Building Yourself Up

Let’s face it, as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent, it can be so easy to lose yourself while tending to your home and children. Everyone and everything else seems to come first. However, you can’t give your best without being your best. It is absolutely essential to find time to work on yourself. I’ve always been the type of person who like to push my limits and improve myself in any way that I can. Whether that’s on my yoga mat, or in the kitchen, or mentally, I’m always looking for something new and better that I can do.

That’s why I was so excited when I was introduced to Coursera. It’s a website and app that allows you to take college courses from home. For some time, I had been using iTunes U on my phone and iPad, which is a similar service offered by Apple. I subscribed to courses that I found interesting, like astronomy or Greek mythology. They didn’t do much to improve my skills, but were entertaining for me to listen to during the day while I went about my chores. Coursera offers the user the ability to earn certificates in various disciplines, or have access to the same course materials for free.

I’m currently starting in the free mode just to get a feel for it. It’s been some years now since I’ve taken an online course, and I want to get my feet back under me before paying money to learn. I’m starting off with two classes that I think will be very beneficial for me. One is focused on social media marketing, which is the main way that I spread the word about this site and my various undertakings. I feel like I have a better understanding than most of how this works, but there’s always more room to learn. The second course I enrolled in doesn’t start until February 9th, but it teaches about search engine optimization (also known as SEO). Again, this is a subject that isn’t entirely new to me, but I could definitely know more. I am by no means an expert.

The greatest part of using a mobile app for distance learning in my opinion is that it allows me to multi-task at home. I don’t have to find a sitter so I can leave to drive to a campus and sit there for an hour or more before driving home. I can do my reading while feeding the baby, and listen to the lectures while I play with her or clean the house. I don’t have to wait for RT to take a nap before pulling out some textbook. It’s all right there on my iPad.

So far, I’m preferring Coursera to iTunes U, and there are a few reasons for this. First of all, Coursera has a website as well, so I can access my classes from my computer. This is especially helpful when contributing to class discussions or taking quizzes. Secondly, there are class discussions and quizzes, which is not something present in Apple’s model. These allow me to ask questions when something isn’t sinking in correctly, and assess how well I’ve absorbed the information from lectures and handouts.

Being able to learn this way helps to keep me from going crazy, or completely forgetting who I am while devoting myself to RT and housework. For anyone who thrives off personal growth, I highly recommend looking into one or both of these programs. It’s so easy to get started, and there doesn’t have to be any monetary cost. Like I said, with Coursera, there is the option to pay to become certified in one field or another, but if your goal is personal rather than a professional necessity, you can take any of their courses for free. It’s a huge relief to be able to continue my education without the burden of a commute, or a requirement for a certain number of classes per semester. I can work at my own speed and pick up the skills that will help me improve what I already do.

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