good for the grey cells

I’ve taken steps to keep my grey cells active for 2016.  Have signed myself up for some more “e-learning”. 

Some of my faithful followers will remember that 2010 – 2013 I followed an “Animal Care” course with a French home-school organisation. It took me a long time to work through and complete, but complete I did, and felt a great sense of acheivement.

Following that, I began a beginner’s psychology course with the same “school” and also signed up to follow on-line courses in “Web Science” and “Forensic Science” – full of good intentions.  However, this all fell by the wayside when family life suddenly became chaotic (death in the family, 2 house moves and another death). 

Family life seems to be on an even keel again now (more or less) so I browsed on FutureLearn for some inspiration . . . and I have signed myself up to follow three new courses – yay!

FutureLearn is a FREE on-line study site, which offers courses in a wide range of subjects, run by universities.  Anyone can sign up, and most courses require no previous learning experience in the subject area.  The only criteria: have access to a computer & the internet, and have a good knowledge of the English language, since all courses are taught in English.

Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation” run by the University of Leicester, is the first course on my agenda.  I failed to follow this when it was organised early 2014 – now is my chance to try again.   It starts on 8th February, runs for 6 weeks, with approx 2 hours of study time per week. 

I’m a glutton for . . .

. . . Learning ^^

Anyone who follows my blog regularly will know that I love to learn. Not only do I love to learn new crafting skills (with my patchworkings) but I am currently doing a distance schooling beginner’s psychology course (after having completed a course in Animal Care with the same school). Anyway – while browsing the internet and world news the other day, I found a very interesting article on BBC News all about a new scheme called FutureLearn.  I’ll let you click on the link and check it out if you’re interested.

One of the courses caught my eye for eldest son so I quickly sent him the link and, within only an hour, he texted back to say he had signed up – for the Mobile App programming course lol.

And that sort of spurred me on to do some signing up of my own ^^

I already have quite a busy week, but I am pretty sure I can find an additional 3 hours per week for some FutureLearning . . . so I have signed myself up to follow the WEB SCIENCE course which begins in November and runs for 6 weeks. Followed by the FORENSIC SCIENCE course which begins in January and also runs for 6 weeks.

I am so excited !!!!!!

Incidentally, I have had my nose in my psychology books and lessons (after a very long summer break) . . . a third assignment completed today . . . 18 to go lol.

we learn every day ^^

No matter how young or old we are, we learn every day ^^  And I’ve been learning lots lately. Mainly what NOT to do when it comes to machine patchworking lol.  Avis is walking me through my first machine project . . . and after exchanging loads of emails, and buying some cutting tools, I was ready to start work. As usual, life got in the way (meaning school holidays with family underfoot) so it wasn’t until this week that I was able to start sewing.  I had cut out all my squares thus


and knew roughly what I was doing since it all sounded SO simple hihi. Assemble 3 squares together in a row . . . repeat two more times . . . and then assemble 3 rows of 3 to make a 9 block. Easy peasy (I thought).  But *****????***** I ended up with

arrrggghhhh 1completely out of sink . . . “Avis!!!! Help!!!!”

Thanks to Avis I learned that I hadn’t been pressing my seams the right way. Or should I say, the “correct” way lol.  Anyway . . . we live and learn, that’s why God invented the seam ripper 🙂

This is going to be slow going I’m afraid, so don’t expect to see a finished quilt top in the next few weeks . . . however I have managed to assemble two blocks (more or less lined up)

2 blocksNot perfect, but they’ll do. Now need to find time to make another 10 blocks . . . before I can tackle the next stage.

I’ve also been learning on a more “studious” level . . . busy reading through my beginners Psychology books and completed my first assignment – yay!  16.5/20 so quite pleased with that. Plenty of room for improvement but hey, that’s the whole point of studying ^^

back to school (again)

My regular readers will know that for the past couple of years I’ve been following a distance schooling course on “Animal Care”. I signed up with a private distance school, the advantage being that I could work at my own pace, as long as I completed within 3 years.  For serious students, it would have been possible to complete the course in around 12 months, but I often let things slide (and life in general got in the way) so it took me a grand total of 34 months to actually complete lol.  But hey, I did it . . . and I had lots of fun while studying.  I ended up with an overall average of 17.35 out of 20 so not too shabby and I feel that I learned quite a lot of stuff that will come in useful with my menagerie.

As I was coming to the end of my assignments, I felt a little sad that I would no longer have something in my week to stimulate the old grey matter so . . . I trotted along to the school’s site and checked out what other subjects they offered that could be interesting.  Came across one for PsychoGraphology that looked REALLY interesting but was put off slightly when I read that the course contained 90 assignments and would last a minimum of 18 months.  Since it took me almost 3 years to complete a 1 year course . . . I have to be reasonable and admit that I’d need more than 3 years to complete a longer course.

Not to be deterred though . . . I carried on searching and discovered that they offer a beginner’s Psychology course and, after talking to a lady at the school by phone, I learned it was possible to do the beginner’s course and (on completion) sign up to do the PsychoGrapho as a “top-up”.

Hihi . . . so guess what I’ll be doing.  Yep . . . have signed on the dotted line and will be studying Psychology for however long it takes me. While waiting for books to arrive from the school, I invested in a second-hand book to give myself some useful reading and attempt to familiarise myself with the jargon.

back to school

Some people like to do crosswords or Suduku to give the old brain a regular work-out . . . I like to study ^^  so wish me luck!

46 down and only 3 to go

I am so close to the end of my distance schooling course . . . reeled off a couple of assignments these past few days and now only have three left to complete.

