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To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it; I believe it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

...I Still Have Mountains To Climb

(we've conquered hills). Well its coming up on week four (or five?) of our virtual school journey, and I feel like we have so much to do! Just about every evening, we go over the day's lesson, we check work we discuss what problems he may be having and it is both exhilarating and exhausting. Although the K12 curriculum has everything one could ask for (so far it really is very impressive, great stories, detail, and depth for each subject), I still have to play the role of teacher/learning coach and this is very time consuming. So a word to anyone reading who might be considering this: planning and organization appears to be a key factor that is helping us get over the hills (and hopefully will get us over the mountains too!).
Today my son learned more about Latin and Greek root words, Sumer, and elements...and so did I! That is the thing I find about K12 virtual academy that (if you do it right anyway), it really makes the parent become a true partner with the student as they are learning. I wish I had more hours in the day...
The dissertation (another mountain) is coming along (still slowly, still surely). I have approval to use the data set I need. I've reviewed 85% of my new research. Now it is just a matter of putting together chapters 1-3. Can I do it before the semester is up...? I had PLANNED to be finished before October was up! So, again with the adjustments in the schedule, but for a most worthy cause. We keep on pushing and climbing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A is for Apple!

Well, we went on our first field trip with the K12 VA VA Academy yesterday and it was GREAT! My son got to meet another 8th grade student in the academy, and I got to pick fresh apples. The day was heaven sent - I mean it was really that beautiful. AND K12 paid for the field trip expense (not gas, but the admission and snacks, and hey, that's more than you usually get with regular school!). My son and I were very pleased.

We are still having some of the same difficulties that you would expect with traditional junior high school - keeping the student organized, on task (and off Facebook - man I should have made him wait till he turned 14 or 15!!!), but I still must say I am very pleased with this learning format. I have much more control and access to the curriculum and learning tools. I have the lesson objectives right at my finger tips. I don't have to wait until tomorrow to ask the teacher what he was supposed to be doing today, or what he should have learned, or what he should know by next week. Its ALL RIGHT THERE!!! Thank God for technology. I truly believe this is the way to go - or at least some hybrid of this format blended with in-class instruction.

I am also making VERY good progress on moving that mountain that is the dissertation - Ph.D. - I SEE YOU....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gold Star!

So far, so good with the Virtual Academy/Home Schooling. My son seems excited about learning. We had our first parent-teacher-student conference yesterday. We used the Elluminate (e-classroom) tool and he loved it. I don't know why he was so thrilled to be able to talk to and listen to his teacher on the computer, but he was. It is just like chatting with a mic and web cam. I can't believe he is so interested in this type of learning format, but he is. His Algebra really needs work (he did not learn much at all last year), so the teacher pointed out some tools that should help get his aptitude up to where it should be. I am just very happy with the curriculum and format so far. We will see how the assessment goes.

I have pulled together a lot of additional research for my dissertation if I could just get finished with this other proposal I'm working on for a client, then I could start writing my chapters! I swear, sometimes my competing career and education interest give me a double migraine. And let's not even start about work. Thank God for a job though. Thank God for a job!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Well we are up and running with K12! All the materials came earlier this week and we got signed on last Friday. My son is really having a good time with this format so far, and aside from the frequent calls at work (I've got to get him to call only one time every other hour to tell me about something new he's done), I like it a lot!

So, we start week three (officially week 2, since we just got everything set up last week) this Monday, and then we will by in a rhythm. A field trip to Charlottesville has already been scheduled too. I can't wait. My son is excited about learning again. I have the ENTIRE 8th grade curriculum at my finger tips. The flexibility and control of this program is AWESOME. So far, so good.

Progress report on the Ph.D: slow and steady wins the race!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 2!

Well, today I had to re-submit all of my paper work to K-12 for th Virtual Academy enrollment. VERY FRUSTRATING. I am glad I am a persistent parent! On the upside, my son is working his way through the entire Algebra SOL review, and this is his hardest subject but he seems to be doing just fine. Also, he is really getting into the laptop and software. I think I will start looking for some gaming programs (intro level) for him to work on. Here's hoping I have the online curriculum set up and ready to go by next Monday....

