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Blogging about things that matter to me. Photographing things I love - Instagram @debcyork. Writing about both. Only wine and chocolate can save us… You can also find me on Twitter (@debcyork) and Facebook. If you like four-legged views, try @missbonniedog on Twitter

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Why's

Oh my goodness I am going back to school!  Yes, after posting a while ago about my lack of organisation with my family history records, I have decided to get professional help.  So I am about to start a Pharos online learning course called, quite perfectly, "Organising your Genealogy".

It is a whole new world to me.  Not the genealogy but the enrolment and set-up for an online course.  I have done online learning like "HR required" courses and so on over the years but yesterday, three emails arrived telling me to begin my registration procedures.  It is brilliant!  And I haven't even learnt anything yet!

My tutor is based in Salt Lake City in the US apparently. She works for the Family Search organisation run by the Mormons (see my post on the fabulousness of their resources!).  And we all had to reply and introduce ourselves on the course forum.  There are people from all over the world doing the same course.  I do love modern technology sometimes....

So it includes three "lessons" over the three week period (yes, I guess I was exaggerating about the going back to school but hey, it is quite a thing for me to give myself permission to take time for myself and commit to something like this.  Once in a blue moon in fact!).  The tutor holds live "chats" for each lesson - two or three so that each time zone is accommodated.  Plus we get "chat notes" for each session in case you have missed out.

There is an open forum where you can ask anything you like and this came with notes telling me to post whatever I needed to ask and "not to worry about looking stupid" - which is excellent encouragement as I am not sure I would be brave enough to put anything down at all otherwise....I will be taking advantage of the opportunity to ask as many stupid questions as possible!

All in all, very excited to be beginning my three week adventure.  The trick now is going to be making sure that my family do not disrupt my attendance at the live "chat" sessions.  I have this fear that I will find myself typing a really (I hope) insightful comment only to be interrupted by a child/dog/husband issue.  The down side of distance learning, I guess.  I don't get to actually leave the house!  Always a treat for the stay at home parent, obviously...

In all seriousness, I do believe that it is important in life to keep learning.  And whilst it is great to be self taught at something which you love doing, there are times when we can definitely benefit from another's expertise.

In 2002 I left the City and retrained at Leith's School of Food and Wine.  I had considered doing so for some time but 11 September 2001 had kind of pushed me to make some changes to my life.  At that time I was working in Canary Wharf and watching live as people in New York jump to their deaths from burning buildings haunted me for months afterwards.  It all felt a bit too close to home.  So I followed a dream - in the absence of managing to get pregnant - and spent a wonderful six months properly learning to cook.  In the end, I only managed to cook full time for a relatively short while after the course as the de-stressing brought on pregnancy at last!

The thing which I have been endlessly grateful for from the course, though (apart from the career change and later being able to teach cooking), was an understanding of the principles of cooking and how things actually work.  Eg, the reason that everything should be at room temperature for making a sponge cake is that eggs and sugar do not actually like to be together so if they are at the same temperature when mixed, it helps to persuade them to stay mixed.  If you have learnt to cook from books, very few actually explain the science behind something like that.  So the tendency of the home cook is to think "oh well, how important can that be and I am in a hurry anyway".

I am hoping that starting to do some proper genealogy courses will give me the same kind of basic principles.  An understanding of the "why" as well as the "how to".  I will post again about the course at the end...watch this space...

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