Actionable tips for stay at home moms going back to school
Going back to school for a stay at home mom can feel pretty daunting, especially if you have been out of school for a long time. You probably have a lot of questions running through your mind, and wondering if you have what it takes to go to college or earn a degree.
I went back to school after a long period of absence and I can tell you it required some adjustment. What I will say is that it can be done, if you put your mind to it. You are going to face some challenges, and the only way to overcome them is to be determined.
If you are ready to start this journey, here is how to go back to school as a stay at home mom.
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1. HOW DO STAY AT HOME MOMS GO BACK TO SCHOOL? FIRST, THEY FIGURE OUT THEIR WHY
As a stay at home mom going back to college, the first thing you should do is figure out your reason. For example, do you want to go back to school to complete a degree you started before you had kids? Or, are you thinking of going back to work or considering a career change?
Whatever your reason is for pursuing a college degree, make sure you can articulate it, and it’s compelling enough to keep you motivated and focused.
There are stay at home moms who enroll in college because they are bored. The problem with this is, when you don’t have a compelling reason, you are more likely to drop out of college when life gets too challenging.
So, think long and hard about this, make sure it’s something you really want to do before you proceed.
2. HAVE A DISCUSSION WITH YOUR HUSBAND
So, you have a strong reason for wanting to go back to school and you’re convinced you are on the right track. For stay home moms going back to school, the next logical step is to have a discussion with your husband.
Returning to college is a big step and requires a lot of planning. Discussing with your husband and getting him to support you, will definitely make things easier for you and your family.
Share your plan for going back to school with him. Let him know why it’s important for you to get a college degree, then figure out the important details like financing college and childcare (especially if you have very young kids).
Since going back to school will affect your family in lots of ways, make sure you have an honest discussion about this. Listen to any concern raised and try to address it. Hopefully, your husband will be supportive of your plan, so you can move on to the next step.
3. STAY AT HOME MOMS GOING BACK TO SCHOOL SHOULD CHOOSE THEIR DEGREE WISELY
As a stay at home mom going back to school, you may already know what course to study or career path to follow. Choosing the right degree is essential for your success, so think about it carefully.
I know some moms going back to school might be unsure about what to study or how to choose the right degree. There are lots of ways to choose the right degree for you. Consider things like your strengths, interests, career path, salary, job availability, and job growth.
Hopefully, after considering all these factors, you will be able to choose what course to study. Don’t forget to consider how much time is required to complete the degree.
If you are looking to get back into the workforce immediately, you don’t want to choose something that requires four, five, or six years to complete. So, thinking about why you want to go back to college should help you to figure this out.
4. DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL
When it comes to going back to school, there are so many options and so many ways to earn a degree. For example, you can choose to go go to school full-time or part-time. Or you may choose an online college instead of attending a brick and mortar college.
How you choose to attend college will depend on some factors like how many kids you have, their ages, how much time you have to devote to your education, and of course, how long to complete the course. The way you learn is also very important when choosing how to attend college.
I know some students who don’t do very well with online classes. They prefer campus-based lectures where they can interact with their teachers and fellow students. If you have been a stay at home mom for a long time, you may benefit from in-person classes, especially if loneliness has been a problem.
Consider all the options before you make a decision. Lastly, you can always take some classes online and some campus-based classes, if that works better for you.
5. HOW TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL AS A STAY AT HOME MOM: RESEARCH COLLEGE OPTIONS
For stay at home moms going back to college, there are so many options to choose from, especially if you live in a big city. While this process can be a bit overwhelming, you should be able to narrow down your options, if you have taken the time to choose a course of study, and how long you want to spend in college.
If you want to get back into the workforce immediately and you’re also concerned about affordability, a community college is your best option.
I attended one of the best community colleges for the program I studied, and I can say, I have no regrets. It was affordable, my teachers were fantastic, and they really prepared me for life after college. You can also start at a community college before transferring to a four-year college.
Like I said at the beginning, there are so many options to consider. As long as you attend an accredited college with a good reputation, you are good to go. Don’t spend too much time doing endless research.
If you know some stay at home moms in college, you can ask them for recommendations. For a SAHM going back to school, you want to choose the best option that you can, so your time in school will be pleasant and more manageable.
