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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:
- have been out of the job market for a longer time, and
- 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 - This book will teach you how to plan your business, how to get funding if necessary, and how to land clients.
Social Media management - Social 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 Assistant - This 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:
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...