Posts Tagged With: school

hello october

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It’s been… a long time since I’ve posted.  These past few summer months have been oh so full and I’ve been very busy living life.

But I’m back!

Now that it’s October and summer has officially come to an end, I’m here to bring you up to date a little bit.  So brace yourselves for a long rambly post. 😉

 

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For me, it was a summer of tan lines and snow cones.  Of dancing and laughter.  Where friends became family, and inside jokes were made.

There were card games, water balloon and paint fights, tumbles across giant soapy slip-n-slides, go kart races, crazy ping pong games, and late nights at the frozen yogurt shop.  And in the midst of it all — learning, growing, and stretching.

Grab a shovel
Grab a pail
We might be gone all day
Acting out these fairy tales
Running jumping in the waves

I rediscovered my love for kayaking and canoeing.  There’s something about being on the water and in control of a boat that makes me very happy.

kayaking

kayaking down the river

 

In May, my friend Charity and I co-hosted a CollegePlus gathering. 14 students from around the country came down here for a week of great fellowship and adventures together.  This was my third gathering to be a part of and it was just as amazing.   It was such a blessing to catch up with old friends and to make new ones as well.  Hosting added a different twist to it, but it was a lot of fun to design t-shirts, plan menus and events, introduce people to beignets, and teach them how to peel crawfish.

the deep south gathering

live oak

climbing a live oak

 

I fell in love with this song. <– The Lord’s Prayer, in Swahili, sung by Peter Hollens.  What’s not to like?  Plug in some nice headphones or hook up to a good speaker and turn the bass up.

We’ve played Ultimate every week — despite the heat.  I think I only questioned our sanity twice. 😉

Between my own projects and one of Sean McCabe’s courses, I’ve been doing a lot of hand-lettering.

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Our dance group grew and changed and we launched our own dance website.

In addition to our monthy dances, we took a 6 week dance class which ended up teaching us the basics of Salsa and East Coast Swing.  Learning Salsa was interesting, but I was really excited to finally *get* East Coast Swing. 8)

dancing in the capitol

photo courtesy Jessica M

 

 

I studied all through the summer.  Made it to 90 credits and seniordom. 🙂  After that, I hit a couple bumps in the road.  Getting over those — and planning out the last phase of my degree — has kept me very busy and, unfortunately, a bit stressed.  So I’ve been learning a lot about God’s timing vs. my plans and expectations.
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Take a breath, take a step
What comes next
God only knows
But here goes.

 

I’ve also learned that being part of a close fellowship of believers is one of the hardest, but best things ever. When you see each other multiple times a week, in a variety of different places, around a bunch of different activities, staying at each other’s homes until late at night, praying together — you get to know each other really well.  That means you see each other’s faults, flaws, and sins.  But it also means that you get to grow in Christ together with friends that have become your family.  It can be tough, but it’s oh so worth it.

 

journaling

 

And I wish all the people I love the most
Could gather in one place,
And know each other and love each other well.
And I wish we could all go camping,
And lay beneath the stars,
And have nothing to do and stories to tell.

We’d sit around the campfire
And we’d make each other laugh,
Remembering when…

Now here it is October.  This fall is filling up quickly, but I’m definitely going to be posting here more often.  I have a feeling there will be much to share in the coming months. “See” you all soon!

Categories: Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Accelerated Distance Learning | My College Story

math work

homework

In past posts, I’ve alluded to my college studies, but I thought it’s high time I explained what I’m doing. 😉  I was recently invited to speak at the September meeting of the local chapter of the Eta Sigma Alpha National Homeschool Honor Society about how I’m earning my degree.   The following post is adapted from the presentation that I gave.

I ended up taking a very different college route than what I had always assumed.   But it’s been an incredible journey.   I’ve only been a college student for a year and a half, and I’m already a junior.   I’m doing college online through a program called College Plus.  This is a new & upcoming way of doing college, and I’m excited to tell you about it.  I’m not here representing College Plus, I just wanted to share how I’m earning my degree.  And why I’m not looking back.

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Edna Mode

So, what exactly is College Plus?

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collegeplus.org

College Plus (CP from now on. 😉 )is not a college, but a coaching program which guides you through earning your bachelors degree from home at an accelerated pace.  Through credit by examination tests, you can earn credits at a much faster rate than if you were taking the courses at a brick & mortar college.  And once you’ve tested out of as much as you can of your degree, you’ll transfer those credits to one one of CP’s partner colleges, take a (relatively few) online classes, and you are set to graduate!  This method, coupled with a lot of hard work, can give you your bachelors degree in 2 – 3 years.

CP assigns each student a coach to guide and mentor you through the entire process.  Students have twice-monthly phone calls with their coach.  During these calls, questions are answered, plans are made, and strategies are discussed.

