How to navigate the post-homeschooling years

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We've graduated 4 out of our 5 kiddos already, and so this question is on my mind a LOT these days:

What do I do after homeschooling's over?

During my years as a homeschool mom, from time to time I'd find myself looking for good side jobs to make some extra money. You know, the "side hustle": something to do at home to supplement the family income allowing me to stay home with the kids. But I'm at that point of time - and you may be facing this, too - when a whole 'nother season is approaching. I no longer find myself looking for a side hustle. I'm looking for a "real job"...or better yet, career.

As the number of homeschooling moms is growing over the years, I know that I'm not, and won't be, alone.  More and more homeschoolers are deciding to homeschool through high school, too, which means that the moms who are eligible to return to the workforce will:

  1. have been out of the job market for a longer time, and
  2. be older (or "more mature").

So what's there for a "retired homeschool mom" to do?

One thing is for sure: even with the best of intentions and the best-laid plans, none of us know for certain how long we'll be homeschooling. In my own experience, we started 2o+ years ago with the full intention to homeschool through elementary and middle school only and ended up graduating 4 of our 5 kiddos (so far). Although my goal/dream is to finish up with #5 (who is starting high school this fall), I'm wise enough to understand that life could very easily through us a curveball or two in the next few years.

The primary bread winner's job loss, critical health issues, a long-distance move, and other life upheavals may diminish homeschooling as a feasible option. (Although I'm well aware that sometimes those same events make homeschooling necessary and preferred!) But life doesn't always go as we'd like or plan.

Read  Thoughts on Teaching Kids Responsbility

With that in mind, I encourage you to be a proactive homeschool mom. As you prepare your own brood to fly out into the world, prepare yourself as well!

Homeschool moms should always be prepared and have a follow-up career plan in the works! Click To Tweet

Write a homeschool mom resume

OK, I'll admit this sounds a bit silly, but read on. My husband first encouraged me to do this when a possible part-time job was presented to me. At the time, I had been homeschooling for about 15 years, and I was feeling somewhat down about being "only" a homeschool mom for so long. I had been reminiscing about the career I'd left just after kiddo #1's birth. And I wonderer what skills I'd have (left) after being out of the workforce for so long. Although I knew (intellectually) that I'm a smart, capable adult...I wasn't really feeling it.

So this activity was an exercise in reviewing just how much I had accomplished over time. What kind of skills I'd developed or strengthened; what kind of jobs and responsibilities I'd had, both in and out of our home, domestic and educational and "commercial".  Similar to the first time we'd done a homeschool transcript with kiddo #1, this opened my eyes and heart to my own abilities as a home educator and the personal strengths that can be applied in the greater workforce.

Model a lifestyle of learning and pick up a new skill

As our kids get older, it serves them well for us to teach them how to learn independently and allow them to do so. That also gives us a bit more time to ourselves - even if we have to be diligent about scheduling it.

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Of course, I don't mean you have to spend a bundle and go back to college. Although if you DO want to do that, there are scholarship and grant funds out there for moms who are returning to school! One of the upsides to this age of technology is the availability of online courses, which you can work at your own pace. This allows you to discover or develop new skills or explore new job opportunities.

Resources to explore a "post-homeschool" course of action

  • When my husband found himself in-between jobs a few years ago, he took the time to work through the book "What Color is My Parachute?" It's a great opportunity to really dig in and do some self-discovery that can help you focus in on what direction to pursue in your future. (There's also a version of the book for teens that I definitely recommend as a resource for high schoolers, too.)
  • While this post is somewhat overwhelming at first glance, 101 Best Online Business (free or cheap) Courses for Entrepreneurs, Creatives and Professionals 2018 is a must-read.  There are 10 categories described, and the class content is clearly described up front. Looking through the list, I recognized quite a few names of successful entrepreneurs and the companies/products they represent; these teachers/presenters are legit.  (I'm headed over their myself...)
  • Alison.com is a great resource, too, that contains over 1000 high-quality courses available across 9 distinct categories, all absolutely free to complete. All their courses are self-paced and have been designed by subject matter experts, giving you an interactive and enriched learning experience. Peruse their listings and see if anything strikes your fancy!

Creative tip!

Take a look at these of creative high school electives. Who says that any of these subjects/topics should be relegated to teens in high school? Explore an interest you may have had over the years and weren't able to pursue...

