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Graduating/retiring homeschool moms


Bensmom
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I know there a few moms who have completed their homeschool journey, but are still on the boards. I need your thoughts.  I am trying to decide what I might do with the next chapter of my life.  Obviously I knew this day would come and I have considered it before, but every time I feel a sense of loss. 
I only have the one child so it will be several years before I can expect grandkids to fill my days. What did you do and do you find it fulfilling?  

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Well, I stayed home a few months, then took a part-time admin. asst. job (30/hrs/wk). After working there for three years, in an environment that became increasingly more stressful due to several factors involving the values/practices of mainly two people--a higher-up and a co-worker, I quit at the end of the year. I did go back and fill in for a few days when my old boss (not one of the aforementioned) needed some help, and realized again that it had been the right decision. 

My situation is a little different in that, while I am no longer homeschooling, I still have two who live at home. That means that there are more people in and out, and more food prep, etc. I have read numerous books and done some other things that I wanted to concentrate on, and have not done some things that I wanted/planned to do (yet). The time seems to move on, and I am still trying to figure out if I just need to be more disciplined, or look for another job. Dh and I both enjoy my being at home and therefore being more flexible for spontaneous trips or lunches, and I enjoy the lack of stress. He also enjoys my lack of stress. Every few weeks I still look at a few job boards for places I think I might like to work, but I have decided the job would definitely have to be something I really want to do. I started work initially due to some financial concerns and was also getting a little bored after youngest was no longer homeschooling, and I hadn't gotten into a good routine yet. It would be good for our retirement for me to work, but we are able to get by without too much struggle, and are presently just thankful that I can stay home.

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I am in a slightly different situation because I worked while homeschooling.  When the homeschooling journey came to an end, it did allow me to devote more time to my career and do some projects that had been on the back burner or participate in activities that I would not have done before.  

I would suggest spending some time being good to yourself, acknowledging that there is some grief involved in the end of something that has been important in your life, and exploring some possibilities without feeling like you have to make immediate decisions.  Are there financial concerns that would be eased by working at a paying job?  Did you enjoy the teaching experience and would you like to volunteer in a tutoring program?  Is there a hobby that you always had in the back of your mind that you would like to consider pursuing?  

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I had been looking forward to finally getting to long-neglected house projects, growing some more interesting things (vegetables, berries, flowers), getting back into my neglected hobbies. Instead, out of necessity I went back to work. It was going to be a stop-gap measure but I am about to hit my 3-year anniversary. 

I don't recommend my strategy, or rather, lack thereof lol. But that's the way it worked out.  🤷‍♂️

I like Bootsie's advice.  Give yourself some time to decompress and explore your options.  What do you want to do? Is there something you feel you need to do?  

Another note - my kids were born when I was 41 and 43, so when they graduated from high school it made little sense for me to invest funds we didn't have into any further education to move into a new career/ refresh my career skills. For someone younger, and/or with more robust savings/retirement and financial flexibility, it might make sense to look at career options and any training/education needs for that. For example, in my previous life I had been a corporate trainer, and I loved that job. However, when I last worked (1997) we did our training using an overhead projector and transparencies!  I "upgraded" my skills by doing some volunteer work, where I set up a slideshow on a laptop. Things are very different now with various platforms for presenting training online. I just don't have the wherewithal to learn that at age 65 when my chances of being hired as a trainer are nil.  So not to be a downer, but I am telling every young stay-home, homeschooling mom not to completely check out of their career but keep up with changes in their field to make it easier to step back in. Or, start thinking of what might be a viable option. I know many find teaching or tutoring to be a good post-homeschooling job; for me it was the last thing I wanted to do or felt capable of doing. 😎

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Posted (edited)

I think the most important thing is to not put pressure on yourself to do anything at all. 

Will your child be moving out of the house? If not, your life may not change as much as you think it will. 

Also, can you spend more time with your dh, doing things you have always wanted to do together? It could be fun to plan different activities and outings, or to figure out a new hobby you can pursue together. Do you have any friends or family members you can spend time with?

I am all in favor of easing into things and seeing what happens.

 

Edited by Catwoman
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I went back to work and spent a few years clawing my way back to a stable, full-time job.

