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!