The name of this article is ‘Educating oneself on any subject’. Of course, most people will instantly revert back to classroom education and think of exam revision, remembering techniques to learn certain ‘rules’, etc.
What if the subject you would like to educate yourself on isn’t a classroom subject? Say for instance, you want to learn about Amazonian butterflies. Or butterflies in general. It’s an interesting subject, and certainly something I’d be interested in learning about. How would me or you, who probably doesn’t have access to an Amazonian butterfly, or have the time to catch butterflies in general, start to learn about this?
There is the tried-and-tested method of an encyclopedia or specialist book on the subject. The con of this however, is that encyclopedias and specialist books tend to have lots of small-print, very complicated words that are definitely NOT lay-man’s terms and are usually out of date by about 10 years. Not helpful if you require glasses and don’t have all afternoon to spend with a dictionary. You could use a children’s encyclopedia/specialist book, but they will probably be extremely simple and make you feel quite stupid.
You could use the Internet. There will be multiple people who blog that have called themselves ‘Mistress_Butterflyxx’ or something similar and you may have to wade through mis-spelt blogs all afternoon to find something useful. And the other hand, there are a lot of associations that are now online, and this option may be your quickest and most diverse route.
Maybe one sunny Sunday, you could try going into your garden with a specialist book (illustrated of course, so you don’t have to brutalize the poor things by pinning them to a corkboard) and try and spot them flying around your garden. Of course, you will need a garden and a sunny Sunday for this, both of which may be hard to come by (depending on your circumstances and weather conditions in your country). This activity is fun to do with children, so it is useful for parents.
There may be classes on such things at a local community college, or maybe a locally-run interest group. Ask around friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. Maybe there are dedicated magazines for your interest. And if your subject is extremely specialised (how many Amazonian butterflies can you name? I thought as much) maybe you could start and advertise your own interest group. Of course, all these things require perserverance as you won’t learn much overnight! If only you’d remembered that when you took those exams.