The Homeschool Minute ~ Hal & Melanie Young

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What Electives Are Essential?

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What electives are essential? None! After all, that’s what electives mean, something more than the essentials like Bible, math and language arts. If they learn those, they’ll have the foundation they need to keep learning on their own. That said, adding in electives can really add to their lives. Consider these:

History. This is essential in high school, but it’s also one of the first electives you should add in elementary school. We suggest focusing on the stories of history and reading lots of biographies. It’s fun and it gives children an understanding of God’s workings in the lives of men.

Science. Again, an essential in high school, in elementary school, getting to do science can motivate them to get the basics done! Don’t get bogged down in paperwork and assignments–it’s not the point of science at the younger ages.

Music. For years, we dragged unwilling children to homeschool choir and band. They whined. They complained. Then they grew up. All three of our graduates have enjoyed singing in their university choirs and love, love, love music. One has real musical

talent and taught himself to play several instruments. I wonder if he’d have ever known it if we’d left out music.

Art. Got a kid who draws all the time? Buy him a simple art curriculum or instructional videos. One young man we know discovered such a talent for drawing that he did the cover art for A Cry From Egypt, one of the books we publish–and he was seventeen years old!

P.E. So many moms complain that their sons can’t sit still and concentrate, “I tell him he can get up after he finishes school.” For many boys and some girls, too, that means he’ll be using all his mental energy to sit–and have nothing left to learn with. Get them up, get them active. Tell them to run up and down the stairs. Get them doing push-ups. They’ll learn better when they’ve been active.

Languages. If they are heading to college, they’ll need two or three years of high school foreign languages, but it can be fun to do some language study with younger children, too, and they’ll have a better accent. Some great resources let you learn with them!

Economics. This high school elective really helps students understand decision-making. It will make them not only better businessmen, but wiser consumers as they understand what motivates them to buy, how prices are set, and why businesses and governments do the things they do.

Most of all, don’t get stressed out and lose your joy! Sometimes you’ll get all this done and more, and other times the essentials are a stretch. It’s okay; you will get there. Focus on discipling and loving your children while you’ve got them!

Your friends,

Hal & Melanie

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I don’t know if this happens to other families or not, but when I was growing up, I had a lot of interests that didn’t last to adulthood. When I think of the finances that were invested in my fluctuating interests, I cringe. I know exploring many interests is a healthy part of childhood. But in time, dinosaur books, an electrician’s kit, a telescope, and more than one musical instrument all found their way to the donated items bin.

Aren’t you glad gives you a way to share more than 15 electives with your students-for no additional cost? Our electives include Sewing Historical Costumes, Nature/Outdoors, Filmmaking, Logic, Mock Trial, Photography, Beginning Guitar, Beginning Violin, Media Studies, two different art classes,and even Social Justice. Explore all the courses we have to offer on

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