Raising children, especially when they’re young, is a full-time job in itself. It can be difficult enough to combine it with earning money, let alone studying as well. However, studying may be the only way to improve the situation, or it may be an important personal ambition that just can’t be put off any longer. The good news is that it’s getting easier and easier to do, because educational institutions are increasingly aware that there are a lot of people out there who can’t take the traditional route of visiting a campus nine to five for several years. It’s now much simpler to access alternatives, and to do so at any stage in life, regardless of personal circumstances.
One of the earliest solutions to emerge to this type of problem was the setting up of evening classes, making it possible to study after work. This can be challenging for parents, but it works where there’s a partner, relative, or reliable babysitter available. It provides the opportunity to connect directly with other learners who are often in similar situations and can share tips on how to manage. In urban areas, it may also provide access to the facilities of major educational institutions, such as libraries and computing equipment. For those who are only able to fit in a couple of hours per week, it can still be a useful bridging route into other types of education. It’s even possible to take high school-level courses like this, so people who failed to graduate from high school can still get back into the process of formal learning and certification.
Learning at work
An alternative to taking evening classes – or, sometimes, an accompaniment – is finding a workplace in which it’s possible to learn on the job. The financial industry is particularly good at providing opportunities for this, with mentorship commonplace and designed to help people gain the specific skills they need to pass exams, which will in turn qualify them to take on new responsibilities. Many traditional trades operate similar systems, and some employers are willing to pay for their employees to attend short courses during normal working hours, with the employer then benefiting from the employees’ improved skills and qualifications. Arrangements like this are more common where an employee has made an express commitment to stay with a firm, and parents can make attractive candidates from an employer’s perspective, because they are less likely than others to move away from the area or suddenly change their life plans.
Online courses are a relatively recent development and are making a world of difference to parents who struggle to fit in anything beyond work around their childcare commitments. They make it possible to study from home and are often flexible about hours, with the majority of lessons delivered through videos that can be watched at any time within an agreed period. Many different courses are available like this, so it’s possible to experiment with short, free ones in subjects of personal interest and see how the whole thing works before committing. Look online at institutions such as Maryville University that offer a range of learning options. Qualifications earned this way can carry just as much weight with employers as those acquired in the traditional way, and students should be prepared for equally rigorous courses.
Studying with children
Whatever the course type chosen, there will inevitably be homework, and many working parents find it difficult to make time for this. Having the opportunity to concentrate on reading is difficult when there are children in the house, and only so much can be crammed into a workplace lunch break. One solution, when children are school age, is to study alongside them. Their own homework will seem more acceptable to them when they understand that adults also have to do it, and watching a parent make an effort to get an education teaches them a good lesson. It shows them that education is something valuable that people are willing to make a real effort for, and they gain a better understanding of why it matters, learning about the opportunities it can open up.
Working, studying, and raising children at the same time is always going to be a challenge, and it’s important to think about how it can be managed so that life isn’t all work and no play – there’s no point in burning out. With the right approach, however, it’s now possible for anybody to gain the knowledge and qualifications necessary to move forward in life. There may be effort involved, but it’s worth it.