Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Free Online Typing Drills: 10 Frugal Business & Craft Classes

Typing -- our daily dance on the keyboard-- is crucial to nearly every profession. It's a skilled I reluctantly learned in high school. To brush up on my typing skills, I've tapped into a free online program that has timed typing drills.

It's called Nimble and I found the program one day when I was trying to find an activity for my nine-year-old daughter.
She enjoys the typing drills, which feature increasing levels of difficulty and her typing skills are improving. I've tried and liked the program. In addition to typing drills, there are also other frugal ways to improve career and life skills.

Here's my list:

1. Community seminars: Many cities, libraries and community centers offer mini-workshops taught by different experts. The classes are either no-cost or low-cost. I've attended seminars about finance and securities, anti-money laundering, poetry and non-fiction craft courses.

2. Community colleges: I once attended a six-week poetry class offered at Miami-Dade College. The college also offers a wide selection of business, language (conversational Spanish and Chinese) and career development courses. I was surprised at the wide assortment of classes and the frugal prices. Throughout the country, community colleges provide an extensive list of affordable classes.

3. Regional conferences and summer programs: As a writer, I've attended literary conferences in Salt Lake City, New York, Key West and Pittsburgh. These programs usually take place over an extended weekend or within a week and provide an excellent opportunity to network and grow. Beyond writing, I've spotted interesting programs in various niches and markets.

4. Parent education programs: I'm very impressed with my children's school, which is offering free computer, language and spiritual growth classes to parents at convenient hours. Likewise, other schools and PTAs offer a menu of classes on first aid, parenting and other family-home topics.

5. Enroll in a graduate degree program. From Saturday-only MBA programs to summer-only/evenings-only degree programs, there are many options for adults who want to learn more while working full-time. In the writing profession, there are also a wide assortment of low-residency MFA programs. ("Top Ten Questions Writers Ask - Should I pursue an MFA?") There are assorted scholarships and financial aid packages for adult students who are continuing their education.

6. Free online courses. Many universities are posting a full menu of undergraduate and undergraduate courses online for free. (More on this later.)

7. Books on tape. A lot of business management mavens recommend books on tape: The theory: while you're driving, cleaning or doing some other task, pop in a tape on self-development, sales or some other topic. Many libraries and community centers offer a free supply of tapes to borrowers.

8. Expansive reading: "Daily reading on a wide variety of subjects will not only expand your knowledge, it will have an amazing impact on your life."--Weekend Millionaire Mindset by Mike Summey and Roger Dawson.
9. Free programs at bookstores and libraries: Authors, experts and teachers often give different presentations at bookstores and neighborhoods. These talks are usually free and most bookstores/libraries provide monthly programs at the front desk.

10. Retail chains: Craft stores, hardware stores and home improvement chains offer a long list of free or low-cost classes. For instance, in the home improvement area: Lowe's and Home Depot offers several courses on DIY projects. Likewise, there are also free craft courses at Michael's. The programs, including DIY online how-to libraries and videos, are usually listed on the main index. You may also have to plug in your zip code to find the store near you. Once on the local tab, scroll down for events in your area.



Leah Ingram said...

You've got some excellent ideas here! I thought you might be interested in something they do at my daughter's middle school, which sort of fits in with your "parent education" suggestion.

At the school they've started something called "Dance and Dialogue." That is, the middle schoolers go to a dance at the school, and then the parents go to some sort of class or talk on a relevant topic. Last Friday was the most recent one of these "dance and dialogue" sessions, and that night the talk focused on the emotional development of middle schoolers and how parents can best communicate with them. In the past there have been classes on self defense, Internet danger and the "choking" game.

Frugal Duchess said...

Hi Leah:

Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment!

That "Dance and Dialogue" Program at your daughter's school sounds really helpful.

Great topics with built-in childcare. I will share your idea with our local PTA!

Take Care,