Book Discussion: Unfair

Synopsis: Good.  Succinct.

Things learned:

  1. Learned that the US justice system is unfair and biased.
  2. Police have been know to skip over evidence.
  3. Corruption is a problem.
  4. Basic training for police officers is not high and they need more training to deal with societies problems.
  5. There is still a tendency  to judge people by their appearances.  There are still a lot of assumptions by people in power.  More testing needed.
  6. Gained a different perspective on how the US treats people.  There are still many biases.
  7. This book has opened her eyes and made her think more critically about justice and laws.
  8. Gained a perspective on how important rights are.  Everyone deserves to know what their rights are.
  9. Understands the importance of the need to fix the system.
  10. The US is not cohesive in its laws.  It varies from state to state.  It needs a more unified vision.


Book discussion.

Synopsis: Excellent. Well spoken.  I got an understanding of the entire book in less than 2 minutes.

Explained Scientology and its accompanying philosophy well.

Most important things learned:

  1. Felt like reading a science fiction book.  It made no sense.  Learned that that Scientology is a cult.
  2. Learned that people really need to be in help to subscribe to it.  They are so desperate that they think it will help them.  Scientology is meant to help you be a better person (their mantra), but that is not what has happened in reality.  All of this speaks to human nature and how fear and greed still rule many of our decisions.
  3. How it is marketed – targeted to the desperate.  Very smartly done.  Example: their website is all about humanitarianism, but it has not played out that way.  The philosophy is not logical, and thus the practice of it has failed.
  4. Cult leaders. Why join?  Charisma?  We can’t see why we would join, but we can’t overtly see the followers reasons for engaging with cult leaders.
  5. From her experience, it is so underground.  She could not find the book anywhere, had to find a PDF.  So secretive, only place to buy the books is at the churches.  It feels like they are hiding something.  Emma finds this strange.  Scientology is well known, but information is limited.  Even in the book “Dianetics”,  the information was very limited and general.
  6. L. Ron Hubbard, the author, was a science fiction writer.  This book felt like that.  Emma feels that the book was not cohesive, nor logical.  If it is  the basis of a religion, it feels more like a science fiction book than a religious book.  This book is considered the bible to Scientologists.  Emma think it should explain more as it is very vague.  She would never want to join something without all the information, but this is what people are doing.
  7. The more you pay, the more valued you are.  It seems that money is the number one thing that they care about.  The organization fought hard to create a religion so they did not have to pay taxes.  That was the sole purpose of the founder.  There are many fabrications.  Hubbard made himself out to be a hero, but he abused his wife and children.  Not encouraged to find information sources outside the church.
  8. They claim to be non-profit, but there revenues are huge.  The leaders are living in mansions.

Physical Literacy Assessment

3 -4 times a week on the bike for 40 minutes.

Start slow, gets faster – interval training.

Started in January.  Reports that it is getting easier.  Still working on physical improvement – leg strength and lung capacity.

Goal is to be fit and healthy.  Reports that diet is good – healthy – no gluten, dairy, and very little sugar.

Still thinking about how to apply the training to a specific physical skill.

As Emma has just begun to develop her physicality on the bike, she is just starting to get results.  I have informed her to be patient and stick with it, as she will for sure get results in the next month or two.

Weekly Assessment Meeting

Happening Now:

Make up course – will have things to post for Maddy for assessment.

Will be done section B by spring break.  The rest of the course is about working on people.  Needs to apply.  Ex: makeup for mature skin.

Plan to be done the full course by the end of the school year.

Assessment for Scientology:

Look for writing structure, organization, readability, flow, not repeating the same details.  Also, storytelling ability – when done reading the piece, are you satisfied – learned something.

Still reading Dianetics.  Done by beginning of March.

Started the infographic on cult vs. religion.  Will be done by the end of month.

Meet with Jessica to discuss science related inquiry.

Idea for a quick film – drawing tablet, photoshop, voiceover – for a final product for film course.

Need to find connections/develop deeper questions with religion/cults and greater society and government.




Mid Year Assessment Meeting


Emma feels like she has made a lot of progress since September.  She feels that she has achieved goals.  Since it is her 3rd year here, Emma understands how the school works.  She is highly self-motivated.

She has gone more in depth into crimionolgy – cartels –  and has done deep learning there.  She is now moving towards cult and religions and is doing strong inquiry.

Make up quest – how to do makeup on people (making them feel comfortable)?  How to work in the industry?  How to be clean and safe? Emma can see things that she has not seen before.  She is taking an online professional course.  Emma now looks at people and can see how they can better themselves.  Ex skin, eyebrows, etc…

She is reading more.  Listnening to podcasts.  Reads a lot of articles.  Improved finding worthy sources.  Also made improvements in writing – especially over the course of the last few years through providing better exmples and backing up her ideas more fully.  When writing about her passion, she gets better results.

Math is going well.  Generally understands it.  Making progress.  It has been worse.



Become a certified makeup artist.

More make up learning in general.

Learn more about cults – especially Scientology.  Compare/contrast cults  and religion.

Looking at forensics for science.

Doing work experience with a mortician.



She can’t think of anything specific.  Just keep checking in weekly.  Already a highly independent learner.

Structured plan of everything that needs to get done course-wise by the end of the year.



Needs more help organizing herself.  Break things down into smaller tasks.

Diversify further in her makeup portfolio representation.

Keep track of sources and cite them properly.

Read more books.

Improve persuasive writing.


Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga – Discussion


Emma speaks well and overall, is succinct in her synopsis.  This is an important skill and she still needs some work in this area.  We will continue to practice throughout the year.

Hunter S Thompson travels with the Hell’s Angels throughout California.  He wanted to report on the sensationalism and bias in the media that were representing the gang as ruthless rednecks who abuse their wives – all of which was true.

The typical gang member was not well-educated and got connected with the gang through a peer.  What the author discovered was that most of the individual gang members wanted to gain some recognition.  For most criminals, recognition is a bad thing, but for this gang, it is what they wanted and were easily arrested by the police.  They also showed little remorse for their victims.  Emma believes that this all relates back to a lack of education and empathy.

Emma felt that the purpose of the book was for the author to get a good story and do effective journalism; he wanted to expose the Hell’s Angel’s culture without a bias and just report what he saw to raise awareness.

Emma was interested to learn about the Angels so she could try to understand their motives: what they do, why they exist, etc.  Some wanted to attack people to gain attention, for others it was a social circle.

We discussed the dangers of gathering this information for Thompson.  The Hell’s Angles behavior were largely unpredictable: are they going to put a gun to my head?  He put his work before his life, which he seems to have done throughout his career.

Emma learned that getting a good education and being a productive member of society are critical factors to leading a good life – stay away from bad people.

As for the writing itself, there were no chapters.  It was like one giant article.  Emma found it difficult to read at first as she has never read anything like it before, but after awhile, she enjoyed the style.  She feels that it was well written and smart, appealing to an intelligent reader.  It opened her mind to a different style of writing.

She feels he was successful in bringing these issues to light.  Some people believed that they were not that bad; personal opinions range.  Again, Hunter provided a non-biased view and left it up to the readers to make their own choices.

She enjoyed it.  Emma did not know about the subject and learned a lot.  She likes to read non-fiction.  It is more appealing to her as it is something that is real.  Emma would like to know more stories of what happened and their personal views from both the victims and individual gang members.

This book also enlightened her on a different kind of gang.  She has been looking at cartels and organized crime.  This gave her a different perspective and more knowledge on the subject.