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Thread: College apps- Elective vs extracurricular?

  1. #1

    Default College apps- Elective vs extracurricular?

    Ugh. Still struggling with how to document some stuff. How would you document TeenPact, summer camp/experiences, or extracurricular activities?

    TeenPact- have it on transcripts as government credit, but it's listed once for each year. Should I use Government or Civics? Should I do an Extracurricular activity sheet to add to the transcript? Use it for credit one year and then list it under activities? He did mock elections one year and was voted Governor. Include that?

    Summer camp/experiences- PHC doesn't offer credit, but they say a 2 week camp is equivalent to a high school credit. So that's how I listed it. Now I'm doubting and maybe that goes under Activities too. He did a 3-week summer engineering program in MA last year. I did not use it for credit, so definitely activity, right?

    Community theater- he's been involved for 5 or 6 years. Need to double check. I gave him a Fine Art credit, but really, he's done more than just a credit, so list the productions and his involvement?

    What about hobbies? He's a geek. He builds drones for fun. He's troubleshooting the electronics of an old pinball machine. He will have a Skype interview, so just leave that info for then?

    My first college student was not an activity person, so this is a new area for me.
    Shay, wife to Rod and mom to Nathaniel(23), Benjamin(20), Nicholas(18), Rebekah(15), Julianne(10), Jonathan(7)and Joshua(3)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Generally speaking, a credit is three hours a week for a school year say 180 days. You can fiddle with that if it is a semester long thing. For example, we give one robotics credit for a season of First Lego League. That's 7 hours a week for 5 months. Full one credit there.

    So, I would give a credit of drama for each year that he earned it starting with high school. I'd name them Drama I, II, III, IV.

    The same applies to TeenPact- I'd give him his government credit and then you could give him some elective credits in Civics.

    PHC credit- two weeks? really? What is the camp? If you can name it an elective and justify the full credit based on the credit hours listed above, then go ahead and put it on there.

    If he build drones for fun, etc- then name it an elective in robotics, electronics or whatever you'd like. List out the credit amount you will give him and for how many years.

    Activities can include the MIT thing, etc.

    I add a sheet to the transcript which describes anything that I think needs explanation. This is where you can give a brief course description of Civics, drama, and his electronics/tech elective. On this same sheet I put a book list of pleasure and more academic reads. With it, I included which courses were taught by us and any which were not. I included the parent education. Most of our classes are parent taught courses (all but one credit worth), so I list our academic credentials.

    It's important to note that both of our oldest kids used the Common Application to apply to schools. As a homeschooling parent, we are required to write a counselor's report along with 4 other essays regarding our homeschool. There is ample opportunity to represent your student well using this format.

    With our oldest, I only turned in a one page transcript plus the essays on the Common App. With our current senior, I added a short supplement to her transcript as I described it above.

    Both were well received and they were accepted to their top schools.

    I recommend not naming your high school classes with specialty names based on content. Stick with English I, etc. Remember that admissions folks are looking to put homeschoolers in the equivalent box to a more conventional student. Make it easy. There are other ways for your student to stand out. I don't want my creative instructional choices to be misinterpreted or misunderstood. If necessary or desired, you can describe it in your transcript as a supplement.
    Heather wife to Dan and embracing the independent nature of homeschooling with our fantastic four (19 ds, 17 dd, 15 ds, 12 ds).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Shay, I've heard that TeenPact is 1/4 of a credit per year for Government or Civics, but maybe if they've done extra work????? I'm not sure since we haven't actually participated.

    I do not think that a 2 week class at PHC should count as a full credit

    I attended a high school workshop by HSLDA, and their big thing for electives (or classes, in general, especially ones that don't have required textbooks to follow) is that a credit is approximately 160 hours worth of work. A lab class is typically 180 hours. 1/2 a credit would be approximately 80 hours.

    I've made a check-off sheet for my girls for specific credits that they have to have -- Music, PE, ACT Prep for K. this year. They write in each box (which represents 1 hour) what they did. For example for PE, it could be C= clogging, W = walking, S= swimming, SB= softball, etc. That's just for general electives (I can email you a copy of the Word document if you want).

