HelloCustomer Thank you for coming to Just Answer and allowing us to help you with your question. You sound like such a wonderful person and I am so excited for you and your future plans. The children growing up these days need so much help and people like you that can give them that help are desperately needed. There is absolutely no reason in the world that you can't go back to school and get a degree. Your age is actually a tremendous advantage, because you have lived so much longer than the students you will be attending school with, that you will be able to teach them the wisdom that you have learned while you are learning also. Also, since you have raised your children, you have reached an age where you can really concentrate on your schoolwork. Older students can be much more successful than kids just out of high school, because you won't be distracted by parties and relationships and all of the normal growing-up stuff that 20 year-old kids are going through.
If you live in an area where there is a four-year university or a two-year community college, the best way to start is to contact their student assistance programs. They will be very happy to talk to you about enrolling and applying for financial assistance to pay for your education. A two-year community college might be a very good place for you to start, since they are less regimented and are more used to working with nontraditional students. Once you finish a two-year program at a community college, then you can transfer your credits to a four-year university. But, if you have a four-year university in your area, they will also be happy to work with you. You should figure out what educational institutions are available in your area and within easy commuting distance, and then go talk to all of them.
If you don't live in an area with colleges nearby, there are two other options. Many universities have outreach programs in small areas for students that can't go to the main campus. You should be able to find out if there is an outreach program by looking in your phonebook or calling the nearest colleges and asking. There are also internet-based educational programs. These programs aren't considered as "respectable" by employers, but they will be able to educate you if there isn't any other universities around. The best known of these programs is the University of Phoenix. You can find information about this program at http://www.phoenix.edu/ . I would only work with the online programs if there isn't any other way for you to attend a physical school.
The days when colleges were only filled with a bunch of twenty year old kids have passed. More and more nontraditional students are filling colleges and universities as people become unemployed and have to train in different jobs for the future. President Obama himself has urged stay-at-home mothers to go to college and train for new jobs in the future when their children grow up. Right now, there should be a lot of financial aid programs specifically tailored for people like you.
There is every reason in the world for you to go to college and continuing helping children. I really hope that you do. And, even though it may be hard to get back to studying, learning and refreshing things you learned years ago, it is worth it and if you can raise all of your kids, you definitely are able to do anything you set you mind to.
I wish you all the best of luck and I really hope you follow your dreams. Please let me know if there is any more information, advice, or help that I can give you.