6. CONSIDER YOUR FINANCES AND AFFORDABILTY
Unfortunately, going to college isn’t cheap, so you will do well to consider your finances before enrolling in college. One of the most important answers to the question “how do stay at home moms go back to school?” is they choose a program and college they can afford.
As a stay at home mom going back to school, you may not have the finances to afford college on your own, so you will need to be prudent and realistic when it comes to making financial decisions.
How will you pay for college? Do you have to take out a loan, apply for financial aid or scholarships, or will your husband cover your tuition?
Affordability is a big part of choosing a college and degree to study, so don’t skip over this very important step. You don’t want to invest some money, then find out you can no longer afford college.
There are lots of ways you can afford college, but that’s outside the scope of this post. I brought this up, to give you something to think about, and to help you get started on organizing your finances.
7. GET A RELIABLE BABYSITTER OR CHILD CARE CENTER
When I first decided to go back to school, one of my biggest fears was how I was going to find someone reliable to care for my kids. I had a two-year-old and was pregnant with my second child when I went back to school.
I was so blessed to find a very good lady who ran a family child care center. That lady turned out to be a lifesaver. I used the state government’s website to find her. Finding a good and reliable child care provider will take a lot of weight off your mind and allow you to focus on your studies.
I never had to worry about my kids while I was in school because I knew they were in good hands. The ladies who cared for my kids were very flexible and accommodating, and I really appreciate how well they worked with me to accomplish my dream.
Make sure you have a good plan for child care. Tweak your school schedule to align with your child care needs if you can. For example, in my first semester in college, I only attended college two days a week because of affordability. I took twelve credits that semester and had four courses a day.
This worked out very well for me since I could take care of my children for the rest of the week. So, look at your personal circumstances, and figure out the best way to make this work.
8. STAY AT HOME MOM GOING BACK TO COLLEGE: GET ORGANIZED
Now, don’t take this the wrong way. But, as a stay at home mom, you probably worked at your own pace and did things on your own schedule. While there’s nothing wrong with that, that probably wouldn’t work, now you are returning to school.
So, this is the time to get organized. You can start by organizing all the little areas of your life you have ignored but are likely to interfere with your studies and parenting. Some areas of your life you should think of organizing include:
- Support network
- Activities and tasks
- Routines and schedules
Organizing your life is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce stress and overwhelm for stay at home moms going back to school.
Get into the habit of waking up early, becoming more productive, and manage your time well. You can create routines and schedules you will use when you begin college. You can also do a trial run to test things out.
Being organized will do you a world of good, so get started on it.
Related: How to be an Organized Mom in College
9. PREPARE FOR ANY PLACEMENT TEST
Many colleges require you to take a placement test before enrolling in classes. The purpose of the placement test is to place you in classes that match your skill level. Of course, you can always test out of classes or avoid these placement tests if you submit your transcript, and show proof of your skill level.
I took the Accuplacer test after I was accepted by the college. I had to prepare for the test. It was a computerized test, so you have to be able to use a computer.
You can find lots of Accuplacer study materials to help you prepare for the test.
Find out from the college or colleges you plan to attend, whether they require a placement test. If they do, obtain all the necessary test information, so you can prepare for the test.
Not sure how things are now, but back then, you were allowed two attempts, and they used your highest score to place you in classes (English and Math).
The test isn’t scary and you should be able to go through it, as long as you prepare very well. If you don’t need to take a placement test, you can move straight into enrolling in classes.
Final thoughts on 9 practical tips for the stay at home mom going back to school
Should a stay at home mom go back to school? Is it worth it? How do you get started? These are probably some of the questions you had on your mind when you started reading this post.
Now, you are done, I hope I have answered some of your most pressing questions and quieted some of your fears. Going back to school as a stay at home mom can be done with a lot of planning and execution.
Don’t expect things to just happen or be perfect. You must be willing to put in the work and take the steps necessary to accomplish your dream.
Going back to school while raising a family isn’t easy, but it’s very rewarding and builds character!
Are you a stay at home who’s thinking of going back to school? What are your biggest concerns?
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