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To everyone who joined these forums at some point, and got discouraged by the negativity and left after a while (or even got literally scared off): I'm sorry.

I wasn't good enough at encouraging people to be kinder, and removing people who refuse to be kind. Encouraging people is hard, and removing people creates conflict, and I hate conflict... so that's why I wasn't better at it.

I was a very, very sensitive teen. The atmosphere of this forum as it is now, if it had existed in 1996, would probably have upset me far more than it would have helped.

I can handle quite a lot of negativity and even abuse now, but that isn't the point. I want to help people. I want to help the people who need it the most, and I want to help people like the 1996 version of me.

I'm still figuring out the best way to do that, but as it is now, these forums are doing more harm than good, and I can't keep running them.

Thank you to the few people who have tried to understand my point of view so far. I really, really appreciate you guys. You are beautiful people.

Everyone else: If after everything I've said so far, you still don't understand my motivations, I think it's unlikely that you will. We're just too different. Maybe someday in the future it might make sense, but until then, there's no point in arguing about it. I don't have the time or the energy for arguing anymore. I will focus my time and energy on people who support me, and those who need help.

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I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo
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Ky Offline
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Post: #1
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

And I need your help.

I'm taking the next two weeks to compile as much information and create as much of an infrastructure as I can for writing a non-fiction book about the school system, its history, how it doesn't work today, and what can be done to fix it. My goal, of course, is 50,000 words in 30 days.

So, if YOU have any access to sources regarding the failures of the school system (that I am capable of using without spending money), please link to them. If you have any particularly imagination-capturing personal anecdotes, please describe them here as vividly and novel-y as you can and grant me permission to use it. The reason I need you guys to name the source of whatever you find is because I'm actually planning on publishing it once I'm done, which should be long after November 30th.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. If there's one thing that can end compulsory education, it's public awareness, and that's precisely what I intend to get here.

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10-17-2013 09:26 AM
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I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

This ought to be good:
http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/ (originally found by UnschoolShqiponjë)

Another good one:
http://acestoohigh.com/2012/04/23/lincol...s-drop-85/

Not exactly saying about the failures of the school system, but definitely some good information.

Remember, of course, the TED talks and Ken Robinson videos that xcriteria also posts. Those will also be very useful.

Perhaps you may want to do your own studies. This may be difficult, but if you can somehow do it, and get it on a mainstream media source, that could be big as well.

Good luck DoA. We're all supporting you.

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10-17-2013 09:55 AM
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Post: #3
RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Personal experience. Interview people such as members here, fed up students and teachers, and the like.

Hello, traveler.

This is an ancient account I have not used in a long time. My views have changed much in the intervening months and years.

Nonetheless, I refuse to clean it up. Pretending that I've held my current views since the beginning of time is what we in the industry call a lie. Asking people to do so contributes to moralistic self-loathing. "See, those people have nothing damning! I do! I'm truly vile!"

Because you can never be a good person with a single blemish on the moral record, I thought that simply entertaining some thoughts made me irredeemable. Though I don't care for his writing style, William Faulkner presents a good counterexample. He went from being a typical Southern racist to supporting the civil rights movement. These days we'd yell at him for that, probably.

People are allowed to change their views.

Nevertheless, this period of my life has informed some of how I am today. In good ways and bad ways. To purge it would be to do a disservice to history. Perhaps it will not make anyone sympathetic, but it may help someone understand.

If, after reading all this, you still decide to use the post above as evidence that I am evil today, ask yourself if you have never disagreed with the moral code you now follow. In all likelihood you did, at some point. If some questions are verboten, and the answer is "how dare you ask that," don't expect your ideological opponents to ever change their minds.
10-17-2013 10:10 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #4
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

You can search my massive number of posts(or my tiny number of created threads) and borrow from there(as long as I'm credited with my username).

If anything specific comes to mind, I'll share it with ya.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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10-17-2013 12:10 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

I linked to this in my last post on IvoTheMagnificent's thread, My brother just tried to commit suicide, along with your Allegory of the Cave thread, which I've referenced a bunch of times now.

If you check that link, and follow the trail out to that Ken Robinson / Death Valley thread, and scroll up on both threads, there's a bunch of link-filled and video-filled text that circles around the same sets of questions and ideas.

