Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip actually first inspired this post... It may sound odd but I was listening to their song 'Get Better', a regular occurrence, as I find it quite inspiring that this is a song which encourages young people, rather than demonising them as the media in the UK is so often quick to do.
There is a lyric in this song about how young people should be looking to build themselves up and goes on to say "The Internet and public services give free education." Which made me wonder what free education sources could I find, which are independent of the formal education system? A passion for learning, along with a broken leg, of which the products are plenty of free time at home and very little money, spurred me on to further educate myself this summer for free.
Free Museums & Galleries
I am rather sorry to say that I wasn't hugely excited about going to Derby Museum & Gallery. I think I had written Derby off as being rather boring, but it being free I thought I would go along for an afternoons entertainment. However, I could have not been proved more wrong! I had a really fantastic time exploring, learning more about our heritage in Derby and also about Mummies, which had the added entertainment of scaring my sister! I'm now arranging further trips to go to the Pickford House Museum and to see what is on in the galleries at the Quad, as well as their poetry night. I think many people have museums in their own town, or nearby, which they have not visited and they're often free. You may not think there is much to learn but you might be surprised like I was.
A Word A Day
I signed up to a Wordsmith who send me emails Monday-Friday with a new word to learn and also a quote for the day. I am really enjoying these emails, learning new words and trying to incorporate some of these in to my vocabulary.
Online Academic Resources
I have found some interesting looking free academic lectures on Academic Earth. They have them on a variety of topics, but I am enjoying the Social Work ones most, as this is my area of interest. You can also get free e-books and academic textbooks on bookboon.com which also has a variety of subjects to learn about.
Reading is something I have seriously neglected over the years. I used to love reading for pleasure after my Mum set me the challenge to read a book every week for a year as my English skills at primary school were not that good. They improved and I spent most evenings reading a book. However, as school went on college and university demanded that I read academic books and I began to see reading as a bit of a chore. I got back in to reading while I was travelling and had time to kill on horribly long bus trips. I am starting now on my book shelf at home with 'The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry' (I do love him very much) and then I will move on to a list of classics that I really want to read.
I have always been interested in learning languages, but going travelling further instilled this in to me. I met so many people who knew at least two languages, their own and English, but many knew more than that. Of course, most of the English people just speak English and nothing else! It has made me determined to pick up key phrases wherever I go and to have some knowledge of a few languages. However, I would ultimately like to be fluent in a second language. I have downloaded the initial free lessons at Say Something Spanish (you can get more free if you Tweet about them) and have been looking through my little Spanish phrase book to get started. Money Saving Expert also have some tips on learning a language for free.
On the council estate I grew up on classical music was not really widely listened to, so university was really my first exposure to it when my friend who was a music student took me to £3 concerts. At first I did not really enjoy it, I struggled without the words, as I like music which usually has heated, sometimes political, lyrics. However, I found myself putting on Classic FM more often to relax so when Stephen Fry posted on Twitter about Deloitte Ignite, to learn more about Verdi and Wagner, I thought, why not? There seems to be free ticketed events, which I wont be able to make, but I will be reading about it and listening to whatever is available on the radio/online.
Last thoughts! I was looking for education quotes and found one by John W. Gardner: "The ultimate goal of the educational system is to shift to the individual the burden of pursuing his education." I'm not sure if I'd use the word burden to describe my view on education, but this is a shift that happened for me when I was at university where I started to realise it was not for others to be responsible for teaching me, but I was responsible for it.