The biggest benefit of doing college this way is that your life isn’t completely controlled by a college schedule.  You are able to set your own goals and deadlines, study when it’s best for you, and have the freedom to make changes.  You can go on vacations during the middle of the semester and even have a job or internship.  You are able to say yes to so much more.

And it works!  I have several friends who have complete their degree this way.  And you don’t even have to enroll with College Plus.  You can do this on your own.  But I have found their knowledge, resources, and guidance to be very beneficial .

The College Plus experience is divided into three phases.   The first phase begins when you enroll.  During the first couple months, you learn new study skills like speed reading, critical thinking, and dynamic memorization, and complete a life purpose planning course with your coach.

The second phase is the testing phase. In the beginning, you’ll be testing out of a lot of general studies, so don’t feel like you have to know your major from the very beginning.  Choosing my major was a really hard decision, so I waited as long as I possibly could before taking the plunge and deciding.

The vast majority of the tests you’ll be taking will be either CLEPs or DSSTs.  There are no grades on these multiple choice tests.  You either pass or fail.  They cost about $80 a piece and the testing center will charge a fee of about $25.  Study materials and books will add another $20 or so. So, for a little over $100, you’ve earned yourself 3-6 credits in a few weeks.

One of the major benefits to this method is that you will be concentrating on only one or two tests at a time.  After immersing yourself in the material for 2-4 weeks, you’re ready to test.  It’s so nice not to have to juggle 5 or 6 classes and all their assignments all at once.

Through their partner colleges, CP offers a wide range of majors.   Some of the most popular are General Management, Communications, English, and Music.  But there’s also degrees like Criminal Justice, Entrepreneurship, Accounting, and even Pre Med.

After deciding on your major, you’ll have a call with a degree consultant who will create a personalized degree plan of tests and classes based off the requirements for your degree, your interests and your strengths.  Once you’ve tested out of as much as you can of your degree, it’s time to transfer all those hard-earned credits to a college or university.

Phase three consists of your online college courses.  How many you end up taking will depend on your degree.  But it will be relatively few compared to all the tests you took.  And then, you’re ready to graduate!

Most College Plus students transfer to either Thomas Edison State College (TESC) or Liberty University Online (LUO).  These online colleges accept many more credits than the average college or university.  You could transfer to another college of your choice, but you have to check and see how many transfer credits they’ll except.   TESC and LUO accept around 90.

And overall, the CP route is much cheaper than attending a brick and mortar college.

source: collegeplus.org

source: collegeplus.org

With the average yearly cost being $5,000 — most students are able to graduate debt free.

Ok, that was all the technical stuff.  I want to tell you how this worked for me.

I began my College Plus journey in January 2012 — the last semester of my senior year in high school.  I took my first CLEP test in mid February.  By graduation, I had 9 college credits.  Today, only a year and a half later, I have 63.  Yes, I’m a college junior. :mrgreen:

63 credits!

I’m majoring in Computer Information Systems and I’ll be graduating from Thomas Edison State College.  Through CLEPs, DSSTs, and some TESC tests, I’ll test out of 105 credits, leaving 15 to be earned through online classes from TESC.

Speeding through my degree, was not one of my primary goals — though it is for many.  I chose College Plus because it gave me flexibility.  I’d grown to love the flexibility that homeschooling gave me and I wasn’t ready to give that up.  I didn’t want college to consume the next four years of my life, dictating when I could go on vacation and how much time I could spend with my family and friends.  This method has given me the flexibility to take off when I need to, have a job, and take time to pursue other interests.

Now, you may be wondering… what about college friends?  One downside to CP is that you’re kinda doing this by yourself.  And when you’re by yourself doing something outside of the traditional college box…. it can get kinda lonely.   But that’s where I found an unexpected blessing — the College Plus student forums.  This is a place where students from around the county — and the world — have formed a tight-knit community.  We exchange study tips, pray for one another when we’re testing, and share life.  There’s threads to discuss everything under the sun, a debate hall, student elections, contests, a forum newsletter, and opportunities for leadership.  Outside of the forums, we keep in touch through emails, texting, Skype calls, and G+ hangouts. I’m constantly in touch with all sorts of amazing people.  My college buddies are all over the US.  California, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, New Hampshire, Virginia, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Alaska.  It has been well worth the effort to get integrated into this fabulous community.

And while it was great to “meet” all these people online, I’ve also been able to meet quite a few of them face-to-face instead of screen-to-screen.  This past April, one student hosted a gathering at her family’s home outside of Washington DC.

photo credit - Mr. Joe

photo credit – Josef Samuel

Over 20 CP students from all over the US converged for a week full of fellowship, hikes, memory making, Ultimate Frisbee,  Bible studies, DC touring, and more laughter than you can imagine.  (You can read about that adventure here.)  And come October, I’m planning on heading off to Illinois for another incredible week.