I'm trying to write, too

I have an immediate deadline for a chapter about all these things, which I've done lots of research for, but I have to just pull together over the next few days or I'll lose the opportunity. It's kind of like a NaNoWriMo but squeezed into a couple days, and it's not supposed to be a whole book.

But, the basic theme is, what's the future of all this. I've been thinking of referencing some threads here, like that Cave one. I can reference your upcoming book if you'd like. But, what is there to put in a book, when so many books have already been written on these topics, and so many talks have been given, and so many discussions have been had... that so many people are completely unfamiliar with?

What would really draw people into a book... or a chapter?

And, what in a text like that would inspire readers to look at things in a new way, to step out of the cave, to try something new?

One strategy I'm taking is to look at the global context... including the question of excuses... "here's why things have to be the way they are" or "it could be worse, so don't ask questions."

Why not make things better?

One way to write effectively, beyond linking and citing and referencing all the usual items in these various walls of text, is to add dialogue... characters... stories... conflict.. struggle... something that really inspires people to empathize with others... not just feeling for them, but engaging in cognitive empathy, a.k.a., perspective taking.

So often people don't make it to that step. They block out emotional empathy with an act of invalidation (pdf ebook), and then move on to the next shiny object, rather than stopping to really imagine and experience and understand big picture stories and situations of others.

Why people don't do that

I think a big cause, is that people have often lost the capacity for creative thinking and problem-solving, or they've never discovered or developed it to the extent they could.

This pattern comes up a lot. See David Kelley's TED talk, which I linked on the thread, To Get Students Invested, Involve Them in Decisions Big and Small

Other talks get at that same question, of people's decline in creativity... including Ken Robinson's first TED talk... and Joichi Ito, director of MIT's Media Lab (and college dropout), in at least one of his talks.

Telling compelling stories

On that note, check Justin Schwamm's G+ thread and linked blog post where he told the story of two of his "good students" coming to see him about showing Ken Robinson's talk to the whole school: ”It seems like schools spent 10 or 11 years beating the creativity out of us,” she said, “and now, all of a sudden, when we’re seniors, we’re being asked to be creative and independent learners.”

https://plus.google.com/1023403368172100...Le2uvsh2H3 (my comments there are good references, including links back to School Survival... and brainiac, I even cited you there.)

So many pieces to pick from... but the question is still how to weave them together in a compelling way.

What do you think?

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10-18-2013 03:38 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

(10-17-2013 09:55 AM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  This ought to be good:
http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/ (originally found by UnschoolShqiponjë)

Another good one:
http://acestoohigh.com/2012/04/23/lincol...s-drop-85/

Not exactly saying about the failures of the school system, but definitely some good information.

Yeah, those are both great references. Another one along those lines is this one on labeling students, and the follow-up G+ discussion: https://plus.google.com/1023403368172100...MuvDSDZirS (where I linked to another School Survival story... of the sort that happens all too often, people being labeled and ignored by people who have no concept of how to understand people as individual learners with their own cognitive processes to connect with, not smash into their box.

(There's a failure of the school system, for you.)

Oh, and along those lines, Nick Perez's story is worth considering:

Dropping Out was a Great Idea (Lisa Nielsen linked it with the comment, Nick was invited because he was a teen who opted out of school to find success. I LOVED what Nick had to say and asked him to please consider sharing his story as I know it will be inspiring to parents, teachers, and teens across the globe. The following post is the result of several month's work. It provides amazing insights and lessons for every educator, administrator and parent. It also happens to be the most important post I've published. Nikhil Goyal also referenced his story in his talk Why Kids Hate School

(And for more on that topic, see Peter Gray's article, “Why Don’t Students Like School?” Well, Duhhhh…)

The bigger question is why must they suffer or be bored? One big excuse is "not enough money/resources." But another one is "school prepares you to suffer as an adult." See Smudge's thread It's YOUR JOB to.. (oh, hey, I posted a bunch of videos there, too.)

And definitely check Hansgrohe's thread "School is like work" which has more along those lines.

The key question: is life suffering? Or not?

(10-17-2013 09:55 AM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Remember, of course, the TED talks and Ken Robinson videos that xcriteria also posts. Those will also be very useful.

Yeah... and take notes. Smile

Also check Hansgrohe's threads, he's raised a lot of the core issues in his posts.

