Discipline Strategies that Work for Single Moms

Being a single mom brings up all kinds of problems. It isn’t just that you have to go out to work as well as raise your family. It isn’t just that you have to do all the housework, all the driving, all the bill paying. It isn’t even just that you have to worry about your kids’ health, nutrition  and their education.

Any of those things would seem enough for one person to deal with, but put them altogether and you have a lot on your plate. You can’t just be Mom, you have to be Dad as well. And, as Mom and Dad, you are solely repsonsible for bringing your kids up right. Now, that means dealing with the tricky topic of discipline.

Discipline is so much easier to do when there are two of you. You can play the tried and tested ‘Good cop, bad cop’ routine. You can trot out the old line; ‘Wait til your father gets home’. More often than not, these strategies, developed by Moms and Dads parenting teams over generations, work. Also, there’s just something about Dads that seemingly carries greater authority than Moms for kids. So, if you’re a single mom, you have to find ways to overcome the absence of this authoritarian figure in your kids’ lives.

But, what about your strategies? As a single mom, you need to instigate and maintain discpline strategies that work, but you havent got recourse to all of the old established ones.

Of course, not all kids are the same, and each child will have his own response to different discipline strategies, so you have to develop a certain amount of flexibility. But, to give you some pointers, here are some ideas that have been proven to work.

  • If your kids are old enough to understand, sit down together and have a family conference. Get them involved in setting the rules, and let them suggest some themselves. If they don’t like any of the rules you feel are important, explain why they are necessary and non negotiable. Make a family poster illustrating the rules. Review the rules and their effectiveness every month.
  • Keep it simple. Too many rules just confuse kids. Stick to what’s important.
  • Always be consistent. Don’t change the rules part way through, or your kids will never know what’s OK and what’s not.
  • Practice speaking in a low but authorititive voice. Simple depth and tone of voice is what often makes kids listen more to Dad than they do to Mom. Of course, you don’t have to sound like a man, but practicing a firm, slightly lower than normal speaking voice can reap rewards.
  • Try to avoid shouting. If the kids see you losing control they won’t listen to what you are saying.
  • Try to use praise more then punishment. The carrot is always more effective than the stick, unless things have gone too far. Let your kids know when they have done the right thing.
  • Avoid physical punishment. It only reinforces that you are not in control and teaches kids that violence is OK.
  • Have a visible rewards chart. When your kids behave well, note it on a chart…maybe with stick on stars. When they have accumulated a certain number of stars they can have a treat. Equally, rather than using punishment when they do wrong, you can take stars away according to the gravity of the misdeed. That way, your kids have a clear account of the effects of good or bad behavior.
  • Use Time Out. The technique of removing the naughty child from the situation that is making them misbehave and insisting they spend some time in a quiet place alone  such as sitting on the bottom step, (NOT locked in a bedroom!) is often very effective, It calms the situation and allows the child time to think about what’s happened. If your child refuses to stay, patiently return him to the chosen Time Out place as often as necessary until he accepts it and stays put.
  • Know when to ignore bad behavior. If the misdemeanour isn’t very serious, simply ignoring your child can work wonders as it allows him to work out for himself what he’s doing wrong. Say he’s jealously demanding your attention when you are busy with the baby, simply refusing to respond to his behaviour can be a useful strategy. When he stops, talk to him, praise him and explain that as soon as you have finished what you’re doing you will be all his.
  • Remove priviliges. This strategy is effective with older kids especially. If they’ve overstepped the mark, you can remove the privilige of going out with friends for a certain length of time, for example. Or, with younger children, removing a favourite toy for a prescribed time is also effective. It avoids the need for shouting and pointless recriminations and allows the child to discover that her actions have consequences.
  • Set sensible boundaries. As your children get a little older, setting sensible boundaries helps them define their ideas of what they can and can’t do. Kids need boundaries: it not only helps keep them safe but actually makes them feel safer. For example, tell them they can watch TV/ use the internet/see their friends for one or two hours each evening (age appropriate), but only after they’ve done their homework. It’s then up to them how soon they get to watch their favourite programs!
  • Be reasonable. Kids need a little freedom as they grow, so be reasonable when you set the rules. Teenagers will want to hang out with their friends, so let them do this but agree the places they can and can’t go and set a clear time that they must be home. Make sure they know that can always get hold of you on the phone if there are any problems.
  • Don’t side with your child against figures of authority. If your child is in trouble at school, let them suffer the consequences, be it a detention or similar punishment imposed by school rules. If you are really sure that the teacher in question has made a mistake, don’t say so to your child, but make an appointment to talk it through calmly with the teacher. Backing your child everytime she gets into trouble at school just makes her lose respect for the teachers and her behavior will worsen as a result.
  • Get grandparents onside. Grandparents can really help with discipline problems. Talking to them about your child’s bad behavior in advance and asking them to stick to the same rules gives consistency and gravity. It shows your child that it isn’t something you have arbitrarily dreamed up, it is a rule that other people agree with.

