for School, Mom!
10 Tips for Managing School
by Jennifer Brown
Returning to school as an adult can be daunting enough,
particularly if youve been out of the academic
atmosphere for some time. Youre faced with
adjusting to changing curriculums and testing procedures,
competing in a younger crowd, learning skills (such
as computer literacy) that were not
available when you last attended school, and juggling
work and study.
Add to that a hungry family, dishes that need to be
done, PTA meetings to attend, a pile of laundry you
cant even see the top of, and
go back to school next year. Right? Wrong. While the
idea of juggling children and school may seem impossible
to an overworked mom or dad at first
blush, with a little organization and a few tips, managing
children and a new college career can be easily conquered.
Following are ten strategies to help you get into the
swing of things.
- Finding a reliable babysitter is the first order
of business when considering a return to school. Now
is not the time to stick to old allegiances. If Grandma
is eager to sit with the grandkids, but is almost
always late and sometimes forgets to show up at all,
go with another sitter you can count on. Choose someone
you can trust to arrive on time every school day or
give you enough notice to make alternate plans. Try
to stick with the same babysitter every night to avoid
scheduling conflicts and last-minute confusion that
might keep you out of class.
- Attend a campus close to home if at all possible.
If your first choice of campus is an hour away, it
may not be the best choice for you. If you live
five minutes away from an acceptable second choice,
go with that school. Emergencies do happen, and if
youre called away from class, the last thing
you want is a long drive to get to your child who
needs you. If your babysitter shows up late, a short
commute can be the difference between showing up in
the middle of class and not showing up at all.
- Search for a scholarship designed for returning
students with children. The money is sitting out there
waiting for you to claim it. Many campuses have
computers set aside in their financial aid offices
equipped with programs specifically designed for students
to search for scholarships that fit their
needs. The Internet
is another great tool for finding a scholarship thats
right for you. The extra money can help if you need
to miss work or pay a
babysitter while attending classes.
- Study when you can, not when you want. This could
be the difference between success and failure for
many returning students. I simply dont
have time to study, you might say as you quit
after just one semester. The kids are too loud
and too needy. Soccer camp gets in the way.
Or dance lessons. Or Scouts. Its just such a
fight to get in any study time!
So dont fight it. If you have young children,
spend your time with them doing the things you would
normally do. Try to forget about that Physics test
or English Literature paper thats due the
next day. Attempting to concentrate on work while
the children want to play will only frustrate you
and your child, and you wont retain a lick
of what youve studied. Study before or after
bedtime, at lunchbreak, or while the kids are in
the bath. Invest in a cheap tape recorder to tape
your lessons and review them in the car on your
way to work or the grocery store. You may only get
thirty minutes here and there of good study time,
but the minutes will add up.