    When Katie did Forestry for 4-H and then went to Nationals, I wound up counting it as an Environmental Science credit. She did an hours check off sheet, but they did SO much more for that "class" than any true "class" would ever do. But, I've also been told that you can count 4-H as a class and as extra curricular.

    I agree with Heather about the robotics/electronics/mechanical stuff being a class. Katie loves to write -- she did OYAN in 8th, and I gave her a creative writing I credit for that. In 9th and 10th, she worked (using the OYAN formula) on writing a trilogy. I gave her an Advanced Creative Writing credit. She's now editing and working on getting it published, so I'm giving her a Creative Writing (Editing and Publishing) credit. But, on her extra curricular, I'm noting that she's attended a Christian Writer's Conference and won a scholarship to it last year (and she's going again this year).

    Hope that helps.
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

  4. #4


    See why I am confused! Okay, by Heather's standard, 108 hours equals a credit. Paige is saying 180 hours for a credit. I heard 120 hours equals a credit. HSLDA's website says 120-180, depending on the course.

    So, the PHC camp was 70 classroom hours, plus 1 or 2 fields trips and a bit of "homework/research" in the evenings with teams. Should I make it a 1/2 credit or an extracurricular? It was Strategic Intelligence.

    TeenPact says it's 1/3 of a Carnegie credit, which equals 40 hours. TeenPact week is 40 hours, but I count the homework hours as well and count it as a 1/2 credit.

    Here is a link to the course he did this summer. Actually, he is the teen on the left in the first picture of the slideshow and he is in the bottom right picture in the Quadfather tee. That was 105 hours of classroom time, including a field trip to MIT and the Edgarton Center. After the program, we went to the MIT Museum ourselves. He did do some work after hours, maybe another 10-15 in programming.

    The electronics stuff, he doesn't track hours. I have tried to get him to, but that takes the fun out, or so I'm told. It's more project based. He's built an alarm clock from wires, LEDs and scrap wood for the box. He's built a drone and it's undergone several "phases". He started with a 3-d printer(printed all the plastic parts) and a bunch of wires, motors, servos, etc. The PLA was not strong enough and after getting sick of printing replacement parts, went with a carbon fiber body. He's started his second drone with stuff he got for Christmas. He didn't want to buy antennas, so he had pieces manufactured in China and is building them. He needed a minimum order, so he's selling his extras and has recouped his initial investment. He's also improved on the style so the signal is better than his purchased antenna. He needed a hot wire knife to cut foam, so he ordered wire and built one. When I was a kid, we had a pinball machine. It died decades ago. My stepfather tried to fix it and order the schematics, but got sick and passed away before he could do it. We now have it and Nick troubleshooted it and thinks it's a simple fix. He just needs some time to replace the part and hopefully it works again.

    And my other concern. His transcript currently has 22 credits completed and another 8.5 scheduled for this year. Does that seem credit heavy? HSLDA says if more than 32 credits, consider turning some into activities rather than credits.

    Heather, we didn't do Common App. He needs a college app from each college, transcript, SAT/ACT scores, and 2 letters of recommendation. As a homeschool student, both letters need to be from someone outside the home. One highly recommends a interview, while the other doesn't.

    Homeschoolers must follow the application instructions as outlined above, including
    the submission of some form of a transcript and an outline of extracurricular activities. The transcript should
    include the student’s courses of study and grades. Standardized test scores (ACT, CLT, or SAT) must be sent from
    College Board, CLT, or ACT. The required letters of recommendation should come from individuals outside the
    home. Small portfolios are welcome, but not required. An interview is highly recommended.*

    Okay, gotta go!
    Shay, wife to Rod and mom to Nathaniel(23), Benjamin(20), Nicholas(18), Rebekah(15), Julianne(10), Jonathan(7)and Joshua(3)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Shay, I would convert some of those into just extra curricular. Maybe 30 hours at a max? 28 would be plenty. Of course, if HSLDA says you can do 32, you may want to, but ?????

    Maybe the PHC could just be an extra curricular?
    I'd give one credit for Fine Arts for theater and then just list the productions as extra curricular.
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

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