I started with very part-time, online tutoring during the last year my son was home, then parlayed that into a part-time in-person tutoring job. I juggled both of those for a while, then added another part-time job teaching technology and kids' classes at the library. As my hours at the library expanded, I dropped first the online and then the in-person tutoring and eventually went full-time at the library. After a few years there, I leapt back into corporate America, where I now develop online courses (mostly workplace safety and vocational materials).

I found the library work fulfilling, despite the low pay, but the environment became toxic by the time I left. 

I love my current co-workers, and the company I work for is mostly great (despite its unabashed profit-driven focus -- which is fine, but not really a reflection of my values). My salary allows me to make a meaningful financial contribution to our current budget and our retirement accounts as well as to donate consistently to causes and organizations I believe in. The work is sometimes interesting or engaging, and I was recently promoted into what should be my dream job. But, no, I don't find it especially fulfilling.

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Posted (edited)

I went back to work in my field, music education and performance. Until recently, I held the position of Director Of Fine Arts Programming for a community arts program sponsored through an endowment. Covid killed it. A year of no donations, and some loss of interest (interest on the invrstments in the endowment) with no idea if I could begin planning for a 2021/22 season like normal or not, ended with me resigning because word from some of the board members was that they were going to regroup after a couple of years and decide then what to do. I needed to move on.

I very much enjoyed my job. I planned and executed several art shows for students and local artists, organized field trips to the Detroit Institute of Arts, had a theater program, an adult community choir and a children's community choir, etc. I also directed the music for the musicals, and taught/conducted the children's choir. In addition to plays like The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe, we did numerous musicals. I especially loved putting on Lion King Jr. So it was sad to see it come to an end, and the students were brutally disappointed since they hoped the board would vote for something like all kids 12 and up who are vaccinated can continue. But that is not what they chose.

I will be doing some piano accompanying this fall for a college, but not nearly the hours I had in the fine arts program. That is okay though. Dh and I are looking at doing some traveling, and I now have two grandsons to go visit regularly. I also recently began college coursework in aerospace engineering to back up my informal knowledge from years of mentoring competitive rocket teams. The work is hard, but I love it!

Edited by Faith-manor
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, marbel said:

So not to be a downer, but I am telling every young stay-home, homeschooling mom not to completely check out of their career but keep up with changes in their field to make it easier to step back in. Or, start thinking of what might be a viable option. I know many find teaching or tutoring to be a good post-homeschooling job; for me it was the last thing I wanted to do or felt capable of doing. 😎

Actually, I tell all of the younger SAH/HS moms I meet the same thing (when asked for advice). I strongly suggest that they find a way to keep at least a toe in the water of their former careers or areas of interest, because I suspect my own on-ramp back into working would have been a whole lot less steep and treacherous if I had done that. 

All of my pre-kids jobs were in education and training fields, so tutoring was the obvious choice when it was time for me to go back to work. However, I pretty quickly ran through any desire I had to teach other people's children on any kind of consistent basis. (Edited to add that, since I don't have an entrepreneurial bone in my body and was limited to working for established tutoring companies, the hourly pay rate was also so low it barely made sense for me to pay for gas sometimes. Also, no benefits, no paid time off, often not paid when students didn't show up . . . )

I enjoyed facilitating the summer camps and similar programs the library runs for kids, but your basic, regularly-scheduled academic tutoring was . . . not my thing. After a few years at the library teaching both kids and adults, it became clear that I was ready to take a step behind the scenes and focus on writing/developing curricula, rather than delivering it. 

Which, interestingly, is literally what I did in my first non-retail job out of college. Except now I design materials to be accessed online, instead of printing out pages to be put through a copier and spiral bound.

In some ways, I feel like I have "come home," but I am also frequently frustrated about the fact that I am pretty much back where I started (albeit having moved up the ladder one or two rungs). And it is sometimes distressing to realize that I will never make up the financial ground I lost staying home. It was only about two years ago -- five years after I returned to work -- that my salary surpassed what I had been making when I quit my last full-time job two decades before. (And I mean that in dollar-for-dollar terms, not adjusted-for-inflation or anything.)

I don't regret having homeschooled; it was absolutely the best decision I made (aside from having my kids in the first place) and the most interesting, challenging and fulfilling "professional" role I'll ever have. But, knowing that it was going to end eventually and that I would be facing a good number of years between then and any kind of retirement, it would have been extremely beneficial for me to have planned ahead a bit.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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3 hours ago, marbel said:

For example, in my previous life I had been a corporate trainer, and I loved that job. However, when I last worked (1997) we did our training using an overhead projector and transparencies!  I "upgraded" my skills by doing some volunteer work, where I set up a slideshow on a laptop. Things are very different now with various platforms for presenting training online. 