Single moms can often feel quite alone when it comes to discipline, but staying calm, being consistent, letting your kids know that actions, (good and bad) have sonsequenbces will give them a heralthy attitude as they grow up.  And it should make your life a lot easier too!

Love and the Single Mom: A Guide to Online Dating

A single mom needs love just the same as any other woman, especially if she’s a divorced or widowed woman. This is because the divorced woman and the widow were already in a presumably loving relationship, but has now lost that relationship, and so there is something missing – a gap to be filled. There is also a love void in a single mother who has never been married, because she has obviously been in some kind of relationship as well. But being a single mother suggests that there are children involved, and children at different ages respond differently to another man, other than their father, being involved in their mother’s life. Love and the single mom – a guide to online dating, aims to present hints and tips that a single mom could find useful.

 

Filling a Need

Love means different things to different people, and there are different types of love. For example, there is:

 

  • the love between parents and children,
  • the love siblings have for each other,
  • romantic love between the genders, and
  • the love God has for mankind.

 

Everybody needs love of one kind or the other, and everybody experiences at least one kind of love – the last one in the list above. Love and the single mom, however, has implications for love of the romantic kind. She has at least one need, the need for companionship for herself. She also may have another need – the need for a good man in her child’s or children’s lives, who can provide a measure of stability and security.

 

Online Dating

With the advent of the Internet, the dating experience does not only happen face-to-face anymore – at least not at first. A guide to online dating is a helpful tool, because there can be and have been varying outcomes from the dating experience.

 

Advantages

There are advantages of online dating and these include:

 

  • Common statuses:

There are online dating services dedicated to single parents, and this removes the hassle and worry about finding a date who might have a problem with a partner being a single mother because he has to consider her children, since she is the type he is looking for in the first place.

 

One such dating site, http://www.parentfishing.com/, aims at bringing single moms and single dads together, with the understanding that each already knows what is involved in dating with a family. It is a free service, requiring the usual sign-up and inputting of relevant information so that a possible match for the applicant can be found.

 

  • Convenience:

Online dating sites provide single moms with the convenience of searching for and possibly finding a partner from the comfort and convenience of her home, thereby removing the trouble of having to secure a baby sitter to stay with the children while she visits bars or night clubs or attend parties in order to do so.

 

  • Flexibility:

All that is required in the process is that the single mother accesses the site, registers, and places her ad by completing her profile. This can be done at any time, from any location on any computer or laptop.

 

Some of the sites offer a free service, while others charge a small fee for upgrading to paid memberships, such as http://singleparents.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=singleparents&cdn=parenting&tm=114&f=21&su=p284.9.336.ip_p504.1.336.ip_&tt=11&bt=1&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.singleparentlove.com/, which offers one free membership and two upgrades to gold, then platinum statuses.

 

There are also sites that are dedicated to specific religious persuasions, some that match partners according to their personalities, and still others that simply use the information supplied in applicants’ profiles.

 

  • Fun:

Online dating can provide single moms with some fun. Because of the anonymous nature of emails, single mothers can go that route and create impressions and illusions of who they really are, while they indulge in intimate fantasies.

