Returning to Study After Family: What To Expect
Making the choice to return to study after starting or while raising your family is an exciting life choice. Today’s ever-changing job market is highly competitive making it vital to keep your skills and qualifications up to date. The good news is that online study is the easiest way to integrate study into your life.
The 7 Key Benefits of Choosing to Return to Study Online
When you choose to be at home full-time you may miss that previous ‘you’ that was successful in your career. Returning to Study Online can give you renewed purpose and interest outside the day-to-day of family life.
- Upskilling Confidence
Working on your career goals to upskill your knowledge will add strength to your CV and make gaining new employment or returning to work easier. Extra qualifications can increase your salary prospects and assist you to return to the workforce with confidence.
Self-paced online learning allows complete flexibility to fit your study around your lifestyle and family commitments according to your availability. Courses can take anywhere between 3 and 24 months so you can return to study at an achievable pace for your lifestyle
- Online Community
You can make meaningful connections with like-minded people in similar circumstances who are also juggling family and study. Try to buddy up and support each other using the online student portals and private Facebook Groups
- Learning Coach
A personal learning plan and the support of an experienced facilitator will offer regular feedback to help keep you on track to meet your goals. Knowing you have this guidance can provide added motivation and focus while you return to study.
- A Team Approach to Parenting
It’s important as a couple that you support each other’s life goals and purpose. Making to the choice to return to study at this stage of life helps you to navigate parenting as a team and avoid falling into the trap of one parent taking on too much of the parenting load.
Part of being a good parent is looking after yourself with ‘me time’ so that you can care for others. Putting yourself first and respecting your need to have career and life goals is important. Once you have reached your studying goals, use the time for other personal self-care goals.
5 Steps to Manage Study Challenges
There will be adjustments when you add study into your schedule. Use these tips to maintain balance, minimise stress and maintain focus:
- Develop a Support Network
Get comfortable asking your partner and family to help regularly with childcare. Ideally, set a specific time each week that they can commit to helping you so that you can plan your study. If you have a friend in the same situation, it’s a great idea to organise a weekly swap.
- Ruthless Time Management
Be disciplined about sticking to regular study times. Leave the housework and turn off any distractions so that you can prioritise yourself and your study goals. Look for other ways you can free up time with chores, for example, can you reallocate funds to hire a cleaner or babysitter, and gain even more time for study?
- Plan to Stay Committed
Write down your learning goals and break them down into months and weeks. Work out how much time per week you have available for study to determine how quickly you can get through the units in the course. When you get your assignment/exam schedule, make sure you note all important dates and give yourself earlier deadlines than the course requires.
- Buffer for Emergencies
You will have times where everything goes to plan, but there will be other days when illness, childcare problems, and full schedules can affect your plans. A buffer-time scheduled each week allows for these emergencies and takes the pressure off you falling behind.
- Organise Your Space
Set up a specific organised area to help you quickly get into a ‘study’ frame of mind. If it’s too hard to concentrate at home (even with a carer there), head to a local café or library to get the time and space you need.
Adding study into your already busy life will challenge you. However, with focus and determination, it can be done and is worth the effort. Soon the day will arrive when you are successfully qualified and ready for your new life chapter.