I love to try new things, but I don’t usually want to spend much money on exploring new hobbies that I may or may not stick with for very long. My solution? Community education classes!
Community ed is a great way to learn new hobbies or practical skills. Depending on where you live, classes may be offered through your school district, city, local rec center, or place of worship. My local school district even offers online classes open to anyone.
Here are some reasons why I recommend trying community ed:
You can learn almost anything
I live in a large city, so there are hundreds of nearby options. Whether you’re interested in languages, art, fitness, home repair, technology, cooking, or life skills, it’s available. I’ve dabbled in everything from belly dance to Spanish, and plenty of stuff in between.
It’s pretty cheap
Classes are usually priced quite affordably and offer access to equipment (whether it be woodworking tools or yoga mats). I’ve found that no one expects you to have the latest and greatest gear for whatever you’re learning. Your dad’s old camera or your thrift-store tap shoes are completely fine.
There’s not much commitment
Most classes around here run eight weeks at the longest, and some meet just once. I can take them when I have time to fill and then just not register if I’m really busy during the next session. And if I find out I don’t like whatever new pursuit I’ve tried, I haven’t invested much time or money.
You’ll connect to a great community of hobbyists
The instructors are often really eager to share local events and resources if you want to go deeper into the subject matter. My Appalachian Clogging teacher took us all out folk dancing and introduced us to everyone. My Outdoor Photography class connected us to a meet-up group full of other class “alumni” who plan photography outings. Classmates, too, are often friendly, eager to learn, and more diverse than you may meet in some other settings.
You can break out of a rut
Was your New Year’s resolution to try something new? Or to gain a skill such as cooking, plumbing, or blogging? Are you just plain bored? Community ed classes offer a great way out of that. They’re also a great way to bring some energy into your relationships. Learning something new with your partner, kids, or friends is fun and lets you see a different side of each other.
If you have other great resources for learning new skills on the cheap, please share!