Simple Mistakes to Avoid as a Stay at Home Mom Going to School Online

Some common mistakes to avoid if you are a stay at home mom attending an online school or college

As a stay at home mom, going to school online may be the best or only option you have. Unfortunately, while this might seem like the best and easiest option for you, it’s not always the case, as many stay at home moms have found out.

While an online college is a convenient option for many moms, it can also foster procrastination and poor time management if you are not diligent.

In this post, I want to share some common mistakes stay at home moms make while going to school online.

Here are some mistakes to avoid if you want to be successful as an online student.

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1. PRIORITIZING HOUSEWORK OVER SCHOOLWORK

As a stay at home mom going to school online, you can easily fall into the trap of prioritizing housework over schoolwork. Since you spend a lot of time at home, it’s easy to get distracted by everything that’s going on around you.

I am not saying you should completely ignore housework, but if your goal is to graduate from college, then you have to find a way to prioritize your schoolwork. You can still manage to keep up with the housework if you create a schedule and learn how to manage your time well.

So, make schoolwork the priority and not cooking or housework. Many moms who did it the other way around will tell you they never had time to work on their assignments, and they did not do well in school.

Watch out for this very common mistake and don’t think it can’t happen to you.

Related: How to Stay on Top of Housework (For Busy College Moms)

2. NOT SETTING ASIDE ENOUGH TIME FOR SCHOOLWORK

Many stay at home moms in online school tend to fall into the trap of not having a schedule or specific time for doing schoolwork. This usually happens when there’s no live component to the online classes, or when the classes are self-paced.

While it’s good to have some flexibility with your schoolwork, it’s also important to be disciplined about it. It doesn’t matter if you attend an online college or go to a physical college, if you want to do well in school, you must set aside specific times to study and complete some other schoolwork.

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from stay at home moms is finding the time to study with little ones at home. Some moms have young kids who constantly need their attention, so they tend to put off their schoolwork until bedtime. Sometimes, this ends up not happening because mom is too tired after a busy day.

The only way around this is to create a schedule, and set aside specific time for your schoolwork. Find the best time during your day, and use that time to study and complete assignments. Let everyone know mommy is going to be unavailable when it’s time for school.

Block out that time, go to your study space, and do the work that you need to. Unless you make studying and doing schoolwork a daily habit, you are going to fall behind in school, which would make things even worse for you.

Playing catch-up isn’t fun, so it’s better if you can stay on top of your schoolwork.

3. TAKING TOO MANY CLASSES AT A TIME

One of the mistakes lots of moms in college make is underestimating how much work is required to pass a class. Juggling motherhood and college is a hard thing to do, so you want to give yourself all the help that you can.

Taking too many classes at a time (especially in your first semester) can be a recipe for disaster. Lots of moms have been forced to drop some classes because they could no longer cope with the workload.

Online school is not easier than attending a physical college, so don’t let anyone deceive you! The fact you can attend college from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean the work is easy or college is going to be a breeze.

Don’t make the mistake of taking too many classes at once especially in your first semester. You need some time to adjust to a new schedule, so the smartest thing to do is to ease into it. Start with a light load, and give yourself some time and space to figure out your schedule.

Lots of moms who have been in college for years are still trying to figure out their schedule and how to make the most of the time they have. It’s going to take you some time to figure things out, so don’t take on a very heavy workload (especially at the beginning).

Another reason you shouldn’t take too many classes at once is that, in some online classes, you have to do a lot of research and self-teaching. That increases the amount of time you have to spend on your schoolwork.

If you come across concepts you don’t understand, it would be up to you to figure them out. Also, some classes have heavier workloads than others, so you have to find a balance.

Related: How Many Classes Should I take The First Semester of College?

4. NOT HAVING A DEDICATED STUDY SPACE OR WORKSPACE

One of the benefits of online school for stay at home moms is being able to learn from home while taking care of their kids. However, learning from home also has its downsides, and one of them is not having a classroom where you can just focus on your studies.

With that said, you can still create a designated study space or workspace at home. Even if you don’t have a separate office or room in your home, you can carve out a little corner in an area of your home, and designate that as your study space.

I know some moms like to work on their beds, on the sofa, or anywhere they can find. Actually, I think this is a good idea for getting in some reading throughout the day. But, when you really need to stay focused and study for an extended period of time, nothing beats having a study space of your own.

Here are some things you need to create a study space or workspace in your home.

One last thing. It’s very important to keep your workspace organized. Clutter can be very distracting, so avoid putting too much stuff in your workspace. Keep it clean and tidy.

Your study environment can affect your mood and motivation, so take some time to create a space that will boost your productivity.

5.STAY AT HOME MOM GOING TO SCHOOL ONLINE MISTAKE: NOT CHANGING UP YOUR SCHEDULE

If you have been a stay at home mom for a while, you probably have a schedule or daily routine you follow. But, now that you are a student mom, it’s time to change it up. As a student mom, you have to tweak your current schedule so you can incorporate your schoolwork into it.

Now, if you don’t already use a schedule, I suggest you create one (especially if you want to stay on top of everything). A schedule helps you simplify your life and makes planning and execution very easy. It also helps you structure your days so you can be more productive.

Since I have a post on how to create a student mom schedule, I am not going to say a lot about it here. I suggest you check out that post since it’s chock full of lots of very helpful tips. But, here’s a shortlist of how to create a schedule.

