Continuing educationSalem Collo-Julinon October 3, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Learn to sketch and never be bored at a cafe again. Credit: Klaudia Piaskowska/Unsplash

It’s never too late to learn a new skill, or polish an old one. Chicago has many organizations that offer adult education classes and workshops designed to teach students new concepts, technical skills, or even new dance moves. Taking a class is a good way to set an ongoing friend date if you’re someone who has a tough schedule and misses hanging out with people. And you can meet new friends and network! Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Stories of Our Genes and AncestrySites like have made it easier for us to map out our family trees, but what do you do after you’ve found all the names and dates? Through the Newberry Library’s Adult Education program, Dr. Aaron Greenberg, cofounder of the storytelling technology company Biograph and lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, teaches this four-session virtual seminar to assist amateur genealogists and family story keepers in transforming research into narratives that contextualize facts and create a deeper picture of our ancestral pasts.Saturdays 10/29-11/19, 2-4 PM, $193.50-$215,

Sewing 101Maybe you’re not interested in appearing on Project Runway, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to confidently hem those jeans or at least get that big button back on to your winter coat? Learn some basic skills from a real fashion designer, Chicagoan Anastasia Chatzka, who will teach you how to use a sewing machine, attach buttons and zippers, and even read a sewing pattern. No experience is necessary to start. If you get the hang of it, Chatzka also offers advanced classes in tailoring, knitwear, and streetwear. Students can opt for Sunday or Saturday morning or Monday evening sessions that happen at Chatzka’s studio (2041 W. Carroll, Suite 222).Next six-week sessions start Sun 10/23, $345 includes materials,

City CollegesCity Colleges of Chicago offer an array of both in-person and online instruction designed for adults who need affordable professional certifications, GED courses, and also . . . stepping. You can still get in on Steppin’ for Fun and Fitness, a late fall offering at Daley College (7500 S. Pulaski) that will teach you the basic moves and flair of stepping—a partner dance form created in Chicago and often performed to R&B music.Wednesdays 10/19-12/7, 6-7 PM, $55 

And if you’re interested in working on your drawing techniques, let the city be your muse with Urban Sketching: An Introduction, an in-person class hosted by Harold Washington College (30 E. Lake). Most classes will be held at destinations in the Loop or reachable by public transportation. Students will learn to draw what they see in the city using pencil and ink. Saturdays 10/1-11/5, 10 AM-1 PM, $189Information and registration for both at 

The Five Fingers of Self-DefenseSelf-defense isn’t just about knowing a martial art—in fact, skills like risk assessment, positioning strategies, and verbal tools are essential to navigating crisis situations. The people at Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center teach the “five fingers” approach: think, yell, run, fight, tell. These strategies can also lead to better awareness and communication skills within all your interpersonal relationships. Training is available to people of all genders ages 12 and up.Two-hour workshop, future dates Sat 10/8 4-6 PM and Fri 12/9 6-8 PM, $50 (sliding scale available), 1220 W. Belmont, 773-472-7663, 

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