I meant to say I can relate. My last full-time job pre-kids was in 1994, and I worked in training. I wasn't on the front lines, though, but behind the scenes developing materials. So, fortunately, I wasn't starting from zero when I needed to update my tech skills to go back to work. Even so, there was a learning curve, for sure. 

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My plan was to work part-time after finishing homeschooling. Divorce happened and I opted to go to college. I'm still going to college 7 1/2 years later. I had no college prior to starting in 2013. I planned to stop at the bachelor's, then had a wonderful opportunity to do my master's, now I'm working on my PhD. I hesitated on the PhD, but the school made me a wonderful offer. It was the right decision to continue when I made it, but Covid and a couple of other changes have made me hesitant to finish. I never planned on working in academia - my field is too narrow and I'm too old to get a good job but my SO and family are supportive. I have one more semester of coursework, then comps, then dissertation - so I'll be pushing through. I've been TAing for the last 3 years and will do so part of next year, then probably find at least a part-time job while I finish my dissertation. 

This was so not a path I foresaw when I started homeschooling, not even when I was doing my bachelor's. It feels indulgent to be so focused on my education right now. 

I probably would have been happy working an admin job part time, taking care of the house, and working on creative writing for the rest. 

 

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I took the first job I could find, then did a bit of IT training and another job, all in order to end up as a university administrator.  It's a stable job and fairly interesting.  Husband was made redundant and is now semi retired, so I'm the major paycheck. 

At the same time I've been working on my fitness,  hoping to enjoy my next few decades.

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Posted (edited)

We finished homeschooling a year ago, & love our Empty Nest.
I had fully intended to get a bookkeeping/accounting job, but found I didn't have the mental & physical margin I needed.
Instead I've been able to help both sets of parents & 5 kids (across the miles) more, expanded my library volunteering, and am continually finding things in the house that have never been cleaned or organized. 
My To Do List is continuously full.
My dh has a lot of stress at his job, so I've also been researching our retirement options, & learning about Spousal Social Security Benefits, Medical insurance, and IRA rules have helped me understand that we can indeed retire any time now if we stay at our current spending.

Agreeing with the PPs---try to savor the Completion of this Homeschooling Journey, and look around at what may be interesting to you!
Word of mouth can lead to lots of interesting options!
 

Edited by Beth S
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I have 1 more year and then youngest will be graduated. 

We moved across the country 3 years ago and bought property so I could do my next chapter: permaculture.  We've planted much of our 1/4 acre food forest, so I'm part timing it now.

I'm also planning on doing a lot more volunteer work in the community then.

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I'm deciding.  I just wrapped up 19 years of homeschooling when the pandemic hit, so I'm in a holding pattern.  I'm ready to get out there and do SOMETHING productive.  I homeschooled forever, my degree is in education, and my side-gig was teaching dance classes.  All I want right now is to do none of that as a day job.  I don't WANT to be responsible for inspiring other people to do their work.  I just want to do MY work and to NOT be in charge of people.  I think I want to start in an office and see where that goes.  Anything part or full time that is very close to home sounds pretty good.  If I can't pull that off, I might cave and sub at the local elementary school for a while.

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I was done a year ago, during the pandemic. I took several months to think and explore and research and figure out what I wanted to do. I didn't want or need to work full time, but I wanted something that was fulfilling to me, but not a huge time commitment or stressor. I also didn't want anything that would come home with me (no grading papers, homework, stress or work when I'm not at work).

I ended up getting training as a home care aide (short, easy training class), to help elderly in their homes. Now I work only two days a week, and that's enough for me. It gets me out of the house,  brings in a little money, and I feel like I'm helping people. But I also have time for my family and to find new hobbies and work on my fitness and health.

I had also looked into working at a library or bookstore, but Covid shut those down. I would have been interested in working at a local university as an advisor for the dual enrollment program, but Covid put a damper on that, too. I was able to get the job with home health because it's considered essential during the pandemic, and they're always in need of good workers. 

My main advice would be to give yourself time to figure it out. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to figure it out right away. You need to "de-school" a little bit yourself. Enjoy the journey!