So, that’s what College Plus is.  It’s not for everyone, but it was a great choice for me and I think it’s a great option for a lot of students.

Check out the College Plus website for more information.

*This post is NOT sponsored by College Plus.  I’m just sharing my college story.

Categories: College Plus, School, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Life Update and Some Randomness

The school year has officially started for our family.  The summer sped by (as usual), but it seemed to go by even quicker this year.  Lots of activities kept us busy.  Graduation, a party, a formal, out of town guests, building a barn, joining Pintrest (click here), laser tag, a book study, a tea, a couple of English Country dances, and several get-togethers.  I’ll be blogging about some of these summer activities in the near future, so I won’t spoil the upcoming posts by telling you about them now. 😉  But I will give you a glimpse of my summer through a few pictures.

Me and one of our chickens, Calamity Jane.

Playing a card game with friends.

Ready to annihilate the green team! 😉

Playing Ninja with my cousins.

But amidst all the fun, there has also been a lot of work.  Much of my time has been spent studying for, and CLEPing out of college classes.  Last Monday, I was the owner of 18 college credits.  Now, I am the owner of 21 college credits, 12 of which I have earned since the end of June.  Now that’s how to do it! *nods* Next, I get to tackle Biology. *wrinkles nose* 😉

This is my new desk lamp.  I was looking for a lamp similar to this one, and the only ones I could find were too large and too expensive.  Then I saw this one sitting all by its lonesome on a shelf in Target.  It didn’t have a price on it, so I brought it up to customer service.  After punching a few buttons, the lady slapped a sticker on the tag.  “As is, $3.75.”  Yes, you read that right.  The Lord gave me the perfect lamp for less than 4 bucks!

The above quote perfectly captures my thoughts lately.  There is always a list of things to be decided or taken care of, and no sooner do I knock a couple of them off, more get put on.  Rinse  and repeat.  I whole heartily agree with Anne; it is quite a serious thing to grow up.

I’ve done a bit of work on the blog over the past few days.  I updated the About Me page, (overhauled might be a better word) so go check it out!  Also, you can now subscribe to blog updates by email.

I recently discovered that I have a passion for pen and ink drawing.  It’s small, detailed, portable, and can be very precise — what’s not to like?  I ended up taking a pen & ink class this summer to learn some techniques.  It was me, and about seven retirees drawing for almost nine hours. 🙂

So yesterday, when I needed to make a blog button, I brought out the sketchbook and pens.  The end result is the little pen & ink image over here on the right —>  (Fellow bloggers, you are welcome to grab it!   I haven’t figured out how to get the little box with the HTML up there, but you can just stick the picture in your sidebar and link it back to here.)

So… I think that’s all I have to say at the moment.  I already have another “real” post in the works so it should be up here sooner or later. 😉  Thanks for reading my ramblings!

Categories: Life, randomness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Becoming a Graduate

The past month has been pretty crazy — hence the lack of blog posts.  😀  Saturday, May 12th, was my high school graduation.  A total of 31 homeschool seniors joined together to celebrate this beginning of a new season of life.

Our area’s homeschool support organization hosts a personal graduation ceremony for interested high school seniors.  This year, there were five music presentations and two speeches given by some of the graduates.  One of the dads, who is also a pastor, gave a charge to the graduates.  And when it came time to present the diplomas, the parents did the honors with tears, hugs, and joy.

My amazingly wonderful parents began homeschooling me in Kindergarten.  At first, we weren’t sure whether or not we would continue.  But the successes of each year spurned us on to the next.  By 3rd grade, we were committed to the homeschooling method.  Then somewhere around 6th grade, homeschooling through high school was a given.  And those four years have been simply amazing.

To name a few of the opportunities that the Lord has given me, I’ve been the webmaster for the local chapter of the ESA National Homeschool Honor Society, I helped found an online literary club,  I’ve taken British Literature, Shakespeare, and three years of Latin from a wonderful Scottish lady, I’ve joined an English Country Dance group, and I’ve started college.  And along the way, the Lord has blessed us with many friends.

But most important of all, I’ve grown close to my family.  We’ve had some amazing adventures and made wonderful memories.  And as my mom and I have been reminding each other — this is only the beginning of the adventure.

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Becoming: a college student

On February 13th, I officially became a college student.  After two weeks of studying, I passed the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP test and recieved 6 credits for my work.

After driving an hour to the college, running around campus getting the parking pass, finding the right room, signing in, forgetting to my receipt , running back to get it, finishing signing in, forgetting to lock up my purse, taking the test, I walked out to the car with a big smile on my face and six credits to my name.  The Lord blessed me with not only a passing score, but a very high score!

Now I’m tackling Principles of Macroeconomics.

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