 

Singleparentlove.com allows paid members to communicate using emails, instant messages, and chats, as well as by sending and receiving video greetings.

 

Disadvantages

But there are also disadvantages to online dating. According to http://uadating.net/dating/online-dating-tips/71-disadvantages-of-online-dating.html, these include:

 

Distance

Members to online dating sites have reported incidences of dating partners over the phone (which some services permit using the computer) for a lengthy period, then when they were ready to meet the other parties vanished into thin air. A search for such a person would not even be worth the effort.

 

Commitment Issues

It appears that some men have what are called attachment issues. They enjoy visiting online sites for the heavy involvement that is possible, and the quick exit that the medium offers. They operate on a sample-and-discard basis, as someone would do with candy, but single moms should value themselves more than that.

 

Lying

Applicants sometimes lie in their profiles, even to the point of sending photographs that are younger than they are, or very different from who they really are. Single mothers need to protect themselves from such persons.

 

Being Stood Up

This usually refers to a bride or groom being left waiting at the marriage altar for a mate who does not show. However, in online dating it occurs when a woman goes to meet an online partner for the first time, but he does not show. The man, who should play the dominant role in the relationship, should make the effort to go to the lady, or they could meet each other half-way, thereby indicating commitment to the relationship.

 

Love and the single mom is a guide to online dating which tries to sensitize single mothers to the ins and outs, ups and downs, and potential of a medium that the advent and advancement of the Internet has made available to single mothers in the pursuit of love and companionship. It is possible to seek, interact with, and obtain worthwhile partnerships through this medium, and even have fun while doing it. Despite, or perhaps because of, its anonymity, however, some persons have been hurt, emotionally if not physically, by unscrupulous participants. Caution is advised!

Mortgage Assistance for Single Mothers

So you are divorced or are a single mom who had it all together until the downsizing in your department rendered you jobless. Such is the story of thousands of women all over the country. In danger of loosing homes they fought hard to get in the first place. You feel all is lost and you have no where to turn. This article will help you explore possibilities for Mortgage help that just might save the family farm so to speak.

If you already own a home and are in danger of loosing it because your mortgage payment is behind or will be you can go to http://usmortgagerelief.org/is a site dedicated to helping you to find ways to relieve the stress and insecurities in your life. They explore the options with you, even offering a toll free number for live consultations.

 

THE FHA LOAN PROGRAM

This is a most unique and effective tool that van be used to obtain a loan for any need. if you need a FHA loan to consolidate bills, Refinance an existing home loan or become a first time home buyer you would do well to discuss this with the folks at http://www.lifestyle-mortgage.com/fha/single-parent.shtml they are dedicated to helping single mothers’ find financial solutions. The FHA program has several advantages for the single parent one of them is that there are compensating factors that just might help you to get some bad credit items “forgiven” by the loan underwriters. Then there is the fact that qualifying for this loan is a lot easier than most other loans. The flexible debt ratios is one of the reasons for this. That is why the FHA home loan is ideal for a single mother in mortgage trouble. It also has some really neat additions that can lower the rates and front end cost to the prospective buyer. One is the inception and inclusion of gifts from family members. They give you credit for any monetary gifts toward home ownership you receive from relatives. This company will help you to locate local grant programs that award money to single mothers for the purpose of home ownership. Finally the Federal Government regulates the closing costs on these loans. This means there is a maximum you can be charged.

The availability of this loan is perfect not only for a first time buyer but also the single mother who has owned her home for a time and are finding themselves in financial straits.

 

Mortgage companies look at the total assets and liabilities of the family applying for the loan. If you got the mortgage as a part of a unit and are not struggling to make the payments because of a death or divorce you can always talk to the loan officer and attempt to renegotiate the payments and schedule. When a spouse leaves that decreases the total of the assets and the liabilities most often stay the same and in some cases increase. This is when you have to first reassess you liabilities. It helps your case as a single mother to go into the negotiation with a budget and a reasonable repayment offer.

