Free electives for high school are not hard to find.
Electives are an important part of any homeschool high school education. While some elective credits are spent with additional science, math or history topics, electives are also an opportunity for students to explore their passions.
Electives can also be a way to try on possible careers and engage with areas of interest.
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Free or Nearly Free Electives Online for High School
There are many free or nearly free elective options online. Browse the course listings on any of these sites for free and nearly free elective ideas.
Here is a snapshot of possible free elective options available at Khan Academy. (Can I just say we love Khan!)
Udemy offers great online courses for students of all ages. Everything from computer programming to watercolors.
Some of the courses appear to be quite expensive but Udemy offers frequent sales that bring the prices to around $10 for most courses.
Coursera is another online course provider but they partner with many universities and corporations to provide excellent content as well as opportunities for certification and advancement.
The open courses are $29-99 and provide about 4-6 weeks of instruction through online videos and auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums.
Here is just a sampling of universities providing content to Coursera:
DIY.org is “a safe online community for kids to discover new passions, level up their skills, and meet fearless geeks just like them.”
DIY is a great opportunity for kids to discover new creative challenges and participate in a community of other students. They provide motivation in the form of “patches” that can be earned.
Here is a sample of the types of patches kids can learn by completing specific challenges:
The Great Courses offers a fantastic array of video and audio courses on everything from cooking and science to philosophy and history. However, the list prices on many of these are above our “free or nearly free” cost.
Some options include using an Audible subscription to stream The Great Courses available through the platform. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks. You can also visit your local library where they may have DVDs of some courses available.
If your library participates in Kanopy, you can find some courses there as well to stream.
Another option is to join The Great Courses Plus to access unlimited streaming of more than 400 titles for a low monthly cost of $19.99. Even better, Amazon Prime Members can access more than 100 titles for just $7.99 a month the Great Courses Signature Collection. Compare them here.
Here is just a small sampling of the most popular courses:
MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course) are a growing area of opportunity for students of all ages. In addition to the ones above, you should also check the listings at the ones below for even more free elective options.
Here are a few more free electives that are designed for homeschoolers.
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool is a free, online homeschool option. They offer a full selection of traditional and elective high school courses as well as classes for younger students. Follow along with their MyEPAssignments app to keep up day by day.
See a sample Spanish class here.
OutSchool brings students together in video chats with live teachers to learn a wide variety of topics. Many classes offer short time frames (4 weeks). Prices vary but aren’t free. Some are as low as $30. I wanted to include because this is still a less expensive option for live instruction than local classes may be especially for the variety of options.
Learn about video games, Harry Potter or French. Lessons from live teachers is a bonus! Sort by age, time or subject to find an elective class for you.
Free Hands-On Electives for High School
In addition to online platforms for free electives for high school, there are also a number of resources for more hands-on classes. I have linked below some options for a variety of free elective courses. You can also use YouTube to find more lessons for each of these.
Cake Decorating Free Electives
Free Cake Tutorials on CakeFlix
See your local Michael’s or Joann store for low-cost classes as well
Career Exploration Free Electives
Crossroads Career Network has a free career exploration website as well as a low-cost workbook to explore more about future careers and how to do what you are created for.
Credits Before College offers a career exploration course. ($39.95)
Apprentice with a local business
Free Career and College Readiness courses from EverFi
Computer Science Free Electives
Here is a giant list of free computer science elective options
This one is not free but Compuscholar offers a complete computer science course for homeschool for just $120 or $15/month for access
Cooking Free Electives
Cooking with the Times from the NYTimes has a showcase of videos for various kitchen “how-tos” to help you master the basics of cooking.
BBC Food Techniques is a library of common cooking skills with videos and instructions for any learner
Check your local YMCA or grocery store for inexpensive classes
More online cooking classes here
Creative Writing Free Electives
National Novel Writing Month (November)
The Crafty Writer’s free creative writing course
Find more online writing courses here.
Drivers Ed Free Electives
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia teen driving plan free elective
DriversEd.com offers low cost driving courses online. Prices vary but as low as $25.
Health/Nutrition Free Electives
Alcohol Abuse Awareness course from EverFi
Prescription Drug Abuse course from EverFi
Teen Mental Health curriculum
Personal Finance Free Electives
Free Next Gen Personal Finance course
Financial Literacy for High School students
Photography Free Electives
Intro to Photography (30 lessons)
You could splurge on this MasterClass from Annie Leibovitz for $140
More ideas for photography electives here
Woodworking Free Electives
This is an ongoing project so please comment below with your best free or nearly free electives and bookmark this page for updates.