Marvelous Monday- ELECTIVES

Electives.  Wasn't that the category you loved in high school?  Finally, you could study something you really loved or at least wanted to know more about.

In our home, electives are chosen either because we see an area of giftedness in a child, the child has a growing interest in something, or because we know it's a skill they'll be thankful for later in life.

Case in point: I didn't take typing in high school because I thought something really lame like, "I don't plan to be a secretary; why would I need to know how to type?"  Oh brother.  Proof that parents are wiser.

Let's start with typing :D

We have used Typing Instructor Deluxe with good success in  the  past.  It is a straight-forward program that features the ability to tailor-make a typing program for the student's unique needs.  Unfortunately for us, Typing Instructor does not have a platform for Mac.

When my husband was in dental school, I taught myself to knit.  At the time, knitting wasn't enjoying the popularity it has in recent years, and there just weren't as many lovely books on the subject available.  I checked out every knitting book our library had, pouring over them and soaking in everything I could.

My favorite book for beginning child knitters is Melanie Falick's Kids Knitting. Explanations are clearly illustrated and the projects are cute and enticing.  Among my favorite websites are,, and



I know I've touched a wee bit on cooking before, but just in case you're looking for some good kids' cookbooks, here are our favorites:


Our copy of Pretend Soup is soiled, dog-eared, and used weekly here.  Such a simple book, such good results.  Even the teenagers drag it out, but don't tell them I told you ;)

If you have a budding draftsman or someone who needs a constructive way to spend some free time this summer, check out Complete-a-Sketch books.  All three of my older guys loved these when they were in the 8-12-year-old bracket, and I think I'll give them to my almost-10-year-old-daughter this summer as well.

I've linked several times to homeschool graduate Amanda McCoy's really fun nature and art kits.  We're a season behind, but my younger kids have all loved these projects.  Several of them have been county fair entries for us, and blue ribbon winners! (I've learned to save the really good projects they do all year long for the fair.  Otherwise, we'd be scrambling at the last minute and that's never fun).

If you've got crafty girls and boys, they'll love the projects.  If you have nature lovers, they will too.  It's an elective that can also be counted as nature study and art!

My boys and oldest daughter have dabbled somewhat in woodworking, but we are blessed to have a grandfather on the property who has all the tools and patience they need.  I have some neat homemade gifts they've given me over the years, and just tonight there was talk about asking Pop Pop to show them how to make boxes with locks so they can keep little peoples' wandering hands out :)  They've browsed the Woodworkers Resource site for free patterns and help.

Incidentally, asking grandparents to give tools for gifts is a great way to build a stash for your young men and women.  The look of elation on the face of our then-nine-year-old boy when he received his own cordless drill was priceless!

I'm looking for a good beginning sewing DVD or online instruction for our almost-ten-year-old.  Anyone have any favorites?

Cheryl's Marvelous Monday post can be found here.  She has at least one child who has exceptional baking skills!