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I really wasn't ready; wasn't expecting homeschooling to be over for me, for us, just yet. My empty homeschool nest was "supposed" to be a few years down the road. After all, we were committed homeschool family and had already graduated our four oldest kiddos: why should this year be any different?
But a job change, out-of-state move, and quickly changing family dynamics proved to serve up the perfect storm. So here I was: freshly retired, seemingly out of the blue. It was crushing.
And the truth is, dear homeschool momma friend, while I'm not trying to be a gloomy Gus here, something similar can very possibly happen to you at some point.
When is homeschooling over?
As individual as each homeschool is, the “life cycle” of a homeschool is similarly unique. Some families homeschool only one or two of their brood due to learning disabilities or health challenges, others home educate them all. Many families homeschool for a season, while others homeschool for the long haul, through to high school graduation.
Maybe you've planned a short season of homeschooling only long enough to get through a difficult health-related transition. Or perhaps one parent took a job out of town, and so the family has to able to travel back and forth frequently. In that case, homeschooling provides the necessary flexibility to accomplish your child's education.
Bottom line: You don't really know when you'll be done
But the truth is, even though we may be confident that homeschooling is best for our family, we can never really be confident in how long homeschooling will last.
Sometimes those who either hoped to or planned to homeschool for many years find themselves at a crossroads. When the sole breadwinner (usually dad) faces a sudden job loss, it may be necessary for the teaching parent (usually mom) to head back to work for a part-time or full-time job. Divorce or the sudden death of a spouse are other reasons a homeschooling mom may find herself enrolling the children in a public or private school while she prepares to enter, or re-enter, the workforce.
As I mentioned earlier, my transition occurred when we had:
- a job change that necessitated
- an out-of-state move,
- and my aging father-in-law needed to come live with us.
That perfect storm of events was only partially planned. And given that our youngest was about to enter high school, well, I felt pretty unprepared for “early retirement.”
But being prepared means you don't need to live in either denial or worry about happens next This new stage in your journey can be fulfilling, exciting, and full of options and possibility - no matter when it arrives!
Hope for retired homeschool moms
As I mentioned, my initial transition wasn't pretty. The first few weeks of the new school year passed by in a haze, with my emotions settling firmly in the camp of depression.
But I'm not one to stay there for too long; after awhile I just couldn't stand living with myself that way.
So I reached out to friends of mine who had navigated this season already, did my own research, drew from my own background, and came up with this idea:
Why not put all this stuff together (much like I did when I had to summarize what my kids accomplished in high school for potential colleges ) and DO something with it? Being an author, of course, my first thought was writing a book. Being an educator... my second thought was creating a course.
I tossed the idea around for some feedback, and this was the comment that touched my heart the most:
I love this. I have five years ahead of me and I’m constantly wondering what my life will look like afterward. Six moms from our local group graduated their babies last year, and 4 more will graduate their babies this Saturday. They look lost, like I know I’ll feel in five short years.
But I don't WANT anyone to feel lost...
Are you nearing the "empty homeschool nest" stage?
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