I know it seems like this midlife, adult education program is brand new, but actually it isn't. I vaguely remember my mother dusting off her books and heading back to school when my youngest sister was about 6. I always thought she did it to get away from my sister, but I may be projecting! Anyway, my mother got her teaching degree beforer she married my father and after they were married they moved around quite a bit. After awhile I was born, then sister number 1 and sister number 2, and my mother became a stay-at-home mom. She may have worked a few part-time jobs over the years, but mostly she stayed home. When my youngest sister went to school, my mother went back to school, taking college evening classes and others, to renew her teaching certificate.
As I was reading the obituary of an older friend who recently passed away, I realized that she had also taken time off to raise her kids and then gone back to school to finish her degree, and then she went on to teach at the local high school. She raised successful children who went on to prestigious colleges and then highly successful careers and then she went back to teach other children how to be successful in life.
So, my point is they are the ones who paved the way for us. It wasn't as easy for them to go back to school and to pursue adult education and training as it is for us. There was less help with tuition and very few places to go and less flexible class schedules. We are so much luckier than those who went before.