Basic cooking, auto maintenance,
and bookkeeping, for instance, are all desirable
skills for their children to acquire in order to be
independent and provide for their own needs after
Secondly, an elective could develop into a life work.
From astronomy, to computer graphic design, to me-
teorology, young people might spend time and en-
ergy exploring a topic which could lead to a career.
Many scientists claim their love of a particular branch
of science began with a keen interest in their youth.
Finally, electives can enable a student to develop
marketable skills. Young people who devote considerable time to a hobby such as photography or jewelry making or playing violin could easily use those
talents to earn money. Moving from making artisan
bread for her family to creating a small bakery business would also enable a student to develop entrepreneurial skills useful throughout life.
Families who recognize the importance of electives will appreciate the following resources.