Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

How We Sent My Husband Back to School


Testimonial from Caroline of The Modest Mom Blog

For a variety of reasons, my husband dropped out of college when we married, almost 11 years ago. We became entrepreneurs, owning a cabinet shop and a lawn care company, we had five children, and we started homeschooling.

Then, one day, he came home and said he had been thinking about going back to college and finishing the graphic design degree he had originally started. I was excited and supportive of that decision — but actually making it all work seemed a bit overwhelming!

So how have we made this work financially?

We sold our business and our house.

We advertised his lawn care company on Craigslist and found the perfect buyers for it.

We also put our house up for sale, and while it didn’t sell before he started college, it sold after his first semester. We moved into a small rental house that some friends of ours have graciously given us a good deal on.

I started an online business and a blog.

About five years ago I started an online clothing company called Deborah & Co. I also started The Modest Mom Blog, and signed up as a consultant with Lilla Rose (beautiful yet practical hair clips) and L’BRI (all natural skincare products).

Those four income sources have provided for our family of seven while Sean finishes college. We don’t live on student loans for our monthly bills, and we made sure we had plenty of money in savings for emergencies before he started the four year college.

We utilized a community college to save on core classes.

Sean started attending some classes at a local community college, getting some basic requirements done before he went back to the 4-year college. He was able to fit those classes into his schedule while he still owned and operated his lawn care company. Plus, those classes (including books) were totally covered by the Pell Grant.

We applied for every scholarship and grant we could  find!

We do have one small college loan we have had to take each year, but most of his college is paid through grants and scholarships. He is attending a private college that is not cheap, but it was the best fit for what he is needing.

We were told to apply for the Pell Grant, and each year have received the full amount possible. We don’t use any other forms of government assistance, and feel grateful that this is there.

Sean received a large transfer scholarship, since he was coming from a different four year college. Then he applied for the art grant and received the full amount, plus a Missouri grant.

Those grants and scholarships cover most of his tuition; and we took out a no-interest loan for the remainder. We have enough money sitting in savings to pay off loan if need be; but our plan is for him to graduate in May, find a job, use his first few months of salary to pay off the loan, and for us to continue on my “online income”.

We live very simply.

It is not easy being a work-at-home, homeschooling mom. I get asked all the time how I do it all. My answer is that I keep things very simple! I can’t over-commit myself, and we don’t do lots of extra-curricular homeschooling type things right now.

We have told our children that we are in a unique season of life, and we are all looking forward to Sean’s graduation this May!

While we wouldn’t suggest every family in our season of life do the same thing, we feel that Sean has been blessed with a gift in art, and we wanted to see him use that talent instead of sitting on a lawnmower. 🙂 We feel incredibly blessed that the Lord is providing for our family through our online businesses and given Sean this opportunity!

Caroline has been married to the only love of her life for almost 11 years. Together they have five children, ages 9 and under, which keeps them busy! In her late night moments, she blogs at The Modest Mom Blog.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • KM Logan says:

    How cool Caroline! My husband just finished enough of his schooling to get ordained last year and is currently working on his masters. We were blessed to get 1/2 off his tuition by paying up front, and it’s a correspondence course so he doesn’t have to rush *too* much to get things done. Excited for his graduation 🙂

  • Michelle M says:

    Kudos to you and your husband!!! You are both setting great examples for your children….. Dad going back to college shows your children the importance of education. I also finished my college education after my daughter was born. I was a single mom then, working full-time, and my daughter still remembers how hard I worked. The hard work to support the family and the work you do in the home to support the children and Dad is a great example to your children of how husbands and wives should support each other!

