Juggling Online School, a Career and a Family

Juggling Online School, a Career and a Family

How to balance your online coursework with the rest of your life.

You’ve made the difficult decision to attend or return to school, and you chose the online school structure because it would allow for the flexibility you need to complete your coursework. But you’re still a little nervous about starting classes. Will you have time to attend you daughter’s big soccer game, or go with your son to his cub scout meeting? Will your mounting coursework start to affect your performance at work? These worries can easily be avoided if you prepare yourself for the transition into online college life before the beginning of the semester.

Choosing to pursue an online certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree is the best educational option when you are also working and raising a family. Many online degree programs have a curriculum comparable to a traditional bricks-and-mortar school, with faculty and staff who are working in the field that you are pursuing and can offer real-world tips and advice to their students.

Although online schools allow for a flexible schedule for completing your assignments, it still requires a good amount of time and effort to do so. Because online schools are more student-centered, they are responsible for reading the book materials, and watching or reading the lectures. With this in mind, going into the new semester without clear goals and work study habits mapped out means that you could be staying up until the wee hours of the morning rushing to get your work in. There are many useful tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine that will help you become a successful online student.

Tips for Creating the Ideal Online School Workspace

Set aside a specific area in your house that is only used for your studies. For those fortunate enough to have an extra room that can be converted into a study room, this is the best option. However, some people might not have the luxury of having extra room in their home and as a result, they must create one.

Whether your study space is in a separate room, or not, make sure that it is free from as many distractions as possible. For example, you won’t want to set up your desk right near a television or radio set because another person's leisure time might interfere with your precious studying time. Having a chair that is comfortable and ergonomically correct will allow you to maximize your time in front of the computer and decrease your chances of straining your hands with repetitive typing motions.

Keep your space organized at all times. You don’t want to waste time that could be spent doing online school work on trying to find the learning material needed to complete it. Key items to have on your desk, besides your computer include:

  • A day planner
  • Required books
  • Dictionary and Thesaurus
  • A notebook

Tips for Time Management in Online School

Sometimes keeping track of all the assignments due can be overwhelming, and managing study time in between might occasionally feel impossible. But with the right study habits and time management skills, you can help to avoid these occurrences. Keeping track of all work in a daily planner is the first step to an organized online school work flow. If you already make a list of things that need to be accomplished for the day, that’s great, but you should also make a separate list for your online school work.

Until they attend online school, many people don’t realize how valuable a free 15 minutes can be. Instead of wasting time surfing the internet, watching television or talking on the phone, take that time to catch up on required reading or to participate in a online class discussion.

If you have children in school, establish a designated study time, in which everyone can work on their homework together. In addition to getting your work done, you are also reinforcing the importance of completing schoolwork on time to your child.

Most importantly, remember to set time aside for yourself. It is commendable to devote all your time to work and your studies, but if you never take time for yourself, you will eventually crash. Continuing to set aside time for exercise, relaxation and socialization will ensure that your brain will remain alert and your attitude, positive.

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