The Best Educational Options for Full-Time Parents
When you are a full-time parent, you might feel as though parenting is all that you have time to do. However, this can actually be a good time to try to reach some of your educational goals. Even as a full-time parent, your time may be more flexible than if you were working a full-time job.
Choose a Good School
You can’t pick up and move to the school of your choice, but there may be options nearby, and there will certainly be options online. Here is where it is important to proceed with caution. If the school is online, it should be an established brick-and-mortar college that has online classes versus being an online-only school. Avoid for-profit colleges. Although the school should be accredited, just any accreditation is not always proof of quality. Do your research. Be sure to explore opportunities at any area community colleges as well.
Your degree choice might be somewhat limited by the schools that are in reach, but with increasing numbers of brick-and-mortar colleges offering online courses, you may be surprised at what is available whether you are taking your first college-level classes at a community college or working on a professional or graduate degree, such as an online master’s in public administration.
Time and Money
If you are lucky enough to have one or more colleges local to you, consider whether day classes, night classes, online classes or some combination will work better with your parenting schedule. Some colleges even offer low-cost daycare.
Even with a lot of support from your spouse, you are going to have to work very hard at time management. Much of how you do this will depend upon the age and temperament of your child or children. People have gotten bachelor’s degrees, law degrees and doctorates while raising children, so while you are starting on a challenging path, it is not an impossible one. Prioritize ruthlessly. Your family can eat takeout a few nights a week, and the house can get messy. At the start of each semester, note every deadline, test and other important date on a calendar.
Work with your school’s financial aid office to find out what grants, scholarships and loans you might be eligible for.
Focus on the Big Picture
Juggling parenting and going to school can seem like an exhausting grind at times, but it’s important to keep your eye on your long-term goals. Many studies show that people are more likely to reach goals that they write down, so do this and review them often to see how much closer you have come.
Going to school while raising children can be tough, but it can also set a great example for your children and better secure your family’s future.
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