Challenging Your Brain = Good for Your Health!
Are you alarmed when you have a senior moment? Do you mentally panic when you come out of a store and momentarily forget where you parked your car? I know I freak out when this happens to me. If you don’t want to lose it, then you have to use it!
Just as exercise builds muscle and keeps your body physically fit, the same concept applies to your brain. It doesn’t matter if you are learning how to play a musical instrument, are learning a new language, or studying a subject that interests you, the process of learning and acquiring new information helps to keep your brain in shape.
And guess what? Your magnificent brain has the power to make new cells as you get older. However, it needs regular training to make that happen. No one wants their brain to atrophy! Here’s what you need to know to retain your brain power for life.
- Lifelong learning is the key.
- Learn something new, challenge your brain to keep it healthy.
Learning is free!
With all of the sites on the internet where you can take free courses and learn about anything your heart desires, there is no excuse to not take advantage of the opportunity to exercise your brain.
With that being said, let’s take a look at 15 websites where you can learn at home for free. I’ve taken advantage of at least half of them, so I can vouch for their ease of use and effectiveness.
15 Websites Where Rebel Retirees can Learn at Home for Free.
Kahn Academy’s motto is “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere”. Kahn Academy is one of my favorite go-to websites, and I utilized it’s free learning tools when I homeschooled my children. The courses are structured around short lectures in the form of Youtube videos. Founder and educator Salman Khan’s strong suit is Math. Therefore, much of the site is geared towards that subject. However, there are other subjects to immerse yourself in, such as science, arts and humanities, and economics and finance. It’s not uncommon to see comments on the site from retirees who finally have the time to explore and master subjects that have always interested them.
Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with over 55,000 courses and 15 million students. Type “free courses” in Udemy’s search box to pull up a list of available courses such as Kindle Secrets: How I Wrote a Best Selling eBook In 72 hours, Work From Home: The Amazon FBA MasterPlan, and 7 Scientifically Proven Steps to Increase Your Influence. As Udemy says, “Learn anything, on your schedule.
CreativeLive is an online education platform that broadcasts live classes to an international audience. They offer free online classes in photography, graphic design, craft & DIY, marketing, business and entrepreneurship. I’ve taken free classes to learn photoshop and body language skills. CreativeLive’s free courses vary, so visit their website to find out which courses are available and at which time they are streaming.
Virtually all of MIT’s course content is available on the web, free of charge. With more than 2,400 courses available, OCW (open course ware) is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge. Their website states, “Knowledge is your reward. We don’t offer credit or certificates for using OCW. Instead, use OCW to guide your own life-long learning, or use OCW to teach others.” Perfect for Rebel Retirees! And you don’t have to sign up and make an account to get started. I like that.
Coursera has 2000+ courses from schools like Stanford and Yale – no application required. While most classes are not free, they do have some available. Browse their catalog for free lectures that might interest you.
While most of us know that we can turn to Youtube for information on anything imaginable, Youtube EDU is their education channel. If you are doing research or just want to learn something new, YouTube EDU features some of the most popular educational videos on YouTube. The channel is generated automatically by YouTube’s video discovery system. Check it out!
I was blown away when I discovered Open Culture. They have thousands of free online courses, audio books, textbooks, eBooks, language lessons, movies and more. It’s not an overstatement to say that Open Culture editor Dan Colman scours the web for the best educational materials. There is something for everyone. Visit the site for the free educational courses and audio books you need, and the language lessons and movies you want. You will find plenty of wisdom and insight as well.
“TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators.” You can create customized lessons on TED-Ed, or you can simply view videos of what others have created. Ted-Ed allows you to start from scratch by building a lesson around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or Youtube video.
Same as MIT’s OCW, you can learn at Yale for free. According to their website, “Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.
- All lectures were recorded in the Yale College classroom and are available in video, audio, and text transcript formats
- Registration is not required
- No course credit, degree, or certificate is available through the Open Yale Courses website. However, courses for Yale College credit are offered online through Yale Summer Online including OYC professors John Rogers and Craig Wright.”
Academic Earth says that they are rethinking education. According to the introduction on their site, “Academic Earth was launched on the premise that everyone deserves access to a world-class education. In 2009, we built the first collection of free online college courses from the world’s top universities. The world of open education has exploded since then, so today our curated lists of online courses are hand selected by our staff to show you the very best offerings by subject area. We also make sure there is something for everyone: whether you want to explore a new topic or advance in your current field, we bring the amazing world of academia to you for free.”
BBC Languages offers free online language learning: courses, audio, video and games, including the alphabet, phrases, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, activities and tests.
Duolingo. Their motto: “Learn a language for free. Forever.” I’ve been using Duolingo’s learning platform to learn a second language. Practice makes perfect, and Duolingo’s lesson plans revolve around that fact. Once a skill is mastered, students move to the next level. Online incentives are offered as motivators, and students can take online tests to monitor proficiency. Practice on the web or by app.
Would you like to take a cooking class? Want to learn how to bake? Or improve the baking skills you already have? Take Yuppiechef’s online baking class “The Art of Baking” for free! YuppieChef is an online retailer of kitchen and homeware products.
Your brain can stay healthy and function well as you age. However, just as your physical body requires regular exercise to stay fit, so does your brain. Furthermore, it must be challenged on a regular basis. Lifelong learning is the key, and the internet has an abundance of educational sites where one can learn new things.
Rebel Retirees can learn and study from the comfort of their own home, for free. Hence, there is no excuse for not exercising your brain to keep it fit.
How do you keep your brain in shape? Let us know!