An Opportunity to Learn

Its day three of Minnesota’s adventure of sheltering in place. In some ways, this experience is different than I thought it would be; and in others, it is exactly what I expected. There has been progress on that ever-running list of projects that need attention in my space, and based on the current date for students to return to school it looks like I will be working from an online platform for more than two weeks. This break in normal life routine is starting to feel a little bit like a healthy tax return: an abundance of opportunities, but without direction and intent, likely to fade away without any tangible benefits at the end. To put it simply: I don’t want to squander this opportunity to stretch, grow and maybe even try something new. And I’m a little overwhelmed because the opportunities are endless. Literally. Even though physical travel is limited, virtual learning can pull resources from all over the globe. So if you are a new/temporary home school parent looking for projects to support your student’s homework (or even find things to do), or your a student looking to for new ideas to fill time after homework is finished I’ve got some great resources for you!

Anyone interested in creative writing, bullet journaling, or hand lettering?

Boho Berry, which is run by the amazing Kara Benz, is a fantastic place to explore the concept of bullet journaling. If you already are a seasoned bullet journaler, its also a great spot to find new inspiration if you’re feeling stuck in a rut. The concept of bullet journaling has always struck me as a perfect balance of art and words, organization and creativity. First rule of bullet journaling: you don’t have to have a fancy notebook, or do what everyone else is doing – you use what you have and make it work for you.
If you’ve always wanted to try hand lettering, Archer and Olive’s Bonnie Kuhl just lauched a free Modern Calligraphy class. If traditional calligraphy is more your desired style, SkillShare has a wide range of options. (Oh dear . . . SkillShare could become the next black hole in my life!) They also have a particularly interesting 10 day writing challenge class that would be really fun to do in a practicing-social-distancing online group setting.
And if we’re going to mention creative writing, I have to give NaNoWriMo a shout out. Not only do they host a month of crazy writing in November, they also host two (less stressful) events where writers get to pick their own word count coals: NaNoCamp in April and July. (Camping at its finest – no bugs, no leaky air mattresses, access to indoor pluming and hot water . . . but no guarantees regarding crazy neighbors.) Maybe this is the year you take the plunge and write a mini novel in April.

How about health sciences?

The Franklin Institute of Integrative Health Sciences is an accredited college offers evidence based distance learning programs for aromatherapy, herbal science and health coaching. They have a page of free resources which includes upcoming webinars and articles. (Save the date! April 10th – How Essential Oils Work is going to be a great class!)

How about maths?

Dave Ramsey is offering a free two week trial of his Financial Peace University program. I’m told that it is possible to binge watch the entire program in that time frame. Budgeting and investing are skills I wish I’d been taught in high school. Economic uncertainty makes wise money management an invaluable skill – I thought I’d pass along the link just in case anyone is interested.

So far my own choices are a blend of health sciences and fine arts. Two weeks ago I had the chance to take a four-hour class from Franklin Institute on Hydrotheraphy. (I’m still working homework for that.) The rest of my personal class list is filling quickly.
In order to stretch skills I haven’t used in the last decade, I’ve signed up to audit a music theory class from Coursera.org. I am also working my way through a sent of training videos on how to use the SmartMusic software. Last October I looked at incorporating this program into my teaching practice, but never pursued it. Now I’m sorry I didn’t provide that tool to my students and parents sooner.
I’ve signed up for a free trial of SkillShare and am working my way through a class on flat lay photography; I have a second class on traditional photography lined up, though I doubt I’ll have my camera fixed by the time I’m ready to take the class. (Pity.)

Oh so many things to learn and so little time to try! I’d love to hear how you are filling your time and all the things you are learning. Drop me a comment and tell me the best thing you learned today.