Are Online Courses Easier for Parents of Small Children? Probably Not

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For most folks in the United States right now it is a struggle to maintain employment just to pay bills and keep our heads above water.  Many employees realize that to advance to higher pay grades, an education is a must! 


Many students who are parents are turning to online learning because it offers more flexibility.  What they are discovering is, although it is easier to get around their work schedule, their children are not quite as easy to get on the same page.


I struggled balancing raising my children while attending a brick and mortar university. In retrospect it doesn’t seem as difficult as the feat I have watched a close friend undertake over the last year as she tried to simultaneously complete her studies online and keep her three small children entertained. Everyday has been a juggling act just to have a few minutes to get her assignments done let alone get some much needed personal time every once in a while.  After months of trial and error, research, and major stress, there are a few key tips that she shared with me that have really worked to help allow the time necessary to get schoolwork accomplished. 


Doing homework after the kids go to bed is never a good idea.  You want to make sure you are prime to do the best work you can in order to accomplish your goals. So, the first, most important, thing is to allot a time to get your work done and create a visual schedule that can be followed by the children as well. 


Post the schedule in a central location. This way the children can be reminded that this is your work time.  After the time is over, it is a great idea to share what you have been working on with the children.  Let them ask questions or allow them to give their input; it makes them feel like they are being helpful and includes them in your schoolwork instead of alienating them during homework time. 


Include your children in the excitement of learning. Before you begin doing homework, there are many age appropriate activities that your children can do so you can focus on your schoolwork.  One constructive idea is to have your child(ren) learn while you learn.  There are several websites dedicated to youth education, including,, and  These sites and many others offer age and grade level appropriate worksheets, color sheets, puzzles, and quizzes that your child can do during family study time.


Want to have your child do something more creative or artistic? There are also several sites that have kid crafts and art projects that could keep them busy for hours.  If you have concerns over what to do with all the projects and artwork, you could set up a weekend art sale for the children or sell their art pieces on ebay. Another friend of mine got $50 for an underwater seascape her son painted while she was studying. While it’s not a traditional lemonade stand, kids still love to show and sell their art for candy money of their very own.


It’s not easy to be parent, a student or a teacher but accomplishing your goal of getting a better education is worth it and it sets a good example for your children when they get ready to head off to school. To succeed, have a plan ready each week to help things run smoothly.  You also need to always, always have a back up plan!!  You never know what life or small children will have to throw at you! 




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