After my daughter was born I returned to school, but shortly found it to be overwhelming. Getting up early, preparing breakfast, preparing clothes, dropping my daughter off at day care, completing homework, commuting to school and juggling other domestic responsibilities were very time consuming and it just felt that there were just not enough hours in the day. At times, my grades were not that great and I had a hard time getting my homework and projects completed. Having all this responsibility on my plate while raising a special needs child made things a bit more challenging. Then I heard about the conveniences and advantages of taking online courses and decided to try the online learning route. I enrolled into the University of Phoenix in the fall of 2008 and never looked back. The option of taking online courses verses traditional is a Godsend for busy moms with special needs children. Below are 5 reasons why online education is the best choice for moms and parents with special needs children:
- The Balance, Convenience and Flexibility: Online education gives moms/parents with special needs child(ren) the ability to work around their hectic family/work schedule. Classes and course material are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You determine your own schedule. There’s no worry about leaving home early to make it to a class on time or being late for class because there’s not a set schedule. In addition, the student mom can work on assignments and projects in the daytime, late in the evening after work when every one is settled in or late at night after the children are tucked in the bed. For example, I completed my assignments in the daytime while my daughter was in school and sometimes late at night after her bedtime. Furthermore, there will be more opportunities to go on the weekend family outings or have some you time that you may have had to sacrifice in the past.
- Comfortable Space and Work Environment: Learning online is more comfortable than learning in an brick and mortor (traditional) environment. You can go to class in your pajamas or nightgown. You can choose any room in your home (i.e., home office) that’s the most comfortable and noise free to read, complete assignments and projects. You can control the noise level and don’t have to worry about unnecessary distractions.
- Save Time and Money That Commuting Costs: Online education eliminates the time and costs that comes along with commuting to a brick and morter building for class. Such as saving on the costs of fuel, not having to get up early to avoid tardiness, avoid the annoyances that comes along with rush hour morning traffic, and the trouble of not being able to find a parking spot just to name a few. Your computer, tablet or other electronic device is right their at your fingertips or the next room to login to class.
- Learn New or Improve Upon Computer and Technical Skills: Online learning gives the student mom/parent the opportunity to either learn or improve upon their computer and technical skills. The student mom of special needs child (ren) will learn how to manage various Learning Management Systems (LMS) within the virtual classroom environment. Responding to and posting answers to instructor academic questions based on the curriculum, uploading and downloading documents, uploading videos and audio, creating, uploading, and downloading documents, access the school’s virtual library, and access academic self-help materials (document and video tutorials) are some of the many computer and technical skills that you will learn. In the future, these skills will help the student mom/parent advance in her or her chosen profession.
- Lower Costs-Tuition itself for online courses and or degree programs can costs just as much as traditional colleges and universities, however in many ways it is much cheaper such as no commuting costs, low to no costs for online course materials and textbooks, and no college or university dormitory (on campus) living costs. Some online schools are now offering MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), which are free unlimited participation online courses available to the public. Other online learning sites, such as Alison offer free certification programs.
- More Time To Participate in Volunteer/Internship Work- Given the balance, flexibility, and convenience of online learning, the student mom/parent with special needs child(ren) may find some time to volunteer in their spare time or on the weekends. Volunteering and internship gives the student mom the opportunity to get out the house and volunteer with a company that offers work in her target field. For example, if you are studying to be a IT (Information Technology) consultant you could volunteer or apply for an internship at a IT company. Volunteering and internship is a great way to get more hands on training and skills, learn new skills and build upon you existing skills, build your resume, build personal and professional networks, and advance your career.
Online education gives moms and or parents of special needs children the opportunity to either pursue or continue their education. Raising children in general while working and going to school is challenging, but caring for a special needs child adds an extra challenge to the existing general challenges of parenting working or attending school. Above is a few reasons of how going the online education route help to make things easier and give student mom/parent of special needs child (ren) more work and life balance.