T12’s Electives For the 2014-15 school Year

T12 is by far my most studious child.  Whilst he hates writing with a passion he truly loves to learn, and because of this is highly self motivated.  He would love to unschool and I suspect would thrive quite well learning independently anything that caught his interest.  However, he is certain he wants to go to university and is certain he will do it without getting into debt.  He is serious about his future and very willing to put in the hours to make it happen.

Elective wise he really had to try hard to limit himself to just a few subjects!  He has a lot of interests and a lot of learning he wants to do.   His problem is one of time or lack thereof .  Here is his (shortened) list of electives:


He has been interested in taking photos ever since his grand parents bought him a camera a few years ago.  He often asks to go for a walk so he can take pictures of all things nature related.  He wants to have some time each week to photograph and has asked to have a blog to showcase his pictures.  He also wants to begin entering competitions and so his goal is to improve both his knowledge and technique.  We did a lot of research between us to find something that would fit his needs.  The result is a hodgepodge of ideas, links and pins from which he will choose each time he does his photography each week.  The hodgepodge includes investigating these links and this pinterest board:


T's display

I’m fairly certain his interest in space comes from all he is learning in his physics.  We have already completed the Apologia Astronomy course a few years ago, this time he wanted something much more in-depth.

T's demonstration

I found two sources of courses (!) which he will work his way through in tandem.  The first is this course which uses lots of information from NASA.  The second is a downloadable program of study especially designed for home schoolers containing photos which will go very well with the first course mentioned.  T will work through this course during his elective time at his own speed.  He has asked for it to be an interest led course, whereby he learns in the best way possible for him and I won’t be requiring any writing out of him, only what he wishes to produce.  As he will be doing a lot of writing in other studies I am happy to give him free rein on this.


Cooking/Home skills


T wants to learn how to cook and how to do so frugally, so that if he chooses to study at university away from home he will be able to produce large amounts of healthy food within his budget.  He has also asked to learn skills he may need around the house.  For this we are using the male version of the girls’ home making book:


This looks like a really helpful book, and whilst he already has certain skills mentioned I think it will help make sure we cover the most important ones.  I took a photo of the contents for anyone who is interested:



For his cooking, he wants to learn how to cook proper meals not baking.  For this we will be using a couple of Delia Smith’s books, although not the same ones his sister is using:



T12 and the girls worked on making room in our log pile for the new logs to be stored and seasoned

His last two options are gardening and finance.  We have already made the decision to garden together as a family and I think this will suit T really well.


Last year he made elaborate plans for our garden and began but soon became overwhelmed by the tasks he had set himself.  This year he will have the whole family working with him and so hopefully he will feel like the garden is more manageable than he did when he was out on his own.  He has always enjoyed being out in the garden and has found it so helpful to counteract the effects of the ups and downs which accompany these hormonal years he is now in.  I am excited about working in our garden this year and learning alongside my son.

We will be covering finances in a unit study which incorporates the entire family.  I’ll be posting about that later on in the week.


  1. Wow, another good plan! I’m most impressed with T’s self-initiative. It sounds like he’s off to a very good start for the year, and I shall be very interested to read about his journey.

  2. What a great list. IT is great to see all that your children are learning.They are all unique. You are one busy mom!!
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. What fabulous plans. Have you or T come across “Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography”? The Kindle edition is great value at £4.99. It links to many hours of video tutorials. Sue Elvis recommended it – her 13yr old daughter is passionate about photography – and I’m getting a lot out of it (even though I have a bridge camera not a DSLR).
    Also – as regards physics and space – a friend of mine is an astrophysics professor. Just in case T ever needs one! 🙂
    I hope T has a great year!

  4. Sounds like T will have a fantastic year of electives. I am happy to see all the photography links in your post as well as the comments. Faith is very interested in photography, so I am going to encourage her to look at some of these suggestions. I am anxious to hear all of your garden plans. I am having thoughts in that directions, too. Evan has started the Boy’s Guide and likes it. He has found a recipe he wants to try soon.
    Have a great week, Claire.:)

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