Hi Seth, welcome to the group. I am in my 5th year of violin (started at age 40). I spent the first few months on my own before getting my first instructor. For starters, I would scour youtube for how-to videos on the basics of how to hold everything and basic mechanics. Here is my list of online videos that have helped me:
Violin Tutor Pro (somewhat limited at this time)
Violinmasterclass (excellent website too)
Violin Lab Channel
Red Desert Violin
Next I highly recommend keeping a practice log – for starters the sheets on ViolinMasterClass.com are very good. I’ve created my own variants in Excel, but they are still based on the VMC versions. I also use slimtimer.com to track everything. I can tell you how many hours I’ve put into each particular book, skill, or instrument (I dabble in several others). It helps see where you haven’t practiced in awhile and what skills you should focus on.
3 minutes a day each for several technical skills (bowings, finger placement, other mechanics) is extremely helpful. It might be dull at first but 3 minutes goes by quickly, and when I’ve spent more doing these my overall playing has improved more rapidly. Again, the VMC timesheets will help this. Practice a minimum of 30 minutes a day – I recommend an hour. Skip a day if needed and play extra on the next. Try practicing occasionally for a 3 hour slot.
As for which method, Suzuki seems to be the most common on Youtube. The books are very well written and have a fair amount of technical information, but they are written to be used with an actual instructor who can fill in the gaps. There are also gaps in technique exercises and the books can become dull over time. My recommendation is to check out the Schirmer etudes and exercises books – there’s a zillion of them though, but most are freely online (I prefer printed books and I’ve purchased most of my copies from Sharmusic.com). I’d start with Wohlfahrt: 60 Studies, Op 45 (professorV has some great youtube videos for this book), and checkout the Hrimaly or Schradieck Scale Studies. Skip the Kreutzer book for a long while.
That should keep you busy for a few years. 😛 Good luck and have fun.