Just a simple update today on my progression in mathematics. I have now been going through the Khan Academy mathematics modules for 19 days. I started at the very beginning with simple addition and subtraction and have now worked my way up to theĀ fractions modules. I have two months until my online classes on edX start (offered by MIT and Havard), so I have a couple months to get through algebra and hopefully trig so I can be ready for the computer science and programming courses. Current Energy Points (KhanAcademy): 291,195

Last week I started “taking” the Harvard CS50 Fall 2011 OCW course provided online by David Malan. It’s an introduction to Computer Science and Programming course. I am currently finishing up my ‘homework’ which is the problem set from Week Zero and you create a program using the Scratch application created by M.I.T. I decided to make a small pseudo-first person shooter game in which Lauren Bacall has to shoot her way through a bunch of peacocks… it made sense in my mind I swear!
What’s really cool is that I can take the class online with others, starting on October 15th via this site edX, created by MIT and Harvard (and now joining in is UC-Berkely) which provides online versions of real courses, for free:

Being a lot better at the maths would really help me in my goals to further my own education and especially with computer science and programming.

As part of my independent learning journey I have started reviewing mathematics from the ground up. I started onKhan Academy about 13 days ago (at the very first level with basic addition and subtraction) and have quickly progressed through the arithmetic stage. What has startled me, is just how much basic math skills I have forgotten in the 8+ years since I used math and probably 15+ years since I did math without a calculator. Reviewing math from the bottom up I can confirm my own thoughts that it would be vital to get back into the swing of things mathematically. I have progressed up to the factors, fractions, and exponents modules and will be moving on to the geometry & algebra modules within a week I predict.

I have a new thirst for knowledge and have given myself a goal of becoming proficient at math and progressing all the way to the higher level maths that I never achieved before. The furthest I went in math was what my high school, Kent-Meridian in Kent, Washington, called “Algebra 3 with Trig”. It was the class right after Geometry and before Precalculus. I was always good at geometry but never desired to go very far with math; but that has all changed and I am looking forward to, and even excited about, becoming highly educated on mathematics.

My very generic planned course of progression for learning mathematics:

Arithmetic — > Geometry / Algebra –> Algebra II –> Probability / Statistics –> Precalculus / Trigonometry –> Differential and Integral Calculus –> Multi-variable Calculus –> Differential Equations –> Linear Algebra –> Proofs –>

… and then in no particular order I intend to at least get familiar with the following topics:

* Graph Theory * Real Analysis (Key) * Number Theory * Complex Analysis * Abstract Algebra (Key) * Topology * Discrete Mathematics *

So to end this post I will give an update on my progress thus far in math at KA:

To put it simply: this blog is just a ‘journal’ for me to document and keep track of my progress in my goal to change my life. I spent most of my life so far (I turned 30 a few months ago) just existing, and being content to simply exist. I spent most of my twenties spinning my wheels, not getting anywhere, and not doing anything MORE to change it. Without getting too personal on here, I can say that I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself and a handful of other factors helped contribute to my lack of development over my life to date. I went to art school right out of high school and got an AA degree in 2004. I spent about 6 months going on interviews, with companies such as Mackie instruments and Pop! web design, and didn’t land any jobs after the interviews. So, I went to work for myself. I spent the next six years finding many ways to fail as an entrepreneur (internet marketing, eBay/Amazon businesses, article marketing (even tried ‘Bum Marketing’ once haha), selling other peoples digital products via Clickbank, affiliate marketing, creating and selling private label rights products, web designer and developer, graphic designer, and so on) and spent the last couple years unemployed and in debt. I currently live in a low-income government subsidized apartment and survive on food stamps.

My biggest issues I know have been those of a mental and emotional variety and that started to change not long after my 30th birthday. It itself was actually a very depressing event as I reflected on just how pathetic and pointless my life had become and then that “something” happened. The only way I can describe it is that a “spark” happened inside myself and ignited a fire, a thirst to be more than I am, to be better than I am. A desire for knowledge that I never had before has taken me over. And the most amazing thing occurred to me that I never truly believed before now: I can, I CAN be and do ANYTHING I want… if I work hard and dedicate myself to that goal or undertaking.

And that is what I have decided to do, to go back to college eventually if I can figure out how to pay for it or in the mean time be an independent learner and educate myself if I have to. My ultimate educational goal for now is to attend the University of Washington and get into the Computer Science and Engineering program as I want to become a professional in the industries of the internet/web and mobile. I also plan to take some business courses to learn how to run and operate a business successfully as trying to invent the way myself didn’t work (and I admittedly lacked the drive, motivation and dedication to make it work before).

So to end this first post I want to say that I also want to help others find free education and try to help them improve their lives as I am trying to do to mine. My journey is just beginning and like an iceberg protruding from the sea my potential has yet to be revealed. I am finally ready to step up and am not afraid to succeed.

I realized that if I and anyone reading this just dedicate yourself to something, you will achieve everything you want to.