There are many reasons adults continue their education. Increased earning power, a wider career path and personal empowerment often inspire people who have already pursued a higher education to get back in the saddle.
However, returning to school can prove challenging for parents, particularly those with young children. Since parenting is a full-time job, finding the time and energy to earn a degree while raising a family may seem like a daunting prospect. While it’s true that continuing one’s education as a parent can be difficult, it’s far from impossible. Parents who are interested in going back to school without running themselves ragged can benefit from the following pointers.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Because we live in a culture that celebrates self-reliance, many of us are afraid to ask for help, even when we need it most. Depending on others is often viewed as weak or an abdication of responsibility, and a result, people often choose to suffer in silence rather than reach out.
However, as any parent-turned-student can tell you, requesting assistance is crucial to your academic success. If you have friends or family members who are willing to take care of your children while you’re studying, completing coursework or attending classes, don’t hesitate to take them up on their generosity. Furthermore, there’s no shame in asking your spouse or partner to take on some additional responsibility with regard to childcare.
Choose a Degree Program That Fits Your Schedule
Scheduling conflicts are one of the biggest detriments to returning to school as a parent. Since many parents work full-time, finding degree programs that fit with their busy schedules is often an uphill battle, particularly if one’s choices are limited to brick-and-mortar schools.
This is where online universities enter the picture. Many online colleges offer fully-accredited degree programs that provide overbooked students with the flexibility they need. Classes can be attended from the comfort of home, and coursework can be completed at your leisure. The ability to set one’s own schedule can be a tremendous boon to parents juggling careers with child-rearing and set the stage for academic success. Such flexibility can be particularly helpful to anyone pursuing a master’s in school counseling online. Even a complex degree like this can be earned in a timely and low-stress manner with the help of the right online school.
Set Aside Time for Your Studies Each Day
Persistence is the key to success in a number of different areas, and education is no exception. When working full-time and raising a family, it’s easy to let your academic obligations fall by the wayside. While it may be tempting to put studying and coursework on hold, one night off can turn into a full week before you know it.
With this in mind, make a point of setting aside some time for studying each day. Depending on your schedule, your designated study time can be before the kids wake up in the morning or after they’ve been tucked in for the night. No matter what time of day you choose, make sure to stick to it. Adhering to this new schedule may be challenging at first, but after a few weeks, study time will simply seem like a natural part of your day.
Consider Reduced Work Hours
Even under the best of circumstances, working can be stressful. As such, working full-time while completing a degree program and raising a family can be downright overwhelming for many adults. If this seems like too much responsibility for you, carefully consider the pros and cons of reducing your work hours or quitting your current job altogether. Since your degree will boost your earning power in the long term, a short-term financial loss may be an acceptable price to pay. Reduced work hours aren’t an option for everybody, but if you have sufficient savings and/or a partner who makes decent money, it’s certainly worth thinking about.
It’s never too late to continue one’s education. However, the prospect of returning to school as a parent is often too daunting for many adult learners. While there’s no denying that raising children is a tremendous responsibility, being a parent doesn’t have to preclude you from broadening your academic horizons. Provided you’re not averse to a good challenge, it’s entirely possible to be both a good parent and a successful student.