Middle school electives are optional classes for students; pupils must complete a certain number of elective courses, but they can choose from a range of subjects. Electives in middle school may include subjects related to art, music, communication, business, technology, language or crafts. As with high school and college electives, some have prerequisite classes. Although many students remain years away from employment or college, middle school electives hold importance.
A number of middle school electives provide practical experience that can be useful outside of schools. Such classes include working in the school office, store, library or newsletter, according to Terman Middle School. Home Economics electives focus on abilities like preparing food, sewing and shopping efficiently. Some high school students obtain part-time employment while they remain in school, allowing them to put these skills to use in the workplace relatively soon. Others may apply them to household tasks.
Electives also help prepare students for high school courses in foreign languages or computing. Some districts offer advanced middle school computer electives. For example, Terman Middle School in Palo Alto provides a website design class. Remedial electives in reading, math and other major subjects are important because they can help prevent students from falling behind their grade levels. Electives often have smaller class sizes than the main subjects.
Electives also help students develop and expand their interests. Some schools offer "exploratory wheel" electives with multiple short classes on different subjects in one semester, according to the California Department of Education. This helps students determine what courses and activities interest them. Other elective classes typically last for half or all of the year, but they help to accomplish the same goal.
Taking an interest in musical instruments, plays, computer programming, a sport, photography or another subject may enhance a child's general interest in education. This will prove more effective if the student picks electives of the greatest personal interest, rather than selecting them at the urging of parents or peers.
Another element of importance regarding middle school electives is the ability of students to choose classes of their own. Old Trail School in Bath, Ohio indicates that students appreciate the ability to make a major choice in school and the option to learn practical skills. This will make some students more receptive to the courses. It also helps to prepare them for future decision-making with regard to education and employment.