Adult learners who are also parents may find it difficult to balance coursework and family life. This becomes especially hard if they also have a job that takes them out of the house. For many adult learners, there often doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to complete all the tasks at hand. Below are some helpful tips to balance your kids with your textbooks, and eliminate the stress that comes with trying to do it all.
Make a Schedule It is best to set a schedule for coursework. Many times, setting a daily or weekly schedule will help you keep all of your tasks on-track. It is often helpful to schedule uninterrupted time each day that is only for coursework. However, you also have to schedule quality family time to spend with your children. Make the time with your children fun by engaging in an activity that the kids and you will both enjoy.
Create a To-Do ListWriting a daily to-do list is very helpful in eliminating stress. The most important items should be first on the list and, therefore, they should be completed first. This list may even include items that involve your children. Being able to cross something off the list allows you to feel a sense of achievement as you accomplish your daily goals.
Set Attainable GoalsYou can eliminate stress by creating reasonable and attainable goals. For example, volunteer at your child’s school for one classroom activity, as opposed to stretching yourself too thin trying to help with every activity. Another goal might be to finish the week’s required reading by a certain day. Create small goals to help you reach the larger goal.
Ask for HelpAsking for help is sometimes hard, but it is one of the keys to balance. Whether you need help from a professor with coursework or from other family members to help with the kids, asking for it is the first step.
Make a Work SpaceIf you designate a place that is only for coursework, make sure it is a quiet place to study where you can keep all your school materials. Just as your children having their playroom, having your own space for study lets your family know that when you are in this space, you are not to be bothered.
Take Study BreaksStudying can be exhausting, and sometimes a little time away from the books can help restore your energy. Make sure to use that time away to do fun things with your kids, like a quick game of checkers or baking cookies together.
Balancing children and coursework is a hard task, but it can be done. Keep these tips in mind to help you manage being a parent and a student which in turn will help you accomplish your education goals.
Written by: Leah Westerman
Leah Westerman is an Assistant Professor in the Forbes School of Business at Ashford University, where she teaches courses in business law and the legal environment. She holds a Juris Doctor from the Dickenson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics and International Business from Drexel University. She has been licensed to practice law since 2004. Westerman first started in defending clients against medical malpractice lawsuits, and now practices civil litigation, family, and business law. For over four years she has taught courses as an adjunct instructor for several online universities. “I want to be a professor who leads students to achieve their education goals as well as one who is caring and understanding.” Dr. Westerman lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA with her husband and two young children.
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