BTW, our President gave a kick-a** address to congress this evening and my son watched the entire thing with me. I find it hard to believe that he is so into politics, but I guess it is because me and my brother (and everyone that comes over to the house) is so into it. Anyway, what a great government/history/economics lesson supplement that was!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School Daze

Well, today was the first day of 8th grade, and it went very well at the Virtual Academy! My son was very inspired by our President's address to students across the country. He told me that he watched it live, then watched it again on C-Span just so he could catch some of the parts that he missed. He was very impressed that Mr. Obama had to get up at 4:30am to keep on schedule with his US education while he was living in Indonesia with his mom. Thank God for a president who understands the difficulties that some students face in their educational pursuits, and who feels the responsibility to encourage and motivate them to do their best, despite the obstacles!!! May the Lord continue to bless our president and his family, and may the doubters, haters, and naysayers go the way of the dry leaves in the fall...
I am feeling quite positive about the online game plan for this year, so stay tuned for regular updates.
BTW, the Ph.D. is coming along nicely. I have a meeting with my dissertation committee chair tomorrow. It is still looking like May 2010 but I have WORK to do. I need to listen to our President's speech again too...every student needs a little motivation!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Great Expectations

Thanks to the good folks over at Electronic Village for posting this story about missing 5-year old Hasanni Campbell. His story caught my attention because he is a foster child and he probably has a lot to offer the world, but like so many foster children, he may not get the chance. As EV asked, so do I: please keep young Hasanni in your prayers. If you have information about his location, please contact the Oakland, VA authorities at 510-238-3641.

Also, please keep ALL foster children in your prayers - from babies to 18 - they need our prayers and they need our action. For my part, I plan to take a more active role in Great Expectations and other programs that support foster youth as they make the transition from youth to adulthood, where so many fall through the cracks (again). Anyway, that's my post for today.

BWT - my son's reading list is coming along very nicely. He did it himself - thank the Lord for the world wide web and libraries!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Made in L.A.

Still working on my son's reading list...but we did have a mini foreign language & government lesson courtesy of PBS' Point of View series this evening. The documentary film "Made in L.A. was an eye-opener for me and my son; the story follows a group of undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles' garment industry over three years. These individuals (mostly women) worked in sweat-shop conditions for a Forever 21 subcontractor; they were paid far below the state minimum wage, and in many cases worked without pay. More details about the conditions in the factories can be found here.

Although it took three years and a great deal of courage and persistence, the garment workers were eventually successful in negotiating a settlement with Forever 21. My son was especially please with this outcome. But he took away something else from this documentary; one of the key characters made a statement "I am ugly" and my son said, "she is not ugly, she probably just feels that way because when you are mistreated so long, your self esteem is taken away and you think you are ugly." He also said that I don't need to shop at Forever 21 (or any other clothing store) anymore - I have enough clothes and shoes...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Reading list

I am supposed to be developing a reading list for my rising 8th grader. We are doing the home-school adventure this year and I want to make it just that - an adventure in learning. But of course, in the process of getting the book list together, I was tempted by my own book list, and now I am in the middle of re-reading one of my top-shelf favorites Bebe More Campbell's "What You Owe Me".

This book (like many other second and third and forth time around reads) has broader meaning to me now, given what I've been exposed to in the last few years, and what America in general is having to come to terms with because of our past colliding with our present. The book spans three generations and as many races, to tell the tale of what happens when humans hate others because of physical differences, and how that impacts so many lives down the line. If you haven't read the book, I highly suggest that you do. It is not a history lesson (it may very well be a herstory lesson, but even that might be a stretch), but it is story that has so many well-developed characters that you can't help but learn something from their lives.

I hope I can find some books like this for my son's reading list...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's been a long time...

But I'm still here! Still working on my dissertation...completion timeline has been extended a bit though (May 2010). Today's post was inspired by Naomi Sims - widely credited with being the first black super model. I did not know of here, but when I saw her photo, I had to post it here. Hats off to a lovely lady who represented so much to so many lovely ladies.

Coming in the near future, I HOPE to blog more regularly...I will be adventuring into home-schooling with my 8th-grade son, so that should provide plenty of blog-worthy notes. Until next time!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Lady

Well, it has been waaaaay too long since my last post. Of course, I have been doing a number of things (to include reading other blogs that thankfully have more dedicated bloggers than myself - thanks Field, BrownSista, et al). I had to post this photo and a thought, as I wind down my CIAA Weekend here in the Queen City. Mrs. Obama is really giving folks pause (Right to Bare Arms???) but she is giving me a real sense of pride. I see myself, my sisters, my mother, my girl scout troop in her smile and I love the fact that her smiling face and beautiful brown image is being seen all over the world. I am going to have a poster of the First Lady reproduced for all of my OPAL members and my girls scouts, so they can hang it on their walls.
BTW, yes I am STILL writing the dissertation. Yes I am STILL graduating this year...just not in May (thank God for December Convocations!).