Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

Flying Pink Unicorns – budgeting and envelopes oh my!

March 26th, 2007 3 comments

First, to help set the stage for why I think doing this Financial Peace thing, read this day-by-day strip, g’head, I’ll wait.

back?  good.

I don’t want to know how much of our money each month goes to interest.  Not just mortgage interest, but credit card interest.  My lord, I think we could probably fund all of our children’s college through that Harvard Master’s they’re all gonna want if we just sunk what we pay in interest each month in the mattress.  Simply because we went pure and simple daffy crazy in 2005.  Sure we had a family vacation to end all family vacations, but we also refinanced/consolidated our credit card debt, then went and doubled if not trebled the credit debt we had.  *shakes head*

Seriously, our behavior reminds me of the movie Tin Cup, when in the final day of the US Open, tied, and needing a birdie to possible win, a safe par will force a playoff, Roy McAvoy goes for the green on a long par 4.  He hits it, only to have his ball roll back into the water hazard.  (we hit it, we had a plan to be credit card debt free like right then, but then rolled into some ‘necessities’)  He then proceeds to whale away at the pin from 300+ yards, when a drop and a pitch would have still put him in the playoff.  While he descends into pure selfish madness, threatening even his qualification for the following years tournament, the announcer says, “Someone tackle that guy!”


There are a couple of slides in the FPU videos that bring this home, one is how much you’d accrue in wealth if you socked anything away at 18% interest.  I took the bait and admitted that saving anything at 18% interest is pretty much impossible to sustain, unless you invest in some pretty risky ventures and end up guessing right, and impossible to sustain for the long term.  Except that, as Dave Ramsey explained, that is pretty much the investment that banks make all the time, though they aren’t investing in a company, but in their own marketing of credit card debt to the public.  Think of how much interest you pay on your lowest interest card.  Then look at your savings, and consider if you had done the whole ‘save first, pay cash’ thing, how much larger that savings line could be.

So while we have made our zero based budget, and allotted for a $1000 emergency fund, and giving again (something we haven’t done during our descent into madness) to our church.  The line I’d like to keep track of, is what our monthly outlay to the interest line is, and watch that value decrease to zero over the next 2-3 years.  That should help us keep on track, I think, I hope.

Time she keeps on marching…

March 20th, 2007 4 comments

As my children grow older, we are starting to see some of the fruits of whatever parenting wisdom we’ve somehow induced into our children.  This past weekend had a few moments where I felt awful proud of my kids and how they have grown and molded.  The four year old still has some rough patches that need to be ground out, but hey, he’s four.

This Friday/Saturday was Momma-goes-retreating weekend so I had the first half to myself.  I took the opportunity to abandon them.  Well not abandon them per se, but allow them to co-habitate for a while with another large group of kids while me and fellow bachelor for the night went and saw 300.  The payoff was that all 9 children/teens still had all their limbs attached when we got back a scant 2 hours later.  No bruises, or cuts.  There was a sliver that had to be excised, but some ice, a needle and a pair of tweezers made quick work of that.

Post movie madness, I took my brood of four to Wally World to shop for a present for the forty-fourth Pirate themed party of the year that Danny would attend in the morning.  While it was kinda dicey taking the somewhat tired four year old shopping at 9:30 PM, I was proud of my older boy taking said brother under his wing and helping him along.  In and out in 30 minutes wasn’t too hair pullingly bad.

Then morning drive to the pirate bay (20 minutes away) to attend the party, and having even the 12 year old join in the festivity with gusto (she brought her own pirate garb, and they all have their assigned pirate names, gratis multiple talk-like-a-pirate linkages).  I stole away with the non-invitees during the lunch/present/cake phase, to feed them from the TriplePlay KFC-Pizza Hut-Taco Bell mashup, and then got myself some life preserving Starbucks for the second half of the day.  They all played well, and again no puncture wounds or bruised pride.

Sunday after church was the biggest challenge, and the biggest pay off.  Four families from church decided to go to lunch together.  A table for 19 is a bit dicey at 12 PM in these parts, but we accepted a table for 6 and a table for 13 in the outer rim of the On The Boarded establishment.  On this occasion the table of six was actually the ‘kids table’ for the non-toddler set, and all four of my kids sat, actually. sat. at that table and set a good example for their younger compatriots.  Truth be told, they probably acted more polite than us brutes at the big boys table.  But somehow through the 2 hour ordeal they survived without any bruised eyes or egos.

So Huzzah, this whole parenting thing is reaching the payoff stage.  Now I need to find my rifle to clean and sword to polish for when the young men start stopping by to woo my gels.  They won’t be chased away, but they might swallow a bit hard.

UPDATE: Extra bonus footage of eldest gel performing at the 6th grade choir performance over at Sweet Bippy.

Categories: Learning, Life Tags: ,

Lordship – the horse flogging begins…

November 16th, 2006 Comments off

I blogged tangentially on Phil Johnson’s Lordship series in my post ‘Morphin’ Time…‘. Last night I wrapped up my class that surveyed John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted. Today Phil has posted the last of the Lordship series and an open post for any doubters/debators to keep on whaling on the horse that has died. I’m linking to the comments thread, because the meat of the discussion takes place there, regardless of where you stand on the ‘Lordship debate’, I think it is a good read, and to hear the Lordship debate story from Phil’s insider perspective is edifying.