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I guess I'm not entirely clueless, but my plan is called something like homeschool to elder care and death doula then decide.

I felt so pleased for a few months this winter when I thought I had decided: I would open a forest kindergarten at my home.  I like littles, I'm a Maine Master Naturalist, I have a big yard and garden that connects to a woods, and there's a real need for child care here.  I started a program through Antioch for a grad certificate, and DH and kids were fully on board.  I called up a friend who has a place-based private school nearby and lo and behold, she said they were opening their forest kindergarten program this fall.  So I paused, and also realized that I've made a commitment to caring for my mother and have literally asked her to hold on until youngest graduates in 18 months.  She is 92 and is aging in place, my sisters and I all rotate visiting and caring for her but she will eventually need me to live there. 

The forest school is still appealing, but really my plan will be helping my mother in her last years.  My sister who is just a couple of years older than me has terminal cancer and I imagine I will also help her and her family through her death.

After that? I can also see doing what I didn't do as a young person because I started my family instead: traveling, learning languages, studying history.  The income part is easier for me since DH and I own a business together.  But replacing homeschool after 30 years will be a big hole in my psyche and heart.

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17 hours ago, Jenny in Florida said:

Actually, I tell all of the younger SAH/HS moms I meet the same thing (when asked for advice). I strongly suggest that they find a way to keep at least a toe in the water of their former careers or areas of interest, because I suspect my own on-ramp back into working would have been a whole lot less steep and treacherous if I had done that. 

LOL, I don't always wait to be specifically asked. Of course I don't hand out advice randomly but when talking to younger moms there is usually a way to slip the topic in without it being overbearing.  I focus on my own regrets at not thinking more critically about the future. I have seen a few lights go on when we are talking. 

I'm sure it's the circles I've traveled in, but most young families I've known recently have strong expectations of husbands as breadwinners, wives as homemakers/homeschooling moms who will become involved grandmas shortly after high school or college graduations. There is nothing wrong with that view! I had it! (Well, except for wanting to become a grandma quickly.) But, we know it doesn't always work out that way. I'm happy enough to be an example of what not to do. 

 

 

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I'm sorry you are feeling the sense of loss. If you don't plan to go back to work, then I would focus on the things you enjoy most. Volunteer in areas of special interest to you. You could always give back to your local homeschool community and teach classes in areas you have particular skills. 

I just graduated my last one. I've been working part-time from home for about 5 years teaching math to local homeschoolers, so I planned to try and find a teaching position in a Christian school or teach GED classes or something. I am not certified for public school. 

We are currently moving to be closer to my dad, and he will most likely move in with us soon. Because we weren't sure where we would live while dh looked for a job, I decided to keep teaching math online to my current students. I've taken on a private student for next year from here as well. I'll meet with him on Zoom and manage all of his work. His mom passed away, and his dad is overwhelmed with it. 

After this year of transition, and if things are okay with my dad for me to work outside the home, I will go back to looking at Christian schools or community college. 

We are going to live much closer to our dd and to where ds is going to college, so I think it's helping me not feel as much loss. I am going to miss my friends here a lot, though. 

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I went to work close to home at a not-particularly demanding job 2-3 days a week. I also began volunteering with a local group. As the kids have started leaving home, work has increased to 4 days a week, with the odd 5th day as holiday coverage, and my volunteering role has expanded. I've tentatively tried to figure out gardening and fitness.

Grandkids are still a few years away so I've taken a more demanding FT job in a nearby community starting Monday. I'm not sure how that's going to affect the local volunteer group, but we shall see.

All of this *is* fulfilling on some level, but none of it holds a candle to the sense of purpose and meaning I had educating my own kids. So grateful for the journey. 💕

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After several months of being kind of depressed and thinking that the next big step is death ("we should clean out the attic and have a garage sale so the kids don't have to deal with this when we die"--that's the kind of planning I was doing), I ended up going back to work when my youngest started public high school (we end homeschooling after 8th grade). I'm a former high school math teacher. I subbed for a year and then got a position as an educational assistant helping math classes in a high school here. I keep thinking I really want to teach, but there are no openings here--people don't leave these jobs. I am very happy to be working with kids and to be earning money--very glad I was able to go back to work. There is more to look forward to than death! Just trying to accept that at my age, I may never end up back with the post-college career I had as a math teacher.