  • Make a list of all the tasks you need to do (both for your home and school)
  • Prioritiize your list
  • Assign the different tasks to different days of the week (things like studying should be scheduled daily)
  • Estimate how much time to devote to each task or category
  • Choose your scheduling tool. For example, a planner or calendar

Now, go ahead and read the full post.

Related: How to Create an Effective Student Mom Schedule

6. NOT ATTENDING CLASSES, KEEPING UP WITH UPDATES, OR PARTICIPATING IN DISCUSSIONS

Attending an online college doesn’t mean you should completely isolate yourself or not interact with your teachers and classmates. It’s still important to attend classes (whether live or not), and keep up with updates.

I have seen some moms complain about missing deadlines because their professor changed the date an assignment was due, or they didn’t do well on a test, because they only found out the night before that a test was due the next day.

While I sympathize with these moms (because as a mom I know how hard it is to keep up with everything), but, at the same time, it’s your responsibility to keep up with everything that’s happening in your classes, including taking part in group activities or discussions.

Here’s how to keep up with everything that’s going on in your online classes:

  • Don’t skip your classes. If there’s no live component to your class, have a specific time each day when you log in to your class to listen to pre-recorded lessons or assignments.
  • Always check for new updates, and ask for clarification if you are unsure about something. Remember to make a note of new deadlines in your planner.
  • Create a reminder for your due dates and submit things before they are due. Give yourself at least a day or two before the due date.
  • Review your curriculum and syllabus frequently
  • Participate in discussions or group activities especially if they count toward your grade.
  • Attend help sessions if your teachers offer them.
  • Ask questions and ask for help if you need it.

As you can see, there are lots of simple ways you can succeed as a stay at home mom going to school online. You just need to be proactive and better organized.

7. NOT MANAGING THEIR ENERGY AND STAYING FIT

Online school for stay at home moms is a great idea, but to succeed, you have to learn to manage your energy and stay fit.

As a stay at home mom, you are probably used to spending your time and energy on different tasks like cooking, laundry, cleaning, and taking care of your kids. Most stay at home moms are usually worn out by the end of the day.

While this worked for you in the past, now you are taking online courses, you can’t afford to follow the same routine. Now, one of your biggest priorities should be how to manage your energy so you have enough for your studies.

Expending all your energy on other tasks will leave you feeling tired and overwhelmed. You can’t devote the time required for your schoolwork if you are always tired or drained at the end of the day.

So, save some of your energy for your academics, and find a way to stay fit. That means, eating healthy meals and snacks, drinking lots of water, moving your body often, and exercising as often as you can.

There are lots of free workout videos on Youtube, so you don’t really have an excuse for not exercising occasionally. Also, check out the post below for some more tips on staying healthy.

Related: How to Stay Healthy as a Busy Student Mom

8. LACKING THE RIGHT SKILLS, TOOLS, AND TECH

While online learning offers a lot of flexibility, that doesn’t mean it’s easy because of the potential for technical problems at inopportune moments.

If you have ever typed up a long document and your computer died before you had a chance to save your work, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Many stay at home moms going to school online understand how frustrating it is to encounter technical problems while in the middle of an important assignment.

While you can’t control every single thing, you can take steps to mitigate potential problems. Here are some ways to prevent technical problems from ruining your online learning experience.

  • Have the right tools and resources for online learning. This includes a reliable laptop or computer, correct browser, and operating system.
  • Ensure you have all the correct information you need to access your online classes (this should have been given to you when you enrolled for your classes).
  • Have the contact information for your college’s technical support.
  • Make a backup of all your work.
  • Reliable internet. A slow internet connection can cause quite a few problems, so you want something decent or fast.
  • Some tech skills so you can do your work online and complete assignments. For example, how to use excel, PowerPoint, and how to do online research.

Without the right skills, tools, and technology, online learning can become a big pain, so make sure you have everything you need to succeed as an online college student.

9. NOT ASKING FOR OR GETTING ADDITIONAL HELP

As a stay at home mom, I know you are used to taking care of your kids all by yourself, and some of you probably haven’t had to use a babysitter. However, things are a little different now, and you may have to make some changes.

For example, using a babysitter when you have to attend live zoom classes (if you have no other help available). Putting your toddler in pre-k or kindergarten a few days a week so you can focus on your studies.

I know it’s hard to let go especially if your kids are still very young, but this is often necessary. So, stop trying to do everything by yourself especially when it’s not working.

It’s okay to pay for a babysitter or put your kids in school while you study. So, if you struggle to juggle online college and kids at home, consider asking for or getting additional help.

Next steps for the stay at home mom going to school online

I have outlined these very common mistakes stay at home moms make. If you are making any of these mistakes, you can fix them.

If you are a stay at home mom thinking of attending an online college, you can use these tips to help you get off on the right foot. Online school for stay-at-home moms is worth it, as long as you put in the time and effort needed to succeed.

Are you a stay at home mom going to school online? What’s been your biggest challenge?

Related mom and student articles

9 Practical Tips for the Stay at Home Mom Going Back to School

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How to Focus on Online School (For Busy Moms)

Simple Mistakes to Avoid as a Stay at Home Mom Going to School Online

stay at home mom going to school online

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