  • Charlotte says:

    We too are looking forward to my husband graduating this May! Don’t know how you find time to do all that. My husband worked full time and did evening classes just about till he got into the actual nursing part of the program. Then our second child was 5 months and I took a 30 hour a week position as an RN. He’s done some different part time work since then and currently works nights as a CNA while he finishes the program for an associates as a RN . We are excited that with pell grant, some state aid, scholarship, and of course our money he will graduate without school debt after 3 and 1/2 years. We think our schedule can be crazy enough, can’t imagine working and homeschooling with five children. God bless you with the strength to hang in there!

  • That is really great that he could finish his degree. I wish there was some financial aid available for us. My husband is taking a few more Masters Classes so he can start his Doctorate program. We are missionaries so it is hard for us to pick up extra jobs for income. And there doesn’t seem to be any grants or assistance for use.

  • Becky says:

    Hi, I am also a homeschooling mom to 4 kids an my husband is in seminary. Unfortunately since the seminary is not a government school there is no option for pell grants. But thankfully our church pays 1/3, the school knocks off 1/3, so we are only responsible for 1/3. It is still expensive though! But we have determined not to go in debt over it an take a semester at a time. The Lord is so faithful in providing and even though it is taking is longer than we would like to finish school we know it is for the best in the long run. Thanks for your post!

  • Maia says:

    Thanks for sharing your story! I’m currently in college as a single and homeschooling mom, and I love to hear how others are doing it.

  • Lydia says:

    Thanks for sharing this- I found it inspiring. My husband just started back to school this fall and we too are planning to, by God’s grace, do it without any loans. It’s been a bit of a tough transition and we’ve already had a few bumps but hearing your testimony and story has encouraged me!

    • I’ve found the whole journey has been full of rough bumps, but just when we think we can’t go on, a break will come in the homework, or we will receive encouragement from someone to keep going. It’s certainly not easy, but I’m exited to think that we have actually done this, and May will be the end!

  • Jodi says:

    So inspiring! While both my partner & i make a great income and support our family, it was always a dream of mine to go back and get my masters & CPA license. With hard work & coupons we made it work!!! I always tell my friends you can do anything you want in life, just take that leap! Thanks for the reminder!

  • My son is going to college. This is his third year. Before his first year started, what he did was talk to the college admin that he would take courses one semester and work the next. This way he has paid for his fees and books without incurring any debt. He is getting good education and good experience as well.

    His manager has promised him (verbally) that once he graduates, the company would give him full time job. It’s a reputable nationally known firm. So there are ways to get college education without getting into huge debts or in his case no debt at all. The only help he got from us was pay for his first semester.

  • Tee says:

    This is such a timely post! My husband just graduated yesterday from a 10 week vocational school to be a lineman. While it was only 10 weeks, it was about a 6k investment for those weeks and that was just the tuition fees and tools! And, the school he went to was private and not eligible for grants or aid of any kind. We saved every dollar we could, and that combined with our tax return from this year and a small inheritance from his grandma we managed to pay for it without any debt. We too sold our house to be able to afford it and also because we didn’t want to be tied down in case we needed to relocate for a new job. On top of all this, I gave birth to our youngest 3 weeks before school started and we lived in our camp trailer for those 10 weeks to save money. Phew! Reflecting back, I am so glad we made it and these short term sacrifices will be well worth it when he gets his new dream job!

  • Oh thank you for sharing this, I find it very inspiring! While not the same situation, we have a new baby, who we adore and love, but I am just not able to keep up with business, homeschooling, everything I did before, at least not as MUCH as I did before. I like the idea of making things simpler, at least for now.

  • I am glad to see a fellow L’BRI consultant. The skin care products are great! Good luck with the end of his schooling!

  • Jessica says:

    I enjoyed reading this! Very inspiring!

  • Amy says:

    That is awesome!

    I had been after my hubby for years to get some credentials to got along with all his hands-on skills. It wasn’t until he had cancer and was subsequently laid off from work that he did. The combination of community college and Pell grants got us through and he’s working on making that career switch he needed.

  • What a cool story! It must have taken amazing courage to leave an established business and go for your dream. Woot, woot! Way to kill it!

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *