Junior High
     High School
     Teachers and Questions
     A Stepping Stone to College
     Getting into College
     My Story      Summer Before College
     Choosing a Major
     DaNGERS to stay away from
     Summer jobs
     Taking Classes Overseas

Parent's Resources

  • Montgomery County Parent's Resources
  • Farmland Elementary School Homepage
  • Lucy Barnsley Elementary School
  • Viers Mill Elementary School
  • Executive Child Development Center

    Doing Well in Elementary School

  • Get plenty of sleep - at least 8-9 hours - be in bed by 9:00 pm (including the weekends)
  • Eat a good breakfast; make sure Mommy and Daddy eat with you
  • Limit TV and computer time to 1 hour a day. (On the weekends - 2 hours)
  • Watch TV use computer only after you've finished your homework (and chores)
  • Exercise every day, and be sure it's something you enjoy.

    Raising Money for the School

    Collecting pull tabs
  • 34 cans per pound of aluminum.
  • Approx. 800-1600 tabs per pound.
  • Current Price: 65 cents/lb (Dec. 16, 2008) see: If every child at your school brings in 2 pull tabs, that could be worth up to $1.00
    If every child brings in 2 aluminum cans that would be worth $23.
  • Pull tabs don't come off cans anymore

    Elementary School Problems

  • Teasing
  • Fights


    Junior High

  • Being Cool
  • Peer Pressure
  • Straight Dope

    Making Friends

    The best thing about high school will be the friends you make. I'm still in touch with some of the friends I made there.

    The most important thing about high school is getting good grades and participating in clubs, and volunteering, to improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice.

  • Get Rid of Geometry and teach life skills
  • Common Errors in English
  • Logical Fallacies

    Be Careful of

    Booze - In a teenager's life the most dangerous time is driving. More parents loose their children that way than any other accident. We love you too much, so we don't want to make it easy for you to loose your life. We don't want you to ride with anyone else either. The more teenagers in a car, the more likely it is to crash (2x for two and 4x for three or more!).

    In addition:

  • Inexperience
  • Alcohol
  • Distraction - texting, cell phones
  • Night

    These are the reasons insurance is so expensive for teenagers. They are the most likely to be involved in accidents.

    Remember, if you ever feel uncomfortable about driving, or riding with someone else, call me, and I will stop whatever I am doing and come pick you upAnd please don't ride with someone if there is another passenger.

    Here's a story about a police officer that lost his own child to a car crash. It takes only one second to loose your life.

    Proms, graduations and teen crashes: The worst season for police official and father

    Drugs -

    Sex -

    Guns -

    Status -

    Clothes -

    Wasting time with: Porn, TV, Computer games,

    Scams -


    You will find that student groups will be 'in' or 'cool' but unless you find that you share their values, which are usually superficial(sp?), ignore them. Find the clubs with kids that enjoy doing what you like to do.

    The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything


    Getting into College

    University of Maryland is a good school, and we've got a college savings plan for you there. You'll be close to us, but you can also live in the dorm if you choose. However, you might choose another school to. Just make sure you are comfortable there. Be sure to visit the schools you're interested in first and do research. Don't be as stupid and focused on one school as I was (see below).

    To get in you'll need more than good grades. You'll need to show you are a well-rounded individual with other activities and responsibilites. Join clubs, sports teams, have a part-time job, volunteer, help others. Have a leadership role somewhere, and travel.

    My Experience

    I went to three highschools. The first was because the real high was crowded so we continued going to Junior High. My last two years were at a private Catholic High School, but they forgot about me the first year and I didn't have to take the mandatory religion class. Unfortunately, the rememebered me next year :-(

    The Prom

    I didn't go to my Prom and I made my sort-of girlfriend, Celia, angry when I told her I wouldn't take her to hers (she was going to Las Vegas High School, since she didn't switch to Gorman, like I did). But I didn't know how to dance, didn't have a girlfriend at Gorman, and wasn't interested in it. Was I a nerd, or what? :-)


    Like my Prom, I didn't go to my graduation ceremony. I don't remember my mom expressing any interest in it, either. Instead I spent the evening writing a COBOL program for an advanced computer programming class at A HREF="">UNLV. It was a class that I was taking with two of my favorite teachers at Bishop Gorman - Mr. Roos, my computer programming teacher, and Mr. Seif, the guidance counselor. We were working together as a team and I voluteered to do the programming so I would have an excuse to get out of going to the ceremony. Because what's so special about it? You sit in your seat for 95% of the time either listening to people make speaches, or watching other people walk up the stage. Was I a nerd, or what? :-)

    Getting into College

    I wanted to go to University of California at Davis. The main reason I wanted to go was because I'd read that the town had bicycle paths. The school had an electrical engineering and computer science program. (Duh! I'm sure all UC schools did!) And my mom agreed to move there with me - she knew gardening would be easier there. We drove through it once, I believe, on the way to visit my cousin Glen. (We had a pop-up tent trailer, but that was the only time my mom and I ever went camping together after my father died. She didn't like it and we sold the trailer. After that, I went camping by myself). But when I received their rejection letter (although it did offer to admit me to UC San Diego which I visited later when I went to visit my old high school friend Dick Hopkins. They have the most unusual library in the world there - an upside down pyramid (see picture), I was devastated. I thought my life was over and I took out my dad's 357 Ruger (which I kept under a table near my bed), and contemplated suicide. What would be the good and bad things resulting from the action?

