Many years ago I talked to a cashier, a former homeschooling mom, whose life fell apart when her teens unexpectedly went to school. For a year, she suffered from depression and was unable to do basic tasks around the house. In fact, it was not until she became a cashier that she began to recover.
I could understand that. Looking forward, seeing the end of this most beautiful calling fast approaching, the future looked frighteningly bleak. I could understand her hopelessness and her helplessness.
Not long afterwards, I bought used high school curriculum from a mom whose children had just graduated. “I can’t wait to set up my craft shop,” she bubbled. “Oh, I enjoyed the homeschooling, but I’m so glad it’s over and I can move on to my dream!”
I could not understand that. At all.
Since then I’ve watched other moms deal with the transition. Almost all are sad, but many are excited as well.
What is it that makes the difference? Why do some moms eagerly look forward to life after homeschooling, even while mourning its end?
What they seem to have in common is that they have found something meaningful to do with their newly available time. Some have plans to go to school themselves. Some are busy with grandchildren. Others volunteer in their community or church. Some have found their niche helping moms who are still homeschooling. Others plan a year off to rest and rejuvenate after decades of unceasing work. Some transition back into their former careers and some begin new ones.
For those who transition well, the end of homeschooling is not only an ending but also a new beginning. That seems to make all the difference.
Of course we can plan all we want, but let’s be realistic. Sad emotions will come. Change is hard, and perhaps it is good to allow oneself time to grieve. Perhaps it is wise to treat the end of homeschooling as the major transition it is, like retirement, empty nest syndrome, or the life/career planning we help our teens with.
Even so, it is wise to look ahead. We should ask God how we can serve Him best after homeschooling and start preparing for that time. While our youngest children are preparing to graduate, we can learn to look forward to our future, confident that our heavenly Father has our lives in his loving and powerful hands.
My youngest is in grade 6…but I know from experience how quickly time passes. I want to invest in homeschooling the next 6 years and simultaneously prepare for the future, whatever that may hold. I want to accept what God gives me to do now and trust Him for the future.
May God bless each one of you—you young moms as you deal with the busy days and exhausting nights, as well as you older moms who are approaching the end of your homeschooling life.
Although I have not found any books about life after homeschooling, a quick search shows there are many online articles about it. One wonderful book that helps Christian women deal with unwanted change is Lynn Austin’s heart-felt book, Pilgrimage, reviewed here. Of course, your best resource is probably to talk to retired homeschool moms you know and respect.
Photo credit: Paulo Brandão via photopin cc .