4 High School Electives You Must Include on Your Teen’s Homeschool Transcript

4 High School Electives You Must Include on Your Teen’s Homeschool Transcript

It’s shown that homeschool students complete their required studies in less time than if they were in public school. This benefit allows more time for a student to learn other skills and discover their passions. These skills and passions can give them a head start toward their future calling and career.  

As your student concentrates on their pursuits, adding those activities to their homeschool transcript is essential. These activities will represent your teen’s interests and are excellent college prep. Colleges can see an overall picture of your teen and how they can be a positive addition to a college’s student body.

Planning High School Electives

What exactly is an elective? Electives are extra classes that round out a transcript like PE, art, language, or music. These classes aren’t part of the core curriculum credit necessary for graduation. Refer to your state’s requirements for specific electives required for graduation (like two years of language).  

Besides the standards, classes can be created based on your teen’s likes, passions, and hobbies. What are they excited about right now? What is going on in their life? Do they have something they would like to pursue to see if it becomes a career?

 Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

Four Electives to Add to a Transcript

Physical Education

Physical Education (PE) is often a required elective. Depending on your state’s requirements, a minimum of one year, preferably two years of PE is required for graduation.

“Physical Education” is a generic term. When your teen participates in an organized sport such as basketball while in high school, use “Basketball” on the transcript for each semester they participate.

But what if your teen isn’t on a team, but team sports are important to them? If your family participates in a local co-op or similar group, partner with other parents to coordinate softball, soccer, volleyball, or badminton recreational teams and schedule playing times.

If your teen is active in many sports or physical activities, can you add it to a transcript? Yes. A PE class can be created using a class name such as Comprehensive Fitness, Outdoor Fitness, or Personal Fitness when this is the case.

Outdoor Fitness can be a class elective that allows your teen to explore different sports. Think about golf, disc golf, swimming, kayaking, archery, and skiing.

Personal Fitness may be less scripted and include hiking, skateboarding, jogging, cycling, karate, or power walking.

Comprehensive Fitness is a good title for a combination of activities, including an outdoor sport, personal fitness, and strength training or weightlifting.

Round out each class by having your teen learn the sport’s rules and safety and watch instructional videos.  

Drivers Education

This is a right of passage for teens. Drivers Education includes hours of training and should be considered an elective.

In Texas, we can do parent-taught driver’s education. The state requires the student to complete an approved online course, at least 30 hours of learning. For road training, the state provides a complete checklist of necessary skills to be taught, a total of 30 hours. With additional practice driving, there are enough hours to give a ½ credit.

Voluntary Public Service

Volunteering is an opportunity for your teen to learn social and communication skills, discipline, and responsibility. It requires a time commitment and shows service and community-mindedness.  Where can your student volunteer? Try .... 

Shelving books at the public library
Tutor a sibling or other homeschool student
Teach art or craft class to other homeschool students
Help out at church
Work at a community garden
Lend a hand at a neighborhood or charity event
Pack boxes at a local food bank
Walking dogs at a local dog shelter.

Whether they spend time volunteering at one location or several, all of their time counts! Just keep track of dates, activities, places, and times of service.  Sometimes if a location has many student volunteers, they may already have a system for tracking volunteer time for public school students. If so, ask them for a summary at the end of the school year.


TIP
: If your student has worked consistently over time for an organization, ask for a letter of reference. If they volunteered at several different places, have your teen write a summary of their experiences for a college portfolio or add to a job application.  

Leadership


Leadership skills are a positive addition to a transcript. What can you add to an elective for Leadership? Have there been instances where your teen has shown leadership skills such as initiative, strategic thinking, or entrepreneurship? Are they part of an organization where they are learning leadership skills (such as Scouts)? 


Do they ....


Offer tutorials (to other students or online)?
Assistant coach an activity (such as a kids’ rec soccer team)?
Lead a church youth group or captain a sports team?
Run their own small business? (Landscaping, pet care, tutoring, baking, etc.)?
Organize a fundraiser (Neighborhood food drive, holiday toy drive at the homeschool co-op)?


These types of activities illustrate a teen’s commitment toward completing projects, involvement in their local community, and that they can work well within a team situation.


Along with their endeavors, add a component of reading. Have them read a book such as the
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (there is also a student version if you can find it).

  


Recording Activity for a Transcript


How do I record activities and time?

Use a system that is easy for your student to keep track of their activities. (Notice that I said “your student.” They need to understand the importance of tracking activities to complete their transcript.)

One method of recording is to use a student calendar or printed monthly calendar. Note the activity and the amount of time on that particular day. (It’s easier to keep time in half and one-hour increments.)  Tally times at the end of each month.

How much time is needed to count as a class?  

Here is a good formula:

Academic classes: 150 hours = 1 credit hour class. (Approximately 5 hours per week.)

Elective classes: 75 hours = ½ credit hour class. (Approximately 2 to 2-1/2 hours a week.)


What if my student doesn’t complete enough hours in one semester for credit?

 

It is at the parent’s discretion whether enough time and education have been completed for class credit. But here are some other ways to complete a class for credit: 

1.      Complement the class with some type of academic work. Have your student research, read books, watch videos or write a summary of their experience. 

2.       Continue the activity during available time in the summer months. 

3.       Combine activity hours over the entire year or longer. (For example, my son volunteered at our public library for two years. Because he worked only an hour or so a week, I added all his hours over the two-year period, which was enough time for a ½ credit. I recorded the elective on his transcript on the semester he finished his service.)

4.       Consider an event like a year-end piano recital, dance performance, or art exhibition as their “final exam” that ends the class. Preparation for these events requires extra practice time.   

Is it necessary to keep track of everything they complete for a class?

No, not always. It depends on your state requirements or your own discretion. It’s up to you to decide whether your teen has completed enough time, practice or work.

So that you are confident that your teen has completed enough work, the calendar works well to track participation hours. When applying for college, it’s is good practice to write thorough class descriptions. This is essential if creating a college portfolio. 
  

Not only that, keeping a record of what one teen completed will save time in the future with your other kids.

Have you created electives for your teen’s transcripts?
Share your tips in the comments for other readers! 
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