Done!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education | Posted on 24-04-2008

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I took my man­age­ment final and turned in my peer review for the human­i­ties class, so I am fin­ished!

I sup­pose this is my spring break, then. All the way ’til Sun­day, when the next class­es start.

Weekend and School Update

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Writing | Posted on 20-04-2008

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The girl and Sam both had busy week­ends. Katie went out Fri­day and Sat­ur­day, play­ing D&D with friends first, then going to a par­ty with her sweet­ie dur­ing my and Sam’s date Sat­ur­day night. Sam had a com­put­er to deliv­er Sat­ur­day morn­ing, then ran around pick­ing up some things. He went out again yes­ter­day, to the library for me and to the gro­cery store and the farmer’s mar­ket and I’m not even sure where else. Then he did an inter­vew for his pod­cast last night.

This is the last week of my class­es for the semes­ter, so I did a paper for one class and cre­at­ed my slides for a group project pre­sen­ta­tion in the oth­er, then had a cou­ple of quizzes. Mon­day night we do our pre­sen­ta­tion online, and see the oth­er groups’ pre­sen­ta­tions. That class does­n’t have a final, but I do have to take the final for the man­age­ment class, then I’m done.

Next week I start a class every­body is appar­ent­ly sup­posed to take around the begin­ning of their stud­ies, since one of the assign­ments involves cre­at­ing a “plan of study.” DeVry seems to have a lot of these “because we said so” class­es, which is annoy­ing. I’m also tak­ing my first tech­ni­cal writ­ing course at DeVry, though. It will involve more group projects, a bane of my exis­tence.

It’s one thing to work togeth­er in a busi­ness set­ting, where peo­ple’s jobs depend on their per­for­mance. It’s quite anoth­er to be yoked with peo­ple who just can’t be arsed to pull their weight and appar­ent­ly think Bs are high grades. I’m absolute­ly appalled by the num­ber of peo­ple in the 400-lev­el class­es I had this semes­ter who can­not cre­ate a coher­ent para­graph, much less write a paper.

I had the required “write a research paper” class over 20 years ago, at anoth­er school. Either the stan­dards have fall­en hor­ri­bly, or Mer­cer had high­er stan­dards than I real­ized. (I won’t even both­er com­par­ing Agnes Scot­t’s stan­dards to DeVry. It’s too painful.) Of course, if either of those schools had reme­di­al cours­es of any sort, I was unaware of them. Those “teach you what you should have learned in mid­dle school” class­es are a fact of life in all the Uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem schools and DeVry. I know that there were some when I took class­es at Geor­gia Perime­ter so many years ago, but they seem to be more and more impor­tant now. I hon­est­ly don’t think they belong in any insti­tu­tion of “high­er learn­ing.” If you can’t read, write, and do basic math before you get to col­lege, you have no busi­ness being there, because you do not have the essen­tial tools required for suc­cess. I sup­pose that makes me an elit­ist.

It’s going to be odd going back to 100 and 200 lev­el cours­es next week. By the time most stu­dents do get to the 400-lev­el cours­es, the true dregs have dropped out or risen out of that sta­tus. Thread­ed dis­cus­sions are such a huge part of online class­es that you get far more expo­sure to your class­mates writ­ing than in a face-to-face class, and you quick­ly find out who can’t or won’t write and who has no clue about how to dis­cuss issues with­out degen­er­at­ing into total non­sense. That part of this semes­ter has­n’t been as bad as oth­ers, at least. I did still run into nut­cas­es insist­ing that this coun­try was found­ed as a “Chris­t­ian nation,” but that’s pret­ty much to be expect­ed any­more.

That’s a Good Sign

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education | Posted on 03-03-2008

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Our first dis­cus­sion in one of my new class­es is about sci­ence vs. tech­nol­o­gy. Most of my class­mates seem to be able to write in sen­tences and para­graphs! That’s a bless­ing, and not near­ly as com­mon as it should be.

I did blog!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Education | Posted on 02-03-2008

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It’s over here today.

Never, Never on a Sunday

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Family, Fun, Geekery, Movies | Posted on 24-02-2008

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Nope, not Sun­day. Most­ly. Well, maybe some­times. Damned ear­worm!

I was try­ing to be Very, Very good today as I wrapped up my assign­ments for the semes­ter. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I got com­plete­ly dis­tract­ed by the fact that I had­n’t done a bloody thing with Pagan Par­ents since adopt­ing the site. I got it work­ing at a min­i­mal lev­el, so it should be easy to add con­tent now.

Hint Hint: Con­tent! I need con­tent! Col­lab­o­ra­tors! Seri­ous­ly, if you have opin­ions about par­ent­ing as a pagan, or you know of resources that I should link to, please let me know. If you know some­body who might want to write an arti­cle or blog with us there, have him or her con­tact me.

Rainbow Stickers = Gang Affiliations? Right

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Civil Rights, Education | Posted on 01-02-2008

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Yeah, I hear there’s a real prob­lem with queer street gangs these days, tag­ging every­thing in sight with those damned rain­bows.

