Ninth Grade Electives

After completing eighth grade in the fall semester, my 13 year old daughter was excited to start in on high school work. Planning out her academic coursework was easy, but what about electives?

I explained to my daughter that simply completing the main subjects—English, Math, Science, and History—this semester will not automatically make her a tenth grader in the fall. She also needs to complete a couple electives. We started to brainstorm some ideas.


One of my daughter’s passions is music. I can usually tell when she has taken her headphones off because she often starts making music of her own. She loves to sing and plays several instruments at varying levels of expertise.

After the fall semester, she reorganized her room, rediscovered her ukulele, started experimenting with it, and has not stopped. Using the internet connection on her phone, she is constantly looking up new ukulele chords and strum patterns to practice. I often hear her switching chords smoothly and playing whole songs as she continues working to improve her skill.

Given her level of motivation, she can easily earn a high school credit in this area without doing formal coursework. Instead, she is continuing to learn independently, logging her time with an online chart. After accumulating 120 hours of music study and practice, she will earn a high school credit.


When resting her fingers from the ukulele strings, my daughter often picks up her cell phone or digital camera and heads outdoors to take unique close up pictures of nature. She has an eye for catching shots of natural objects that I seldom notice.

In December, when I noticed her increased interest in photography, she and I started watching a video course about photography on Shaw Academy. Because the videos were close to an hour long, she quickly tired of watching them.

While reviewing, I printed a few of their photography lessons for her to read through. Unfortunately, she balked at the course because it appears to be designed for a class setting.

Although she was not sure about taking photography for credit, I am encouraging her to continue exploring the subject on her own and log the hours she spends doing so. During three and a half years of high school, she is bound to spend at least 60 hours learning about and doing photography, and that is enough for half a credit.

Phys Ed

Every high school student needs at least one physical education credit. This one should be easy for my active daughter.

She can record the time she spends jumping on the trampoline or walking around the neighborhood with her older sister. If she and the twins watch and complete an exercise video, that counts too! In addition, she can include the minutes she spends doing the backbends and cartwheels she has worked for years to perfect.

It only counts, however, if she logs it on her chart! As far as high school independent study credits are concerned, if it is not recorded, it did not happen.

Save the Tough Electives for later

My daughter has talked about studying French or perhaps even Ancient Greek. Those subjects can be pretty intensive, and she already has a full course load. We agreed to save the more formal and harder electives like these for later in her high school career.

Even though I am in no hurry for my daughter to finish ninth grade this semester, she is highly motivated to do so. These independent study options will help her earn the credits necessary to officially start tenth grade in the fall.

What electives do you recommend for ninth grade? Please comment and share your ideas and resource recommendations.