Time for School, Mom!
(Continued from 1)
If your children
are older, use your study time to encourage each other.
Study together when you both have homework. Quiz each
other and bounce ideas off of each other. Read term
papers aloud to each other. Make it a fun way to inspire
and encourage your older child to work on their homework.
Make your children part of the experience. This
is an excellent time to really encourage your child
to go to college. Most children are awed by a busy
campus filled with laughing young adults. Take them
with you to buy your books or pick up your schedule.
Bring them along to financial aid meetings or after-school
study jams. Introduce them to professors and students,
let them sit quietly next to you in a relaxed class,
if you have one. They will appreciate being part
of your life at school and may even begin dreaming
of the day they will follow in your footsteps.
Start slow. Youve waited this long to go back
to school, whats a few extra semesters at the
end? Dont dive into a full-time schedule your
first semester in, leaving your kids missing you and
leaving you with too much homework to keep up with.
Start with one or two classes maybe half-time
and work your way up to the harder schedules
once you and your children are more accustomed to
your new lifestyle. You can always make up for lost
Dont be afraid to skip a class. As a parent,
you already know that whenever children are involved,
stuff happens (basketball tournaments, broken elbows).
And you will sometimes need to be front-and-center
no matter what is going on in your class without
you. Talk to your professors at the beginning of
the semester. Tell them you have children at home
and may sometimes be unable to attend class or may
even be called out of class occasionally. Most professors
understand and will give you the benefit of the
doubt. Find a study-buddy in your class who will
share notes with you if you happen to miss class.
Offer to do the same for him or her in a pinch.
Give your children space to grow, to learn, to enjoy
their own school experiences. Dont let your
schoolwork be more important than theirs or your successes
outshine their successes. If you have older children
who might be attending the same school that you are,
dont take classes alongside them. Dont
join the same clubs, hang out with them in the corridors,
or expect them to study with you in the student lounge.
Let them experience the school as my school, not as our school".
Be organized. Write things down. Post your class
schedule in a prominent place in the house, such as
on the refrigerator, for everyone to see. Look at
your childrens schedule and compare it to yours
at the beginning of each semester, to better help
you plan out must miss days before they
creep up on you. Use Post-It notes and index cards
freely. Invest in a cell phone and pre-program all
the important numbers. Leave a phone number where
your children and babysitter can easily reach you
in case of emergency. Take extensive notes in class
and buy a good, hefty backpack
or book bag. Dont wait until the last minute
to fill out important forms, file for financial
aid, or try to get into popular classes. You may
end up having to settle for a schedule that just wont
work with your kids schedule.
Celebrate success! No doubt about it, when a semester
is finished youll want to rejoice. When you
ace a test or blow away
your professor with a stellar research paper, you'll
feel like celebrating. But dont forget, it was
your childrens cooperation that, in part, made
this happen. Let them celebrate with you. Take them
out for ice cream after a good grade or throw a pool
party for summer break and invite their friends too.
Your children are cheering for you more than youll
ever know. Theyre proud of you, and they should
be. You can be a great student and still be a great parent. What a role model!
Jennifer Brown is a stay-at-home mom, writer, and editor
of an online literary magazine, Applecart Magazine,
in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Jennifer's fiction,
non-fiction and poetry have appeared in many print and
online magazines, including The Storyteller, Long
Story Short, and The Dead
Mule. One of Jennifer's proudest achievements occurred
on May 17, 1999 when she graduated from William Jewell
College in Liberty, Missouri with a B.A. in
Psychology. As a returning student and mother of one,
Jennifer managed to juggle work, home, and school and
graduate in just over five years.