    As I was sitting there on the bed, my mother walked in and asked me what I was doing. When I told her, she said, "If you're going to kill yourself, then shoot me first." I told her I was just thinking about the pro's and con's. But I was never really seriously thinking I would do it.

    The only other time I thought about it was during the six months in the hospital. When I kept loosing more and more of my foot and leg. Each operation was supposed to be the last, How far up the leg was each amputation going to go?

    However, the time I was most devastated (before my mother's murder) was when Angela, my fiance' broke up with me. But I didn't consider suicide.

    Summer Before College

    Travel to Europe Youth Hostels Eurail pass


    Checklist for Picking a College

    Dangers to stay away from

    Fraternities and Sororities -

    Scams -

    Credit Cards -

    Picking a Major and a Profession

    Selecting a major - How to select your first major? It's to prepare you for the job you think you'd like to do for most of your life. Hopefully you can pick a profession that you'll enjoy and pay good money. There are so many professions out there, I don't think you need to settle for one that doesn't pay much.

    In addition, you should also look for a job that is interesting, intellectually challenging, one that helps other people. In other words, a job where you'll enjoy going to work each day. You might also think of a job with a skill that can take you anywhere in the country.

  • Law - Four years of college, then two years of law school. If you are interested in law, you'll take political science, history, and philosophy. But you'll have to go to graduate school. However, Angela, my first fiancee' got an engineering degree and she's now a patent lawyer. If you work in financial law, you'll take economics and accounting classes. With this degree you can go to any state, take a bar exam and set up a business. But this it true of accountants and tax advisors too. You could also become a judge.
  • Doctor - Four years of college, two years of Med school, two years as an intern in a hospital. You can also go to any state with a doctors degree. Your courses will consist of a lot of biology and chemistry. Don't worry about what kind of a doctor you'll be. You won't decide that until your last year of college, when you apply to med school.
  • Sciences - the "ist" professions - scientist, chemist, physicist, geologist, pharmacist, plagerist (just kidding :-) Also include engineer. In all of these, mathematics will be very important. The introductory classes are used to weed out students who aren't motivated enough to study hard, or aren't brilliant. (My first time through, they weeded me out - you can read that story elsewhere).

    Majors and jobs to stay away from

  • Acting - One of the toughest fields to break into. Most actors wait tables, hoping for their big break.
  • Musician - same story here, except while they wait for their big break they work very hard playing at rinky-dink clubs, and don't earn much.
  • Artist - You spend all your time painting, and get no money for it. With the exception of Picasso, most recent artists whose paintings sell for millions today, died poor. Check out deKooning, Pollac, Matisse.
  • Writers & Poets - English Lit. as a major is practically worthless. Maybe if you want to become a journalist. Your life will be much like an artist: very poor. You'll work hard waiting to become famous, and most likely won't make it.
  • Education - Education majors can find a job almost anywhere, but won't make much money at it.
  • Athletics - You'll know early on whether you are any good at sports. In fact, unless we start you have for a particular sport at age five, you won't make the pros and will be condemned to a life of little money chasing a dream of amateur until you are in your 30's and then you'll have to find something else to do.

    One Downside

    There is an inverse correlation between majors that pay well and financial aid. In other words, financial aid is more often given to people in the Arts, than in the sciences, since people in the sciences can more easily find jobs when they graduate, than can people with Liberal Arts degrees.

    Skipping College

    I wouldn't advise that, even police officers benefit with a college education. Vocational education - mechanic.

    Summer jobs

    Summer jobs are a great way to check out different professions, and if it's an internship you might get paid, but the competition will be stiff.
  • Park Ranger in a state or national park. Low pay, but if you like the outdoors, the benefits can't be beat.
  • Law Office -
  • Hospital - once called "Candy stripers"
  • Volunteer work - find something that interests you and talk to someone and ask if a volunteer position is available.

    Taking Classes Overseas

    American students often venture overseas barely able to speak the language, clueless about other cultures or just not quite ready to be so far from home for so long. But almost invariably, they return worldlier and more confident, with wisdom that will last a lifetime.

    From: The Washington Post Magazine, "Education Review" November 2, 2008.

    Innocents Abroad

  • Editor's Note
  • High Living In Holland
  • Foot Loose In Chile
  • India's Color Connection
  • Giving Gifts in Senegal
  • Cheerful But Poor in the Philippines
  • In Italy, the Nature of Patriotism
  • Exploring Identity in Scotland
  • In London, a Blast From the Past
  • Bathroom Words in Malaysia

  • All articles in "Innocents Abroad"

    Graduate School

    M.A. M.S. or Ph.D.?

    Choosing the Right Graduate School

    Paying For it

    Dreams of Academe? First, a Course in Reality
    My Undergraduate Thesis