I’ve kept the hardest part for last “surgery”. Obviously, I’m not expected to know much, but do need to learn what all the different equipment is called, what it’s used for etc . . . be able to give a basis summary of some routine ops (like neutering) and have a basic theoretical knowledge of anaesthesia.

There are actually seven assignments in this module and I can choose which three I want to tackle. I think I’m going to read all lessons and my book thoroughly first, making notes, and then I’ll decide which assignments I feel most comfortable with.

educatel chir

It’s school hols here at the moment, so if I organise my time properly, I should make decent headway.

43 down, only 6 to go

43 assignments down, only 6 to go in order to complete the Animal Care course I am doing with a home-schooling centre – yay. I completed 3 assignments in as many weeks, so am feeling quite chuffed with myself even if grades were a bit up and down. Got a 18, 14 and 20 . . . so am kicking myself about the 14. Also had a reply to my “complaint” about a previous assignment (for which I felt I deserved more) to say that while my answers were correct, they were expecting more in-depth answers and signs of a bit more research on my behalf. So, have taken that comment on board and will make sure I research the following assignments more carefully.

biologie du chat

Am finding the cat biology module interesting but having a hard time assimilating everything – so could need to take things more slowly and re-read lessons to revise properly before I tackle anymore assignments.

I am already thinking about what to do once I finish this course. I signed up to give myself something to keep my brain active, and because (with all my animals) I thought it would be interesting and useful to study Animal Care. It HAS been interesting and useful and I am enjoying learning new things.  So much so, that I fancy signing myself up for another course once I finish . . . they’ve got a beginners psychology course on offer as well as a graphology course  . . . so I’m wondering whether either of those would be up my street.   I won’t go jumping the gun though . . . still at least 2 months of studying to get to end of this one, and then I’ll see what takes my fancy ^^

when it’s cold outside . . .

. . . the best place is to be all snug indoors ^^  Here are Merlin, Gandalf and Le Bleu all snuggled up nicely on one corner of the couch (which is a rare sight indeed)

cold outsideas for Willow – she was upstairs (as usual) in her own private snug spot because she NEVER sleeps with the riff raff.

While cats have been snoozing, I have been studying.  Another assignments all typed and ready to post AND a slightly irate letter too concerning my last assignment. It came back by post the other day, and I don’t agree with the grade I was given lol.  It was sent back with a sheet containing the correct answers, and as far as I’m concerned, the person correcting didn’t even take the time to READ my answers properly because he (or she) docked points left right and centre for no reason. So I want a second opinion for that!

Anyway, I am now about to embark on more “cat” lessons

biologie du chatbut am very pleased to announce that, with the assignment finished today, I have now completed 40 of the 49 assignments . . . which means only 9 to go, yay!!!!!!!!!  Overall average stands at 17.58 / 20 but would like to push it up to a nice round 18.

4 down in 4 days

After the kick in the pants I gave myself the other day (about home-schooling) I have been oh so strict with myself. And as a result, I have completed four assignments in as many days . . . have to say that it was on cat breeds and, due to my huge interest in cats, I found the work quite easy.  That doesn’t mean I got full marks all round, but scores were 17, 19 and 18.5 out of 20 for the first three which I did on-line. I have to wait for the fourth result but I’m confident lol.  This means I am now ready to move on to the next module.  I can choose which order I do things in, but since I’ve been looking at cats, I thought it best to stay with cats. So next module is all about illnesses and disease.

I suspect the lessons provided will be quite summary so will also be reading (or should I say re-reading) through one of my useful reference books.

Being realistic, this next module will take me more than a few days, but if I can keep to the study plan, I should complete it by early December.

only 5 months to complete

I have been a naughty girl . . . my home-schooling course on Animal Care sort of fell by the wayside.  From late May this year, I was a little preoccupied with daughter, and her Baccalauréat exam revision. Then when that was behind us, I was busy organising things for her to leave home and begin her higher education in Lyon in September. Weeks turned into months, with me saying “I’ll get back on track in October”. But I didn’t !  And now we’re almost at the end of November, and I realise I only have 5 calendar months in which to complete my course.

So . . . this morning, after a quick dash around doing some housework, I sat down to get back to studying.

Have just begun a new module on cats: all about different breeds of cats. The book of “lessons” provided by the school is fairly thin BUT they also sent me a proper reference book, full of lovely photos, and all I need to know about the different breeds.  Very interesting stuff lol and I am pleased to announce that I had a very productive studying session, and have completed a new assignment. Overall average is now up to 17.95 out of 20 . . . and I have 16 more assignments to complete before the end of April.  Motivation is back  – yay!  I’ve made myself a study plan and am determined, not only to complete the course, but also to bring my average grade up to 18 by the end.  Will mean a few less hours each week to cross stitch or patchwork BUT I really need to do this for myself. It’s sort of a personal challenge and I don’t want to let myself down.

aarrggghhhh . . . my overall average is coming down

Aarrggghhh, she cries lol . . . my overall average with Animal Care course is on a downward trend . . . so am really going to have to get my act together and try and stop it sliding even more. Just checked my grades for latest assignments submitted and got a 15/20, 18/20, 16/20 and 14/20. Which means my overall average is 17.77 / 20.  Strange, as I seem to be doing better on the written assignments than on the multiple choice ones . . . there always seem to be trick questions on the multiple choice assignments lol.

Anyway, overall results aren’t TOO shabby and I’m not really too upset about the latest grades. However, saying that, I would like to end the course on around 16/20 or above if I can.  It’s the school hols (again) in this part of the world, so the perfect time to get out books and do some serious studying.  Let’s see if I can’t get a few better grades for next month.