I'm not a single father, but I am a single mom. I recently wrote a hub on Balancing Parenting and College. Check it out, you might find the first part pretty useful.
Obviously, first of all, it depends on whether your kids are grown up or not, or alternatively, how independent they are. If your child or children are young, it is going to be very hard, and there is the risk of alienating your child if you spend too much time studying and not enough time attending to your child and making good contact with him or her or them. I spent so much time reading, at the expense of not paying proper attention to my child, that my son grew a 'hate-on' for books and reading. A very bad consequence of over-studying in the presence of your child wanting your attention. And obviously, a resentment against me too, although not explictily stated, for choosing my studying over paying attention to him. Better to study early in the morning or late at night when your child is sleeping if possible. Or striking a much better balance between the two competing values of attending to your child and studying. This issue can be even more conflictual if you have paid to attend an educational institute to upgrade your professional knowledge and skills. My conflicting issue involved self-study as a hobby, so if I had it to do over again, I would have done things differently. And I would have spent time reading to my child rather than reading and ignoring my child. Obviously, with two parents available, this can take some of the potential degree of conflict away from the situation, as long as the other parent is available and attentive, but still, whether the area of conflict involves work, studying, adult socializing, or whatever, you still need to spend proper quality time with your child. Otherwise, you will likely live to regret it.
Once upon a time I was a single dad attending college full-time. Mom and Dad didn't live nearby, her mom had left her, nor did I have other resources to assist my 3-year-old daughter and me during this demanding time- we were on our own.
It was a time of lots and lots of homework and sacrifice. The studying significantly affected the amount of time with Ariel, and she in turn started acting out. At first I got frustrated because I didn't know what to do. I recognized the frustration, and instead of getting mad at Ariel, I realized that I could try something different.
I pulled out the timer and told her that I get 20 minutes of study time, then when the timer goes off, she gets 20 minutes of "Daddy-Daughter Time". She got to pick the activity. This was presented in a happy, fun way. I wasn't sure if 20 minutes was appropriate at first, but it sure was.
After one hour, she totally got the concept and loved it. I was completely left alone to study every 20 minutes, and alternately was totally devoted to her every 20 minutes. No scolding occurred. No one got antsy. It was great. I think one thing that helped out was that she got to think about what activity she wanted to do; letting her make age-appropriate choices made a big difference.
I also found out that I studied much better by going all out for 20 minutes and breaking for 20 minutes. I got more done in half the time and had and easier and more fun time of it!
There are lots of internet courses available today. I'd look into them first.
A routine is important to have and keep. My sons were in school and had homework. We would have our homework 'time' and then take a break to go to the mall and look at toys, lol. Every evening after dinner. They would then play together or watch some tv. Bedtime was early because sleep could get interrupted with the 'partays' that usually occurred in the dorms. We did good and they still remember, lol.
As a single dad, I had to tune my time around my child. This was not that difficult as one would think, especially in my situation. I am lucky in that I do not have to also arrange my time around a job. School for me is a step to a second career having already retired from the service. I only had two tasks instead of three, my child and school.
I approached this issue as simply as I could. I attended school when she was in school. After my classes I would pick her up and spend the rest of the day with her either assisting in her studies, or just fun down-time. After dinner and making sure she was ready for the next day of school, she would be off to sleep. That is when my studies would begin. Sure, sometimes I would be working until midnight. This was and is the trade off to making sure I have time for my child. Weekends would sometimes be less of a trade off of time and my child would understand that this would be the exception rather than the rule.
I also think that this is a fairly reasonable example for her to follow when she is in school or has children of her own. Hopefully she will.
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