One of the biggest challenges of distance learning is finding time to study, and fitting in the course around your lifestyle. Sometimes it feels as though you turn around and a month has gone by!
At The Teaching Assistant College, we appreciate that studying is usually a balancing act – between work, placements, and family commitments, there can be little time left in the week. Yet we all know how important it is to ensure evidence is being submitted regularly and to keep on track. Here we share some tips from students on how to find time to study.
Although some people may shy away from the idea, early mornings can be a great way to kick start your day, with lots of anecdotal evidence saying it can be the most productive time of day.
“I used to get up two hours early twice a week and use the time when my husband and the kids were still in bed to do my coursework. It was great! I had the computer to myself, and knew I wasn’t going to get interrupted, and then didn’t have to worry about doing work in the evening or at weekends.” – Louise, TA College student
Some of us however, are much more productive in the evening, once the stresses of the day are over.
“For me the easiest time to study was on school nights once I’d put my son to bed. I would set myself a task I wanted to complete that week and do a little bit of it every night. Our weekends tend to be the busiest time, so I wanted to make sure I had those free.” – Shane, TA College student
Weekends can be a great time to work on assignments, as you can sit for longer in one go and complete whole tasks. However, getting this free time on a weekend isn’t a luxury we all have! If you do have children however, many students find it useful when family members can help out to give them a few spare hours.
“My husband used to take the kids out with the dog every Saturday for a bike ride – we agreed on this before I started the course, as it would be the only chance for me to get some work done. It ended up working really well, and I appreciate how supportive he was!” – Asha, TA College student
You don’t HAVE to separate out coursework and children however, especially not if they’re older. Getting them involved can be a great way to role model work ethic for them, as well as using the time to be together.
“We have homework nights – there’ll be a few nights a week and when me and my kids all sit round the dining room table together and each work on our homework as we call it. They know I’m there to help if they need it, and it keeps me focused. They would always ask me questions too, and it was nice that they took such an interest in what I was doing.” – Lisa, TA College student
The most important thing is to be realistic, and plan around your lifestyle. If you know you’re at swimming lessons all Monday night, don’t plan to get up early Tuesday – you’ll make yourself feel worse if you don’t do it!
- Be honest with yourself about the time you can dedicate – you’ll know if you’re an early riser or a night owl!
- Set yourself objectives of what you want to achieve each week
- Evaluate your study plan each month to see what has been working, and what hasn’t
If you’re ever struggling with time management, please let your tutor know. We’ll help you work out a plan to get back on track.