School is something a lot of us don’t get through, for various reasons. We may have dropped out in high school, we may have not gone to college, and we may have decided against completing a master’s degree when we had the chance to. No matter what kind of education you feel you missed out on, there’s always time to go back in later life and study again!
But when you’ve got a family to take care of at the same time, is this a realistic and practical move forward? Is it something you’re capable of? Well, it can be!
Trying to balance your life as a parent, and your life as a student, can be the hardest thing in the world. They’re both full time ‘jobs’, in a way, and they demand all of your attention throughout most of the day – what can you do to lighten the load?
So if you’re finding yourself in this kind of position, with your kids on one arm and your need to start learning again on the other, we’ve got a few tips for you to check out. You might just be able to put them to good use in sorting out your schedule.
Talk About Your Plans
If you decide to go back to school, in whatever way, shape, or form, it’s crucial to talk about it. Most of all, make sure you don’t spring a decision like this on your family; they’re going to want to be kept in the loop with such an important choice!
Be sure to sit down with your partner first, if you have one, and tell them about your plans for the future. You want them to hear you, and understand you, and you’re going to want them to voice their opinions as well. They might be all for it, seeing as they love and support you, or they might have a couple of doubts here and there. For example: Will we have enough time for the kids? Can we afford an education program, on top of everything else?
So, your schedule and your budget might need rearranging a little. If you both work, you might have to invest in more childcare, or you might have to start taking shorter shifts. If one of you is a stay at home parent, and you’re the one needing time for your education, will they be alright coping on their own for a bit longer? It’s definitely something you both need to plan for!
And if you’re a single parent, is there anyone else you rely on to help take care of the kids? Your mother, or a friend, for example? Because the same kind of conversation will need to take place.
Online learning can be the key to going back to school, when you’re a parent (and you work at the same time!). If you have internet access to a course, and all of its materials, you won’t have to leave your home, and you won’t be away from the kids for any extended (and expensive) periods of time. It’s a method of learning that’s heavily focused on in this post exploring how to further your education, so go there for more details.
Of course, even online courses require a lot of dedication and attention, so you might have to save them for the hours when the kids are at a friend’s, or in bed. But if you have the option to work the ‘5 to 9’ in the evenings, definitely reserve this period for your plans on self advancement!
Make Sure You Destress
You’re going to feel overwhelmed from time to time, and that’s OK! You’re balancing a lot all at once, and there’s going to be times when you doubt yourself – make sure you can push through them by having moments to yourself. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to find the time, as even 5 minutes can make a world of difference; what’s the fastest time you can drink a coffee in?
So, walk away from your studies every now and then, and spend a bit more time with the family. Get the kids involved in your projects, and get involved with their homework at the same time! If you’re both diligently working away, why not combine forces to lighten the load?
Going back to school, as a parent, doesn’t have to be completely impossible. At least let yourself think about it, if furthering your education is what you really want to do!