National Online Learning Day

National Online Learning Day - Beth Gets Brave | Online Learning College, Online Learning Tips

Today is National Online Learning Day! As a single mom, my time is precious. All of my “free” time goes to my kids, but getting my degree is also really important. Not just for me, but for my kids. Sitting in class all week does not give me much time with my kids, so I chose to take some online classes.

Half of my credits come from online classes this semester. I’ll be able to see my older kids off to school every day, and also take my youngest to her first year of preschool (and also pick her up). I’ll be able to take her to the park for a picnic lunch after school and be home to get the big kids off the buses. *I realize this is not how it is for all parents in school (or work) and I am grateful every day that this worked out.*

Here are some tips that are helping me:

Use Your Planner

I’m using an inkWELL Press planner and writing in every single due date for each class. They make it easy on me – all of my assignments for all of my classes (I’m taking four – two all-online, two hybrids) and have color-coded each class. I also set reminders on my phone to hop online and reply to classmates. That’s a big part of the grade, so I make sure to go above and beyond what’s in the syllabus. Lastly, I printed out some of my assignment trackers and filled in as many assignments for each class as I could.

Get to Know Your Instructor

I emailed both of my instructors (four courses, but three are taught by the same instructor) in the first week of school to introduce myself and let them know a little about me. I also email them if I have any questions about the assignments. Also, know where to get help with the online classroom. My college’s tech department sends out emails about online tutoring and who to contact about issues.

Schedule in Your Class Time

Take online classes as seriously as you do your in-person classes. I block out hours each day to work on each class. I had tried to use Google Sheets and Google Calendar for this, but writing it down in my planner worked better for me right now. When you’re “in class” try not to scroll Facebook or post to Instagram. You probably wouldn’t do that in front of your instructor, so don’t do that while you’re scheduled to work on your assignments.

Do The Assignments as Soon as Possible

I’m a hardcore procrastinator. But school is very important to me, so I make it a priority to get a head start on assignments if I can. In my online classes, some future weeks are locked, so I can’t see exact assignments, but I know enough to at least get started in a chapter, taking notes or outlining.

Take Breaks When You Need To

You can still have fun! I try to have all my work done by Friday so I can enjoy the weekend with my kids. Don’t forget self-care!

National Online Learning Day | Beth Gets Brave

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First Day of College | Hopes & Fears

First Day of College | Hopes & Fears

I’m finally doing it – going back to school. I’m more than a little nervous – about all sorts of things. Will I be able to handle it? Can I really be a single mom going to college full-time? Can I write all the papers, take all the tests, give all the presentations? Probably. Actually, my therapists say “YES. YOU CAN. AND YOU WILL.” So I guess I’ll be fine 🙂 I need to do this.

I’m in a different place now than I was 12 years ago. Yeah, I’m single again, and I’m definitely not looking for a relationship, just like last time. But I have three kids depending on me now, looking up to me and how I deal with school. I’m hoping to find a desk we can all use after school, during homework time. Neither kid had homework last year, which didn’t sit well with me. So I’m hoping that their teachers this year assign them some sort of work we can do together. Setting up a good homework routine is high on my list of to-dos in the first month of school. Setting goals will be KEY in my being successful.

On a lighter note, school supplies! I first noticed them at Target the first weekend of July. It took a lot of restraint not to buy everything right then. And the stuff in the Dollar Spot? So cute! I think I’m going to have to rearrange the living room soon to make a “school spot” and decorate it. I ended up buying four black and white notebooks (on sale 4 for $3). That’s the extent of my school supplies, other than my ridiculously overpriced used textbooks. I’ll buy more when I know what I need. *Note to self – you need a flash drive!

I’ll be using my inkWELL Press Academic Planner for this school year. I have been using it since the end of July and it already holds my older kids’ school schedule and Hannah’s preschool schedule. I go back and forth on which pens I use. Sometimes, I use InkJoy Gel pens (despite the bad reviews – I have never had an issue with any of mine), sometimes the Sharpie pens. Most of the time, I just use a pen from the bank, the doctor or a hotel. I don’t think I’ll get all fancy with my study notes like everyone on StudyBlr though. Way too time-consuming.

As I go through my school year, I’m hoping to learn some tips and tricks to share with other single moms who are in school or want to go back but are hesitant. I put off my dreams for twelve years because I was told I was just a mom and that’s who I had to be. I wasn’t “allowed” to do anything else. I could have hobbies, sure. And I did, like  photography, writing and reading. I didn’t think I could ever contribute anything meaningful to society, or accomplish goals other than washing dishes, doing laundry and cleaning up vomit. I have goals (some are pretty lofty!) and I can still be a mom – a good mom – while living out my dreams.

None of the links are affiliate links. I don’t do that at this time. I just genuinely love the products!

First Day of College | Hopes & Fears

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Fall Semester Goals

Fall Semester Goals | Beth Gets Brave

It’s official – I’m a college student. The semester starts today. I was up at 2 am, looking through all of the online info that my professors uploaded. And wondering what I got myself into. Anyways. That’s a post for another day.

