Maple Alps

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Fun and Creative Ways to Learn New Things (Without Going Back to School!)

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

My mom is the best (hey mom!). She texted me the other day and asked if I liked my Audible subscription. Of course, I LOVE my audible subscription and asked her why she was even asking. She told me that she decided that she needed to learn more and that audiobooks was the way she was going to be starting.

Her initiative got me thinking: what are some ways to learn without going back to school? I’ve spent my whole life in school, and now that I’m a teacher, I’m still really there! As a teacher though, I believe in lifelong learning and inspiring others to do the same. So, with that in mind, I decided to come up with a list of creative ways to learn without going back to school. The world is full of things to learn and all sorts of opportunities! Take them!

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Fun and Creative Ways to Learn New Things (Without Going Back to School!) | www.maplealps.com

Listen to a podcast - there are so many podcasts out there on all different things! Explore to find one you love!

 

Take an online course or certificate - There are tons of courses and certificates you can take online. You could go the informal route and pick a creative online course from a place like Skill Share (try it for two months free using this link!), or even get your first aid/CPR training from Red Cross.

 

Sign up for a webinar - There are so many webinars on so many different topics! I’ve taken webinars on a wide variety of subjects. It’s fun to sit in front of the computer with a notebook to take notes on the new things you’re learning!

 

Embrace Audible - I love audible. It’s helped me “read” more since I have a long daily commute. If you're not sure about it, you can try it for 30 days free! (Use this link to try Audible for free and get TWO free audiobooks!

 

Learn a new language - Must I say any more? There are tons of free podcasts and apps (like duolingo) to brush up on or learn a new language. If you want to pull out the big bucks, I hear Rosetta Stone is pretty amazing!

 

Volunteer - find a new place to volunteer and learn new skills while at it! Think soup kitchens or animal shelters, or anywhere, really!

 

Take a class - many local spots offer classes for the community. Check the community college for a list! Try out your community centres and churches for classes as well - sometimes they will offer them for free!

 

Read the news - make an effort to read the news! A great resource I use is theSkimm - it’s a short daily email (it comes every morning) that gives you the days headlines in an easy-to-understand way! It has seriously helped me keep up with what is going on and people are impressed when you are informed ;-)

 

Travel the World - and don’t just stick to tourist areas. Do your research about the customs and language and history of the places you are going to! Connect with locals, try their food, and learn some phrases! You will love it.

 

Watch documentaries - skip the mind-numbing entertainment and watch a documentary. I like to watch a wide variety of topics. A few of my favourites are: Tapped, Minimalism, What the Health, Planet Earth, and Blackfish. 

 

Follow NASA on Instagram - Seriously, go do it. You’ll learn something new when you scroll through your feed! While you're at it, follow me too ;-)

 

Watch National Geographic on Snapchat - I’ll be the first to admit that I am horrible at Snapchat. I’m too old for it I think. But if you are on there, National Geographic has an awesome snap story each day! You can learn about unique animals and such!

 

Talk to People You Meet - I meet fun people all of the time! And listening to their stories teaches me a lot! I usually have the best conversations in coffee shops and hear the best life stories.

 

Join Facebook Groups - there are a ton of Facebook groups out there that act as a fun forum. Pick a topic you are interested in learning more about and learn from a ton of people!

 

Watch a Ted Talk - Skip Netflix. Watch a Ted Talk instead. Be inspired to do something new and learn something new as well.

 

Read Something You Wouldn’t Naturally go to - I’ve branched out and read books on all different topics in the last few years. From the keto diet to theology books, I’ve been consuming books on topics I wouldn’t naturally choose to read. And I’ve been loving it. It expands your brain and opens the world to you! Here's a list of my favourites!

 

Take up a new hobby - We started painting recently. Nothing fancy, since we aren’t artists, but watching tutorials and learning new techniques has been really fun. I’d love to try pottery next!

