10 Practical Tips for Returning to Education as a Single Parent
As a single parent, getting back on the education trail can be an exciting and at the same time daunting prospect. Whether you enroll with an online college or university or revisit the social side of education and attend a local college, there are a lot of parental and educational responsibilities that you will need to juggle. With determination and a little help though, graduating with an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree is a prize to make all the effort worthwhile.
To give you some inspiration, here are ten tips which can make it easier to fulfill your dual role as parent and degree student.
#1 Use the Same Study Time as Your Children
If your children have school homework or take part in daily after-school activities, try to fit your own home study work into the same time period. This will help you to avoid conflicts between the attention required for your studies and the need to attend to your children.
#2 Avoid Distractions from Study
Finding a time slot to study between your parenting duties can be challenge enough. During your study time, don’t allow any other distractions to interfere with your productivity. Leave your email, Facebook and other internet distractions for another time. When you get study time, use it only for study.
#3 Know Your Goals and Priorities
Write down the objectives to be achieved by studying for your university or college degree and put them somewhere prominent, to act as a reminder and to motivate you. For example, your goals might be to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in your chosen subject, use the degree to secure a job with good pay and build experience to start your own business in say, six years’ time.
As for your priorities, put your essential parenting tasks and your student’s obligations at the very top of your list. Things like maintaining a tidy home and attending the gym might be “nice to have’s” for a while, rather than essentials.
#4 Enlist a Cheerleader
Who is the person you most often confide in? Enlist that person as your cheerleader throughout the time you are earning your degree. That person will most likely be happy to listen and provide support and encouragement at those times when it all feels like too much. This can be a great help in preventing you from giving up on your studies.
#5 Keep Your Study Materials Safe
Unlike when you attended school or college as a youth, coming home from classes and throwing your books down on the nearest table is no longer an option. While you may not be able to keep your home as tidy as you would like, your study materials are now sacrosanct. Find a secure drawer or shelf or use a box file for your study materials, and be religious about keeping them there.
#6 Schedule a Regular Family Event
Fix a regular day and time to do something with your children every week. For example, every Saturday at 2PM you might take them out for two hours. Make sure this weekly event is fun for you and your children and use it as a reward for the sacrifices made while you are concentrating on your college degree.
#7 Procrastination is Your Enemy
Never put off your study activity. There will be times when your children get sick or you will have to put them first. During these times you will be glad you started that research assignment the day you received it.
#8 Your Kids can Help you Too
Depending on their ages, your children can take on some tasks to free up some time for you. You will need to prepare them for this in advance and perhaps incentivize them. However, simple things like making their own lunches or loading the washing machine can save you precious time to use for your college work.
#9 Communicate at College
Introduce yourself to your professors and make sure they are aware of your circumstances. If your child becomes sick or suddenly needs you, let your professor know immediately. He or she is more likely to help if you have to miss a class, when acquainted with you and your situation.
#10 Be Prepared to say No
Remember the earlier tip about prioritizing? Your studies and your parenting come first for the duration of your schooling. If you have to say no to other demands on your time, so be it. If something doesn’t directly benefit your children, yourself or help you in your studies, say “no.”
You may find enrolling in an online college the best way to manage your education. Collegesear.ch has a database of all accredited two and four year education establishments in the U.S. Why not start your college search now?
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