Thursday, February 11, 2016

I Read My College Homework to My 9-Year-Old

My son is in school now but I’ll always be a homeschooler at heart. My philosophy has been teach him to love reading, and he’ll be a learner for life. It is, after all, the same philosophy that got me where I am today and eventually prompted me to come back to school to pursue an English degree.

When I started taking classes at Vol State that were reading-intensive I sometimes found myself, well, drifting and easily distracted. Add to that an only child who is used to more of my attention, and getting through 100 pages of Gilgamesh becomes quite a chore.

“Do you want me to read to you?” I asked, wondering if I could kill two birds with one stone. “Sure!” he replied excitedly.

Honestly, I thought he’d get bored fifteen minutes in, but he stuck with me. It took me two days to read the assignment to the both of us, stopping often to explain things to him. By the time we were done, however, I understood the story in depth. Since then we’ve read everything from Hamlet and Gulliver’s Travels to Psychology and how the brain works, and I’ve lectured him on my World History notes and taught him some French. This isn’t to say that I read him everything, and he has by no means been able to keep up with it all. He helps me through the important highlights, not to mention keeps me from dozing off with my face in a book.

When I talk about learning to balance my time, this is one of my secrets to success. My son gets a very rounded education and I get closer to my degree. We both get to spend more time together, then we treat ourselves for our hard work with hot cocoa and Godzilla movies. That’s what I call a win-win.
How do you balance your time between work, family, and school? Share with us in the comments!
Gaynell Buffinet Payne
Gaynell Payne is a writer, single mother, and student at Volunteer State Community College. She also blogs for Vol State's Returning Adult Learners.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Free Online Tutoring for Vol State Students

All Vol State students now have free access to the online tutoring service It is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The link to is part of the eLearn page for each of your classes. The tutoring service covers Math, Business, English, Writing, Science, Health Sciences, Computers, and Foreign Language. You should access it via your course eLearn page for login.
If you have problems or need help with visit the Learning Commons location for your campus. You can also call 615-230-3676.
Just can use the above link to get more info about the service, but to use it you need to go in through your course eLearn page. That's the only way you can currently login.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Auditions Next Week

2009 production of Fiddler on the Roof
Auditions for the Spring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be held in Caudill Hall February 8, 9, and 10th from 3-5pm. Those interested in auditioning should prepare a 2 to 3 minute monologue.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Time to Apply for Scholarships

The scholarship application for the 2016-2017 Academic year is now available at, Students use their portal ID and password to complete the application. In addition to this application, every student must also complete their FAFSA for the 2016-2017 year at

Vol State Book Read- "I Am Malala"

Imagine being attacked on your school bus and shot in the head, simply for speaking out about the educational rights of women. That's what happened to 15-year old Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai. The book “I Am Malala” is the subject for the third year of the Sumner County One Book, One Community read, sponsored by Vol State and Sumner County public libraries. People love to talk about books they are reading, so one can imagine the conversation if everyone was reading the same book. That’s the goal of One Book, One Community. Everyone in the community is encouraged to read “I Am Malala” and then discuss the book themes.
“I Am Malala” tells the story of how the student became an activist at age 11 and went on to international notoriety. She survived the 2012 shooting after a long and arduous recovery. She has since continued to speak out for the educational rights of women and people all over the world. In 2014 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work. The One Book, One Community book read has a series of events to discuss the challenges Malala addresses, and also to look at the struggles of students here in Sumner County. Money, family issues, crime, and even war in their native country, are all challenges that local students have faced on their road to education.
Vol State will host a screening of the movie “He Named Me Malala” on March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rochelle Center of the Thigpen Library. There will be a “Struggle for Education” panel held on March 23 at 12:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., also in the Rochelle Center of the Thigpen Library. The events are designed to get people talking, even if they have not yet read the book.
There are many events coming up at Sumner County libraries. There will be a Gallatin Public Library book discussion on Wednesday, March 16 at noon. A discussion luncheon will be held at the Portland Public Library at 11:30 a.m. on March 22. Millersville Public Library will hold a discussion brunch on Saturday, March 23 at 10:30 a.m. For a complete list of events and more information about the book visit

Photo by: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development.

This week at Vol State:

This week at Vol State:
Feb. 4 Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 9 am
Feb. 6 2016 TN Promise FAFSA Help Event in Cookeville. Register
Feb. 10 Soul Food Luncheon, Nichols Dining Room, 12:45pm

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why You Should Do Supplemental Instruction

Some classes at Vol State have the free option of Supplemental Instruction or SI. If you have a class that offers SI, you should take the opportunity. SI can help you do better in the class and SI sessions are usually held for the harder classes.
Supplemental Instruction provides students study support with a peer who has completed and earned a B+ or higher in the course. SI Leaders attend class sessions with the students and hold two 50 minute study sessions outside of class. SI is currently offered in courses such as anatomy and physiology, chemistry, history, Spanish and many others. Students who attend SI are more likely to complete the course successfully and earn up to a full letter grade improvement. Visit the SI web page to learn more about the courses served by SI, and the SI Leader contact information by course.
Do yourself a favor...if you have the option of taking SI sessions- do it!
Here is more info about the program: