What you do after you’ve finished homeschooling your kids affects how you educate them now.
Have you ever pondered what your life after homeschooling will be like? Once your kids are grown and studying or working, how has the way you educated them worked out in the real world? How has the way you’ve developed affected the way they have developed?
Your kids are watching and participating as you navigate caring for others along with your own self improvement and contribution to others. So life skills and character are still being shaped in your kids. This is where the rubber is hitting the road.
Homeschooling is not just about academics. Most of you realise how much maths, history and English take a back seat when you find yourself in the thick of dealing with behaviour flaws and training issues with your children. You can’t separate academics from character training; their character will affect their academic performance and how they use their academics in the future.
What you do when your kids have “finished” homeschooling will still be an education for them.
First up: Talk to your husband about how he feels about your dreams. While we’re specifically talking about you right now, working alongside your husband is a good lead for what you could do in the future. While mutual support is always the way, think about what you would like to do together in the future.
If your goal post-homeschooling is to stay at home and be on hand for the next generation, there will inevitably be a “gap” period while you wait for grandchildren or your own parents don’t quite need you yet.
When you think about your future, does a mile-long to-do list immediately pop in to your head, or will you need time to rediscover yourself?
Maybe you have a book you’ve been working on in your head for years. Or, you might want to continue your drive to serve others by diving into volunteer work. (As an aside:
There’s no need to wait till you’ve finished to do this one – get your kids in there with you along the way.)
With your re-education, you may have discovered new interests and may want to explore the arts, or take your own nature study to a new level, for example.
When your time is yours again, it will be easy to leave those after-homeschool dreams as just dreams, but remember, you have been dreaming about them for a reason.
Will you go out on a limb for yourself and take a chance? If you don’t, how will you expect your children to step boldly into their own desires as they face changes that will inevitably come up in their lives? Have you developed the character strength to be an example to them?
If you have learned anything from homeschooling, it’s that even when you are not teaching, you are teaching.
Your children may be taller than you and seemingly self-sufficient, but they are still taking life cues from you.
Thinking about where you will be and what you will be doing with your life long-term is a good thing to ponder while you are in the planning stages of your children’s education. As you are following your children’s interests and passions, you could also be fuelling your own.
Your kids don’t have to be the only ones learning. As you plan the steps your children need to take in the next 3, 7, or 10 years, especially as they reach their mid-teen years and are able to work independently, there is no reason you can’t also be working on your own plan.
I have always had a passion for writing curriculum, and I eventually did that. It wasn’t something I felt confident to do in the early years, but I eventually got there as I grew in experience.
Personally, my subeditor work is a natural extension of teaching my own children reading, grammar and writing over the years. Writing curriculum that suited our needs also helped me secure this type of work. Developing a natural love for the written word has overflowed into my professional world post-homeschooling.
Realising that homeschooling is about you as much as the children will help you stay motivated and in-tune with both of your progressions.
It’s not a one-way street, though. Your children are discovering new things constantly and we need to show excitement about those things too (and not just our excitement about them learning those things). When you exude enthusiasm about “life”, they will value the purpose of education more.
Don’t think that your years of staying at home have little value.
Or the fact that you don’t have a degree inhibit you, or that other mothers are making heaps of money and have busy social lives, etc, etc. If you’re getting a hard time from people who have “real” careers – don’t believe the lie. You are making a significant contribution to your children’s lives, and consequently to society, not to mention investing in your own future.
So how exactly do you plan for your own future while homeschooling?
Here are five things you can do along your homeschool journey to help you get your own future orgainsed:
Think about what you want to be doing when your children are finished homeschooling and you have more time on your hands. Will you want to be a volunteer? Will you want to be an employee? Will you want to be a business owner? Are you drawn to the field of education, or would you like to do something completely unrelated? By the way, if none of these move you and you want to spend the next decade or so relaxing, housekeeping and just being available for your adult kids, that’s great too!
Start reading for your own self improvement. Read blogs. Industry specific books, general business books, and motivation books. In other words, douse yourself in living books – that’s not so hard, is it? If you’re thinking about writing a book, learn all you can about writing, read heaps and buy the best writing programs for your kids.
Take an online course. If you have a degree, think about how you can update or enhance it for your future plans. You may need to brush up your maths skills with an online maths course. Get addicted to TED Talks and online seminars in your chosen field.
Start your own blog and show what you have learned. Give your opinion. Start a YouTube or other social media channel if you feel secure in your expertise. If you’re not that confident yet (and I get that) have a go at contributing anyway. You can be in learning mode and still have valuable things to offer.
Get to know people in your future industry. If you plan to be a writer, join a monthly writing workshop now. If you plan to work in the arts, visit the galleries and/or theatres in your area and increase your cultural awareness and the directions of art. If you want to advance in the area of education, and let’s face it, you’re learning a lot about that, start meeting like-minded people and attend education conferences.
If you feel yourself going in a particular direction, start a project that will challenge you to learn more and develop your skills. Write that mini book; paint those pictures and exhibit them; put yourself out there in some small way to begin with. Your hubby will be right behind you.
As a homeschooler, planning to give our kids the tools they need to tackle adult life should be key to your teaching. Even though the day will come when your children won’t need you for academics, you will never really finish teaching them.
Your role just changes from instructing them, to asking them pertinent questions to help them think through adult issues better. While academics are great, life skills, character training and relationship building are what will determine how they deal with the education you’ve given them.
What you do after educating them is just as important, as you will always be their reference point. The future is what homeschooling is all about, and it’s definitely the way of the future of education, so it’s good for you to think about your own future as well.
With all that said, while your children are little, make your children’s dreams your dreams. Be careful not to get caught up in your own frustrations at this time in your life. Run with the challenge of becoming selfless. There is time for your own dreams; work on them in small chunks at the beginning and slowly ramp them up as your children are less dependent on you.