How to Let Homeschool Kids Learn Electives Independently

31 March

When you started homeschooling you likely had big ideas about all the fun things you would do with your kids. No? Ok, well maybe that was just me. But you surely didn't think about how your life would be taken over by math, language arts, history, and science with no extras in sight.

I know that may not be true for every homeschool family, but I also know a lot of them who struggle to get to the fun stuff. They have multiple kids in multiple grades, so getting past those core subjects takes most of the time, and everything else just becomes extra.

But really, I started homeschooling for the extras. I wanted them to be able to learn what they wanted along with all the stuff they have to learn, so when I noticed that being nudged out this year I decided to do something about it.

I decided to let my older kids at least learn their electives independently.



Honestly, maybe you all already do this, and I am just a slow learner, but I have some great resources listed below anyhow!

When Can Kids Learn Independently

If your child can read, they can learn independently. Unless it is a very specific, difficult, or dangerous skill, they should be able to read and practice on their own while you are working with other kids, doing laundry, or cooking dinner. If they do need to learn difficult or dangerous skills, you will obviously need to help them master those before they use them independently.

What Kind of Electives Can Kids Learn Independently

In my opinion, kids can learn most things on their own if they are responsible enough. However, if it involves fire, toxic chemicals, knives, or guns you will want to help a bit. Obviously, I think my 11 year old can use the stove and oven on her own, but I would not let my 7 year old. Common sense can go a long way when deciding what to allow them to learn or how independent you want them to be with it!

I also happen to be an Independent Consultant for Usborne Books and More, so that was the obvious place for me to start looking for materials.




Art - So your kid is interested in art or artists. We can help with that! We have a great selection of art appreciation books including an Art Treasury (beware of some nudity in famous pictures in this one) and a Lift-the-Flap Art Book. Kids want to make art? Check out the Art Skills Book or the Complete Book of Art Ideas!


Music - Do your kids enjoy music? They can learn about Classical Composers or Music Theory. Or if you have thick walls, turn them loose to learn the Recorder or Drums!


Cooking - I think cooking is a necessary skill that all kids need to learn before leaving home. However, some kids really want to cook! I have a couple of those, and as soon as our Start to Cook book arrives, they will be on their way! We also offer a Baking Kit for those kids with a sweet tooth! You can also add in some culture with the Children's World Cookbook!


Gardening - Are your kiddos more interested in growing their own food instead of cooking it? Check out this Beginning Gardening book! I honestly need this one for myself! And if they re really into it, there is the Book of Growing Food that concentrates on surprise, surprise, growing food!
Coding - Have a future coder on your hands? Start them out with this amazing book on SCRATCH. My kids went through it and loved it! I have one who is working through the Coding with Python book now.


Outdoors/ Survival - Maybe your kid is more of the outdoorsy type who wants explore or camp or hunt. Check out the Outdoor Book for starters, and have them work their way up to learning some survival skills! You might even get them to write some with a Nature Journal.


Creative Writing - Is your kid a story writer? I know mine enjoy making up stories if it isn't an assignment! There are so many options for writing too: General Creative Writing, Story Writing, Comic Writing, or even Mystery and Suspense Stories!



Embroidery - Well this seems like an off the wall choice in today's world, but embroidery is a dying art, that kids can learn even if you don't know how! Right now we offer a Unicorn Embroidery Kit and Mermaid Embroidery Kit!



Fashion - Learn about fashion through various ages with a Fashion Coloring Book or design more modern fashion with this Design Studio!


Chess - Chess is a great way to build logical thinking skills as well as good sportsman-ship! Kids can learn chess with the Starting Chess book and then hone their skills with the Chess Book.

Why Usborne Books for Electives?

I hope you have already seen that Usborne Books and More has a great selection of books to allow kids to follow their own interests! But the amazing thing about most of these books are Internet Linked (I actually think all the ones I mentioned are, but without doubling checking I didn't want to say it). It is just how it sounds. Internet linked books include links that are safe for kids to explore to get more information about the topic they are learning!

If you didn't see what your kid is interested in right now, search the site and see what there is. If nothing is available, good old Amazon is sure to have some sort of kit to get you started. If you are really stuck feel free to give me a shout; I love shopping for other people!


How to Let Kids Learn Independently

This may be the hardest part for many of us...let go! Provide your kids with the books and supplies they need and let them have at it (unless it involves fire, chemicals, knives, or guns then make sure they know how), but really, they can't do much damage with a poorly played song, a terrible painting, or a badly burned meal. This also teaches them to get up and try again when they fail!

Aside from the topics themselves, allowing kids to learn what they want on their own teaches them several other important lessons. They learn to be independent and responsible for their own learning. They learn what a difference practice can make. They develop patience. And they are free to follow their own rabbit trails should they choose. They are also using their time productively. And you didn't have to plan it or teach it!

Want info on getting some of these books for free? Email me or Facebook message me!

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