Continuing Education: 5 Ways to Support a Spouse in School

Do you have a spouse looking to go back to school? Are you overwhelmed by that idea? Furthering your education can be difficult, no matter your age. Adding the responsibilities of parenthood and family life can make it seem impossible. 

Many couples find ways to make continuing education work, and Daily Mom has compiled a list of suggestions for you to try. With patience, communication, and structure, you can work together to build and maintain a happy relationship and positive household.

Read More: How To Make Every Family Road Trip An Educational Adventure


Continuing Education: 5 Ways To Support A Spouse In School

Start with your why. Why does your spouse want to focus on continuing education? Is this a personal goal or dream? Is there a promotion or monetary incentive being offered by an employer? Are there new career paths to follow?

Use your “why” as your focal point throughout the process. During the ups and downs of studying, exams, and other schooling endeavors, having a “why” will help you keep your end goal in mind.

Here are additional questions you should discuss:

  • Finances: How will we afford it? Will an employer reimburse continuing education expenses? Are there grants and scholarships available? 
  • Program: What will the timeframe look like? How many semesters are required? Will relocation be needed? Can the program be completed online? Is this a step up in your chosen industry, or a complete career change? Can we list the pros and cons of different programs, such as cost, travel, time commitment, etc.? 
  • Schedules: Will you work during this time, or will you need to become a full-time student? How will we prioritize family time?
  • Fears: Are you worried about drifting apart emotionally? Do you think the kids will miss time with their parents?

Create a Schedule

Continuing Education: 5 Ways To Support A Spouse In School

Creating a schedule together will be helpful to ensure both parties understand the other’s commitments and workload. This will increase your sense of understanding, empathy, and partnership as you embark on this new journey together.

Working on a chalkboard or whiteboard may be helpful. If not, paper and pen work just fine. Write down work requirements, appointments, social commitments, volunteer work, and kids’ schedules. Include classes and study time. 

Then, create a digital calendar that you can both use to add appointments and make adjustments. Use different colors to help you see at a moment’s glance who is handling which tasks. Plan to sit down regularly to go over schedules and make edits as needed.

Calendars should not be set in stone; rather, they should be organization tools to make sure everything is getting done without putting too much pressure on one person. There are tons of tangible and digital tools to help you stay organized; any option is good as long as it works for both of you. Even a simple Google Calendar can do the trick.

Read More: A Complete List of Free (or Cheap) Online Educational Homeschooling Resources for Kids

Child Feedback

Continuing Education: 5 Ways To Support A Spouse In School

Involve your kids in this life change. Share with them your “why.” Help them feel secure in their lives, even in a time of change. Discuss honestly how schedules and plans might alter, and what sacrifices may need to be made.

Make it fun for them, too! If possible, take them on a visit to the college campus. Have a picnic or go for a walk there. Take them to have lunch with your spouse at school one day. Look into family-friendly extracurricular events on the school’s calendar. This will help them feel involved in the education process and provide them with an example of lifelong learning. This experience could shape their core values in the future.

Try Something New

Continuing Education: 5 Ways To Support A Spouse In School

When one spouse is back in school, it’s normal for time and money to be tight. Still, it’s important for you to have your own opportunities for growth. This will prevent any sense of resentment down the road.

Remember that you are a valuable person who needs the chance to refuel and reset in order to continue providing love, support, and nurturing to others. Here are just a few opportunities to consider (though there are hundreds of other options to ponder):

  • Take a free or low-cost art class at a community center or library for a creative outlet.
  • Join a walking group or exercise class at a local gym. America Walks can help you find groups by state.
  • Sign up for a cooking class with a friend.
  • Schedule a girls trip to a new vacation spot.
  • Start a book list or join a book club. Goodreads can help.
  • Take on projects and initiatives at work that excite you and stretch your abilities.
  • Volunteer for a cause that means a lot to you personally. Just Serve can help you find opportunities near you.
  • Research continuing education opportunities you might want to take advantage of yourself!
Read More: 183 Daily Affirmations: Becoming Your Best Self in 6 Months

All the Feels

Continuing Education: 5 Ways To Support A Spouse In School

Throughout the continuing education process, there will be a lot of changes, adjustments, and sacrifices for everyone involved. Keep these life skills in your back pocket:

  • Learn to let go of little things. It’s okay if you choose to eat on paper plates to avoid doing dishes, or if you have to hire outside help for childcare or housework.
  • Be open to venting – school is hard on the whole family. Your spouse may need to vent about the educational workload, and you may have your own frustrations as well. Give each other space to let out that negativity. Also, try to build a small community of people who will allow you to share your feelings and also offer support along the way. Consider talking with other families in similar shoes, or possibly a guidance counselor or therapist through the school.
  • Continually come back to healthy communication in your relationship. Be open to feedback and be willing to adjust your schedule and finances along the way. Talk about your needs, as well as the kids’ needs, and make sure no one feels excluded, uninvolved, or unloved.

Good Luck

Continuing Education: 5 Ways To Support A Spouse In School

Whether it’s a GED or a doctoral program, going back to school is hard. It can add strain to a marriage and family unit. It can also open many doors and create amazing opportunities. With grace, perseverance, and love, your marriage and family can survive the hurdle that is continuing education. Good luck as you navigate these new waters!

Check out how to Make College Affordable: Tips for Finding College Scholarships.

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Continuing Education: 5 Ways To Support A Spouse In School

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