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6 Tips for Success When You Go Back to School as a Parent

Published: January 4, 2021

Being a student is hard. Being a parent is even harder. So how can you possibly manage the two at the same time? Going back to school as a parent may be a challenge, but it’s one you can conquer with some pre-planning, organization, and a little support from your family and friends.

Make a Plan to Go Back to School

Before you start classes, sit down and make a plan. How much time will you need to do class assignments? Homework? Studying? If you are enrolled in a certificate program, you can generally expect two hours of out-of-class activity for every one-hour of lecture. If you are enrolled in a degree program, expect that plus one extra hour of out-of-class time for every one-hour lab. Figure out how much time you’ll need for school and then determine where and when you can complete it. Plan accordingly and decide how you’ll participate in class and do the outside work. Can you listen to notes and lectures while you drive the kids to school? Can you do a bit of homework at soccer practice? It will take a little bit of creativity, but you can find time for your schoolwork.

Go at Your Own Pace with Courses

If you’re really worried about whether or not you can tackle a long-term program, start short-term. For example, if you want to become a Medical Assistant, consider starting with a certificate program instead of a degree. It will take less time. And when you finish, you’ll know you can do it, so you may be ready for a more advanced program.

Learn to Say No with School and Home

Another important route to success is to keep the traffic in your life down to a minimum. Your great skills and willingness to help others may make you the go-to person for favors and volunteer positions. Put those on hold. For the short term, focus on yourself and your education so in the long term you’ll be better positioned to help others. The investment in your education will be well worth the temporary sacrifice.

Get Organized with Schoolwork

Set up a specific area in your home that will be your schoolwork area. The kitchen might be a good place, or the living room. Make sure it has as few distractions as possible so you can concentrate. The most important thing is to have a space where you can focus on your student duties as opposed to your parental duties. You’ll also want to find a designated space to keep your schoolwork and textbooks safe so the kids don’t accidentally tear into them.

Involve Family and Friends When You Go Back to School

Don’t leave your kids in the dark. Be upfront and tell them that you plan to go back to school. Show them your schedule and let them know you’ll have homework to do, too. Your organizational skills could rub off on others! This is also a great chance to give your children some more responsibility. Have them help out with the chores, and ask your significant other to pitch in, as well.

Your extended family and friends can also help out. Maybe they can cook an occasional meal or shuttle your kids. When you have a big exam, ask for a play date for your kiddos. There will be plenty of time to reciprocate when you’ve earned your certificate or degree.

Schedule Family Time Away from School

As a student and a parent, it will be important to balance both responsibilities. Just as you’ve scheduled your school time, be sure to schedule some family time. Maybe every Friday night will be pizza night, or every Saturday night will be family game night. The downtime will be crucial for your kids and for you. You won’t be able to give your schoolwork your all if you don’t recharge your batteries throughout the week.


As a parent, you have more patience, perseverance, and more multi-tasking and problem-solving abilities than the average student. How lucky! Bring those parental skills to Charter College where our supportive faculty and staff are dedicated to your success. We offer career training programs in healthcare, business, technology, and the trades. Contact us today at 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.