Never Ever Give Up

Standard

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~Confucius

This quote says it all.  We have been moving steadily up the path and we are making good progress. The terrain is hot and dry right now, but we are not turning back.  We continue to learn and practice code every day for two hours.  When we are not taking lessons, we are practicing, debugging, reviewing, or updating our spreadsheet of notes.  There is no easy path to learning code.  It just takes time.

Image

The more we learn, the more we see how much more we need to learn.  Wrapping my head around the CSS concepts of: elements, attributes, pseudos, properties, classes, id’s, links, nesting, boxes, divs, structure, webkits, bugs, syntax errors, etc. – is a lot.  We have to just keep doing it until it becomes second nature.  I know we will get there.

Yet, even as we walk through this desert, we see beauty and promise.  We learn something new every day.   The pieces start to make sense.  It might take a while until we reach the next valley of trees, flowers and shade.  But we will not give up – ever.  When we get discouraged, we look at Our Tower of Code (which is slowly filling up with colored boxes) and it gives us motivation to keep on trekking.  

 

Advertisements

Balancing Code With Life

Standard

When we saw a tower of rocks as we walked on our path, we were reminded to always stay balanced so we can keep our steady pace, and know that we have the endurance to make it up our mountain.

Image

We can do this if we keep our balance in Body, Mind and Spirit.

Body: Exercise, nutrition and adequate sleep.  These three components affect how we learn, what our mood is, what we remember, how we can work as a team, etc.

Mind: Knowledge, creation, wisdom.  There is so much to learn in this new world of technology that provides online classes and gives us a wide variety of resources to keep learning and expanding. Code, literature, history, art, social science, etc. – the possibilities are limitless.

Spirit: Meditation, breath work, nature, silence. Sometimes it is good to take time to center and just be still and in the moment.

We need to remember to stay balanced or it could set us off track.  For instance, if we eat poorly one day and don’t get enough sleep that night, our brains can be foggy the next and we can’t retain the lesson.  We might be too tired to work and rely on caffeine to pick us up, but then we get crabby with our team because our bodies are out of whack.  Something like this can slow our progress.

Balance.  We placed a small stone at the top of the tower to remind ourselves and then continued on.

 

Detour – Proofreading Code

Standard

After learning about linear gradients on Treehouse, which  blends two colors on a web page background, I decided to add it to my codemoms project.  Yet, when I tried to add the code, it only covered half my page and not the entire background.  What was I doing wrong?  I had to stop on my path to figure this out before I went any farther.  It was a detour worth experiencing.

Image

I learned that there are sites that will check your code for errors.  This is very helpful since we are remote students with no teacher in the room to look at our work.  So I uploaded my html file to the W3C Markup Validator.  WC3 checked my code and informed me that I had more than one error (I won’t say how many).

Even though my web page was functional, I could see that the code was not really clean.  The validator helped me go through my code, line by line, and understand my mistakes.  When I reloaded my html, it said I passed.  Yay!

The big lesson we learned today is that coding needs to be clean, lean and orderly.  I am so glad that we had this detour at an early stage of our trek, so we can build good work habits.  So, after cleaning up my markup and learning a lot, we’re ready to hit the trail.

Endurance to Code

Standard

Spending two hours a day on code seems like it will take forever to reach our goal, but we are staying on the path.  At this point, we are learning more and more about CSS on the Treehouse platform. Just yesterday, I uploaded some new code on our web page at http://codemoms.org and it felt great to implement what we have learned so far.

Image

On our trek up the mountain, I feel like we just reached our first mountain meadow, and we can enjoy the colors and calm air. Endurance is our friend. Going slow and steady works for us.  We take lessons, look back at notes and implement the new skills the best we can.

Ten hours a week is a good goal. Two hours a day.  Then there are those days that we work for four hours straight and my son says, “Can we hold off on the History class today? Coding is the most addictive and fun thing I have ever done. Let’s keep coding.”

Those are good days.  Onward we trek.

Learning by Doing

Standard

We are taking steps each day to move up the code path.  To date, we have accumulated 70 hours of learning (our yearly goal is 500).  We are currently taking a CSS module with Treehouse.  After going through lessons on Selectors, Pseudo Selectors, Lists and Font Styles, my son and I decided to take an afternoon to practice what we learned so far.  My son worked on his web page and I updated our site at http://www.codemoms.org.  When I first launched it three weeks ago, my web page was made with only HTML code that had some in-line styling.  

Now that we had a bit of CSS under our belt, we were able to add color, style fonts and text, hover on hyper-links,  and make links active.  I had to go back through my notes to find out how to code what I wanted to do. It took longer than I expected but by “doing” it, we were learning.  I cannot stress how important it is to keep good notes and stay organized.   As I worked on CSS, it was exciting to try different codes and see them appear in the window.  We are at the beginning stages of our code path.  I know we have a long way to go on this journey with more challenging modules, but it is rewarding to actually create something with code that I can launch and see.  

Image

We like going up the path at our own pace, stopping to investigate, re-watching lessons as we need, taking the time to organize, and practicing what we learn.  Now we are ready for the next stretch.  Still on track.  Onward we go.

We Just Launched our Web page!

Standard

Image

Well, after several months on the code journey, my son and I have started to get familiar with a few languages.   We’ve studied HTML with Treehouse, Javascript with CodeHS, and are getting ready to dive into CSS.  After our lesson on HTML, we decided to see if we could create our own web page.  And we did it.

Best thing of all is that we couldn’t stop working.  Although my eyes got blurry from typing code and searching for my mistakes (so glad my son could help me out), we really had a lot of fun putting our knowledge to the test.  They say the best way to learn is by “doing.”  I agree, and add one thing — working as a team keeps you learning.

The web page is simple, but this is only the beginning.   As we learn more, we will apply our skills to enhance it.  Our next  lesson in CSS will teach us how to add color and style.  If you want to check out our page, visit http://www.codemoms.org.  Keep on trekking.

Setting Goals to Keep us on Track

Standard

tower of code

It is the start of a new year now.  We have already been learning code for a few months, but now it is the perfect time to set a goal to keep us on track.  Our goal?  500 hours of learning code for 2014.  We figured if we commit to at least two hours a day, five days a week, this is definitely a goal we can achieve.

Since we are very visual people, we decided to make a “Tower of Code” board.  On it, we pasted 500 blocks (from printed sheets with 50 blocks each).  Every month will have a different color.  Each block will have initials for what we are learning (right now, it’s Javascript, HTML and CSS).  Having the tower out next to our workstation keeps us motivated to keep working.  I can’t wait until the board is full of colors!