When I was in high school, I was an honor student working toward my goal of moving out and going to college, much like many of my classmates, and other teenagers my age. Then, something happened. During the middle of my Junior year, my father accepted a job four hours away from where I was born, and had grown up until this point in my life. We’re from a small town. The kids I was in high school with were the same ones from Kindergarten. There were just over 100 students in my graduating class. We were more than just classmates. We were family. The plan was for me to stay with my grandparents (who lived in the school district) for one semester of my Senior year, during which I could earn the credits to graduate early. However, after spending the summer with my family in our new home, I decided that I wanted to stay with them.
I moved to a high school with over 2,400 students. My schedule went from a block to traditional. I felt like a cow being herded from stall to stall in between very short lessons, during which I learned very little, or close to nothing because of limited class time. Before the end of the first semester, I had researched homeschooling programs, enrolled, and payed the bill for myself to ‘attend’. I earned the rest of the credits needed for my diploma, and graduated on my own.
A few months after I graduated, I met my (unknown to me at the time) husband. That fall, I had applied (and been accepted to) a state university. My financial aid, however, did not go through. I was unable to attend because I couldn’t afford it. Having always been that student who had pictured herself as the typical college student--living away from home, attending classes, just...being in college-- it was very frustrating. I was so wrapped up in what I wanted, and when I wanted it, that I didn’t realize God was whispering, “Be patient. I have a plan.”
My husband and I started dating, and were engaged nine months later. Somewhere during that time I had begun the process to start earning credits at a local tech school to make school expenses cheaper. That didn’t work out either. God had a plan.
After many long talks about family, and what we wanted, and the life we wanted for our family, we decided that having kids soon after we were married was the best thing for us. School never fit into the very small breaks between having three children in the last four years.
So now, I’m finally starting school. I’m finding time in between snacks, and diapers, a nursing baby, and a potty training toddler, chores, errands, and ball games. I’m only on my first class and I’ve come to realize that I need to become more organized and on-point with ‘me time’ so I can get this done. It’s going to be a long, challenging road full of late nights and lots of caffeine, but I know I will get it done. I was always a good student in school, but learning everything myself, on my time and terms, well, that’s a whole different ball game that comes with a whole new set of challenges. I’m finally ready to start this journey, and hopefully my family will understand why mommy is so cranky, or tired, or stressed. On the flip side, I also hope that I can be patient and understanding when I have completely run out of both of those things.
I know there are many parents out there who have also taken online classes with small children at home. Share with me in the comments below: What tips, tricks, or ideas have you used to manage your time while taking classes?