Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Will in college

I realize I usually write here about our school-free lives, but this year -- for the first time in almost 7 years -- we have a family member in school. Will is taking two courses at the local community college (CNM) this semester. For the time being, he's only attending part-time, since he lives on his own and has a full-time job.

He enrolled this semester part-time, with an eye towards earning a Liberal Arts Associates Degree, then transferring to UNM for a BS in Sociology. This semester, he's taking English 1101 and a remedial Math course, because he feels a need to renew his math skills from high school. Altho he passed the GED test 5 years ago, with high school level math scores, when he took the placement test this time around, his math scores were lower. When we sat down with an advisor, we were told that CNM has added more remedial math courses, because more students are coming in from high school with gaps in their math learning. For example, Will's algebra scores were fine, while his 'middle-school level math' scores were low, something that's apparently quite common in recent years at CNM.

He's been in the classes for a month now, and I'm really pleased to see the time and effort he's putting into his studies. Yesterday, after Math class he told me they'd been able to see their grades and check their class standing, and he's second in the class. He said this is only because he skipped over some of the first assignments, thinking that he only needed to do those he didn't yet know (because those early handouts were outside the syllabus) so he skipped those he felt confident with. Now he'll go back and do them, get the scores and boost his grade that much more. Today he got his first essay back, with a grade of 3.5 (B+ to A-). He's very jazzed about this, because he can see now what he instructor expects in the way of style and content, and so feels he'll do even better on future assignments.

He is very happy about his progress and his experience in college. When he told me about the math class standing, I commented that this was a new for him. He replied "yeah, this is a first." Today he called me just to share the news about his essay grade, and he was both pleased and confident about upcoming essays.

Last week, he mentioned to me that he'd re-done his math homework, because even tho all the work was right, he felt the paper was too messy and wanted it to be cleaner. I could have danced for joy right there! You see, this was confirmation of what I've always known was true of Will, what I was never able to convince anyone of when he was in public school. Will is not lazy or unmotivated -- he's a perfectionist! I always believed that the reason he 'lost' his homework assignments (I would see him finish them, so I knew he was doing the work) was because he didn't want to see low grades for less than perfectly right work.

It's just so wonderful to see him, after a 5 year break (he last took a couple of college classes in 2002 mostly because we pushed him to try college), doing so well in college.

Monday, February 04, 2008

long time, no post

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted. No camera, so no photos, which means I'm less likely to post.

What's been going on around here? A mix of good and not so good. Our house was broken into on Jan 9th, relieving us of the aforementioned camera, both Nintendos, the 'better' computer, our DVD player, both the boys' cellphones, one window, and for a time, our sense of safety in our own home. It's take me almost 4 weeks to gather the necessary paperwork (just got the police report today, and it's not even the complete updated version) to file our insurance claim. It leaves me wondering -- is the secret to just not own any valuable stuff, or to keep every receipt we ever get? For that, tho, we'd need the ever-bigger house George Carlin joked about, so I guess not.

Gary's new job is going well overall, but due to some warehouse delays for all of December and much of January -- and now snow delays two consecutive weeks in Utah --we're not really seeing any more money than when we had him home every night and all weekend, so it's easy to be frustrated at all this sacrifice, for what?

Dan and Will both had birthdays last month -- my firstborn is now 23, and my baby is 7! It doesn't seem possible that I've been a Mom for 23 years.

Will is taking two courses at the local community college. He's really enjoying them, and I'm pleased to see he's both doing and enjoying the work. I had no idea, tho, how expensive college textbooks are! Captive market and all that, I guess, but the books will cost almost as much as his tuition when it's all totaled up.

We closed out the year with the death of a much beloved Uncle in Gary's family, which has prompted some very deep -- and sweet - conversations about life and people. Andy said, "If I could time-travel, I'd go back to when Uncle Nobu was a kid -- I'll bet he was just as great a kid as he was an uncle! Oh, and I'd tell him to be sure to look out for Auntie Michie, because she's the perfect one for him!" He is such a sweet soul.

Winter this year has been just too cold, too early dark and too long already for us, and it's just barely February. The snow today was pretty. At least if we have to be cold, pretty snow falling is a nice pay off.

Oh well, off to play Monopoly with Dan -- have I mentioned how much I miss the Nintendos? I'm just not a big fan of board games, especially Monopoly. I have trouble settling down to a game that complicated.

And on update, the game of Monopoly was fun. Unlike most times, we actually played for longer than it takes to set up!