Making the Most of Extracurricular Activities


Documenting extracurricular activities (a mission trip to Brazil, teaching a preschool class, starting a lawn business, computer repair business, etc.) is not only evidence of your child’s learning and social experiences, but it could be a deciding factor to your child’s being accepted at a particular school or college. Like most homeschool parents, you no doubt faithfully record these activities in the extracurricular portion of your child’s transcript. Wouldn’t it be better, however, if your child could gain academic credit for his activities as well?
He can! Here’s how:

First, let’s review the difference between an activity and a credit course. An activity involves time spent as well as participation in projects related to the particular activity. A credit course involves not only time spent and participation in projects, but also completion of academic work including reading, research and written compositions related to the learning experience. Therefore, to change an activity into a credit course, you must add an academic component.

The first step in doing this is to write down a list of different learning experiences that could be involved in the activity. For instance, in a lawn mowing business, our child could learn marketing, advertising, bookkeeping, accounting, graphic arts, business ethics, and equipment repair and maintenance.

Armed with this list of possible learning experiences, look over course descriptions from your local high school and decide in which course or courses these experiences could be applied. (list of course descriptions).

For example, in a lawn mower business, the following courses would be relevant:

1. General Business (1 semester, 1 credit): An introduction to economics, business, management, automation in industry, career planning and training, consumer information, money management, banking and loans, savings, stocks, bonds, insurance needs, labor and government’s role in business.

2. Business Management/Ownership (2 semesters, 2 credits) and Business Management/Ownership Internship (2 semesters, 2 credits): Provides student with actual on-the-job training as in the field of management and the opening of a business and work responsibilities directly related to the occupational objectives learned in the classroom. Curriculum consists of: management skills, leadership skills, marketing research, finance, buying, merchandise control, and knowledge of opening a business.

3. Marketing Education (2 semesters, 2 credits) and Marketing Education Internship (2 semesters, 2 credits): Provides student with actual on-the-job training and work responsibilities directly related to the occupational objectives learned in the classroom. Curriculum includes marketing concept, advertising and promotion, display, economics of marketing, human relations of marketing, and selling.

4. ComSci: Desktop Publishing (1 semester, 1 credit): Introduce student to activities that can be accomplished with desktop publishing software packages. Student will design brochures, flyers, pamphlets, logos, business cards, letterhead and other documentation common to an office setting.

5. Accounting I (2 semesters, 2 credits): Basic principles of accounting (analyzing daily transactions, journalizing, posting, financial statement preparation) applicable to sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporate forms of business ownership. Personal and business banking practices are also included. Practical application of accounting principles is given through the use of computer software. Personal income tax preparation is also presented.

After you have determined which course or courses would enable your child to receive credit from his activity, jot down the necessary academic work needed to fulfill the course requirements. In our lawn business example above, you might first decide to have your child complete the ComSci: Desktop Publishing Course in order to help him create a business logo, business cards, and customer invoices. Academic work that would fulfill this course requirement could include the following:

1. Reading and Research requirements:

A. An instruction manual for your desktop publishing software

B. A book on advertising design

C. Research on the Internet for sample logos, business cards, etc. for ideas

D. Take a field trip to a desktop publishing business and interview the owner

2. Composition requirements:

A. A short composition on effective advertising design or other topic related to the subject

B. Completion of a brochure, flyer, logo, business cards, invoice and letterhead

3. Quizzes or tests, if needed: Create your own with the free, online Quiz Center (

As your child progresses through his academic work, keep appropriate documentation that could include:

1. The number of hours worked or volunteered. Have your child’s work or volunteer supervision (if other than yourself) sign off on the number of hours he worked and assign a grade (if needed) for on-the-job training.

2. Evidence of research done related to the course:

A. A list of books read

B. A list of research completed (Internet, magazines, interviews, etc.)

C. Copies of research papers, compositions and other written work

3. A list of projects completed (include photos, if available)

4. Photos of your child participating in the activity (if possible) and field trips taken

5. Copies of quizzes or tests, if available

6. A transcript showing final grade & number of credits received. Note: 1 credit = .5 unit and one semester of work; 2 credits = 1 unit and two semesters of work. (See for more information on preparing transcripts.)

As your child continues the activity, continue to add appropriate coursework in order to earn additional elective credits. In our example above, your child could begin the Business Management/Ownership + Internship course next to earn an additional four credits. By completing these academic components, your child will not only demonstrate an exceptional learning and social experience, but will also earn a number of high school elective credits as well!

Note: A great resource for textbooks related to elective subjects is your local college or trade school bookstores. When my son was studying computer graphics, I went to local college bookstore and purchased the same textbooks used at the college for my son to use at home. I purchased a nursing math textbook for my daughter. Both of these came with super workbooks which I used for their academic work.

For more course descriptions, check this webpage.



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