(10-17-2013 09:55 AM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Perhaps you may want to do your own studies. This may be difficult, but if you can somehow do it, and get it on a mainstream media source, that could be big as well.

Maybe we can collaborate on some studies... I'm already involved in conversations and projects along these lines....

See Roz's blog post and the discussion on
https://plus.google.com/1172194032393745...YniuoZwJu1

(This is about learners researching the MOOCs they take, but why not do this with all learning and schooling?)

Roz Wrote:How many people do you know? Should we re-share this blog as a "call" for "collective research"? I mean, it wouldn't be an "official" call for conference or journal papers or anything, but instead, it would be a "grassroots-call" to "publish" Meta-MOOC findings here, in G+...

Can you imagine? ...the sheer numbers of all of us together, giving candid professional feedback... and suggesting valid tangible design solutions to existing (inadequate) courses... in a totally open, public, transparent, democratic manner... This would be in line with HIP HeLPers REALLy CONNECT http://i12lol.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/h...y-connect/

And the resultant "grassroots research findings" would definitely be a far cry from the existing elitist, closed, selective, almost secretive, feedback method currently carried out by MOOC providers...
Imagine the impact!!!

Some in academia might listen if we presented things in the form of effective case studies, data, and arguments.

There's already a lot of survey research on disengagement: see Gallup's report, The School Cliff: Student Engagement Drops With Each School Year (and also their similar one about workplace engagement: Majority of American Workers Not Engaged in Their Jobs (hint: that workplace disengagement among parents is one of those "reasons" they expect their kids to tolerate being disengaged in school.)

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10-18-2013 04:12 AM
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Subb Offline
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RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

You can also mention some of the educational stuff on the internet as alternatives, such as:

Scishow
Crash Course
ViHart
MinutePhysics
Vsause
Khan Academy
CGPGrey
and so on...

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10-18-2013 04:16 AM
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Ky Offline
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I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Okay, compiling the sources together now...anything else?

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10-20-2013 03:12 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

I'm going to quote your reply from that autism thread and paste in my response to it (I almost posted it there, but it's much more relevant to this thread. I tried to structure this, including headings, so it isn't a total wall of text. Is this tolerable?)

DoA Wrote:It would sort of follow the essay sort of format.

Basically:

Summary (thesis of what you want to say, condensed point A, condensed point B, condensed point C, etc.)
Expanded Point A
Expanded Point B
Expanded Point C
Etc.

That's fascinating. You're outlining things in exactly the way one of my metacognitive coaches, Roz, is asking me to do for this book chapter I've been asked to write. And I'm really struggling.

My mind is so non-linear compared to that. And I don't think I'm alone, but I think a lot of the people I want to reach will need a linear presentation like that.

This book is a collection of writing from people who took this course, Designing a New Learning Environment, a year ago. It's important, because it's a possible ticket to gaining influential allies in this quest to transform education to be driven by learners' needs, preferences, and minds, rather continue as an imposed, one-size-fits-all, prison-like place of misery and boredom.

This chapter could basically be an an introduction to what you'll cover in your book, and I'll cover in the course and conversation series I want to build. But it's really a race against the clock at this point, much like a school assignment that you actually want to do, but it's due tomorrow.

And yet how to do this is something I didn't learn in school, and haven't managed to learn in all my self-directed learning.

The topic I'm writing about is basically,

(1) the situation of people who don't fit in traditional school
(2) how learning can be dynamically redesigned based on how people's minds actually work
(3) and, a proposal for how to sort out an effective learning process for each of us, whether outside of school, or as a modification within a traditional school that specific learners can request, like pushing a "push to add drama" button and getting a team of design thinking experts to come up with solutions and talk about excuses for why they can't be implemented.

Obviously, I can write lots of text, and I've been told I make a lot of good points, but as you pointed out, all those walls of text don't work as "print these threads into a book" and ask people to read them.

Besides, so many of these ideas have already been written and explained in talks and conversations, but often people are sick of hearing about education... or they're stuck complaining about it rather than redesigning it.

One key to change is to get buy-in from people who have credibility. Fortunately, a number of people in academia, including the people who teach educators, are really questioning how to make school more learning-centric.

Unfortunately, the common pattern is, within school, a situation of helplessness and coping or complaining, and then upon freedom from school, people want to forget all about the question of how to design effective learning environments.

