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Studying with two young kids - advice please

(5 Posts)
givemecaffeine21 Thu 24-Jul-14 19:22:54

I started a degree with the OU around 7 years ago, completed the first two years whilst working, but then had to put it on hold and the years have rolled by. I've now got two DC aged 2 years (just) & 13 months i.e 11 months between them. I'm planning on returning to the OU to complete my degree. DD starts nursery 3x a week in Sept and DS will start the following year. If / When I return I want to complete my degree in two years and rather than four.

I'm thinking of going back October 2015, although a (probably unrealistic) part of me is thinking of doing it sooner. The degree is English Lit&Lang and I'm probably going to switch to English Lit & Creative Writing.

Can people with very young kids tell me how they manage in a fairly detailed way? I'm guessing any study will have to be done evenings / weekends. I really want to do it but also feel a bit daunted by the prospect. DH works full time but will be very supportive which I guess is a large part. I think I'm worried about how tired I'll be by the end of each day and will struggle to study. I'd appreciate advice.

howton00 Sun 03-Aug-14 22:54:53

Hello, I studied as a single parent and personally, I think it is better to study whilst children are younger. They nap more, sleep longer during the night (hopefully!) and you can access quite a lot of childcare (if you can afford it). Yes, it is hard work, yes you will get tired, and yes, you might feel like giving up, and yes, you will probably feel guilty... but achieving against adversity can be a big driver! Remember why you are doing it and think about how proud your children (and family/friends) will be when you graduate! You will find yourself being a role model to your children without even knowing it.

There is quite a bit of funding you can apply for if you would like to put your little ones into nursery for longer so that you can study. Here is a link to the government's 'discretionary learner support fund: https://www.gov.uk/discretionary-learner-support
Also, here, you can find out if you are eligible for assistance at the OU: css2.open.ac.uk/fafcalculator/eligibility.aspx

Studying with the OU demands a high level of motivation because you have to do a lot of reading yourself, but the assignments are good deadlines to keep to. I recommend that you write down your annual plan of assignment deadlines and tutorials and figure out when you are going to complete them (e.g. down to the word count). Tick off your achievements as you go along and remember to reward yourself and your children every now and then.

I've actually written a book to assist student parents with balancing childcare, family life and studies (or at least give some ideas on doing so) as it can feel like you are the only student struggling and juggling studies, work, parenting, childcare, finances and everything else! But you are not alone.

There are a few links I can guide you towards:

www.studentparents.org/
www.nus.org.uk/global/nus_sp_report_web.pdf/
www.palgrave.com/page/detail/?sf1=id_product&st1=669355

Hope this helps and good luck!!

Helen

MishMooshAndMogwai Mon 08-Sep-14 20:00:31

I'll be watching this thread as I'm starting a degree next week, have dd(3) and am 1 week into the 2ww with potential number 2!

I gave up my original degree after dd was born (I was a single parent from the beginning) and I've just completed an access course last year.
I'm happy but nervous about number 2 and I've (hopefully) planned it so it's birth fits in with the summer holidays.
I'm under no illusions that it will be incredibly hard but I'm trying to keep disruption to a minimum both academically and family wise!

From my experience last year, ALL my work was done in the evenings after dd had gone to bed so it involved a lot of late nights and early mornings.
If it's what you want and you want it hard enough then you will make it work <positive>.

It helps to have a goal at the end rather then just 'having a degree'. What are you aiming to do with it? Is there a dream job in mind at the end of it?

Steelojames Thu 25-Sep-14 02:14:07

I am a single parent with a 1year old son studying my PGCE. 3 weeks in and I'm exhausted already. Up at 5:45 every morning to get ready and then leave at 7 to take him to nursery before going to uni. Then home about 6:30 in evening.
It's hard esp nights like this when he won't settle and I feel soo sleep deprived and I have to remind myself everyday it's for him!!
Glad others have successfully managed it, gives me hope.

vicky9 Wed 18-Feb-15 08:58:40

I'm started my MSc in Criminology (distance course) in September when my second child turned 3 months. My first one is nearly 5 and he started school in September which helps. I'm on maternity leave and coming back to a full time employment in May. My husband is full time employed as well.
Currently, I have signed up to a local gym to get 2 hours free childcare which I use for my studies. I have to walk there which takes me 45 minutes (and same time back) as can't afford bus fare. I still have one essay to submit and my year one out of 3 years is done. Just on time before I go back to work.
My first child needs help with his homework, house needs cleaning, family needs feeding.
It's incredibly difficult. But as long as you do this for right reasons this will keep you motivated. My motivation- getting a better paid job so we could afford a bigger house with separate bedrooms for the kids. It's also about self worth. I'm very ambitious (or greedy, I suppose).
I'm a foreign national and it was incredibly hard to start life anew in a different country. I'm nearly 36 which doesn't help as my energy levels are running low.
However, I believe that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. However, cheesy this sounds, it makes sense.

Vicky

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