Doing one thing differently: Learn something new FOR FREE
I often get stuck in ruts where I feel like I’m constantly doing the same thing, day after day, week after week. Caring for little human beings, running a household, continuous school pick ups and work deadlines can all seem pretty monotonous after awhile. And sometimes I start to long for the days of college where so much of your time was focused on learning and growing. I don’t know that I actually want to go back to school, but I know that I always want to be expanding my world. And one thing I’ve realized is that even with busy days full of demands and tasks, I have tiny pockets of time all throughout my day that I could be using better and also fulfill my longing for learning.
I started compiling a list of podcasts on several different topics that I found interesting or wanted to know more about. For those that don’t know, podcasts are totally free, digital audio and video shows that you can listen to on your phone. All kinds of people can and do make podcasts about EVERYTHING. You might have heard of especially popular podcasts like “Serial,” but there are so many, many great podcasts out there that don’t make the news. From kids and family, to music to sports and recreation, there is something for everyone.
So, I started to see I could download tons of podcasts and in all those pockets of time I have throughout the day, I don’t just let my mind wander or scroll through my phone. I listen to podcasts and I’ve learned so much! Sometimes when I’m busy cooking dinner, folding laundry or grocery shopping, I can’t always pick up a book and read a chapter, but I can turn on a podcast and listen to experts in different fields talk about all kinds of topics. And the things I love the most about podcasts is that it is a way for me to hear from all kinds of people that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to hear from.
My favorite way to find new and interesting podcasts is to go to “Top Charts” and look at the top podcasts of all different kinds of categories. You can scroll through the top 150 podcasts in each category and see reviews from others who have already listened to get a feel for the podcasts. Then you can subscribe to the podcasts so that any time there is a new podcast, it automatically pops up on your phone. Some of our favorite podcasts include “The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe,” “Embedded,” “EW’s Binge,” and “Parenting Great Kids with Dr. Meg Meeker.”
Other resources that myself and my children are taking advantage of for learning are the online resources at our library. A lot of people don’t know, but many libraries offer free subscriptions to e-books and audiobooks through services like Overdrive and Tumblebooks. Both of these resources offer TONS of e-books that you can check out and
read free-of-charge as long as you have a library card. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great hard copy book, but sometimes it is so convenient to have books that I want to read ready and loaded onto my phone or tablet. This is especially good for vacations where you and your children don’t want to haul your whole book collection with you, but you don’t want to let a week go by without you and your kiddos reading! It just makes reading and learning easy and accessible, even when you are out of your daily routine.
So, try a podcast or an e-book on something completely foreign and see what you learn. You never know where it might lead.
What things do you do or use to help yourself keep learning and growing? What resources do you use with your children? What are some of your favorite podcasts?