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Parents, children learn together

Father and daughter work on their photography techniques in an intergenerational class they took at the College of Lake County in Grayslake.
Father and daughter work on their photography techniques in an intergenerational class they took at the College of Lake County in Grayslake.

During a recent family trip to Wyoming, Lizzie Twardock, 14, of Grayslake, showed an interest in photography. Her dad noticed immediately.

“She kept borrowing my camera to take pictures of the scenery and the family,” Rob Twardock said.

Twardock, dean of the engineering division at the College of Lake County, bought his daughter a camera. Then he enrolled them both in a CLC class called Beginning with a Digital Camera. It’s an intergenerational class, one of many that for the first time, are being offered at the college through the Center for Personal Enrichment Programs for Youth.

“We’ve had an intergenerational class on and off for the past three years but this is the first semester we’ve had a list,” said Tammie Johnson, CLC program coordinator for the Xplorer! and intergenerational classes.

This semester’s classes included introduction to drawing, 2D wall art, wellness for pets and how to adopt a dog or a cat. They’re open to adults and children.

Johnson said the classes are trendy. Students ask for them in evaluations they take at the completion of each course, she said. She thinks there’s a benefit to this type of education, other than what they get from the instructor.

“It’s giving parents and their children an opportunity to have a one-on-one time exploring something new together,” Johnson said. “They’re finding out how each generation thinks.”

Rob Twardock said it’s been nice to share with his daughter an interest he’s had for a long time. He added she might not have taken a photography class by herself, but with him, she felt less intimidated.

“If I don’t understand something, he can help me,” Lizzie Twardock said.

In class, the two took pictures of olive oil bubbles in water and flowers through a glass, for an abstract effect. The two also do their homework together.

The father and daughter took 30-minute walks, with cameras in hand, ready to capture three photos that instructor, Lou Nettelhorst required for homework, so he could share them and offer constructive criticism, along with photos taken by 14 other students he taught this semester.

presented photos of the sky night, a house with a white picket fence and a black and white photo of a field. She turned and smiled at her dad, who was sitting next to her when praised by Nettelhorst for her work.

“We have an amateur here who’s been producing some really good stuff,” Nettelhorst said.

Dad also got praised for taking a photo of a stable with good lighting, with a cat as the subject.

The three-hour photography class met Tuesdays for five weeks. The Twardocks said they’re thinking about taking the next photography class in spring or summer.

Nettelhorst said there’s no difference in the way he teaches students who are related in class but he does enjoy watching them interact.

“I do think it’s better to take a class with a partner because you can talk about the work and help each other out,” Nettelhorst said.

Dave and wife Lynne Hagan of Island Lake also took Nettelhorst’s class.

For them, too, it was a vacation that instilled the bug of learning photography.

“We took a photo tour in Hawaii and were inspired to learn how to take better pictures,” Dave Hagan said.

Lynn Hagan said she and her husband go out together to take photos and then help each other pick out the ones they’ll use for homework.

Johnson said in the spring the college will offer a variety of intergenerational classes, including cartooning for adults and children in grades 5 through 12; companionable art for grades 3 to 12, where partners work in tandem on art projects; beginning genealogy and antiques and collectibles.

Some classes start at $59 for an adult and $20 less for the accompanying child.

Intergenerational tours with names such as Chicago’s Swedish Treasures and Southeast Asia Cultural Culinary Tour will also be offered in the spring, Johnson said.

She added the college will consider providing a class based on requests.

“We want to offer what people want. If there’s a class they’re interested in and we know about it, we’ll try to set that up for them,” Johnson said.

Those with teaching experience who want to offer a class can contact the college’s Center for Personal Enrichment Programs for Youth at 847-543-2022 or email

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