My son will soon be a high school senior. So whenever he is willing to talk to his parents,Â we discuss where he wants to go and how he’s going to get there. I loved college. And he seems to be dreading it. So Iâ€™m jealous that he gets to go and I donâ€™t. But since I have a job, car, house, and family I donâ€™t think dropping everything to get a degree in Philosophy is in the immediate cards.
But thatâ€™s okay. I think I can fit some liberal arts in by cutting down on TV and email. All I really need is a laptop or tablet and a Web browser or iTunes U.
The secret, as in most things, is to have a plan. So I spent a few minutes this morning browsing around the Webernets. The result is a delightful course load that fits my schedule simply by upgrading some of my leisureÂ time. I dropped the URLs for my courses onto my calendar so I have only to click or tap to go to school.
These classes are all free. You can find a course list that suits your hankerings by loading iTunes U (in iTunes on your iOS device) or by going directly to AcademicEarth, The Kahn Academy, or LiveMocha.
Here is my summer course list.
Drawing Class at Oxford
I canâ€™t draw at all and have always meant to do something about that. This class looks perfect. The teacher is brilliant and has a charming accent, the class is based on one designed byÂ Ruskin, and I don’t have to apply to art school. I can simply grab a cup of coffee on Sunday morning and sit down with a tablet and sketch pad. No one has to know how bad I am.
Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner at Yale
I studied literature at UC Berkeley and miss the time spent pouring over texts and thinking about what authors intended. I recently listened to a terrific audio book of The Sound and the Fury and longed for a course of fellow literature students to discuss it with. So for the next few weeks, I will go to bed early on Tuesday evenings to enjoy this survey of some of Americaâ€™sÂ greats in a course that tantalizingly promises â€œadult content and language.â€
Physics at MIT
My daughter is suddenly enthralled with the laws of motion and fluid mechanics because of a science class sheâ€™s enjoying. If Iâ€™m going to keep up with the conversation around here I need a refresh! Professor Lewinâ€™s class Physics I: Classical Mechanics at MIT to the rescue. Heâ€™s funny, gives visual demonstrations, and will soon have me moving past my daughterâ€™s middle-school science class to more complex science. I hope.
A Language at LiveMocha
I havenâ€™t studied a language since college but I hate traveling without knowing a single word of the local language. Iâ€™m going to Sweden next month. So itâ€™s time for a crash course in Swedish! If I hurry, I might be able to say â€œhello,â€ â€œgoodbye,â€ and â€œwhereâ€™s the bathroomâ€ before I get there.
Math at the Kahn Academy
Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant [1 of 3]: Part 2: http://youtu.be/lOIP_Z_-0Hs
Part 3: http://youtu.be/14-NdQwKz9w
Re: Pineapple under the Sea: http://youtu.be/gBxeju8dMho
Looking at my lineup, I see that I should really include a math class. But math? That seems like such a commitment. But idly considering abstract mathematical thought on a Friday over a glass of wine? That sounds quite doable. That brings me to the delightful Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant. Not only will it elevate my downtime to something that exercises my brain cells but it will inspire me to understand the genius in my garden, which is where I like to spend Saturday morning.