We can all learn a lot just by surfing the web, having conversations, or engaging in our favorite activities, but I've found all of this leaves something to be desired. I want to experience well-designed, well-motivated challenges that really push me to grow... just like a good game or story can sometimes facilitate.

Unfortunately, the story of School Survival is heavily biased toward a cycle of despair, triage-level support, and escape, rather than re-inventing how learning works. Of course, there's a community here as well (as much as that's fluctuated at times)... but there's something missing... a drive to re-create our worlds.

The problem with my chapter or your book

Basically, I find myself thinking, who is the audience? People who relate to school survival? Teachers? Parents? Academics? Each of these will react differently to a given outlined-list of points.

And, the point is to make an impact beyond people just reading. The point is to make a catalyst for people to try new things... to ask new questions... to change how things work.

And so, even swimming in content... I'm really stuck on how to do this. And this makes me wonder, how will you do your book... or how will brainiac do his... or how will some kind of meaningful out put come out of all these conversations, stories, links, and talks?

My working theme

One organizing theme I have in mind is to ask this question:

[/i]What's the role of teachers, coaches, and mentors, when it comes to us unusual learners, who often resist being told what to do... and have an explosion of material to surf through, even without it being handed down by an authority?[/i]

In other words, how interest-driven learning relate to imposing structure in the form of teaching/coaching and instructional design?

I have a bunch of thoughts and references on that, especially based on a game design perspective and the perspective of interactive, crowd-stourced storytelling. But that's a whole additional tangent (or chapter, or course.)

And in my mind, this all links back to the topic of (that autism thread): diagnoses and identity. Are people locked into a given future, based on the labels they're given, or their DNA? How much can people grow, change, and develop their minds through specific methods (learning environments, or defining life events, for example), vs. how much are they just stuck?

But you can see where I'm stuck... figuring out how to pull all these angles into an output that people who prefer an organized, linear sequence can process and benefit from. And it's far harder to do that when one presentation pattern will appeal to one person, but bore someone else, or send them running away.

What do you think?

Was that readable... and did you learn anything from it?

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10-20-2013 04:34 AM
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Ky Offline
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I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

I understood about a third of that. Surprisingly, that's a 20% improvement.

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10-20-2013 10:15 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Interesting. What parts did you understand?

And why were the other parts confusing?

That kind of feedback is very useful. I think I can improve quite a bit more...

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10-20-2013 10:35 AM
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Ky Offline
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I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

You really had me at the first part. It got me thinking about my target audience (which is everyone, so I shouldn't write in a condescending or inflammatory manner). I can understand why it's hard to write linearly when thinking is non-linear. Finally, I'm interested in where I might find credible sources and establish credibility myself.

...But then, somewhere along the way, you lost me.

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10-20-2013 11:25 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Okay, that makes sense. The main question I was getting at beyond those things, is basically, how to actually transform education... what's the vision for what it can look like?

(I also included some bits about how these forums can be rather negative and focus on complaining, rather than transforming.)

The negativity is understandable, of course, among people who "toil over pointless, unpaid labor in a prison-like complex" -- but I think the way to change things is to establish a vision for what education can look like instead.... one that educators, administrators, parents, and even government might deem better than 19th and 20th-century schools.

It would have been one uphill battle to argue that, even a few years ago, but a lot has changed since then. All kinds of people, including many educators, are seeing the need for a learner-centric, interest-driven model of education. They see that, in a world of technology, media-saturation, connectivity, and choice, people need different skills than how to march in rows or work on an assembly line.

I think many others are warming up to that view of things, but they are afraid. They're afraid of what it would look like if people had more flexibility and choice. Many teachers aren't comfortable with their existing roles being transformed, especially when their training and paychecks is based on single-subject, age-graded, letter-grade-evaluated instruction in classrooms that contain rows of desks.

And yet, the world is changing... and technology does make all kinds of learning possible, which I think teachers could help facilitate in many cases. And many teachers do care about helping people learn, even if their hands are tied by their situations.


(How about that? I was about to go into more text about a related topic -- standards-based accountability -- but that's probably a big leap. And I didn't even get into the question of what non-factory, "new learning environments" look like... but I'll pause there.)