 

BUDGETING

To be fair you will have to make a budget.  And if you are not sure how to accomplish this you can click on this link http://www.bankrate.com/finance/money-guides/free-household-budgeting-work-sheet.aspx or http://www.dirjournal.com/shopping-journal/5-useful-free-online-budgeting-tools/ you will be redirected to sites that offer free budgeting tools and samples of how to prepare your budget. The first step to any budget is to find out how much you are actually spending and what you are spending it on. For one month keep track of all your spending. Even if you buy lunch at work write it down. At the end of this month go over what you spent. You are looking for superfluous expenditures. Some things could be left out of the liability column. Doing this will give you more of your income to devote to your needs.

 

Do not expect that the cutbacks will go over big at first you may have to go from a cable package that has all the movie channels to basic cable. Regulate the time spent on the Internet. Cut back on electrical consumption. This type of thing works better with younger children teens tend to take it a lot harder. Especially since the cell phone usage is one of the first things to need adjustments. You may also have to come to grips with the fact that the house may no longer be affordable for you. Selling and moving to a smaller home in a more economical neighborhood may be your only option.

 

Most budgets look a something like this. Shelter 33%, auto 15%, food 20% by now you are already almost in the red. If you have childcare cost and insurance you may have nothing left for clothing, entertainment and the other small items important to running a household.

 

You Are Not Alone

The national statistics state that at least 35% of households in the United States are Single parent homes. 40% of the homes that are headed by single mother are at or below poverty level. The single mother with incomes that are above the poverty level are finding it just as hard to maintain in these economic times. The prices are constantly going up faster than the incomes. Most single mothers do not care if the help comes from government assistance or donations form private organizations and individuals. All they care about is that they get to keep or buy their homes.

 

HUD – the Department of Housing and Development is a great resource for would be homeowners and single mother mortgage holders alike. They offer a lot of free help in all financial areas. You can contact them at http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD. If you qualify for their loan guarantee program you may find it easier to get that loan you need.

 

The HOME program – This is a program that assist new home owners with funds for their down payment. You must meet the income criteria as well as being a single mom.

 

Habitat – Habitat for Humanities is an excellent option for single mothers who are trying to get a home. Follow the link to find the offices nearest you. http://www.habitat.org/cd/local/

 

States usually have assistance programs specifically for their residents you should look into this aspect as well. you may also want to speak with a person that writes grants for a living. They have the inside scoop on what grants may be available and some of them will even work for noting as a gift to the neediest applicants. Grants.gov may not have any money to lend but they can point you in the right direction.

 

If you are having mortgage trouble you may also want to speak with someone at http://www.fairhomeloan.org/, they can assist you by helping you to be certain that the actions being taken against you are legal. With the recent “RoboLoan” scandal it might be to your best interest to investigate any action of a foreclosing nature brought against you.

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan offer help in a couple of areas. Single mothers can find assistance here if their initial loans were through the government Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac programs. President Obama introduced this refinancing initiative in 2009.
HOPENOW – This is an organization that is designed to match homeowners with others who might have a vested interest in keeping a single mother in her home. They act as a go between or mediator. Though not a solid financial solution it is a way to keep you in your home while you search for another way.

 

Mortgage Insurer – The insurance company has a vested interest in keeping you in the home. If you have no home they get no premiums it as simple as that. They offer counseling and other services to homeowners it is worth a try.

 

There is always other loan modification programs on the horizon. These can allow homeowners breathing room for at least the next five or so years. One thing you should do is keep the lines of communication open between you and the mortgage holder. Read all incoming mail from them and talk with them about your situation openly and honestly. It does them more harm than good to actually foreclose on a home. Most often they are willing to work out a mutually beneficial agreement with you. Seeing them as the enemy will ultimately be a downfall. Keeping them on your side and in the battle with you can work out better in the long run.

