natural family living, natural home,  natural home magazine, natural parenting, natural family

Featured Advertiser:


The first magazine to offer natural living tools for every family.
We're your down-to-earth, "how-to" resource for natural family living, natural beauty, natural home, natural parenting, and health & wellness. No matter what your personal or parenting style, we offer natural tips, tools and information everyone can use! Life is only natural, so why not live it more naturally? Let NFO show you how.

Free eNewsletter
FREE Baby or Child Website
Visit our chat board
Natural Family Living
Natural Family Living
Do It Yourself
Entertaining & Holidays
Natural Beauty
Natural Pets
Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness
Children's Health
Fertility to Menopause
Natural Soulooooo
Healthy Eating
Cooking & Recipes
Baby & Toddler Nutrition
Vegetarian Lifestyle
Education & Learning
Education & Learning
NFO Bookshelf
<e New on the Bookshelf
Babies & Children
Attachment Parenting
Children's Health
Diapering & Potty Learning
Feeding Baby & Toddlers
Pregnancy & Birth
Questions & Answers
Product Reviews
<e New on the Bookshelf
Resource Links
Subscribe to free eNewsletter!
About NFO
NFO Staff & Contributors
Advertise with us
Writer's guidelines
Reprint Permissions

Product Reviews

<e New on the Bookshelf



Would you like to see NFO by postal mail? We may go to print. Send us a YES here. Include your full name, e-mail and mailing address. 


Join our newsletter for new article updates!

Back to School For Mom, Too

By Meagan Francis

A degree, certification or courses in a chosen field can boost employability, lead to pay raises and provide personal satisfaction. But between juggling kids, a house and maybe a job, the idea of pursuing higher education might seem like no more than a pipe dream for many busy parents.

What if you could reach your educational goals without the hassle of commuting, the restrictions of a set class schedule and the costs of child care? Thanks to the Internet, remote schooling is more than a dream — it’s a reality for many people, whether they want to take a class or two off-campus, need some job training or want to complete an entire program,all from the comfort of their own home, working a schedule that is convenient for them and their family.

Many community colleges and some universities are now offering Internet-based courses as a part of their curriculum. The credit counts the same way as a traditional, on-campus class would, and you still can still qualify for financial aid (including living costs).

The difference is that the lectures happen via e-mail and bulletin board conversations, and coursework is, for the most part, done from home. Although an occasional on-campus exam or meeting may be required, these are infrequent and can usually be scheduled around other responsibilities.

Exams can often be proctored for students living a considerable distance from campus, and meetings can usually take place via chat rooms or on the phone.

A perfect fit
Sarah, a single mom of two children under the age of six, found the virtual college experience to be just what she needed. “I divorced when my children were really small, and I really wanted to stay with them as much as possible,” says Sarah. “I was so excited when I found that my local college had a virtual campus! I was able to work part-time and get financial aid to take classes from home.”

Another mother, Amy, found that the flexible nature of Internet classes fit in perfectly with her busy life. “I did most of my coursework while the kids were asleep or entertained with something else. I completed my entire associate’s degree online,” says Amy, who is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in business management online.

Finding an exclusively virtual program in your chosen field may require some research. Although more and more colleges are offering entire programs online, the degree you want might not be an option locally, meaning you may have to find an out-of-state school.

Beware! Many non-accredited universities lurk on the web. A good rule of thumb: if your potential school’s web address ends in .edu, it is most likely an accredited college or university. If it ends in .org or .com, watch out — the degree you earn may be virtually useless in your chosen field or for transfer to another school. Check out the school’s accreditation status before you enroll.

Is virtual learning for you?
Remember, while online learning is a flexible method of earning college credit, most courses are not self-paced. Although you can do the work at a time that is convenient for you, there are due dates to be met and sometimes group projects to coordinate.

Organization, independence and a high level of motivation are necessary characteristics of a distance learner, who must be responsible for keeping track of his or her own assignment due dates and test dates. Also, since there are limited opportunities for face-to-face meetings with instructors and classmates in a virtual setting, the ability to communicate clearly via e-mail and message board discussions is crucial.

And last, a distance learner must be familiar enough with using the Internet to get around the course website, find the assignments and conduct research. Most virtual programs offer a tutorial to help get you started; take advantage of this and ask your instructor any questions that come up in those first few weeks.

You will also need to meet certain technology requirements. First, you must own a reasonably new computer that is hooked up to the Internet or have regular access to one. Also, certain courses may require that you own or purchase specific computer software. Check the technology and software requirements for your intended classes before the semester starts to avoid unwelcome surprises. And remember, financial aid may cover the costs of computer software and Internet access, as these are school-related expenses.

Getting started
To get started, check with your local community college or university and see what programs and classes are offered locally. If the selection isn’t what you were hoping for, try a collaborative service such as the Michigan Community College Virtual Learning Collaborative for a wide selection of classes. Apply to the college of your choice, apply for financial aid and once accepted, register for classes.

Almost there — now just stay organized, keep on top of your course schedule, and have fun. You are on your way to meeting your educational goals!

© Meagan Francis

NFO editor Meagan Francis (Natural Soul, Education & Learning channels) is a freelance writer and has been published in magazines like Brain,Child, Skirt! and ePregnancy. Visit Meagan on the web at


NFO is maintained by volunteers. If you enjoy NFO, please help us cover our costs. Every single dollar counts!


"The media have become the mainstream culture in children's lives. Parents have become the alternative. Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to it." -- Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe columnist


Natural Family Online Home Some of our Articles    
FREE Baby or Child Website Alcoholism & Homeopathy Do it Yourself - Home Parenting Teens
Free eNewsletter ADD - ADHD Do it Yourself - Hygiene PMS Articles
  Attachment Parenting articles Do it Yourself - Kid's Crafts Positive Parenting
Natural Family, What is Attachment Parenting? Emotional Intelligence in Kids Potty - Infant
Natural Parenting & Baby & Child Natural Remedies Exercise Articles Potty Learning - Potty Training
Natural Health Articles Baby Care Flu Articles Pregnancy Health
  Baby & Kids' Teeth Gentle Child Discipline Pregnancy Homeopathy
Natural Parenting Message Boards  Baby Sleeping Homeopathy Articles Pregnancy Morning Sickness
  Babywearing - Baby Slings Homeschooling Articles Pregnancy Nutrition
Key Resource on the Web Award Breastfeeding Information Health & Wellbeing Pregnancy Problems
  Breastfeeding Problems Healthy Home Pregnancy & Relationships
Visit the Balter Catalogue Co. Breastfeeding - Other Internal Cleansing Pregnancy Articles
  Breastfeeding in Public Kids & War Reading to Kids

Home, Business & Travel Solutions

Breastfeeding & Thrush Natural Labor & Delivery Sleep Articles
Cognigen Business Opportunity Breastfeeding Weaning Natural Family Lifestyles Stress Articles
  Cloth Diapering Natural Family Meals Unschool Articles
© 2003, 2004 Blame Mama Media C-sleeping & the Family Bed Natural Family Planning Vacation Articles
All Rights Reserved.o Dad Articles Natural Parenting Vaccination Articles
Graphics by   Diaper Rash Natural Soul - Home Winter Health & Family Articles
Disclaimer and user agreement  Do it Yourself Gardening Parenting Stress Womem's Health