Back to school as a couple
by Susan Hall
for Real Families, Real Fun
hen I was in college, I remember coming out of a final exam in Sophomore English and seeing a group of kids standing around a small fire in the middle of the street. When I investigated, I discovered that the fuel for this fire were paperback copies of The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy--the book we'd all been forced to read and discuss au nauseam. Happily, I tossed my copy into the flames.
Years later, I re-read the book and thought it was pretty good. Not a lot of laughs, but I actually enjoyed it simply because I was reading for my own good.
This same principle--for my own good--has motivated me to take classes, and to encourage my spouse to join me. What's good for me and good for him is good for us. I relish an evening course that my spouse and I can attend, so that afterward we can go out for a quiet, late-night bite to discuss what we've learned.
We began attending classes together when I spotted a course in our community college catalog called "How to buy a horse." We live in the city, and probably always will, but I was so intrigued that an entire course was devoted to this subject that we enrolled--just for fun. It was marvelous fun. And if we ever make such a purchase, no slick, horse-selling operator is going to pull the wool over our eyes.
Taking a class with your spouse reserves quality time and gives you something other than the kids and domestic matters to discuss and share. Betsy Bissmeyer agrees, "We took a beginner's guitar class a few years ago. My husband traveled often, and this was scheduled time we had together once a week--we treasured it a lot! Learning the guitar was fun, but the best part of the whole thing for me, as a stay-at-home mom with two little ones, was the time I felt Paul set aside for us as a couple."
Tricia and Nick from Ohio share their experience: "Our community center offered a one-night, two-hour course on body massage. We learned basic techniques for a head-to-toe massage. At the end of class, each of us gave and received a 15- minute massage and 'led' by the moderator who called out the process. That class was great!"
Find a course that's of interest to you and your spouse, hire a baby-sitter, and go back to school. It's more fun than you remember.
Below is a listing of courses offered in my community that peaked my interest and something similar may be available in your area.
- Drawing for the Timid For those who would love to draw but think they have
no talent and don't have the nerve to take a class.
- Tai Chi An introduction to Chen style movements that are practiced slowly
in a relaxed manner coordinated with deep breathing.
- Wallpapering How to do it without losing your mind, and how to end up with
a professional looking job.
- Film Series Each session offers something different: East Side, West Side,
the films of Martin Scorsese, and films produced on the opposite sides of
- Beginning and Intermediate Fox Trot and Swing Dancing Learn how to fox trot
and triple step swing. Feel confident and in sync on the dance floor.
- Ethnic Cooking First in the series is Italian cooking. Learn the Italian
way with herbs, garlic and lemon along with all the wonderful things you can
do with pasta. Bring your appetite.
- Beginning Languages Traveling abroad? Want to learn to "get by" in the local
language? Beginning French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, German are
all available. (There could be more in your area.)
- Photography Learn how to get the most out of your camera (lighting, angle,
and speed) and how to develop your film.
- Fitness Fun and fitness for everyone with a low-impact aerobic workout program.
- Fishing for Trophies How to select the best lakes for trophy size fish and
effective techniques for catching them.
- Putting the Garden to Bed Learn the proper way to put your garden to bed
in the fall so it's ready for winter and spring.
- Learn to play bridge For beginners or those with limited experience.
- Line Dancing Learn the basics, then learn some of those nifty steps you
see on TV.
And now for the practical courses:
- Preparing Your Own Tax Returns Yes, you can do it. It's not as complicated
as you think.
- Beginning Keyboarding and Basic Computer Skills Learn to use a computer--almost
as well as your three-year-old does.
- Public Speaking Learn to overcome anxiety and organize your presentations.
- Basic Investing A comprehensive look at beginning finance.
This selection just scratches the surface. Classes like these and many, many
more are most likely available to you at a minimal cost or completely free.
Even if you live in a small town, you will surely find sources in your community
or in a nearby city or town.
Here are some places to look:
- Community colleges and school districts
- Community centers
- Colleges, universities and their branches
- Crafts stores and stores like Home Depot
- Local art museum and galleries
- Local gardening groups and botanical gardens
- Computer stores
- Fitness centers
- Historical societies
Take It From Me:
"Winter seems to be the best time (the third quarter of the community college or winter fitness offerings) because there are fewer things such as baseball, soccer, swim meets, and so on that pull you away during the spring, summer, and fall."
"Depending on the class, it might be fun to do with another couple."
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