Routes back into education for parents

After spending a decade or two raising a family, it can seem a little jarring once your kids fly the nest and head off to university or into their first job. However, once your kids have left the family home, it’s time to start thinking about you and your priorities again. Continuing your education is one way to do this: from online learning to evening classes at a local college, there are plenty of ways in which you can find something to occupy all that spare time you’ll suddenly find yourself enjoying.

Adult education classes

Enrolling in a standard course at your local further education college is something you can do no matter what your age – and from Health and Beauty to Creative Arts, there are plenty of options. But there are also adult education courses, which are often more appealing for older learners. Taking this sort of course means that you’ll be around people who are also re-entering education, so you’ll have lots in common with your new classmates.

No matter where you live, there’ll be an accessible adult education option nearby. Many towns and cities, for example, have further education colleges. Moreover, if you live in a rural area, it’s often the case that major education providers from nearby big towns are able to come and provide learning opportunities where you are, perhaps through a roadshow.

To find out more, speak to the adult education team at your local college and they will be able to send you some introductory materials. In the event that the right course for you isn’t available in your local area, the Open University offers courses in everything from Applied Mathematics to Creative Writing – and these can be completed almost entirely by correspondence.

Online learning

Even once your children have left home and started out on their own journeys as adults, there are often still commitments that can prevent you from committing to traditional forms of adult education. With the normal retirement age seemingly rising all the time, for example, you may well still be working – and that can get in the way of your other plans. If you have to be in a certain workplace at a certain time, as you might if you work shifts or you have an office job with core hours, it will soon become impossible to sustain attending a physical course.

With online or distance learning, you can learn in your spare time – so whether it’s the middle of the night or during your lunch break, you can simply pick up at the e-lecture where you last left off. Online learning courses are also often more affordable, too, and some even have a free element: the free AAT Level 2 course supplied by LSBF is just one case of a value-for-money option that providers can offer.

Re-entering education after a break can seem scary – but with adult education and online learning both available, there’s no need to be worried. With kids leaving home and more free time opening up for you, there’s no reason why you can’t follow your dreams and get that qualification you’ve always wished you could pursue.