ACLU sues Flori­da school for bar­ring Pride gear

Admin­is­tra­tors at Ponce de Leon High School stat­ed that stu­dents’ wear­ing rain­bow stick­ers could mean that they are mem­bers of an ille­gal orga­ni­za­tion.…
An uniden­ti­fied stu­dent was sus­pend­ed for five days for express­ing her sup­port for gay rights, the ACLU said. Stu­dents said a les­bian peer was harassed and tried to report the sit­u­a­tion to admin­is­tra­tors. She was instead greet­ed with cen­sor­ship of sup­port­ing stu­dents writ­ing “gay pride” on their arms and note­books.

This sto­ry def­i­nite­ly goes in the “glad to be home­school­ing” file, but it also gives me cause to won­der if the school admin­is­tra­tor train­ing process sur­gi­cal­ly removes all com­mon sense. Or do they just pre­fer to recruit those who don’t have much of it in the first place?

Happy Wednesday!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Family, Homeschooling, Reading | Posted on 23-01-2008

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Sam and I had a very nice date night while Katie was out with her beau. He had start­ed mak­ing chili last night, fin­ished it tonight, and added corn muffins. I’m not a big fan of chili (I won’t eat it if Sam did­n’t make it), but it was a very sat­is­fy­ing meal.

The girl is doing very well in the online course she’s tak­ing, and I’m hap­py to say that my semes­ter is going well, too. It’s hard to believe that my baby will like­ly start col­lege cours­es this sum­mer or fall!

Another week, another 1/4 semester

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Family, Fun, Health | Posted on 20-01-2008

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I’ve suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed 1/4 of the semes­ter! With­out using any kind of accom­mo­da­tions!

I real­ize that’s a fair­ly piti­ful thing to cel­e­brate, but I have to take what I can get.

The project man­age­ment course is actu­al­ly giv­ing me use­ful expe­ri­ence using MS Project, along with infor­ma­tion that is applic­a­ble in the “real world.” There’s also a ridicu­lous amount of ver­biage that I’ve nev­er heard used in the work­place, but maybe there’s been some sort of PM rev­o­lu­tion since 2000. I doubt it, but it’s pos­si­ble.

Reading

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Education, Family, Home, Homeschooling, Parenting, Reading, Relationships | Posted on 21-11-2007

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So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fair­ly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and oth­er crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nate­ly, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors—especially an old favorite nov­el, like Part­ners in Necessity—is eas­i­er, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had anoth­er round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and oth­er prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite severe rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provig­il, even tak­en twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­al­ly sleep­ing like a cat, 14–18 or hours a day, just nev­er deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slow­ly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s nev­er with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I start­ed read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nan­cy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, oth­er times while just being with her. She talked at an ear­ly age, and was very clear. She learned to read quick­ly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­at­ed (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­at­ed Read­er pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restric­tions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too—although that’s far less like­ly, since their par­ents aren’t, real­ly. My broth­er used to brag that he’d nev­er read any whole book, even those assigned for class­es. (I nev­er under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has nev­er read any­thing that was­n’t required. I don’t know their spous­es very well, but I’m fair­ly sure they aren’t recre­ation­al read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our moth­er (their Nana), who got me start­ed read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patient­ly.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fan­cy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent read­er gives one more of an advan­tage that any oth­er skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolute­ly any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­to­ry, cur­rent events, art—you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve giv­en them an incred­i­ble start on life.


1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever want­ed to sit still long.

Study: ADHD kids’ brain areas develop slower — CNN.com

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Education, Family, Health, News | Posted on 19-11-2007

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Expert: Find­ing shows bio­log­i­cal basis for atten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty dis­or­der

Cru­cial parts of brains of chil­dren with atten­tion deficit dis­or­der devel­op more slow­ly than oth­er young­sters’ brains, a phe­nom­e­non that ear­li­er brain-imag­ing research missed, a new study says.

ADHD Brain Maturation

Devel­op­ing more slow­ly in ADHD young­sters — the lag can be as much as three years — are brain regions that sup­press inap­pro­pri­ate actions and thoughts, focus atten­tion, remem­ber things from moment to moment, work for reward and con­trol move­ment. That was the find­ing of researchers, led by Dr. Philip Shaw of the Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health, who report­ed the most detailed study yet on this prob­lem in Mon­day’s online edi­tion of Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences.

I’ve gone from seri­ous­ly not believ­ing that ADHD exist­ed at all, to being forced to under­stand its real­i­ty because my life part­ner, his kids, and my daugh­ter all have it. These find­ings are a major advance!

I still know that plen­ty of peo­ple (par­tic­u­lar­ly bad par­ents) use ADHD as an excuse, but that can hap­pen with any dis­or­der, real or imag­ined.

There’s fur­ther infor­ma­tion at the Nation­al Insti­tute for Men­tal Health, where the research was done.