I’m a goal-maker. But I will also be the first to tell you that I rarely follow through with those goals. I can type out a list of a hundred things I want to accomplish, and that list will just sit in my files forever, completely forgotten the moment I hit save.

I am actively working on that issue right now, by setting small, easily accomplished goals and checking them off. I’m approaching college in the same way – setting long-range goals and breaking them into smaller goals so I’ll have success. I’ll be re-working these goals later on and doing a mid-semester check-in.

Here are my goals for the next five months:

  • my kids – they are my first priority. Making sure they are happy, well-fed and well-taken care of is top of my list. My going back to school will be a big change for us all – mom will have homework and papers to write – but I’m hoping that when the big kids see mom doing homework they will put up less of a fight (we’ll see).
  • get at least Bs in all my classes – This is aiming kind of low, but it has been a long time since I’ve had to write for credit. The thought of having to format papers with some sort of style (AP? See? I don’t even know!) is a little daunting. I’m also taking a creative writing class so I’ll have to write some poetry for grades! Didn’t really think that thought when I registered for that class.
  • use my planner all the time – I have an academic year InkWell Press Planner that I’m using for school this semester. I went through it a few weeks ago, adding in days off and college activities listed in the school’s calendar. I might color code classes and assignments, but I don’t know if I have the patience for that. It’s why bullet journaling never worked out for me.
  • follow workout/morning/evening/self-care/house cleaning routines – I need to make some charts to hang up around the house to make it easy for us all to remember exactly what our jobs are. I’ll be using a cleaning calendar from Clean Mama (used it in the past with success) and I’ll be sharing my other routines later.
  • set up Google calendar with my class info – I use the calendar on my phone all the time. If a reminder doesn’t pop up on it, I probably won’t do whatever I’m supposed to do. I do have these calendars color-coded!
  • blog about my experiences – I plan on writing about college from the perspective of a single mom. We’ll see how consistent I can be.
  • make one friend at school and make time to get together outside of school – This is going to be tough, considering I don’t really like talking to people. It does help to know that I won’t be the oldest person in my classes or the only one with kids.
  • work hard – Succeeding in college, being the best mom I can be and adulting all at the same time will be tough. But I’ve made it through 100% of my hardest days, so I know I can do this.

Fall Semester Goals | Beth Gets Brave

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5 Tips For Staying Healthy in College

Tips For Staying Healthy in College | Beth Gets Brave

The semester started for me last Monday. Between the issues going on in my personal life and figuring out how to manage college and homework and kids and life and bills…I consumed an obscene amount of Mountain Dew. I also tend to skip meals when my kids are gone, because I don’t have anyone around asking for snack after snack. (And if we’re really being honest, I don’t eat because of anxiety.)

Drink water

This seems obvious. It’s also something I don’t do as much as I should. I mean, I have a 64oz bottle sitting on my counter, I always forget to grab it and fill it up. I don’t really like flavored waters or anything like that, but if you do, there are so many combinations you can try!

Walk as much as possible

This won’t be an issue on the days I have to go to class. Parking spots are hard to come by in the mornings, so I just park in any spot – and it always happens to be really far away from the main doors. I also try to head out on the trail by the lake when the kids are gone. It makes things easier when I get ready as I get the kids packed up and just head out the door when they do. (I’ll be honest – sometimes I’d rather go back to bed!)

Make healthy lunch and snack choices

This is another area where I fail. I am super picky when it comes to food, and it seems that as I get older and the anxiety gets its hooks in deeper, my stomach just can’t handle much anymore. I am learning (painfully) what I can eat and what I can’t. Sadly, coffee doesn’t make the cut, unless it’s decaf and who wants to drink that?! I mostly live off of cheese and Pretzel Fish (Pepperidge Farm Goldfish pretzels).

As I was sitting in class last week (I had skipped breakfast because of anxiety), I took a few minutes to write down some snack ideas to being with me each week. I’ve really been into almonds lately, and I like those dark chocolate covered pretzels you can get at Costco.

Try not to skip breakfast

English muffins with peanut butter and a glass of orange juice are my go-to breakfast. Sometimes some slices of pineapple or whatever fruit I have in the fridge for the kids. It’s easier for me to eat breakfast when my kids are home – I pop some English muffins in the toaster while making Lauren’s waffles.

Get to bed early

I aim for 10 pm. I usually can’t sleep the whole night so at 4 am, I get up and try to do some homework. I read somewhere that 4-6am is when your brain works the best. I’ll have to try it for a few weeks to see if really works!

Bonus tip: Have a morning routine

I wrote about this last week! You can read about it here. I will eventually have to tweak it when the kids start school in a few weeks and we get a more permanent schedule.

Do you have any tips or tricks on how to stay healthy while you are going to school?

Tips For Staying Healthy in College | Beth Gets Brave

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