Becoming a Self Learner – Look It Up
I wrote a post about the importance of inspiring your curiosity but once you’ve piqued your curiosity, it’s time to look it up.
Really, we are all masters of finding information, right? We look on our phones for everything from the closest movie theater to the best place to buy running shoes. But there might be a few avenues of research that you haven’t considered.
Google search – you will get hundreds if not thousands of hits. You may find enough to satisfy your interest. Many topics will lead you to Wikipedia which is not always the most reliable source but it can be a good place to start. I’ve discovered links within articles that have taught me about events and people I’d never heard of before.
For example, I was once reading about WWII and it referenced the Armenian holocaust as a precursor to many of the methods used to eliminate Jews. I had never heard of the Armenian holocaust before, not once in a history class. I looked it up and cried. It was a gut-wrenching shock to discover such a poignant piece of history that I knew nothing about.
Youtube – I have periodically used Youtube to research music that comes from operas written in foreign languages. Watching the music performed on stage or in concerts helps me learn song interpretation and diction. Youtube is a fantastic place to see how others interpret music and helps me decide how I want to incorporate it into my own performance.
Now, I know everyone doesn’t want to research opera. But you can use Youtube to look up tutorials and how to videos.
Pinterest – I love the visual smorgasbord on Pinterest. I am not a crafty person, but sometimes you can’t avoid the need for crafting. I use Pinterest for cake decorating, party ideas, the occasional baby shower, recipes, and finding new sewing tutorials.
Pinterest has more than crafts. I spent a year homeschooling one of my kids and Pinterest was a life saver. I found the best science experiments, printouts, and homeschool support by searching Pinterest.
Skill sharing sites – Skillshare.com is the only site of this kind that I have looked into. Bascially you pay for a class that culminates with a class project of some kind. Most of the instruction is done by video. There is wide variety of classes to take from How to Make a Great Cup of Coffee to How to Self Publish a Coloring Book. You can open an account and get a few free classes, which are made up of shorter lessons. If you have tried one of their classes I would love to hear about it in the comments.
I am a huge fan of the good ol’ library. Libraries are fantastic. I have cards at three different libraries: 1) my county library system, 2) the county library that my husband’s office is in, and 3) my college alma mater.
Obviously you can check out books but did you know many libraries have subscriptions to language learning sites that you can access from home through your library account? I have listened with my kids to lessons in Greek, Latin, Azerbaijani, and German through Mango Languages, which I access through my library account. While researching this post I found another called Pronunciator that I can access through the library.
Take advantage of the resources of your library like e-books that you can check out on your reading device or phone apps. I appreciate digital books because I don’t always get materials back on time…which means I have fines at three different libraries. Yikes.
Many libraries offer classes for kids and adults at little or no cost.
Learning from an expert is sometimes the best way to go. Do you know someone that has a skill you would like to learn? Ask if they will teach you. If you have a shareable skill offer to exchange lessons.
I married into a family of home decorating, sewing, and cooking enthusiasts. I was none of those things when I joined the family. I’m still not a home decorator or cooking enthusiast, but I am an avid sew-er now. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both taught me some basics of sewing. A friend taught me a few more sewing lessons in exchange for voice lessons. I learned enough from all of them to start trying patterns out on my own. I was hooked from there.
Crocheting, knitting, canning and lots of other skills might be easier and more fun to learn from someone with experience and most people are more than happy to share their knowledge.
Taking a class saved my sanity once. When I was pregnant with my first child I physically couldn’t do the things I loved. To alleviate my unhappiness, my husband signed me up for a watercolor class with a lady named Juju who taught out of a converted garage. That class saved me by giving me a new creative outlet. I only took the class for three months but I learned enough basics to continue water coloring on my own.
Many community colleges or parks and rec programs offer continuing education classes if you want something more formal.
Keep your eyes open for the resources around you. What have been some of your favorite learning resources? Leave a note in the comments so I can look it up.