Some other post-homeschool career options include:

Whether or not you consider yourself the entrepreneurial type, you may discover that your years as a homeschooler helped you develop some of the skills that characterize entrepreneurs. These include:

  • seeing a need and crafting a response,
  • independent learning skills,
  • an ability to be flexible and creative,
  • managing your time and resources well, among others.
Read  CLEP study guides: a great high school resource

Well, friend, it's time to take those skills and apply them to your own future! Here are some ideas to get you started thinking...

Freelance writing is a viable career option for some after their homeschooling years are done.

 

Freelance writingThis book will teach you how to plan your business, how to get funding if necessary, and how to land clients.

 

 

 

Social Media managementSocial Side Hustle will teach you how to work from home part or full time as a social media manager. Basically, yup, you CAN get paid to look through Pinterest 😉

 

 

 

Virtual AssistantThis 21-page workbook contains five lessons that will give you a step-by-step jumpstart towards starting a new virtual assistance business from scratch. Try out the first lesson for free using this link.

 

Other options include:

Photography, work-at-home, and even crafting (learn a new skill or improve one you already have to jumpstart a "handmade" career!).

So what ARE you gonna do when you retire from homeschooling?

If you haven't a clue - you're not alone! But rest assured you can maintain a life of significance after your homeschooling mission is complete. You still have so much to contribute, momma!

Check out "The Empty Homeschool Nest Blueprint" - and get ready to discover the life waiting for you in the next stage of your journey...

22 thoughts on “How to navigate the post-homeschooling years”

  1. Great article. I started a little support Facebook group called “Life After Homeschool Fellowship” and shared it there! Thanks for posting.

    Reply

  2. I was a public school teacher before our 1st baby was born. We decided to homeschool from the start. Our last baby graduated in May, so I thought I could go back to teaching to see how it would be, I knew it would be different ( you can’t compare public and homeschool), but I had no idea exactly how bad it would be (even though I subbed on Fridays during the last year). The kids, the testing, the parents…the only bright spot is that I like my administrator and the teachers I work with. But, I don’t fit in…I’ll never think public school is the end-all-be-all that the other teachers think it is. It’s lonely…and miserable. I am not sure what else I am qualified to do…

    Reply

    1. Oh, Leslie, my heart truly breaks for you. Please take a look at your email; I sent a response directly there… I hope the new year brings you renewed joy…and please do keep in touch!
      Talk soon!

      Reply

  3. hiya, back in touch with a bestie who’s retired, empty-nester and 3 years into a divorce from their father. she’s also moved nearer to me. how common is it for retired home-school mom’s to feel overwhelmingly lost? she’s so depressed that we rarely have a convo without her tearing up a few times. she can shop and do the basics but seems to need to avoid anything healthy, exciting, adventurous or normal. she even goes to the movies alone. also, if i suggest anything late afternoon or at nite she says no. i’m missing something surely? as i felt finally free and ready to dive into life after divorce so i did. she seems very stuck on overthinking things, picking options big and little apart, and in general taking back steps instead of moving forward. thank you anyone who can direct me to some resources for this precious person. barbaraLea

    Reply

    1. BarbaraLea, I am so very sorry to hear about your friend. Please check your email for a message from me. Your love and concern for her is deeply touching, and I’ll be keeping you both in my prayers…
      Warmly,
      Pat

      Reply

  4. I so relate to this. After 14 years of homeschooling we graduated our youngest last year. I’ve definitely gone for a career rather than side hustle since finishing and am now doing a law degree via distance learning while working in a law firm. Goal: Barrister. I discovered a passion for law when my youngest chose it as an elective in her final years of homeschool. She hated it and I loved it! 😊

    Reply

    1. Shirley, that is AMAZING! Your story is truly inspiring…and what a role model you are for your kiddos! Thank you so much for sharing that here. And continued best wishes on your journey 🙂

      Reply

  5. Hi, my youngest son of 8 decided he wanted to go to a Christian school for high school. His next older brother will be a senior and is doing mostly college classes. I feel lost after 25 years of homeschooling. Where do I get more help on this.
    Thanks,
    Renee

    Reply

  6. Hi, I am thankful to God for blessing you with such knowledge and expertise in this (and many others on your website) area, not only helping yourself, but extending your help to others as we find ourselves on this very same road. This article was (is) extremely helpful. Thank you.

