Years ago, I was “the man” in my home. The kids were small and my wife was a stay-at-home. The entire household depended on my income, expertise, knowledge and wisdom. The United States Army was my education and it did us well.
I was not as Educated as I had Believed
Things have changed drastically in the last two years. My wife got her citizenship and a medical assistant certificate. My 20 year old daughter graduated high school, has just finished her second year of college, and is working part-time while still living at home. They reside in Massachusetts while I am currently stationed at Fort Meade Maryland. If not for their income we wouldn’t be able to afford two residences.
Their income is a direct result of their education and dedication to doing better for us as a whole. For me, it was a wake-up call. I am happy for both of them but I suddenly found myself being the most under-educated person in my household. And if I wasn’t careful, with two more daughters, ages 18 and 16, I was in danger of becoming obsolete.
I Found Relevance Again!
We paid for my wife’s certificate out of pocket and with financial aid. With the governments Post-9/11 GI Bill I am able to transfer my educational benefits to my dependents and I had $50,000.00 coming to me. So that’s what I did. My daughter now receives a monthly stipend to pay for her education, directly to her bank account. While I am on active-duty status my education is 100% free!
I was suddenly, “the man” again!
Non-Traditional vs. Traditional Students
My daughter attends college the in the traditional sense, in that, she has a schedule, goes to classes, receives lectures and instruction, and is tested. She is truly enjoying the experience and with her commuting back and forth and not staying there it is a way to further mitigate cost. She got all A’s last semester!
I go to school completely online. Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey has a great online program and I have truly enjoyed the experience. Except that C- I received in math last semester. I will never take another math class as long as I live. I promise you all now.
As far as the level of education we are receiving I believe they are equal. We both need different social settings and support, of course, and each of these methods provides us that. She is young still and likes to be in a classroom with people her own age and attends study labs often. I, on the other hand, after 17 years of the Army, could not care less whether I ever sit in another classroom again. I much prefer to do my work at this desk with a cup a coffee.
I was “the man” again, but I was no longer the smartest person in the house!
I know we’re all proud of our kids but it hurts when you find out that you are no longer the “homework helper” and you become the guy begging for algebra help. My daughter doesn’t mind too much though. And she’s proud of me for going back to school. We actually have what we call “homework club” when I am home which turns into late nights around the dining room table with paper and books everywhere. I like it and it is more of a bonding thing for me then it is anything else. Besides, she has to get up to go to school the next day — I just have to hit “submit” on the school’s online platform.
We are on track to graduate around the same time as long as I stay in the groove. At that point I think we’ll have a big party. We’ll both be graduating debt free, with solid educations, and my wife’s school will be paid for by then.
That’s when I’ll start charging rent if my daughter is still living at home!