Tag Archives: learning


A long time ago, when dial up was how you accessed the internet and bell bottoms were cool, my parents used AT&T for internet and email. A free website was part of the deal. My parents had no use for that, so it was passed to me.

I used it to create Minibios, a place where I wrote miniature biographies about people I had tesearched. What really grabbed me then, and what grabs me now, is studying people’s childhoods. Childhood is often barely touched by your average biography. Yet it is fascinating to look at someone’s childhood and see how it influenced them. Can you see a glimmer of the person they would become?

The other night I had the idea to start a blog where I do that again. I’m on entirely sure what the point would be. Thanks to Wikipedia if someone really wants to look up some basic things about someone they can do it in a second. Perhaps what I can do is add more information about the childhood specifically. I will not be doing my research on Wikipedia. I would be using books, scholarly articles etc.

On one hand I don’t wanna make a commitment to another project. I’m already dabbling in a lot, and setting off to learn sign language. At the same time, it is good to have a goal to work toward and it would be nice to write about some of things that I research. I use The Great Courses to watch lectures, and I use an app on my phone to take notes about what I learn from that. But it might be good to wrap my mind around an entire subject and really write about it again. I’ve considered this before, but now had Angelica is in school all day things are really different. Before it kind of would have been impossible to do a website like that. I was already doing poetry, art, reading, and photography while taking care of my daughter. There was no real room for anything else. Plus, I research a lot of different things and taking time to focus in on just one would have been hard.

Math and English

We had been determined to wait until after Angelica’s learning evaluation in Denver at the end of January to start any form of tutoring to help her with math and English. However, I found a tutor who came recommended on a board by parents who have children with learning disorders. I decided to call her and get a feel for what she does. Ultimately we decided to go ahead and start the tutoring. Already this teacher is making some progress with Angelica. I’m sure it’ll be quite a while before we start seeing anything major, but it’s still really good to see her getting in there and learning something. This is a licensed teacher and she uses a special curricula and really works on the level of the child.

Angelica really likes her, as do Craig and I. I really hope that this works out well. We need help teaching her to read and do basic math. From there hopefully we can take it ourselves, but I want her to start building on these basics now. Science, History, and Bible are going absolutely wonderfully. Angelica is so smart and she’s so curious and there’s always something new to learn. I have bought her over 20 of those DK Discovery books and I have more on the way and even more I’m going to order in January. We have enough material to take us through for years. And of course there’s always more scripture to learn. We watch documentaries regularly.

I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to stay home and homeschool Angelica. It’s wonderful to see her learn new things and to let her pick what interest her for the day and start going over that material. It’s always a joy as a mother when you get to see your child happy. This time together is so special.

Rediscovering an Old Passion

Before we left on our vacation to tour the Northwest, Craig decided to look for our cameras and bring the nice cameras on the trip with us. I didn’t think it was a bad idea. The cameras are nice, and haven’t been used in years. However, I didn’t care that much. I enjoy taking photos on my phone, and  the editing apps I like to use are all on my phone. I really like the results I can get on my Galaxy, and using an actual camera just hasn’t been on my radar.

Using a camera takes more work and dedication then using a phone camera. Aside from the fact you have way more settings to learn, if your camera doesn’t have wifi (and mine doesn’t) you have to take the time to clear out the memory card and dump the files onto your computer. If you love your phone editing apps, as I do, then after that you have to hook up your phone to your computer and transfer them there for editing or sharing. It also gives you one more device to have to charge. Basically, it is kind of a pain.

I Love my Camera

It is so worth it! The photos I got were so much better than what I typically get on my phone. Portraits were crisper and cleaner. The high contrast black and white setting created some stark, moody images. I got to experiment with long exposure. I still have a long way to go with that, but just experimenting with the possibilities awakened something in me.

Miniature Photography

My favorite thing, by far, was playing with miniature mode. I can get some decent black and whites on my phone. The portraits it takes are not always stunning, but do the job and can be edited. However, for taking miniature photos (or tilt shift, as they are otherwise referred to) I have found nothing on my phone to even remotely measure up to my camera. The miniature photos I took on my camera were miles ahead of the miniature images I have created on my phone. The phone camera apps that do miniature are clunky and unsophisticated. The other miniature/ tilt shift photography apps that turn photos into tilt shift images after you take them with your regular camera app just don’t do a spectacular job. The finished look is never that beautiful. Some apps are certainly better than others, and will do in a pinch, but after spending days using the miniature mode on a decent camera I will never look back, and I can see clearly a difference between miniature photos I’ve done with my phone and the ones I’ve taken on my camera. Miniature is my absolute favorite, and I have lost sight of that over years of using a cell phone camera for convenience.

