November 22, 2011

I think I can, I think I can....well, maybe not.

When I quit my job to stay home & raise BabyGirl, Husband and I decided I'd be a stay-at-home mom until our last child was in school full time. That's what his mom did & it worked well for their family. My mom worked (outside the home) occasionally when I was growing up, but never for extended periods of time. I really had no problems with our arrangement.

When Bitsy was registered for Pre-K, a mad gleam flared up in my husband's eye. He was thinking of my employment when she started kindergarten & the extra income it would generate. His only real goal is that I be able to make the payments on my van each month. I think that's reasonable....but there are certain issues.

First of all, in case you haven't heard, we have four children. None of them is old enough to be left home alone & the one who will soon be is not to be trusted being left in charge of her siblings. That means there must always be an adult in the house when children are not in school (i.e. summer vacation, Christmas vacation, weekends, Columbus day, Teachers Institute, sick days, etc.). Since Husband must leave for work at 2 o'clock or so each afternoon, that means I must be home by 2 o'clock whether the children are here or not.

Secondly, I'm not qualified to do much. I could babysit, but I doubt Husband wants more kids in the house while he's trying to sleep during the brief time ours are in school. I could work in a restaurant. I did that for more than a year & didn't mind the work (the boss on the other hand is a story all his own). But around here the only options are fast food places. Minimum wage isn't incentive to drive 40 or more miles a day. Elder care would work for me, but Husband isn't comfortable with me being in other people's homes.

So when I seriously began considering a career, the school seemed a good compromise. Husband suggested lunch lady, but the ones there are fixtures & not likely to retire anytime soon. I thought more along the lines of teacher's aid. When I looked into the requirements I was pleasantly surprised. Illinois requires all teacher's aides to have 30 college credit hours or a para-professional educator certificate.

I talked to A Starry Night about the possibility of me going to school for my certificate. She told me that considering we're a 6 person family living on one income, chances are really good that I could go to school for little to no out of pocket for us. But first I wanted to see how close I was to the 30 necessary credit hours before signing up for a year long program.

My transcripts came in the mail this week. Anyone want to take a wild guess at how many hours I have? Anyone? 29. Yup. Twenty-nine hours. And since I never finished a degree & it's been 16 years since I left school, my credits probably won't transfer. To be honest, if I were the one deciding & I saw the grades attached to those credit hours I'd make myself start over from scratch, too.

You see, I am not a scholar. Sure, I love to read.....what I want to read. I like writing....what I feel like writing when I feel like writing it. Studying- not so much. Attending classes- not so much. Being generally responsible- not so much. I was really bad at college the first time around & I'm not so sure I'd be any better at it a second time. But at this point, it may be my only option.

Yes, I'm 16 years older than I was when I decided not to go to school but not to bother dropping out. Yes, I'm a mother of four & I know I cannot slack off on my work. Yes, I know this would make our lives a bit easier. All that being said, I'm really not sure I'm cut out for school.

So, do I pull up my big girl panties & deal with it, or do I mope about crying that I hate homework & I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader? Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion.


Layla said...

I'm probably the only one in the world, but I seriously regret going back to school. So much. It has not made my life easier in the least. As a matter of fact, it's made it much worse because I have less time, more stress, and am now in mounds of debt. Oh, and I can't find a job.

But that is my particular situation, and I know they vary by person. I wish ya the best on whichever decision you make for you!

needlefingers said...

Online education!

Sez the online instructor. :)

sarah at secret housewife said...

DO IT!!! I never thought I would go back to school, but I have and I am nearly finished with my degree after 2 and a half years.I work as a teaching assistant over here and I can honestly say its the most rewarding job. I love it!
Its natural to be a bit dubious about going back to study, but it will open a whole new aspect of life and it will be so different to when you were younger.In a good way I hope!!
Good luck with whatever you decide!!

Anonymous said...

Only 16 years? Remember I graduated from college almost 30 years to the day after I graduated from highschool. You can do anything you set your mind to. Do what is right for you and Matthew and the kids.

I love you


canningmama said...

I know you don't know me from adam's housecat (are you on KFC?) but DON'T go back to school!! Stay home with your kids! Make necessary lifestyle adjustments if needed to make it work by staying home. But your kids are worth it. In fact, bring them home and homeschool them! :) It'd be the most fulfilling thing you've ever done! :)

Penny said...

I've gone back to school at the ripe age of 51...I only went to college for 6 days (that's a long story LOL) but decided that I really wanted that degree. Now I have a job in my field and I have about 15 years of experience in my field, so going back was not so back..and I'm doing it totally online with Western Governors's a compentency based program, so you move along at your own pace, study when you want and anywhere there is online access..I love it! You should look into it, you might be surprised the credits that may transfer...good luck in whatever you decide!

Kork said...

Tough place to be...I waffle each day, some days, all I can think of turning my little hooligans over to the School District and being in a setting wherein I'm surrounded by adult conversation provided by people who are at the very least experienced, if not "educated"...and then some days I freak out and remember what it was like when I'd get sick and my Mom couldn't take me home because SHE worked at school, and had to stay til the end of her day...

We'll be praying for you here - for wisdom and direction.

Is there anything you could make at home and sell enough of to contribute to something? Maybe your jellies, or something like that? I know, I know, you're in the middle of an agricultural community, but maybe some cute little shop somewhere in a bigger town would sell your stuff??? Just a thought.

Honestly? I'm doing schooling for a VERY specific reason, and it has been TOUGH to put myself and my studying first, especially knowing that I've got so many responsibilities to care for the family and our home.

Keep your mind and heart open - you never know what God will send your way...