 

Listen to NPR - Switch on NPR in the car from time to time and learn some new facts!

 

Start a new exercise program - shake up your exercise program by trying something new! Add a spin class to your weight training, or amp up your strength training by adding a pilates class! Meet new people and learn new ways of moving!

 

Subscribe to an Educational Magazine - National Geographic or Time are good ones to start with. I subscribe to The Magnolia Journal and learn something new and inspiring every quarter.

 

Look Up the Back Stories to Songs - Look up some background info on certain songs or songwriters and blow your friends minds with the trivia. Fun fact: on some Spotify songs, you automatically see the lyrics and back stories!

 

Spend time with someone who knows something you don’t - Take a friend out and over lunch, listen all about their expertise. Or, just talk to a random person and listen to their stories. You’d be amazed at what you learn!

 

Try a new recipe - or two or three. Buy some exotic ingredients and experience your world widen through your tastebuds!

 

 

What are some ways and resources you use to keep learning?


 

My Top 6 Reads of 2017

BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

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Since I was a child, I have loved reading. I remember getting so car sick when reading on the road, but taking a book regardless and consuming as much as I could before nausea set in. If it was night, there was less nausea, but less light and I'd wait for the stop lights and street lights to illuminate my page so I could get a few more sentences in (I know I wasn't the only one to do there! Where are my bookworms at??). Unfortunately, over the years the time to sit down with a book has become less. This last year I was a little more intentional about my book reading and then it occurred to me that I've never shared any book recommendations on the blog. I've had several people ask me about some of my favourites, so I decided to change that this year.

Because I have such a long commute, audiobooks have been my constant companion. Driving and reading when one is in the driver's seat is not ideal, so I get a good hour and a half of books read to me each work day. I don't mind. Audiobooks also allow me the freedom to use my eyes on other things, like my crochet projects and the muffins in the oven. 

While I have so many favourites, I decided to only share my top six from the year 2017. I chose six because that was the first number that popped into my head.

Top 6 Reads of 2017 | www.maplealps.com
 

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

 

Okay, yes, this was kind of late and I missed it while it was more trendy, but oh boy was this a good one! I read it way back in February - twice - and I can't even tell you how many people I recommended it to. I even made my poor husband listen to it on audible. But guys. It was great. It confirmed my minimalistic desires and served as a practical tool as I had already been cleaning out all of my things! Life was good, but got even better after this book. (Get your copy here!)

 

2. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

 

Who doesn't love a little bit of Chip and Joanna Gaines? I listened to the audiobook and it was pretty much amazing - mostly because Chip and Jo read it. It made their story come alive, and I came away from it wanting to quit life and start businesses. I didn't, of course, but it was definitely motivating. (Get your copy here)

 

3. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

 

I laughed, I cried, it moved me. Also read by the author, it was the true story of Nabeel Qureshi and his journey to Christianity. Amazing. (Get your copy here!)

 

4. David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer by Janet and Geoff Benge

 

Another true story about David Livingstone that I actually read because I was teaching it in school. I think I enjoyed it more than the kiddos did though, and that's why it made it into this list! In case you haven't noticed, I love true stories. There is so much inspiration found in watching the lives of others. (Get your copy here!)

 

5. Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work by Timothy Keller

 

If you've ever wondered what the purpose of work is or how you can stay true to your values while advancing in your field of expertise, this is the book for you! Keller offers deep insight and surprising advice and answers relevant questions about our work! By the end of this book, you'll be walking a little taller and striving for excellence, discipline, creativity, integrity and creativity when it comes to your work. (Get your copy here!)

 

6. Love Does: Discover A Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff

 

This book. This book is great. Bob Goff tells unbelievable stories and experiences from his life and you just feel as if you're sitting with him in a coffee shop as shares valuable lessons he's learned in life. I was moved to do things because, well, love does. (Get your copy here!)

 

 

What were some of the best books you read in 2017? I'd love some recommendations!