Lifelong Learning

I have always loved this time of year. My energy level peaks with the hint of cooler weather and the start of school. As a child, I would count the days, organizing my back-to-school supplies and pondering the prospect of new friends and classes. This enthusiasm for learning has continued.

Some of my all-time favorite adult classes include one in which Trees for Tomorrow instructor Harriet Irwin took us out on a northern Wisconsin bog where we examined pitcher plants, sundew, and, for fun, bounced around on the spongy sphagnum moss. I also loved the Trees for Tomorrow class where we hiked Isle Royale and another on waterfall photography. 

I’ve also been lucky enough to take a weeklong class on Native American Culture through Edgewood College and a workshop on the same topic where I could take part in a sweat lodge.

Maybe you, too, love this time of year and are eager to start something new—developing a hobby, learning a new skill, or traveling. “New Explorations” is a perfect September motto.

I’m in the midst of a watercolor class which the Kilbourn Public Library has offered free with all materials included. I entered the class knowing very little, but with my instructor’s help, I’ve learned terms such as gradated wash and stippling. The library plans on continuing to offer free arts and crafts classes, so stop in or check online at

This fall, I’m also excited about attending a week-long class at Door County’s folk school, The Clearing. It’s nestled within 128 acres of Door County forests, overlooks the dramatic Green Bay shoreline, and has the most scrumptious meals. The Clearing was built as a place where ordinary people could “clear one’s mind” by reconnecting with nature and with one another. It offers classes on woodworking, quilting, birding, photography, writing, music, weaving, and independent studies where you can choose how to spend your time. The class I get to take is called “Touch the Earth: Connect with Nature” and will examine the physical and spiritual connections we hold with our planet. “Hike, Bike & Paddle Door County” is on my wish list for next year. The Clearing offers scholarships, so be sure to check that out at

If you can’t physically attend a class, consider online options through Skillshare,, which offers a free trial for one month. Since Skillshare offers thousands of video classes which vary in skill level and intensity, you’ll want to narrow your choices through their filter system. I’m currently taking Ali Abdaal’s class on productivity. Here’s a sample of some categories: Photography, Music, Creative Writing, Film and Video, Web Development, and Fine Arts. Oh, the possibilities!

Wondrium,, also has a free trial. Its offerings range from guitar playing to probability mathematics. Wondrium streams The Great Courses which are popular. I’ve gotten a few of the Great Courses CDs through the library system and have listened to them on long car rides.

Travel also fits in well with September’s “New Explorations” motto. Group tours such as Road Scholar’s educational adventures,, allows participants to meet new people and learn about the history, culture, and landscape of places near or far.

Lifelong learning keeps us on top of our game. By staying curious, we explore new possibilities and keep our minds sharp. So, make a commitment today to grow, learn, and explore.

5 Replies to “Lifelong Learning”

Wow, Amy a watercolor class! Sounds lovely. I agree that continuing education always pays us back. Thanks for the ideas.

Hi Sue,
I did finish my final project, but given time, I still prefer writing. I have more patience for writing than I do for watercolor.

Beth Hays

Thanks for all these links to so many great resources! The classes you’ve taken/are taking sound wonderful. Good for you!
Great picture too.

Dear Beth,
You’re very welcome. I hope you take advantage of some of the classes and have a great fall.

That sounds like a great recommendation! I’ve been considering expanding my skills, and Skillshare seems like the perfect platform to do so. The variety of classes is impressive—I’ve been particularly interested in diving deeper into Creative Writing and maybe even dabbling in Photography.

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