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June 19, 2012 / Bika

If only there was a massive archive of free education & learning WAIT THERE IS, IT’S CALLED THE INTERNET

You may or may not know that my husband and I decided to activate our veteran’s education benefits (G.I. Bill) this year so we can work on our degrees. Right now we’re reviewing algebra concepts so we’re not completely blindsided our first week in class…which starts this coming Monday. Six days until everyone finds out just how little I know about math! Yay! (I’m not worried about prepping for Writing 121, though maybe I should be, given the amount of spew in this post alone.)

In celebration of all this imminent book-learnin’, I’d like to share three of my current favorite free websites for schoolin’ on the internets**. The internet is chock-full of great ideas and information, not just the toxic sludge that is every controversial comments section ever. As my friend Renshank says, “HOLY SHIT LEARNING IS FREE ON THE INTERNET.” At least, I think I remember him saying that. It sounds like something he would say. You can get a pretty goddam excellent quality of education for free if you know where to look and don’t care whether you get a piece of paper for learning a thing. (Pieces of paper are fancy. So are those crowns you get down at the Burger King. Do you want to learn, or don’t you?)

**I should note that I’m not being paid to say nice things about anyone or anything. 1) If Google ads were switched on, this blog would generate roughly two cents of ad revenue per decade and 2) good lord you could not pay me enough to be nice about anything I don’t want to be nice about. People are made of butts and I hate them. Except for you, of course. You’re only, what, 12% butt? Yeah, that sounds right. Anyway. I’m not nice. So if I say good things about a website, it’s because I like/admire it and find it useful, entertaining, etc. teaches a diverse number of subjects using short videos submitted by actual teachers to explain concepts, then gives a short quiz after each one to make sure you understand. There are several different videos available for each concept, so if you don’t get it on the first try, another teacher might explain it in a way that clicks. I’m currently using their Pathways learning system to review Algebra 1 so that when class starts and I’m pummeled to within an inch of my life with variables and formulas, I don’t wish for death. You know, more than I usually do. Like whenever I am not drinking coffee, or whenever I am awake.

Duolingo is another great free education tool out there. I’ve been using it off and on to brush up on all the Spanish language skills I’ve lost since high school and it’s actually sorta fun. It plays a bit like a game, which is nice, and you get nominal rewards like points and medals for completing modules. It’s a social platform to some extent, so you can follow and compete with your friends. If you have any. (I hear it’s nice.)

Last but not least, a contender rises from the murky depths of Youtube to bring you excellent beading how-tos: Beadaholique, admittedly a commercial interest that would really love to sell you some of the supplies they use in their videos, has a metric fuckton of great videos that give you the basic tools to make almost every kind of beaded object you can conceive of. I single them out among the hundreds of other beading instructors on Youtube because they’re prolific and the videos are clear and easy to see, even on the fine details (which are sort of important in beading). If you wanted to make, say, a beaded beer cozy, you could just fire up one or two of Beadaholique’s videos and get to work. (This, for example, would show you how to make a nice base; sew it to a giant zippered beaded tube sleeve. Ta-da, beer bling.) Not that it wouldn’t be hard, but at least you can learn enough from the videos to practice, putting you well on your way to making something you’d be proud to see featured on Regretsy (NSFL).

To recap: Sophia, Duolingo and Beadaholique’s Youtube videos are all excellent resources for learning a wide variety of subjects. Now that I’ve wasted my morning writing this post i.e. procrastinating, I can get back to studying for class. If I missed your favorite free learning site, please share; I need all the help I can get.



Leave a Comment
  1. Aricelle / Jun 21 2012 12:06 pm has this sweet listing of free college level classes that cover Science, Math, Computers, Law, Social Sciences, Classics….. and tons of other stuff.

    Their Spring Semester List is at:

    The other great one I like is Khan Academy ( which has a ton of really cool youtube videos that break things down into layman’s terms.

    • Bika / Jun 21 2012 2:24 pm

      Oh yeah! Renshank also showed me Lifehacker and it looked pretty excellent, I just hadn’t got into it yet. (I think I picked Sophia instead because it was self-paced and you could choose your material a la carte. Commitment issue due to lack of time, maybe?) I’ve also heard of Khan Academy and will make a point of checking it out. I might need it for this algebra junk, to keep my eyeballs from exploding out of my head.

      Which of their courses have you tried? Or are you like me and just bookmarking it until you have the time?

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