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I'm not quite retired from homeschooling but I've also continued working quite a bit while homeschooling.  I went back to my before homeschooling job as an executive assistant for a while when we needed medical benefits.  Dh was self-employed and made enough salary but on an erratic schedule and no benefits.  My paycheck went to a private teacher.  I mostly liked my job until I didn't, at which point dh was back working for a larger company and I quit to come back home.

Now I run a business catering mostly to homeschoolers and if everything goes well, I plan to continue it after my kids are done and grown.   I teach science and enrichment classes.  I enjoy it.  I'm the boss, which I also enjoy.  

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I just graduated my youngest but my sons won't be moving out anytime soon. I can't commit to a full time job. I would like to find a flexible volunteer gig a couple of days a week. I also need to build a new social network that doesn't revolve around my kids. 

It's a work in progress that's just started. I'm not sure where I'll end up.

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This is something I've been thinking about for the last year or so. I have two sons, one will be a high school senior in the fall and the other a high school freshman. Still homeschooling but really it is just the freshman as the senior is in DE. Senior will be taking one online Blue Tent class but I'm not involved in his day to day education. Just checking in with him to be sure he's on track and not drowning. The freshman will have some things with me but some classes outsourced to co-op, Derek Owens and Homeschool Spanish Academy.

I see the end in sight. I started thinking now would be a great transitional time for me to figure out what to do when both boys are out of the house. I honestly have no idea. I applied for a part time job at our local library but found out last night I didn't get it. Pretty bummed about it as I was thinking it was a perfect fit for me. Have considered working retail part time either at Home Depot or Publix (grocery store) but our family schedule is still erratic and the freshman does still need me at home some of the time. Before kids I was an interior designer at a large architecture firm. This a career I do not want to go back to. I have held a couple of part time positions since leaving the corporate world. I was a data collector when the economy tanked in 2008 and we really needed the extra money. Then I found a data entry position through a good friend. While I didn't love the job (boss was controlling and didn't trust his employees) I did like that 90% of the job was work from home. I was able to work this part time position and homeschool the boys. Unfortunately, that company went out of business. 

So what next? I don't know. I hate the idea of tutoring or teaching. I've loved homeschooling our boys but I really don't think I would enjoy teaching or tutoring other kids. I still want to be available as a wife, mother and daughter. My parents live an hour away and they are approaching the age where they may "need" me. But I'd like to bring in some money, would like to have something "to do". Admin job? Office manager? My interests are baking, nutrition, dogs and reading. Where does that lead to? 

Good luck on your journey. It's good to hear from other moms in a similar position. 

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I went back to school when my youngest transitioned to public school in 8th grade. I will graduate halfway through her senior year (this upcoming December). My sincere hope is to have a job a year from now. Like a lot of people, I wish I had started that process earlier, but it is what it is.

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2 hours ago, ShepCarlin said:

This is something I've been thinking about for the last year or so. I have two sons, one will be a high school senior in the fall and the other a high school freshman. Still homeschooling but really it is just the freshman as the senior is in DE. Senior will be taking one online Blue Tent class but I'm not involved in his day to day education. Just checking in with him to be sure he's on track and not drowning. The freshman will have some things with me but some classes outsourced to co-op, Derek Owens and Homeschool Spanish Academy.

I see the end in sight. I started thinking now would be a great transitional time for me to figure out what to do when both boys are out of the house. I honestly have no idea. I applied for a part time job at our local library but found out last night I didn't get it. Pretty bummed about it as I was thinking it was a perfect fit for me. Have considered working retail part time either at Home Depot or Publix (grocery store) but our family schedule is still erratic and the freshman does still need me at home some of the time. Before kids I was an interior designer at a large architecture firm. This a career I do not want to go back to. I have held a couple of part time positions since leaving the corporate world. I was a data collector when the economy tanked in 2008 and we really needed the extra money. Then I found a data entry position through a good friend. While I didn't love the job (boss was controlling and didn't trust his employees) I did like that 90% of the job was work from home. I was able to work this part time position and homeschool the boys. Unfortunately, that company went out of business. 

So what next? I don't know. I hate the idea of tutoring or teaching. I've loved homeschooling our boys but I really don't think I would enjoy teaching or tutoring other kids. I still want to be available as a wife, mother and daughter. My parents live an hour away and they are approaching the age where they may "need" me. But I'd like to bring in some money, would like to have something "to do". Admin job? Office manager? My interests are baking, nutrition, dogs and reading. Where does that lead to? 