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10-20-2013 12:12 PM
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Ky Offline
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I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

I understood 100% of that. Well done.

What we need to do is make progress look more appealing to everyone than the status quo. Shouldn't be too hard considering progress WOULD be more appealing.

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10-21-2013 01:40 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

That gets at the question of how you measure progress. And that gets to this whole question of measurement and assessment... some form of evaluation.

Some of the main ways that's done are through grades and standardized tests.

Standardized tests have generated an enormous amount of controversy and pushback. That's an entire conversation.
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The Badass Teachers Association, as well as students like this one who started a facebook page, are standing up against these tests: How will you help datapoint students who are standing up and speaking out

But grades have been around a lot longer, and they have their own problems. Why do we still have per-class, per-subject letter grades?
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As teacher Justin Schwamm wrote in a recent blog post,

"...in a world where conversations about grades desperately need to happen, but no one wants to start them..."

(Seeing the Connections, Oct. 14, 2013)

Sounds like the opening to a movie trailer, doesn't it?

But in the real world, people measure things in different ways.
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Most likely through time cards or hours spent, or money, or maybe widgets produced, crops harvested, houses built, oil pumped, or minerals mined.

(...or page views, advertising impressions. or viewers tuning in.)
It's all something to think about, though... how does education, broadly conceived, relate to the productive work people do out in the world?

That question circles back to points earlier in this thread, about how school is supposed to prepare people for the real world. And that's a section in itself... what is the real world? And how do people develop their worldviews... how does one's education (and upbringing... and media engagement... and temperament) affect how any given person comes to see the world?
10-21-2013 01:29 PM
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RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Hmm ... have you tried looking at homeschool sites?

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stupid article
10-22-2013 03:57 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #17
RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Any news on this?

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10-29-2013 06:55 AM
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Ky Offline
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Post: #18
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

I have an outline of what I will write each individual chapter about. I still need to organize all of the sources I want to use into one place for easy reference.

November is fast approaching...

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10-29-2013 07:38 AM
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James Comey Away
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Post: #19
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Here are some good sites:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/free...ell-duhhhh
http://www.salon.com/2013/08/26/school_i..._our_kids/

RIP GWEDIN
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RIP NIGHT
RIP VONUNOV
RIP WES/THEWAKE
RIP USERNAME

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Stop jerking off to porn and whining and do something about it

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10-29-2013 02:15 PM
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Ky Offline
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Post: #20
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Just 1,000 more words and I'll be done for today...

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11-02-2013 06:06 AM
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James Comey Away
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Post: #21
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Can't wait!

RIP GWEDIN
RIP URITIYOGI
RIP NIGHT
RIP VONUNOV
RIP WES/THEWAKE
RIP USERNAME

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Stop jerking off to porn and whining and do something about it

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11-02-2013 12:13 PM
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Trekkie_Aspie Offline
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Post: #22
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

How you doing?

If I seem rude to you, please call me on it gently.
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((Google Asperger's Syndrome))

stupid article
05-25-2014 01:58 PM
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Ky Offline
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Post: #23
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

I failed hard.

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05-26-2014 03:03 AM
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Vatman Offline
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Post: #24
RE: I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

When this post got bumped, I thought it was new...and I wrote a long reply detailing how I got through nanwrimo after years of failure. Too little too late.

Some cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
05-26-2014 04:19 AM
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Ky Offline
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Post: #25
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

There's always next year.

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05-26-2014 04:23 AM
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James Comey Away
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Post: #26
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

Indeed.

RIP GWEDIN
RIP URITIYOGI
RIP NIGHT
RIP VONUNOV
RIP WES/THEWAKE
RIP USERNAME

[Image: Nas-One-Love.jpg]

Stop jerking off to porn and whining and do something about it

Make School Survival Great Again - MSSGA

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05-26-2014 06:32 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #27
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

There's always now. Let's get a book out ASAP, as part of the launch of this summer series/course!

And put out another at the end.

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
“Mom, Dad, can I stop going to school?”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

Hidden stuff:
05-26-2014 06:45 AM
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Ky Offline
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Post: #28
I'm Writing For NaNoWriMo

I've got nothing better to do. There's a story idea (actually a fiction novel, this time) that I've had maturing in my head for quite awhile, and I think it is just about ripe.

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05-26-2014 01:29 PM
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