 

CONCLUSION

Hard times can happen to anyone at anytime. Even if you failed to plan for them initially it may not be too late to salvage your situation. Single mothers have it worse than most but with a little effort you can find those willing and able to assist you with your mortgage. It will take effort on your part and extreme patience but it can be done. When you decide to make a search keep accurate records pertaining to who you spoke with, sites you visited and the outcome of each. This will help you narrow down the field of prospect in an orderly manner. Hey, you could even start a blog about your searcch and include that information. There are others doing the same search and your information could be helpful to them. This could also turn into a money making venture. You could use the blog for affiliate marketing and actually earn the extra income you need to save your home.

Budgeting Tips for Single Mothers

When you’re supporting a family on a single income, budgeting becomes more than trying to decide if you can afford dinner out once a week. You not only have to make sure your earnings or other money supply stretches to last through the month—you also have to make provisions for unexpected expenses and future expenses like health care, purchase of a home, college, and more.

That’s a lot to handle on a limited income. It’s the rare person who can balance all the financial needs of the family perfectly—but anyone can become an expert on where their money goes, and that’s the important first step.

Keep a notebook (or spreadsheet, if you like doing things on the computer) of expenses every day. Enter into it everything you spend—and I mean every penny. If you put money in a parking meter, enter it. If you give the kids money for an ice cream or a movie, enter it. Don’t worry yet about what category it falls under, but do note what the money was used for. If your kids just ask for “money”, find out afterwards what they spent it on.

After a week, review your expenses and assign them to categories that make sense to you. If you think ice cream belongs under “entertainment” instead of “food” or “treats”, that’s fine—but remember that making distinctions like that will force you to comb through grocery store receipts to categorize every item. Budgeting should be easy enough that it doesn’t become a second job in itself. Here is a list of common categories that you can choose from. Remember that if they don’t make sense to you, they won’t work, so mix and match or combine categories to reflect your actual thinking about spending:

Repeat this activity every week until you have a month’s worth of data. By that time, you will have paid credit card bills, rent or mortgage, and utilities—those should be included in your list of expenses. Then look over your expenditures for the month. The fixed expenses you can’t do anything about—that’s why they’re fixed. There might be small gains you can make in some things like utilities, but at this stage of the budget game, don’t worry about it.

A good combination of essential expenses to shoot for is 30-15-15. That’s:

  • 30% of your income on housing: includes rent or mortgage, utilities, maintenance and so forth.
  • 15% on food: it’s recommended you keep this to necessary food, the kind you buy at the grocery store. If you shop wisely, that should make all other food (restaurant meals, lattes, lunches bought at work instead of prepared at home) fall neatly into the “entertainment” category. It’s much easier to cut back on this category.
  • 15% on transportation: includes car payments, insurance, fuel and maintenance.

That leaves 40% of your income to cover clothing, insurance and/or medical payments, entertainment, debt repayment, and miscellaneous. Part of that “miscellaneous” should be some kind of savings plan.

If your figures for the month show that you’re paying significantly more than 30% for housing, you need to take some action. If you can’t think of any easy solutions that will work for you (such as taking in renters, moving in with family, and the like), here are some links to housing assistance programs that might be able to help:

If you find you’re spending much more than 15% of your income on food, it’s possible you’re not doing everything you could be to minimize this expense. Here’s some helpful links on how to cook nutritious and enticing food your kids will eat, and that will also help a lot in your budgeting efforts:

If your expenses fall within the ranges above, good for you! You’re completely average! Now why not do even better in the savings category by trimming items you really don’t need from the other categories? The only sure-fire way to make money is to save money.

If you are pretty computer literate, and you find you kind of like the budget process, try to find a copy of Quicken or another computerized budgeting tool. These are basically more sophisticated spreadsheets, with all the budget aspects already programmed. They have common expense categories already set up, but you can still add your own.

This is a great tool to have, because at any time you can see all your finances at a glance. With paper records, you’re stuck with pulling out statements to compare where you were last week or last month, and having to manually calculate where you are this instant. But again, the tool is only valuable if you keep it up, and are computer-savvy enough to use it to full advantage.