    Reply

  7. Thank you for this article. I’m really feeling “empty” after homeschooling since 1999. My youngest is a Junior in high school, but doing all her work through the community college now, so I’m not even an empty nester! But I have ABSOLUTELY no idea of what to do now. I have a degree in secondary education but have NO desire to teach in the public (or even private) schools, anymore. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Reply

    1. Ohmygosh, Sue, that is exACTly the same situation I was in a few years ago – my heart truly goes out to you! While everyone’s talents and journeys are different, I have a webinar coming up in January that would most definitely help you start sorting things out for yourself… For the time being, I’m sending you a copy of my “Homeschool Mom’s Resume template”. It should get your creative juices firing up in the interim…
      At any rate, please give yourself a break from trying to solve this during the holidays. You certainly DO have a new career in the wings…but right now’s the time to rest and extend yourself some grace 🙂
      I’ll be in touch!

      Reply

      1. Girls, so good to have found this place as I am precisely where most of you are at – getting out into the world after homeschooling for 12 years. Feeling overwhelmed and lost… To make things even harder – I wasn’t born in the US, have a Bachelor’s in Biology, but, sadly, my degree doesn’t count in the US. I can send it for evaluation, but can at best have some courses credited, will pretty much need to go to college all over again for a diploma. So sad. I married my American husband, we had 2 kids and chose to homeschool them from the start. Now mama needs a job. I was running a small business from home though, making and selling unique hand made items on Etsy, for a little personal income. 🙂 What do I do now? Stuck at feeling out a resume, nothing to put down in the previous work experience field? Thanks for any advice! Amalia

        Reply

        1. Hi Amalia!
          Wait, girl, don’t keep thinking you’ve got NOTHING for that line! Please watch the video at the top of this link – it’s a freebie I did as part of the intro to my “Empty Homeschool Nest Blueprint” course (just letting you know for transparency’s sake!). You have skillz…I KNOW it! And please let me walk with you on this journey! Contact me if you want to pursue this conversation together. But I know you have it in you to ROCK this new time in your life!!!

          Reply

  8. I came across this article just as I have been wrestling with what to do next. I’m a former elementary school teacher with a master’s in reading. After our kids were born I became a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t start homeschooling until my daughter was in 5th grade, and I only homeschooled her. She graduated this past summer, but our last 2 years of homeschool were were difficult for us both. My husband had been diagnosed with multiple brain tumors in the middle of her junior year, and then passed away not long after we got into her senior year. I had to work at least part time during her senior year, while preparing for the necessary tests to get certified to teach in our state (my certification was from another state and I allowed it to lapse when I realized this state wouldn’t accept it).
    I finally got my certification in the fall while working as the building base substitute at a high school. I’m still there and have been working on preparing to test for my reading specialist certification.
    What I have discovered while working in a public school is:
    -I don’t like all the red tape of teaching in a public school (even though I don’t actually get to plan and teach).
    -I still feel like most of the time is spent on either discipline, procedures, or trying to keep them busy.
    -Although I like most of the staff/faculty and many of the kids, I don’t really enjoy the job (mainly because my training and undergraduate degree is for PK-4 and because there are also some pretty difficult students with foul mouths).
    What I really, really want to do is start my own business as a homeschool consultant offering things like tutoring, testing, book clubs, resource library, planning/organizing field trips, offering small group lessons, and end of year evaluations. I just don’t know if I can afford to do just that. I’m trying to reach out to all the local homeschool groups to see how many families would be interested in what I want to offer. I just don’t know if I can enjoy being in a regular public school classroom again after discovering the joys of homeschooling.

    Reply

    1. Hi Sherry, Whew! While I’ve got lots of thoughts about your situation, how ’bout we jump on a Zoom call and chat? Check your email…I sent you a link 😉
      Hang tight, friend!

      Reply

  9. Thank you so much for this encouragement. I should have known, but didn’t realize that I’m not alone. I am going to start with the first 3 steps you gave. My heaviness has started to lift thanks to your informative video.

    Reply

    1. Oh Jennifer! I’m so glad to hear that! Please do keep in touch if you need any additional support… Praying the heaviness continues to lift – there is so much potential in this new season! <3

      Reply

  10. How can I get a copy of your homeschool mom resume template? I’m home schooling my youngest – a junior – and will end my 24 year career as a homeschool mom in May 2022. I need help!

    Reply

    1. Hi Karen,
      Kudos to you for planning ahead! Use this link http://bit.ly/EHNresume to get it right away! And please don’t hesitate if you have any questions or need some direction moving forward! Congratulations on a job well done…and best wishes on rocking the next season of your life!
      I got your back, friend!

      Reply

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