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Ashworth College Blog

Your Guide to Balancing College and Parenting

Written by Nicole Krempasky on Friday, 29 July 2022. Posted in Online College

Woman sitting on floor looking at child sitting at a table.

Going back to school after time off can be difficult at first but going back to school while taking care of a family can be an entirely different challenge. While it won’t always be easy, it is possible to balance college and parenting if you have the right mindset and follow a few tried-and-true rules to keep you on track.

Why go back to school as a parent?

Everyone has different reasons for returning to college. You may be looking for a better job and know that a degree can help get you there. It can give you the skills and credentials needed to move into a better position or start a new career entirely. A degree can also help provide job security.

Some people who go back to college are looking for a sense of personal fulfillment, hoping to achieve something that can give them a sense of pride and accomplishment, or they just genuinely like to learn. Some parents choose to go back to college when their own children start attending school full-time, as they’re looking for something productive to fill the hours. Others might be looking to set a good example for their own children, showing them the benefits of hard work, dedication, and to inspire them to pursue higher education, too.

How to go back to school with a family

Parenting on its own isn’t easy and it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. Adding college to your to-do list might seem crazy, or you might question how much time with your children you’ll have to sacrifice. It is possible, though, to do all of this.

The first step is finding the program that takes your needs into account. You may be able to find an online program that’s self-paced.

Online learning means you never have to calculate commute time to school in your schedule or worry about finding a babysitter. You study and take on coursework where and when works best for you. That can be in your home, in the breakroom at work, at the local library, or anywhere else you already are.

It also means you can fit studying into your lunch break, during your children’s school hours, nap times, or after bedtime. There are also no specific deadlines or timetables, so you can study as quickly or slowly as your schedule allows.

How to balance college and parenting

Self-paced, online learning can help make returning to college as a parent easier, but there are other ways to help you along your journey, too. Setting your own schedule is great, but it also requires a lot of discipline. Some tips to help get - and keep - yourself on track include:

1. Set a schedule

Setting a schedule is important to ensure your studies don’t get away from you. Dedicating a specific time to your studies where you know you’ll be free is a great way to make sure you accomplish schoolwork. For instance, if you know your children have activities at certain times where you may have the house to yourself, try to fit study time in there. But remember to be flexible. Parenting means unexpected situations, so don’t be discouraged if your plans get thrown off from time to time.

2. Make a to-do list

Most parents have to-do lists in some form or another, even if they’re just stored in their brains. But creating a list of tasks to do weekly or daily can really help keep you organized. They can also be great motivators. When you’re able to successfully check off the items on your list, you’ll feel organized and accomplished. It will also help to set realistic expectations while giving you confidence for the days and weeks ahead.

3. Delegate

Moms often feel like they’re responsible for everyone and everything. This means you often feel obligated to take on every chore yourself. But if you’re a mom going back to school, you’re going to need to share some of your responsibilities with other family members. This can be asking a significant other or older child to help with chores like dusting, laundry, meal prep, or anything else that you might need help doing.

4. Take some ‘me time’

Parents going back to school, especially if they’re working at the same time, can experience burn-out easily. It’s important to remember to set aside some time for yourself to decompress and just simply relax so you don’t become too overwhelmed. This can be simple self-care like taking a bubble bath, reading a book for pleasure, watching an episode of your favorite TV show, or going for a 10 minute walk a few times a week.

Hear more about being a mother and a student from Carren Itza-Montejo and Tiffany Whitter.

Can I afford to go to college with a family?

Earning a college degree can be an extremely expensive undertaking at traditional schools. One great alternative is an online school that offers payment plans and includes all digital learning materials in your tuition. You can also use a tuition calculator to help you estimate your costs.

Next steps for parents going back to school

Ashworth College designs its programs specifically for busy people. That’s why every course, regardless of the subject or degree type, is online and self-paced. Let Ashworth help you reach your goals of earning a college degree flexibly and affordably. Enroll online today or call an Admissions Advisor at to learn more about program options and payment plans.

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