Whether your highest level of education is a high school diploma or you’re looking to add a master’s degree to your resume, going back to school while maintaining a full-time career and/or rowdy kids is in high demand among adults these days. The reason behind the desire for furthering one’s education can typically be summed up in two words: job security. Ten or twenty years ago it was feasible to believe that you could be hired by a company right out of high school and work your way into a management position; however, these days even most ground-level positions require an associate’s degree at minimum to be considered.

woman graduating

The question most commonly asked by adults is, how do you do it? How do you balance classes, homework, and a full-time job and still spend time with your family and make it in time for soccer practice? Follow these tips for a smoother transition for both you and your family:

Take it online: For many working adults, traditional classes and colleges are not an option. Fortunately, the world of online colleges open up a broader horizon for the working mom and dad to have their cake and eat it too. The key is to research the college, as well as the courses offered and make sure that the school is accredited. By attending college online, you can get your bachelor’s degree in four years while still having time for your job and your family.

Keep your employer informed: Most employers encourage their staff to further their education and even have certain programs in place to assist them. Speak to you employer about variations to your daily schedule, using lunch time to work on homework as well as any tuition reimbursement programs they might have in place. The more your employer knows, the more likely they are to help.

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Make it a family affair: Engage your family in your school work. Discuss the classes you’re taking and troubles you are having. Make “homework time” a time for you and your children. As your children sit at the table and do their studies, take that time to do yours as well. If you have older children, ask them or your spouse for assistance in proofreading papers. The more you include them, the more likely they are to support your decision.

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Create a schedule: Make a family calendar each month of all events including your class deadlines. This way you can plan ahead and enlist your spouse, friends or family to help with your children’s activities when you know your schedule will be tight.

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Breathe: If you’re like most adults, it’s been a while since you’ve hit the books. Don’t get frustrated or discouraged if you require a little help getting back into the swing of things. Most online colleges offer online tutors and group sessions to help with subjects that you’ve long forgotten. You’ll be extra busy once you take on school, so remember to find time to relax.

So remember, while the decision to go back to school may require some sacrifices from everyone, and certainly some late nights for you, the end result is a better life for you and your family. No matter how you choose to balance the addition of your education to your family’s hectic schedule, one thing is for certain: you’ll be happy you did.