Many of us did not have the opportunity to go to college as young adults. Others of us have lost jobs, and found we did not have the skill sets employers require today. Still others just want to learn and have time to do so now that the children are grown and moved away. Our reasons for wanting to go to college are as varied as we are. Sometimes, family members, spouses especially, may see our college learning as threatening. And it is, in some ways. After all, once we go to college, things will change--hopefully for the better, but change they will. We won't be the same people we were. We will have new interests, new acquaintances, new insights, and maybe even a new perspective on life. For some spouses, this promotes a sense of insecurity and uncertainty.
Addressing the possibility of these issues (or even the likelihood), can help our spouses understand and may convince them to support our decisions to go back to school. It is important to let your spouse know that you are doing this for both of you, that your education will make you a more interesting person to be around, and will give you the tools to help create a solid financial foundation for your family.
If all else fails, borrow money go to school, anyway, then two semesters down the road let your spouse know that if you quit now, you won't have the skills needed to make the money to pay back your loans. LOL! Just kidding, there! Being sensitive to your spouse's concerns will help the adjustment process.
Include your spouse as much as possible in your new endeavor. If you have a concert to attend for college credit, ask your spouse to go with you. Make a date night of it and enjoy yourselves. Share your successes, but be careful of taking too many problems to him or her. It might make your efforts seem too much trouble. Ask for help with household chores, if necessary. No one can do everything, and homework and study take a good bit of time.
If you still have children at home, make a study time when you can all work at the dining table to complete homework. Having you there as an example will help them get their own homework done. And you never know, they might be able to help you with your homework, too. Some nontraditional students have reported that their children help them learn how to use presentation software, or even how to save a file on the hard drive. It will give your children a sense of participation if you let them help you when they know something you do not.
Last, let your family know what your study and homework schedule is. If they don't know what you have due, they won't know to leave you alone for the time you need. Ask for volunteers for cooking, cleaning, or mowing the lawn. You might have to eat hotdogs or pizza everytime they cook, but children middle school ages and up can be a great help in finding the time to get your homework done.