Saturday, October 20, 2012

Harvard in Our Living Room

Yes, we have a Harvard class in our living room. Here is a picture of Microbio Daughter taking a biostatistics in epidemiology class to prove it.

And best of all, it's free!
A few universities, including Stanford and Harvard, have some free classes online. I think it's an awesome way for people to learn certain subjects. There is some push back, though. Minnesota just made classes like this illegal. I think some in the traditional education establishment might be a bit afraid.

Our family learns quite a bit online. Hubby is learning Adobe Premiere on to use on his nonprofit website.

Photography Son listens to pod casts and Ted Talks to learn about art, business, and whatever else strikes his fancy. We often look things up online for our homeschool. I learn many home improvement and repair techniques on I learn about adoption, FASD, autism, and other subjects online too. I don't even use a paper phone book anymore, since I can even get reviews using There is a wealth of information at our fingertips.

I remember having to go to the library to do the most basic research, spending hours in the library's file system. Now, information is available in seconds. Like Kip in Napoleon Dynamite, I can sing "I Love Technology!" Of course not all things online are good or true, and we need to be even more discerning, but I feel the good outweighs the bad.

We aren't completely tied to our computers, though. Some of us still read books. A lot of our curriculum is the old fashioned textbooks and workbooks. And this afternoon, Blackbelt Daughter is tutoring the neighbor girl using worksheets and books.

There is a place for books and paper. I still love having books lining my shelves. They are like old friends. But more and more, technology is opening up a world of information and learning. How else would we be able to have Harvard in our living room?


  1. Hey, Mommy Linda, I used to develop and teach university classes online for the U of CO Denver. It was the best gig--I could work from home, in my pj's with a cat on my lap and a mug of tea at hand. And later, I could nurse my newborn while at the computer reading student papers! (If they only knew ; )

    I am sorting through our things trying to make another huge purge of unneeded things, and came across a "how to fix just about anything" kind of book put out by Reader's Digest about 15 years ago, which was a gift to my husband from my parents when we were newlyweds. I don't think we have ever used it. But it keeps making it through all our purges, because my husband keeps saying it might be useful someday. But we are like you--if we need to know how to fix something, we head to the internet. You can find anything you need there, usually with video!

    But it did occur to me, when I was trying to decide if this time the book should go==if and when our nation falls, it will likely coincide with a loss of our whole computer system. Without computers, without technology, we are so helpless! If that ever happens, a book like that would suddenly become not only necessary, but really hard to get your hands on. . .

    Maybe I'll still give away the book (if I can convince DH) and just pray Jesus comes back before I would need it. ; )

    1. Dearest Blessed,
      Even though I love looking up things on the computer, I still use books and keep them around. I'm sure too many. I need to do some purging, especially curriculum. But like you, I am concerned of what will happen in our lives in case of cyber attacks, power failures, earthquakes, or storms, and we are too dependent on technology. We've even been affected by our own computer failing and have lost a few pictures and important information, despite our efforts to back thing up. So I guess it's good to keep a few books, like your husbands, in case of emergency.