Does the whole budgeting process sound too boring for you? Don’t fret—there are many like you. You don’t like to nit-pick about expenses, but at the same time you need to get control of your spending. The following story is a more philosophical view of budgeting from someone who managed to rein in her spending without becoming an accountant in a little green cap:

One important thing to keep in mind when budgeting as a single mother is that most likely, you’ll have to cut back somewhere. That “somewhere” might be things that your kids are used to having, like cable TV, or lots of snacks in the house, or maybe spending money that you don’t keep track of. It’s important to share with your kids that the family’s budget needs to be under control, and they might have to give up some of these goodies. Don’t worry—they might make a fuss about it, but if you’re firm and keep explaining to them that giving up a little now, might prevent giving up a lot later, they should be capable of understanding.

You might have some success by enlisting them to help you meet the budget when shopping. Instead of a brand-name cereal they like, send them on a mission to find the generic brand, and compare how much cheaper it is. Or (a better bet, since kids are so computer-savvy), put them in charge of finding recipes on the Web that you can make with inexpensive, basic ingredients, instead of all the over-priced prepared foods the shops try to entice you to buy. If you have girls, see if they’re interested in learning how to make bread and pizza dough, or even something really challenging like canning. For boys, send them off to a mechanically-inclined relative or trusted neighbor to learn how to change the oil on the car, or do basic home repairs. They’ll not only help the family save money—they’ll learn skills they can use their whole lives to continue the tradition of common-sense budgeting and saving.

How to Go to College as a Single Mother

Single mothers need every advantage they can get. Not only are you supporting your family on one income, you’re also the “go-to-gal” for all your children’s needs, including their need to spend time with you.

With all those demands, it can seem hopeless to fit continuing education into the picture. The good news is that there’s lots of help out there to make getting a degree or certificate possible, no matter what your situation. America’s specialty schools, community colleges, colleges and universities have had long experience meeting the changing needs of a diverse population, and single mothers rank near the top of that list.

It will still be a struggle, because nobody can make it easy, but the pay-off can be enormous. Having a certificate or degree can boost your earning power by thousands. Higher-paying jobs typically offer more flexibility, which means not only will you be earning more, you’ll have more control over your time. The benefits of investing in further education far outweigh the costs. This is especially true when you consider that, at most, you’ll probably spend no more than 5 years gaining a degree…but you’ll have the rest of your life to reap the benefits.

Fortunately, there are a host of ways to get money, from online sweepstake giveaways such as the Scholarship for Moms to federal financial aid programs offered by the government!

Degrees And Places To Get Them

Continuing education has become such a necessity for so many different people over the years that the terminology has become a little confusing. Here’s a quick, common-sense way to sort through the various options:

single mother college

Degrees

  • Certificates: These are basically certificates of completion, showing that you have learned a particular skill or are knowledgeable about a small area of a larger subject. These can be very valuable, especially in the tech world. They are not necessarily “low-prestige”, just because they are the quickest, shortest type of degree. They can be highly rewarded, depending on the industry or skill.
  • Associate Degree: This will typically represent the first two years’ worth of a 4-year course of study. It may be offered in many contexts, from community colleges to private universities.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Received after completing the full undergraduate course of study, usually three or four years at a college or university.
  • Advanced Degree: Graduate degrees such as Master’s, Doctoral, Advanced Study, etc.

Institutions

  • School: of course you went to primary and secondary school; but there are schools beyond that level as well. Schools tend to grant certificates and Associate degrees. Think of a School of Cosmetology, or a Vocational/Technical (Voc-Tech) School.
  • College and University: Historically, these have been different institutions, but today they are essentially the same thing. (In case you’re interested in the history, a College was meant to have an educational focus and awarded undergraduate degrees, while a University might contain several colleges, and could accept students for advanced study.)
  • Community College: a College that offers 2-year programs and certificates. They will generally have most of the same subjects as a regular college, but abbreviate some of the courses that are not critical components of the area of interest.

Get Your GED

Of course, if you haven’t yet obtained your diploma for high school, you’ll have to pass the GED (General Educational Development, also known by other names such as General Equivalency Diploma) test before you can apply to any higher educational institution. There are exceptions, but the general rule is that having a GED (if you do not already have your high school diploma) will make the process run more smoothly.