Good luck on your journey. It's good to hear from other moms in a similar position. 

I could have written all the bolded myself. My last corporate job was even working for an architect and I've been away from it so long I'm not sure I can, or even want to, go back to that kind of work. I graduated one this year, but he'll be living at home while going to school and I'll be homeschooling a freshman. I'm already thinking about what's next for me. I'll be in my 60's when my last child graduates from high school. I love homeschooling, but it's the relationships, flexibility, and learning whatever we want together that I love. I'm just not sure that all translates to teaching someone else's kids. I've thought about a part time job but my teen still needs me for school and my parents, who also live an hour away, are becoming more dependent. I've done volunteering over the years, but now I think I'll need to have some income if my dh is ever going to be able to retire and I would feel guilty about continuing to give my labor away for free while dh needs to keep supporting us. It's definitely a big life shift.

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Hey @mom2scouts...I think we are twins! Both my boys are scouts also. I've considered looking for a part time position with our area boy scout council but personally I am not a great scout (I don't camp. at all. ever) but I'm great at filing, office work, that kind of thing. But I have that wonky schedule to deal with... Regarding the design position...the industry has changed SO much in the 17 years I've been gone. My husband works for an architecture firm (environmental graphic designer) and I feel very out of the loop when he talks about the technology they are using now. I also cannot fathom going back to that culture and the clients. Ugh. 

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Posted (edited)

My younger son is in school FT with a 1-1 aide.  We had planned to homeschool him at least until high school or dual enrollment but he is better served by school at this juncture.  So I got myself homeschool retired early.  

I run a niche bookkeeping and accounting business from home.  My clients are all either non-profits, churches or public development entities.  This is just an expansion of something I did as a side hustle for extra cash while homeschooling for 10 years.  

I was working with a career coach when Covid started and contemplating going to law school but TBH, it’s hard to rationalize the cost of law school in my 40s when I have a pretty flexible and well-paid thing going already.  The type of law I’m interested in doing is not as well paid as what I already do and law school is expensive.  So I think I will probably be sticking with what I do.  Down the line I would like to expand a bit and maybe hire some people to work with me.  I’m ambivalent on if it is fulfilling.  I enjoy parts of it.  I like being of service to organizations that are doing good work.  I can’t say that I find cash flow projections and implementing internal controls especially exciting.  I do however find it very gratifying to be able to earn gold money on my own terms, working for myself.  I loved working in non-profits before homeschooling but I hated a lot of the aspects of being on staff and petty office politics and mandated pseudo social obligations related to work.  This is a very good fit for me overall.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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Posted (edited)

I had worked part time while homeschooling. When my oldest left for college in 2014, I increased my hours to full-time and took on a big project at work. I have added more responsibilities since then.. But it wasn't enough to fill the hole. (ETA for full disclosure: the hole was deep. Serious sense of loss. Took me 2 years to process and adjust)

I spent a year exploring what, aside from my day job, I wanted to do with next stage of my life. After a year of trying every new activity that came my way (painting, salsa classes, ceramic... not because I thought this might be "it", but rather to shake things loose in the brain by doing new things), I knew I wanted to write poetry again. 

Fast forward a few years... I have published two books, given many public readings, started hosting a reading&open mic series (until Covid hit), am on the editorial board of a literary magazine. This is what I really want to do.

Edited by regentrude
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On 6/5/2021 at 10:08 AM, KathyBC said:

All of this *is* fulfilling on some level, but none of it holds a candle to the sense of purpose and meaning I had educating my own kids. So grateful for the journey. 💕

Bingo. Having been raised with the assumption that I would have a "career," I was shocked out of my mind to discover -- almost in retrospect -- that the best "job" I've ever had was raising and educating my kids. Although I stumbled into it, homeschooling was absolutely my vocation, and I am still struggling to accept that nothing else will ever be as (hard, frustrating, exhausting) meaningful for me.

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I'll have to work, buy I am hoping it will be part time.  I had my last child going at 39.5, so I will be older by the time she graduates.  In a perfect world, I will get to house projects, continue volunteering in a position or two that I am in now, but will be able to devote more time and energy to them, and can find the perfect part time job that allows all of my wants above to be accomplished.  I also, may go back to school to finish a degree that I wanted to but never did. 

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