Nontraditional College Students and Their Children
By Linda Pogue
Going to college when you have children at home is difficult at best, but when the nontraditional student parent is also a home schooling parent, it is doubly difficult, especially if they also work. This was brought home to me recently when a friend decided to go back to college after a few years away. She decided it was time to complete her degree. Changing her degree program makes this a bit more difficult, since some of the subjects she had already taken do not apply to the new degree program. At the same time,she is trying to help her husband build a home business and home school her three children. Is she a brave soul or crazy?
She is much braver than I am. I did not attend college until after my children were grown. I saw the difficulties both my siblings had going to college while their children were young, and decided I would wait. Is she crazy? No, I don't think so. In today's economic climate, having a college degree is almost mandatory for a good job. She wants to help provide for her family and wants the best for her children, just as all good parents do. At the same time, it won't be easy.
She has to schedule time to teach her children, as well as work on her own school assignments, in addition to family and household chores. Thankfully, her husband works from home and is able to be more help than he would if he were working somewhere else. They can share the tasks of teaching and grading children's school work to give her more time. She also sits at the table doing her homework while the kids do their homework. That way, she has time to work on her own assignments, while being there to help the kids, if they need it.
She can also use what she is learning to add to her children's education. When she is studying science, she can demonstrate and explain the principles she is learning to the children. For instance, she can do a topical unit study for the kids on climate and weather patterns while she is studying the same thing for her Earth science class.
Nontraditional college students who home school have resources available to them that other home school parents may not have. They have instructors who may be willing to answer questions and may even be willing to talk with the children. They have the college library for resources. If the college has a school of education, there will be lots of excellent information on teaching specific subjects to children. Going to college online would give more time to work on assignments and work with the children, too, since there would be no lost time in commuting to and from the college campus.