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Evaluate the Benefits Before Choosing Night School

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When it comes to getting started on going back to school to achieve your degree as a single mom you have many choices to make. One of the main ones is the type of schedule you need for your classes. Some single moms need to schedule classes around a job; others have problems with child care, so as you are planning your education it’s important to take all of these things into consideration. If you’ve been leaning towards night school for the flexible scheduling there are a few things you need to do before you commit. Take time to evaluate the benefits before you choose night school.

My kids say I’m the best at talking people out of doing something they want to do, but I look at it as covering all the bases, being prepared for what MAY happen and knowing how you will deal with it if something out of the ordinary does occur. I am definitely not attempting to talk anyone out of night school, but I am going to play devil’s advocate and point out some areas of concern that you should consider.  It may seem that I am holding the position of a “Negative Nancy,” but if you are aware of the possibilities you’ll be much more prepared as a single mom for the challenges that night school can introduce to your schedule.

Evening Child Care

Unless your children are teens and able to stay at home alone you’ll need to arrange reliable child care for the time you are in your classes. Many times evening child care through a facility can be more expensive than daytime child care. If you have a family member who can come to your house on the evenings you have classes that would be ideal. Your children will be in their own home, with someone they know and surrounded by their own belongings. This can make the changes of having mom gone to school in the evenings a little easier for them to adapt to. It also eliminates the need to get the kids ready, pack up their supplies and take them to a sitter, then return to pick them up.

Flexible Class Scheduling

When you begin looking at night school classes you will need to know what sort of program you’re looking for and find a class schedule that works for you. Since you are a single mom you may not want to go to class every night of the week, you can look for programs that offer 2 classes on the same evening and a few evenings off a week. This gives you more time with your children and to do the things you need to do at home.

Finances

Some night school programs offer online classes as well, and you may find that going that route will save you some money on tuition and text books. Examine and make note of all the expenses that the programs you are looking at will incur. This way you can evaluate and make the best and most affordable choice for your family, as well as having a better idea of what type of financial assistance you may need. Grants, scholarships and student loans will help you cover the cost of your education whether it is for conventional classes or night school programs.

The choice to go back to school can be just as frightening as it is empowering. By looking at all the options and knowing what you can expect you won’t find yourself unprepared and panicking when something doesn’t go exactly as you planned. Before you can make a good plan for your education you have to take into consideration all the possibilities for success and failure and work to avoid the problems before they arise.

Juggling Full Time School with Full Time Mom

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Being a single mom and attending college on a full time basis requires juggling skills, resilience, and a whole lot of determination. Managing a house, the kids and your academic career can really take it out of you unless you are exceptionally good at planning, scheduling and all things organizational.

Scheduling Classes

Once you’ve made the decision to head back to school, you’ll want to meet with a guidance counselor to pick classes and find a schedule that works for you. If your kids are old enough to attend school themselves, ideally your classes would be scheduled for the same window of time. It is probable that you will not be in class every minute your children are in school. This can become valuable time.

Scheduling Free Time

Periods between classes are perfect for doing research and getting a start on any homework. If you have a morning or afternoon free or even a whole day, that becomes your time slot for errands and household chores. You might even want to schedule some batch cooking for those childless hours so you can enjoy your time with the kids.

Scheduling Homework

If the free time between classes isn’t enough to adequately cover your studies, you will need to schedule time at home to get your homework done. If you have school age children, you can do it together. Set a time, perhaps after dinner, to sit down and quietly do your homework together. You will set an excellent example for your kids by role-modeling good student skills for them.

If you have very young children, they probably take naps or go to bed considerably earlier than you do. Seize these opportunities to complete assignments and catch up on any reading.

You may need to schedule play dates or hire a babysitter to watch the kids while you cram for school. Older children can sometimes be relied upon to watch younger siblings but over the long haul, this gets old fast. Play dates with a friend, at their house so you can study at home, can be scheduled each week, particularly if you are on good terms with the parents.

Call on family and possibly even the children’s father to keep the kids one or two evenings a week so you can study. If you are truly determined, you can work this out.