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January 20, 2015
Fun / Classes and Workshops / I'm ready to go back to school!

I’m ready to go back to school!

image courtesy of saltedtv.com
Listening to my daughter’s class schedule for her second semester at college got me thinking that this old brain could use a few new tricks. There are plenty of opportunities online AND on the Shoreline to brush up your French or (finally) learn Photoshop. Here’s a short list of sites and venues if you’d like to spend the winter learning something new:
Crowd-sourced tutorial site, Udemy’s mission is to “help anyone learn anything.” Pick from a vast array of topics (The Art of Lockpicking, anyone?) and watch the videos at your own pace. Or consider sharing your in-depth knowledge of say, container gardening, by creating your own lesson through their simple course design tool. Apparently some folks are earning a living at it! Master culinary basics or vegan Mexican cooking at Salted, a new site that features rising chefs teaching everything from Grilled Cheese Masterclass to Cocktail Bootcamp. At $9.99 per month, it’s less than I spend on cookbooks and a whole lot more fun (and you can try it for free for 30 days). Feeling crafty? Head to Craftsy.com to learn how to knit, quilt, embroider, design a garden and lots of other projects to busy idle hands. I keep my subscription to Lynda.com current, because you never know when an update for Excel or iOS is going to come along and confuse the hell out of you. These courses (from in-depth to a quick tutorial) are wonderful for small business owners and the tech-fearful. $25 month. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the next big thing. If you always wished you had an Ivy on your resume, here’s your chance. Take Intro to Classical Music at Yale or Linear Algebra at Brown (plus 897 other courses) through Coursera, for FREE!
If you’d rather enjoy the camraderie of like-minded folks, here are some upcoming options: Mystic Seaportoffers Intro to Coastal Navigation beginning on March 14th, or how about a pre-Victorian experience at their Cook and Stitch class (hearth-cooking and needlework!). If you missed Art History in college, don’t fret: take 10 weeks of Exploring 20th Century American Art at the Lyman Allyn. Budding bloggers may want to take Food Writing, a 15-week course taught by renowned local food writer and ex-restaurateur, Priscilla Martel, at Gateway Community College. ERACE’s (East Shore Regional Adult Education) catalog includes Meditation and Awareness, Basic Home Repair and Cake Decorating and lots of other indispensable skills, at various high schools up and down the Shoreline. If all that sounds too serious, drop in to the Friday Night Art Pottery Workshops at Guilford Art Center (and you can BYOB). Nothing better than sinking your hands in a mound of a clay after a long week! Head to the Florence Griswold Museum for Foolproof Winter Landscapes (with cocktails!) at the monthly Art-Bar-Happy HourChalk Mercantile in Old Saybrook offers a series of craft workshops: paint and apply antique finishes on old furniture, collage a wastebasket with vintage wallpaper, or learn silk ribbon embroidery. At least we’ll come out on the other end of another New England winter with a few new skills up our sleeve. 
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