This test shows that you have mastered the skills high school was meant to teach, and are prepared for the more demanding work you’ll find in higher education. That sounds scary, but it’s not—if you were able to handle high school, you’ll do fine in any college. The only thing that makes it more demanding is that YOU are responsible for succeeding—not your teachers, or your parents, or your older brother. The topics and homework are not especially difficult for people who have completed high school or have a GED. It just takes discipline and strong motivation. And what could be more motivating than knowing you’ll be qualified for a higher-paying job for the rest of your life?

Preparing For The GED

education for single moms

Look in a local library or bookstore for one of the following popular GED preparation guides:

  • McGraw-Hill’s GED
  • Complete GED Preparation by Steck-Vaughn
  • Kaplan GED by Simon & Schuster
  • Petersen’s Master The GED

Find A GED Test Center

http://www.acenet.edu/resources/GED/center_locator.cfm

Get Started!

Now that you’ve got your high-school diploma or GED, you should be armed with SAT scores that let colleges know how well you’ve done.  You just have to decide how to go about choosing what type of school you want to go to, and make applications to your choices.

The important things you’ll want to find out about any schools you’re considering are:

  • What will your financial aid package look like?
  • What kind of schedule will you be able to construct?
  • Given that schedule, how long will it take to earn your certificate or degree?

Any school, college or university you contact will be able to help you map out your financial aid picture. This is most easily done in person, so the best way to go about it is:

  • Contact the schools’ Financial Aid office and ask them to send a catalog. The catalog will have all kinds of information, including courses and classes. (This will be fun to browse while you’re waiting to hear about financial aid.) But most importantly, it will list the information the college needs from you to estimate financial aid. Once you’ve prepared this information, make at least one copy, because any other school you apply to will need the same basic information.
  • Assemble the required information and send or bring it in.
  • Once they’ve contacted you with a determination, make an appointment to see a Financial Aid representative if you have any questions or confusion about the aid amount, and how much money you’ll owe when your degree is complete. Many people are surprised to find that their “aid” is actually a loan that must be repaid, so be very sure you understand the types of aid in your package before committing to anything.

Of course, some schools may allow you to do all of this online, but it’s still a good idea to talk to someone in person to make sure you understanding everything completely. Besides, you’ll get a good feel for the character of the school and its staff.

Below are some links that might be helpful while you’re searching for schools that offer the degrees you need.

 

Distance Learning

http://www.distance-learning-college-guide.com/what-is-distance-learning.html

 

Community College Finder

http://www.aacc.nche.edu/Pages/default.aspx

 

Four year colleges

Job/Career outlooks, listings of state universities by various criteria

http://www.stateuniversity.com/

 

Technical/Vocational Colleges

http://www.votechdirect.com/vocational-schools-locations.html

 

Scholarships and Grants

Sometimes the financial aid you’ll receive through your selected college will not cover enough of your expenses (tuition, books, etc.) to make college affordable. There are many scholarships and grants that can help you close that gap. Here are just a few that are especially tailored to single mothers. You can find lots more by searching online.

http://www.scholarships.com

http://www.rankinfoundation.org/

http://www.patsyminkfoundation.org/

http://www.wispinc.org/programs/wisp/tabid/62/default.aspx

 

Other Money for College Options

Scholarships for Moms and Scholarships from Working Adults

You might also look at an online sweepstake giveaway such as the Scholarship for Moms and the Scholarships for Working Adults. These type of programs work as a sweepstake giveaway — you apply and get entered into a draw to win money which you can use towards school.

Freelance Online

You can also make money to pay for school by working as a freelancer writing articles for websites. There are a number of sites out there that let you do this, the biggest of such being freelancer.com.

 

USA.gov Resources for Jobs

This is a “one-stop shop” for government services, so you’ll find lots of other links to government programs and services. But there are financial aid sources beyond the ones that your college or university might be familiar with, so it’s worth checking out.

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Education_Training/Finding_Jobs.shtml