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Learning with kids doesn’t leave a lot of time. Completing your classes online can allow the flexibility you need to get the education you want.
If you’re interested in going back to school, or just taking a few additional classes to learn something important to you, then taking online classes may be your best option. Depending on how old your kids are, you may not find it possible to be able to go to a different physical location on a regular basis. You need the flexibility that online learning offers.
Going back to complete education can be a difficult decision when you have kids. It requires a lot of time and effort to raise kids, but completing your education can also give you a lot of advantages in your future endeavors. There are many things to consider before making the decision, so make sure you work through the details.
Taking your education online is a great option, but it’s also a bit different than taking classes in a physical classroom setting. When you're in an actual classroom, you have a defined time and space where you’re learning. Generally there’s a teacher or professor there that is helping you to learn, and you’ve really just got to pay attention to what is going on in the front of the classroom without other distractions.
When taking online classes, most of these things go away. In order to be successful with online classes, you need to try to recreate as much of the benefits of going to a physical classroom as you can at home. The biggest benefit that you have with online classes is the flexibility to complete them when you can. You don’t have to be in a classroom at a specific time each day - you can do them in the middle of the night if you’d prefer.
Have a dedicated location for your online classes
Have a location where you go to do your online learning. This should be a place that is different from where you go to relax or where there are a lot of distractions. You should have a dedicated place that you always go in order to work on your classes.
By having a dedicated location, you put your mindset in the right place in order to start your learning. You know when you sit down in this place, with your computer, that it means you’ll be focused on learning. Your mind will start to put this together, and over time it will become easier to focus if you remain dedicated to learning during this time.
Have a consistent schedule to work on your online classes
Online learning allows for the flexibility to work on classes when you want. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just work on your classes whenever. Saying that you’ll work on classes whenever means that you’ll rarely work on those classes - the flexibility will lead to procrastination of actually doing any work, and you’ll never get anything done.
The flexibility that is afforded with online classes means that you’re free to set your schedule, not that there is no schedule.
You should determine a regular schedule when you’ll work on your classes, and work on them at that time. Depending on how many classes you’re taking, and how difficult they are, it’s generally recommended to set aside time each day to actually work on them. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, the consistency of working on those classes will help you to get through the classes. The time of day is less important, although it should be a time when you’re awake and alert enough to be able to focus.
Having kids makes it even more important that you make sure you’ve set a consistent schedule for yourself. It may be that you’re taking time out of your day, away from your kids, in order to learn. It may also mean that you're sacrificing some of your free time that is normally your own time in order to learn. Regardless, you need dedicated time when you can work on your classes.
Remove as many distractions as you can
As a parent, this is probably one of the hardest parts of online learning. You are going to need a way to remove distractions from around you in order to focus on your classes. Having kids constantly harass you for something is a good way to not be able to actually learn or complete anything. You need to find a way to remove those distractions.
Beyond kids, you’ll want to remove other items that distract you easily. For many people, that’s their phone. You’ll want to either turn it off, or place it in a different location if you find that you’re too easily distracted by it. Phones are very useful tools, but they can also cause problems if you’re not able to control how and when you use them.
If you’re easily distracted when on your computer, then you need to figure out the best way to focus on your classes rather than browsing whatever site it is that you love. Perhaps you use a different browser that is dedicated for your learning so that you’re not logged in to all of your favorite sites. Whatever it is, you need to make sure you’ve blocked out things that will distract you.
Online learning provides greater flexibility for learning as a parent. However, it requires you to be organized and dedicated to actually learning. Make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.