Welcome back to the next post in our Homeschooling in High School series. If you’re just joining us, you can read our previous posts, High School Grading & Planning, and Explaining High School Credits.
Today we’re going to define fine arts and electives, explain how they calculate into high school credits, and then throw in some extra curricular activities just for fun. 😉
Fine arts are required by several states as a high school course. (Find you’re state’s requirements here.) The arts are broken into several categories:
Visual Arts: painting, drawing, pottery, ceramics, sculpting, wood-carving, leather-working, textiles, jewelry, glass arts, architecture, photography, etc.
Media Arts: film production, video, TV, digital, animation, 2-D design, 3-D design, printmaking, graphic arts, film, video, TV, animation, etc.
- dance – contemporary, creative movement, world dance, ballet, jazz, tap, modern, break dance, hip-hop, ballroom, choreography, dance notation, dance history, musical theatre, improvisation, folk, ethnic, step, historical, square dance, attending performances, etc.
- music – general music, singing, choir, band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, guitar, percussion ensemble, music theory, technology composition, song writing, piano lab/music keyboards, music history, marching band, drum line, multi-cultural and historical music, ethnic, opera, musical theatre, recording studio, attending concerts, listening to classical music while driving or reading, visiting museums, etc.
- theatre – acting, theatre, film acting and making, improvisation, mime, puppetry, performed poetry/spoken word, musical theatre, playwriting, technical theatre/stagecraft, theatre production, Shakespeare literature and performance, participating in plays, attending plays, etc.
Your student should have 1 – 2 credits in fine arts by the time they graduate. They can pick a couple of topics they’re passionate about and earn a credit for each or log their hours in various fine arts and combine them as a general fine arts credit over the course of their high school years.
High school electives are courses other than the main subjects (i.e. math, English, and history). Electives aren’t a requirement, but colleges like to see about 2-8 elective credits on a transcript. By now most teens have an interest in some of these areas and chose those electives. It’s a good idea to also steer them in the direction of picking electives that will introduce them to a skill they may need in their new career.
Electives don’t usually take the same amount of time that a main subject does, but just because they’re an elective doesn’t mean they should have some educational content. HSLDA recommends that if you plan to use a letter grading system for elective classes, to decide how you’ll evaluate it before your teen begins.
Examples of electives are:
- first aid
- vocational arts
- computer skills (web design)
- home economics
- career development and exploration (interviewing someone who is in a career your child is interested in, job shadowing, etc.)
- public speaking
- driver’s education
- volunteer work
- working part-time in the summer
- outdoor adventure like hunting and trapping are considered 1/2 credit
- cardio/weight training
Click here for a more comprehensive list.
Colleges like to see a student’s transcript include between 2-8 elective credits by the time they graduate.
Extra Curricular Activities
Visit HSLDA for an extra curricular activity sample sheet.
Most people think of extra curricular activities as sports, but technically these are any activity outside an academic program. Extra curricular activities aren’t included on your student’s high school transcript because they aren’t awarded credits or grades. Instead, these activities are to give college officials or employers the chance to see your teen outside of school and what their interests, incentive, service to others, and skills are. Extra curricular activities are usually included as a resume with a transcript.
Here’s a great list of community service and volunteer ideas your teen can use for both extra curricular activities and encouraging him/her in the joy of serving others.
Our family enjoyed these true stories of two students who used their time during an internship and apprenticeship to earn credits and a career. If you’re wondering whether to list something as an elective or an extra curricular activity, here’s a great post explaining why you might chose one over the other.
Whew! Now that we’ve got those defined, we’ll be taking a look at sample transcripts in the next Homeschooling in High School post.
What are your high schoolers are doing to earn elective credits? We’d love you to share your ideas in the comments below.
Homeschooling in High School Series:
Part 1: Grading & Planning
Part 2: Explaining High School Credits
Part 3: Defining Fine Arts, Electives & Extra Curricular Activities
Part 4: How to Prepare A High School Transcript
Part 5: High School Testing
Part 6: Earn Credits with CLEP
Part 7: Earn Credits with DSST/DANTES
Part 8: Earn Credits with Advanced Placement (AP)
Part 9: Earn Credits with PSEO + HSLDA Transcript Service Giveaway! (coming soon!)