Homeschool is not just about academics. Every parent wants to instill in their child the skills he will need for day to day life as an adult. One of the awesome things about homeschooling is that we can teach our teens life skills in a natural way and give them high school elective credit for their efforts.
Every teen needs to master the basic homemaking skills. Schools try to artificially replicate what can take place naturally in a homeschool family. After all, where can students gain practical experience in home management? At home, of course!
Does your daughter love to sew, knit, or cross stitch? My twins, who have not yet reached high school, enjoy making clothes for themselves and their dolls. If their interest continues through high school, I will encourage them to keep track of time spent sewing or watching videos that teach them new skills. Even if they only use needle and thread on occasion, the time they spend throughout high school may add up to a half credit or more.
Many high schools offer electives in cooking. My kids each take a turn or two preparing meals for the family each week. Helping out in the kitchen through four years of high school would certainly provide at least one credit, especially if students also participate in meal planning, shopping, and cleanup. Document the hours your student spends assisting with meals, and assign credit based on the total.
Additional housework such as routine cleaning, decorating, and home repairs is certainly part of home economics. Does your teen help clean the house, paint or decorate her room, or make minor repairs? Give her credit for learning to care for the home.
If your child does not have enough hours to provide at least half a credit in any of these areas, combine all of her home economics hours for a general home ec or home management credit.
My oldest daughter never really enjoyed youth group at our church. On Wednesday nights, she would much rather help care for young children. Likewise, she assisted in the church nursery many Sunday mornings.
While assisting with young children, she learned how to relate to and care for them. She began to understand that stage of development. When assistance was needed with additional age levels, she was happy to help in a different class as well. These opportunities helped extend her knowledge and experience.
We kept track of the hours she spent working with kids. The time she spent helping in the children’s ministry qualified as volunteer hours for American Heritage Girls and gave her an elective credit in Child Development.
If your teen takes a babysitting class, babysits often, or assists on a regular basis with young siblings, be sure to include that time when assigning credit.
Most schools require at least one year of P.E. for graduation. Homeschooled students should certainly achieve this as well, and it is not as difficult as you might think. While local organizations offer dance, climbing, ballet, or homeschool PE classes, homeschool students can just as easily earn this credit independently.
The easiest way for your students to earn credit is to document the hours they spend exercising. We have included time spent hiking with the family or a scouting organization, walks around the neighborhood, bike riding, and jumping on the trampoline.
My oldest daughter preferred walking, so she used a phone app like Map My Walk to keep track of her distance and time. The app also calculated her speed, so I could peek at her phone and easily tell if she was just taking a leisurely stroll or truly having a workout.
My son enjoyed Wii Fit U, so he included the hours he spent using the balance games, strength training, and aerobic activities in the video game. My younger girls have fun following along with exercise videos and jumping together on the trampoline, so I expect they will include those when they start working toward PE credit.
Don’t these electives sound like fun? They are certainly easy to implement at home and do not require any expensive curriculum. Teens naturally learn valuable skills for life through observation, instruction, and experience.
What other life skills should our students earn high school credit for? Please share in the comments below.