It can be done! I am writing this for stay at home moms who think they can’t go back to school and take care of the kiddos, or anyone else who has thought about online schooling.
I am currently earning my bachelor’s degree for elementary education at the University of Phoenix. I also have four kids, one who stills stay home with me. When I began, I still had two children home with me. Going back to school while they were still so young was not an easy decision to make. We were in a bad situation where my husband lost his job, then became sick and had to be hospitalized. It was awhile before he found another job and even now he is not making half of what he used to. So, we lost everything. We lost our vehicle and our home. That is when I decided that I needed to do something. Working was out of the question. The cost of daycare would never be offset by the amount of pay I would bring in without a degree. I have always wanted to be a teacher and had a few courses right out of high school. Some of those credits transferred to the University of Phoenix and I was ready to roll! The best part is that I will be finishing school right before my son is old enough to start school.
Classes are a bit pricey, I’m not sure how they compare to a “traditional” college though. However, my courses are covered by financial aid and I have had no out of pocket expenses. I receive grants and loans to cover my tuition. On occasion, my tuition is overpaid and I get money back from the school. This is how I got my laptop for school and then I am saving the rest. I plan to use it to put D in daycare when the time comes to do my student teaching.
Right now I have to observe classes on occasion. This is maybe one every two weeks or so. I have to have 100 hours done but I have over a year to complete them. Some of them relate to the course I am in. For example, I am interviewing a teacher about lesson planning and then observing her teach a lesson for my current course. On these days I have my mother watch D since I can plan them around my schedule.
There is a good bit of reading involved with these classes, but nothing unreasonable. The text books are all downloaded right onto my computer. Overall, the coursework is not overwhelming at all. I had to learn some time management skills, but there were a few courses I took at the beginning to help with that. I do not have to post every day, but there are some attendance requirements.
Some days it can be hard to juggle the kids, the house, and school. But overall online schooling has been great. I can take my laptop anywhere. Into the bedroom to hide from the kids and the noise, or all the way to PA on vacation. That’s right. I can go on vacation and not miss a day of school! I’m not going to say it is all easy though. I had nights were I had to stay up late to get a paper in on time or even make the decision to turn in a late assignment and take a penalty. I am almost always a little behind on my reading. But I have also turned in assignments early so that I could have a certain day “off.” It is pretty easy to be flexible with online course.
I honestly think it is a great option for stay at home moms who are trying to find a way to go back to school. You won’t need to find daycare, leave the house, or even change out of your jammies. You can do your work during nap time (if my kid took on, anyway) or even include them. My oldest helped me out in my last math class. She was doing the same type of stuff in school at the time, so I would practice on her. I also show them fun lesson plans and get their feedback/reactions to lessons and activities. They are my own little guinea pigs. There is a huge upside to having children and learning to be a teacher. I know what kids like, what motivates them, and what just won’t work.
Feel free to ask me any questions about online schooling! I will answer the best I can.