Creative and Engaging Electives in the Arts

Does your teen spend every spare moment with a drawing pencil or paintbrush in hand? Does she love to photograph everything she sees? Is your home filled with the joyful sound of music? If your student has an artistic bent, capitalize on it by helping him earn elective credit in the subject he is passionate about.

Musical Instrument / Voice

My oldest daughter never took piano lessons until she participated in a Homeschool Arts Enrichment program during her ninth and tenth grade years. As part of the program, she had a half hour lesson each week and practiced for thirty minutes each day. I awarded her half a credit for each year of lessons.

Last year I asked my son what he wanted to learn and was quite surprised at his answer. He wanted to learn how to read music. Since I can play piano a bit, he and I spent half an hour each week working through a beginning piano book together while he learned to read music. He practiced his new skills each day. In addition to the basic skills covered in the book, he also learned how to play scales and read chord charts. He earned a half credit in music and enjoys applying his musical skills on the computer.

My thirteen year old daughter is just starting high school. She sings and plays piano, guitar, and ukulele well enough to progress and build her music skills independently. I often hear her trying out new chords or a new strum pattern. She sometimes brings her ukulele along on the road and serenades me while we run errands together. This semester, she started keeping track of the time she spends learning about and practicing musical skills. She is excited to be able to earn high school credit while doing something she enjoys.


My oldest daughter spent countless hours drawing both on paper and in a digital format during high school. It is fascinating to look back at her work from several years ago and see the progress she has made as she practiced and developed this skill. Although she did not document the time spent in this area, her work speaks for itself, and I was happy to award her half a credit in art just on the basis of her independent work. I gave her an additional half credit for participation in art class each week in an arts enrichment program for two years.

If your student takes an art class, watches online videos, or spends a large amount of time working on art skills, log those hours for high school credit.


Does your student long to be on stage? A community theatre group might be just the ticket. Many offer classes and present full productions at least twice a year. What an awesome opportunity for our students to develop their confidence in front of a crowd!

My oldest daughter’s arts program included a theatre class which culminated in productions of The Wiz and Annie. Although typically quiet and reserved, she acted, sang, and danced before an audience along with the rest of the cast. There were challenging moments along the way, but she persevered. I awarded her Theatre credit by adding up her class time, hours spent memorizing lines, and extra rehearsals during production week.


My thirteen year old enjoys experimenting with her cell phone camera. I am fascinated by the unusual pictures she has taken, even with such simple equipment. In December, we watched a few photography videos together to inspire her.

For Christmas, I gave her a book about the History of Photography. She started reading it while we were on the road to Grandma’s. I am shocked at how much she enjoys the book. It would bore me to tears, but she finds it all fascinating!

My husband got her a set of lenses that attach to her cell phone camera, and we dug one of our digital cameras out of storage so she could experiment with it as well. She set up an Instagram account to share her amazing pictures. By documenting all of these activities, she can painlessly achieve a high school photography credit.

What Else Can You Think of?

If your teens have a passion for the arts, encourage their creativity and award them credit for their work. Whether taking a class or lessons, learning independently, or performing for a crowd, your students’ hard work should be reflected on their transcripts.

How has your homeschooled teen earned high school credit in art, music, and drama?