Art, speech, health--oh my! A well rounded high school program for our children involves the selection and planning of electives. What are the options? In the beautiful diversity of homeschooling, there is more than one way to approach these electives.

We asked several publishers to send us some samples to look at. Our goal is not to tell you one is better than another, but rather to let you appreciate the differences in approach and content so you can choose what is best for your family.

Christian Light Publications (CLP) offers a five-LightUnit elective called Computer Basics. The LightUnit format is a workbook approach. The student reads a passage of text, then answers a series of questions, either fill-in-the blank, true/false, or short answer. This course is for the student with no computer knowledge. Some time is spent introducing the computer and Microsoft Windows, and the student gains proficiency in all its aspects. Other software, networks, and peripherals, the use of the computer in the workplace, and buying your own computer comprise the remainder of the topics covered. The student can use his home computer to get hands-on experience in the use of Microsoft Windows. This course is easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to administer.

Alpha Omega Publications (AOP) offers several computer courses, including
Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft FrontPage, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Word 2002 (XP). Each course is sold separately. AOP has been on the cutting edge in using computers in education, and their offerings in computer literacy are top-notch. I looked at their Windows 2000 and Power-Point courses. They each consist of a tutorial CD, two LIFEPACs (workbooks), and an answer key.

The tutorial CDs are fabulous. They take your student through Windows 2000 and PowerPoint step by step. What I like about these courses is that they presume NO KNOWLEDGE on the part of your student. They start with how to use your mouse. So if you are intimidated about integrating computer classes into your homeschool, fear not!

The printed portion of the course, the LIFEPAC, is completed as you work your way through the tutorial. Regular quizzes and unit tests are included. I like this approach a lot because of the hands-on aspect provided by the teaching CD. Get used to the fact that your students will probably always know more about computers than you!

CLP offers a ten-LightUnit elective in Home Economics. In the workbook approach, the subjects covered are an introduction to the kitchen, nutrition and food preparation, food shopping and kitchen organization, meal planning, sewing for the home and for yourself, godly home-keeping, child growth and development, and godly womanhood. (Skimming through the units, I picked up a few tips and recipes!) At the completion of this course, your young lady will be able to run a home efficiently, understand the ages and stages of children, and have some basic sewing skills. In the sewing section, your child will sew a lap or baby quilt, a quillow, curtains, and a dress. Several field trips are required, including to the grocery story and fabric store. This course will well equip your daughter for home life.

AOP offers a ten-unit (LIFEPAC) course in home economics for high school students. Topics covered include Christian character and appearance, cooking, meals, clothing, sewing, interior decorating, your home, finances, child development, and relationships. For each unit, numerous additional learning activities are provided in the teacher's guide. Some of the unique features are how to plan a wardrobe for all occasions, beginning a recipe collection, studying and planning furnishings, writing a resumé, and studying a contract. I appreciate the emphasis on a modern student interacting with the world. This course covers all the basic life skills needed for independent living, including a few extras.