To study or not to study, that is the question.
As a young mom, you may have been confronted with the choice of staying in school or dropping out. That’s a very difficult choice to make, especially because you may feel like if you choose to quit and stay home with your child, you’re giving up your future.
But is that really the case? It might have before, but now, not so much. One of the easiest solutions for young moms is to study online. There are now many options for anybody who wants to continue to learn and perfect themselves (which you should).
In fact, there are now so many options to choose from, that it can be overwhelming. So what should you focus on when choosing a course?
In this post, I’m going to go over the 7 most important aspects you should take into consideration before investing in one.
Hopefully this will help you gain some clarity!
1 – Pros and cons
There are many advantages to being able to study from home, some of which are:
- Flexibility: studying from home gives you the opportunity to manage your own schedule. Somewhat. Some courses, mainly those given by colleges or universities, will still require you to hand in certain assignments at certain dates, or may even require that you attend a
couplein-person classesduring the semester. Read the conditions carefully before signing up for a course if this is going to be an issue for you.
- Learning discipline: When you study from home on your own, you will have no choice but to learn to be disciplined. Studying on your own is hard work, but if you keep to it, you will succeed, and in the process you will have created a habit of discipline that is perhaps one of the most valuable skills to possess.
- Spend time with the family: Studying at home means you get to be at home, so technically, you are still spending time with your family, and you may not feel like you’re missing out on quite so much. But there’s a down-side to this too:
- Time with the family: being at home with
yourfamily also means that it’s more difficult to focus because your baby might be requiring a lot of your time. It’s also going to be more difficult for you and your family to set clear boundaries, and for them to know when you’re studying and should be left alone.
- More demanding: as someone who has done both in-class and and home-study curriculums, I have to say that I find that home-study is more demanding. As there is no teacher to ask your questions to, you need to do your own research on subjects you don’t understand well through the class. It takes more time and dedication.
- Distractions: There is an infinite number of distractions at home: your family, the TV, the internet, the laundry, the cleaning, your phone… In a classroom, you are more focused by necessity. You don’t have access to all those distractions. So if you’re someone who has trouble focusing, this may be an issue for you.
2 – Your personality
If you are someone extremely discipined and have no trouble setting up a schedule and following through with it, then chances are you will be successful.
If, on the other hand, you are someone easily distracted, who is always running around doing a million and one things and can’t stay focused on one thing for long, then home-study might not be the right choice for you. Unless you can find a way that would work for you, you might be setting yourself up for failure. (If you think this might be a problem, read my article here about how to set yourself up for success!)
3 – The type of course you will take
Will it be 100% online? Is there going to be some kind of human
Check the conditions of the course carefully. These will vary widely from one to another, so be sure to choose one that suits you and your lifestyle.
4 – The cost
Though I know that for many of you, the subject of price will be an issue (I’ve been there, believe me. I know what it’s like to be broke before the month’s even begun), make sure that you don’t reject a course on the sole reason that it costs a lot.
With online courses, as with anything else, you get what you pay for. So if you’re taking this course because you actually want to learn something, perhaps to further your career, then pay for it. This is the only way to ensure that you are getting quality content.
For this reason, I recomment staying far away from the free or cheap courses.
Another reason to pay, is because you will be much more committed to a course on which you have spent a lot of money, instead of one that was free.
So make a plan, know what your budget is before you commit to something. But if I’ve got ONE piece of advice to give you, it’s
Don’t skimp out on yourself
You need to invest in yourself if you want to achieve your goals, and there’s usually a price tag that goes along with it.
I also recommend using my easy (and free!) savings plan spreadsheet to help you set this up. It can mean the difference between failure and success! Get it down below:
5 – The time you can commit to the course weekly
Every course will take a different amount of time to complete; from a few weeks to 6 months or even a year.
Know ahead of time how much time this is going to take you, and be honest with yourself as to how much time per week you can commit to sitting down and going through your units.
If you can’t commit a sufficient amount of time, then it might not be the right course, or it might not be the right time for you to sign up for it.
6 – What you hope to achieve with the course
This is important. If you’re only looking to learn something as a hobby, then you don’t need to pay particular attention to the curriculum, to the reputation, or to any degree or certification you will get from it.
And to expand on what I said earlier about free courses, this is what they are perfect for; learning something just for you.
But if you’re looking to learn a professional skill, something that will serve you in your carreer, then be very careful about what course you choose. Will you need a diploma to work in your chosen field? Then make sure that the certificate you get at the end of the course will be recongnized in your field.
Even if you don’t need a degree, you should still pay particular attention to what the course will bring you. What do past students say? Does the curriculum cover exactly what you want to learn?
Which brings me to my next point:
7 – Watch out for scams
In the online world now, there are so many opportunities for everyone to make money online, selling courses.
In fact, it’s so easy that it’s very possible that the person giving the course knows less about the subject than you do yourself.
I once took an online class to “master Excel”. Turns out it was very, very basic stuff about how to put the formulas into cells. Needless to say, I learned nothing.
It’s lucky that course was free, or I would’ve been pissed.
So watch out. If it’s a free course like the one I took, all you risk losing is your time.
But if you need to pay for it, double and triple check it’s worth it.
It can be more trouble than it’s worth to try and get your money back!
Consider all of these aspects carefully before making a decision; know what your priorities for this course are, and know why you’re taking it.
But once you’ve decided, go for it!!
Yay! Taking a course and investing in yourself is so exciting, celebrate! Go out and have an ice cream, you deserve it! (Then come back and study. Ahem…)
And in the mean time, take care!
Lots of love,
Let’s keep in touch! Follow me on your favorite social media sites!