When you have a family and career, it’s tough to find time to learn about things you enjoy. We all have that “something” that we wish we pursued- the one that got away. Once we have full time jobs and full time lives, we can’t really just up and leave to go play on a college campus. For this reason, there’s multiple tactics you can try out to make the most of your yearning for learning, while handling a career and family.
Independent study is a great way to learn whatever you want with minimal effort. There are so many reference and tutorial sites available on the Internet these days, especially for new media, making them a great outlet for independent study. Simply enter your subject of interest in a search engine and start reading. It’s best, of course, to stick with reliable resources that provide references for gathered information. If you’re not very Internet savvy (unlikely if you’re reading this), then the library is also a great place for independent study on a subject.
There are online courses for virtually every subject. Most have a full scale lesson plan, assignments and exams. Some are available through webinar style. Best of all, many of them are free or have a free trial period. Even if they cost money, online courses and webinars are usually inexpensive for the great information they provide.
Individual experts in your area may periodically offer workshops or short courses within their area of expertise. For example, a local photographer may offer lessons in photography. Other possible local workshops may include art classes or cooking courses. You may even be lucky enough to find a literature class. Check your local newspaper or contact craft stores and the like for workshop information.
Community colleges will often open general education courses to the public. In other words, you don’t have to be enrolled as a full time student in order to take a course that interests you. Simply ask the registration department for a catalog of classes available to non-students and register away. They may be at a discounted price or the same cost as other credit hours. You will still have assignments and receive a grade, and it may even count as credit toward a future degree. Many of these courses are also available online.
Auditing is attending a college course without paying for it. You have to obtain permission from the instructor or department head in order to participate, but it can be a great opportunity. You won’t have assignments, exams or a grade and it will not count for any sort of degree credit. Essentially, you’re just there to learn and nothing more.
All of these options give you access to more knowledge at a minimal cost. Learning for the sake of learning is nothing is an honorable decision. The more you know about the world around you, the better equipped you are to enjoy it.