Going to school and balancing a family are never easy, particularly during the summer. You may still have courses to attend but your kids are on their summer break, and they want your attention. Plus, the weather is gorgeous, there are ballgames and parks to visit, trips to the grandparents to take, and places to go in the car. How are you ever supposed to balance that with your education?
1. Outline Your Schedule and Syllabus
Sit your family down and explain to them what you absolutely need to accomplish, how long it'll take, and when you need to do it. Be flexible, though, and carve out time for them, too. For example, say you need the first three days of each week to hit the books hard, and you'll devote the last four to sharing the summer with them. Another way is to treat it like a work day: spend the first bit of the day going you're your material, learning new information and discussing problems with your classmates, and the latter half focused on your family.
2. Settle on Your Priorities
The myth that a mother or father can do or have it all is ridiculous: something inevitably gets top billing, and all the rest below it receive less attention. This isn't bad, it's just how to triage life's priorities. If we didn't, family time would be just as important as sweeping under the bed, or you'd spend as much time visiting a sick parent as you would standing in line at the bank. When it comes to your education, though, you have to make a decision: are you going to keep up your yearly school pace during the summer and miss out on some time with your kids, or will you take on a lighter load and push things back to capitalize on that time?
3. Get Your Family On Board
Who says that just because you crack open the books your kids need to clear the room? One of the ways you can involve them is to discuss some of the things you're learning about. If you think that children are too young to grasp college-level material, think again. Your ability to break down complex ideas and concepts to a level they can understand means you know your material inside and out. After all, if you can explain it to a three-year-old and they can respond back in kind, you've got your bases covered.
4. Make Sleep a Priority
It seems like an impossible proposition, focusing on getting a good night's rest when you're balancing school and a family. But if you don't make it a priority, you'll end up shooting yourself through the foot on everything else. Being chronically tired not only makes it a ton harder for you to focus on your studies as efficiently as you need to, but to also enjoy spending time with your family. Without a good night's sleep, everything they do will annoy you to the nth degree, causing you to become permanently grouchy and for them to maintain a respectable distance away from you.
5. Consider Day Time Summer Camp for Grade School Aged Children
Prices vary wildly on this of course but to make sure you get several uninterrupted hours of class work time in without having to ref a shouting match between siblings, we recommend a summer camp.
6. Breakfasts Your Children Can Make On Their Own
Look, we certainly aren't telling you to give your kids 14 chocolate bars and a red bull for breakfast (however, that is the standard breakfast of a YourDegree blogger)—you can show your children where the milk is, keep the cereal and bowls somewhere they can easily reach and let them "make" their own breakfasts by adding milk to a bowl of cereal. Then while they are eating breakfast and watching Pokemon, you can finish editing your English 101 term paper.
7. Take Less Classes
Look, we totally get it. You want to be done ASAP so you can get some breathing room in your life. However, summer offers a great chance to bond with your children and help provide them with memories that will last their lifetime and we think that you ought to consider taking a lighter load and focusing on having the best family experiences you can.
We'd love to hear from you—how do you plan to balance the family and course work this summer?