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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. You’ve waited this long to go back to school, what’s a few extra semesters at the end? Don’t 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 time later.

  • Don’t 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. Don’t 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, don’t take classes alongside them. Don’t 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 children’s 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. Don’t 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 won’t work with your kids’ schedule.

  • Celebrate success! No doubt about it, when a semester is finished you’ll want to rejoice. When you ace a test or blow away your professor with a stellar research paper, you'll feel like celebrating. But don’t forget, it was your children’s 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 you’ll ever know. They’re 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.

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