My Love of Photography Has Been Rekindled

Years ago, in college, I spent a lot of time on photography. It was what I did the most, besides writing. Every weekend and some weekdays were spent photographing the world around me or editing photographs I’d taken. After that, when I was using a cheaper camera and had not yet fallen into the habit of using a cell phone, I fell in love with tilt shift photography. I saw some miniature images online and knew immediately that I wanted to do that.

Recently I have gotten back into photography on my phone after a long dry spell. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my phone camera and I’ve seen people make gorgeous art with their phone cameras. My favorite editing app of all time is on my phone, so I will have to transfer my photos to it. But there is something so special, artful, and magical about using an actual camera, and the detail and lighting and miniature mode on cameras outdo phone cameras by a long shot.

Being able to take good tilt shift images again has reignited my creativity. Long exposure is something I’m dying to get good at, and to use to create really surreal and sublime images. There is so much to discover on my camera, and I am only scratching the surface. I definitely want to build my skills with macro mode. Having a new creative outlet, especially one that gets me in touch with my past self and which sparks an old flame, makes my soul sparkle with excitement and glow with satisfaction. I’ve been dipping my toes in the water of photography for a while, but now I am going to slip beneath the surface. The water is like silk, the waves a tender, clean coolness.

Coursera, Rainbow Notes

I have been dying to learn new things, and after reading a book called, “Don’t Go Back to School,” or something to that, I have decided to listen to iTunes lectures, buy textbooks, use online MOOCs and other learning programs, AND to start taking notes on what I learn so that I remember it. I have actually done a ton of nonfiction reading over the past ten years over many subjects, but for some reason as my mood swings got worse my memory got worse and I just wasn’t retaining things like I wanted to. But when I was in school, I could always retain things by taking notes. Rather than using some notebook, I am using a colorful notepad app that lets you add notes in literally any color. You choose the color you want from the color spectrum wheel. It is so bright and fun to look at my notes! I have my phone with me a lot, so I can review what I’ve learned whenever and wherever I want.

I am starting off by taking some little Coursera courses. Right now I am going through a class on gender roles in Korea. It is fascinating! I am enjoying taking notes. I have so many other courses I am going to audit as well, and so many books I am going to read. I found a really fun book online about philosophers who were unlucky, or very unskilled, in love. That should be really fun to read and learn from. I love any form of biography, I love humor, and maybe I’ll come across some philosophers I want to study in depth. Starting this week, I am really diving into things. I like to keep my mind  honed, to stay interesting, and to challenge myself. These are my goals.  I want to stay interesting for myself and my husband. I want to learn about the world for my own edification, and to broaden my horizons in my writing.  When I don’t learn anything new I start to feel so dull, and my writing feels so flat. My imagination slows. I believe that education should never stop. It enriches the soul, creates human connections, and builds character. I feel more like myself when I am studying something.

French Poetry

I love the French Romantics. Who doesn’t? The first volume of poetry I ever bought was Les Fleurs due Mal by Charles Baudelaire. Forgive me if I have butchered that spelling. I spend more time inside of that book then I do on the cover. But it was my first favorite poetry book. At the time my parents didn’t want me spending money, or wasting money as they saw it, on books because anything that could be got for free at the library shouldn’t be bought. But I was at a Barnes & Noble and saw Charles Baudelaire’s book and fell in love. I hid it in my dresser drawer under some clothes and kept my little secret for a long time. I used to take the book out after everyone in the house went to bed and read in the dim light.

Baudelaire isn’t the only French romantic I love. He’s just the first one. But what I know next to nothing about is contemporary French poetry. I don’t know what the French are writing about. Or more importantly, how they are writing it. I might be missing out on wonderful poetry that I would absolutely love because I haven’t read any poetry from France written after about 1900.

I think this book will be extremely educational at the very least. And if I find some poets I like it could really spark my creativity and lead me down some new paths for my own writing. I am looking forward to digging in this week.