This series I’ve continued to read as I continued to prepare for my class and other limited teaching duties, and it provided a good anchor point to many of the themes in the lighter topics of TLYAW. The class I taught had a few ‘new’ Christians, and the perspective of Lordship, I believe, is an important tact to cover with newer converts, and always a good anchor to hit with more mature believers as well. I don’t consider it a coincidence in the timing of how things were written.
Anyhoo, this is a two-purpose post, one to get a Blogspotting link from Team Pyro, and the other fulfills my NaBloPoMo responsibilities for today. 😀

Frontiers of Flight Museum – Anousheh Ansari

November 2nd, 2006 Comments off

A while back I posted about Lauren being able to talk live to space astronaut/tourist Anousheh Ansari. Tonight she is in town at the Dallas Frontiers of Flight Museum and has a special hour put aside simply for the kids that were invited to the previous event. It is really cool that they are putting the kids first, and making sure that they can all be seated, while the old fogies get stuck waiting outside. At least they have free internet so I can make this report.

If I’m lucky enough to be able to get a seat inside, I may try to live blog some of the event… if not… well this will be it.

I’m in!

UPDATE:  Here are some pictures of Anousheh Asari signing Lauren’s book and of her and Lauren. (click to embiggen)

Click the Read More button for the rest of my post. Read more…

Categories: Learning, Life Tags: , , ,

Fascinating… a hole in the wall.

October 3rd, 2006 4 comments

One of Protein Wisdom’s guest bloggers, Dan Collins points to an interesting article on “minimally invasive education.” The introduction to the article explains the premise (a fascinating skinner box experiment).

An Indian physicist puts a PC with a high speed internet connection in a wall in the slums and watches what happens. Based on the results, he talks about issues of digital divide, computer education and kids, the dynamics of the third world getting online.

more below the fold.

Read more…

Categories: Learning, Life Tags: ,

Lauren’s lesson from space

September 26th, 2006 Comments off

Lauren got to listen to Anousheh Ansari in space on , the world’s first female space tourist, the first female Muslim, and the first Iranian in space. WFAA ran a story on their newscast, and have a video available. I wasn’t able to see Lauren in the video, but I’m sure it was a neat experience to listen to a real-live-astronaut from outer space.

UPDATE: Anousheh has a blog (word press, of course)

Categories: Learning, Life Tags: ,

Pike’s First Law – Adults are babies with big bodies.

September 8th, 2006 1 comment

baby hueyBob Pike has a list of laws as they relate to adult learning and training.

His first law, and the topic of this post is:

Adults are babies with big bodies.

When this was discussed the past two-days it took a different tact than the way I’ve normally had it explained. My peers in the classroom tossed out that babies:

  • like to whine
  • want to be fed
  • need naps
  • selfish
  • feelings are easily hurt
  • hold grudges

Which, oddly, are all very true. Something that as classroom leaders we DO need to take into account and plan for those more physical and emotional parts of a classroom experience. I think that focusing on those attributes is to the trainers detriment, and we really should be focusing on the ways Adults are like Babies when in comes to the learning process.

Think (or observe if you have children) about how do children, babies learn? How does that child that starts out needing everything done for them at hour one progress to a fully functional toddler in three years. How they move from a toddler to a school attending child in three more years, and the advances … no … LEAPS they make in what they are able to do physically, cognitively and socially.

Children, babies, experience learning. They learn that if they cry their needs will be met (fed, changed, cuddled). The experience that food that was usually liquid can also be solid, and need to be chewed with these new hard ivory things that were a pain at first but ideally suited to this chop up the Cherrios task now before them. They experience that mobility is a whole body activity, that can become more efficient using these dangly things that can make the slither, crawl, cruise and walk. They find out that this round hole in their face that usually is only good from bringing things INTO their body, is also suited for communicating with other people that look like they do, as well as for terrorizing the more furry things that sometimes live around them. No one takes a baby and sits them up and just talks to them.

Now this gaping maw where your crying noise comes from is called a mouth, and is composed of tissues and muscles that you can manipulate through the power of your thoughts to:

  • drink milk
  • chew food
  • spit juice
  • jabber jobber
  • taste pocket lint

The truth, that shouldn’t be shocking, is that the way babies learn is also the way adults learn. Adults have a larger toolkit for learning, we can listen for longer periods of time, we can take disparate peices of information and pull them together into a cognitive theory, we can express ourselves in speech, or song. We can control our bodies better, hide our emotions better, and lots of other things.

Somewhere, though, we as adults have been trained that the learning process as an adult is not the same as that of a child. That model is what participant-centered thraining is bucking against. The thought that adults learn differently than children is frankly ‘poppycock’. I state, emphatically, that we learn the exact same way, and to remove the ‘experience’ from the learning process is crippling the learning process. Yes, as adults we can learn differently than a two-year old. That doesn’t mean that we should learn differently than a two-year old.

The question we should ask as educators/facilitators/leaders is how can we create courses, classrooms and lessons that tap into the experieces a student would need to learn the content we’d like to teach. We need to switch around our priorites to enhance the learning not expand the teaching.

With my children, when they started becoming mobile, I took them by the hands, and let them walk by moving their feet. As they grew more confident, they might let loose a hand, and experiment with using the free hand as balance. Then one day, out of the blue, they’d realize that having one hand on a wall or peice of furniture was a lot like having one hand held by Daddy. Then they’d try out the whole balance thing by pushing away from one wall and heading to another arms flailing as they awkwardly took those tenative first steps. They’d most likely fall, but when they got back up, they do it again, with a daffy grin on their face as they noticed me watching them. They learned by doing, they learned by failing, and they had a fun time doing it.