Shifting of roles after homeschooling

Shifting of roles after homeschooling

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Life is full of shifting roles and a wide range of emotions that accompany the changes.

Who would expect grief to become my companion after I sent my youngest off to public high school after spending over 20 years educating my children?

During my first year of homeschooling, I found myself weeping on the doorstep of another homeschool mom declaring that it was just too hard and that I couldn’t do it. Looking back, I see I interrupted her own busy day, but she welcomed me in, cleared her schedule, and we talked. Maybe I still didn’t feel prepared, but I straightened my back and went back to my home to continue on.

Shifting roles

The homeschooling years

Homeschooling with babies and toddlers gets hectic. Somehow, I persevered, and we made it. We succeeded! Despite my fears of failing my children by inadvertently overlooking something or explaining it wrong or missing some big chunk of something never materialized. Praise God! Through God’s help is the only way that could have happened. My children rose to my expectations. Some days we had tears—mine included—and even though I eventually made a note that listed what grade each child was in through college for some of them, I can now look back and say it was all worth it. Stressful? Yes, at times. Fulfilling and rewarding? Yes and yes. I’d do it all over again.

Of course, now I know some things I’d do differently like not stress over my insecurities so much and to lighten up a bit.

I felt judged and criticized by some people during the process, but I know now that they have their own insecurities, and they didn’t understand our way of life nor our commitment. Learning is a life-long process.

Was I perfect? No, far from it. But then nobody is perfect. We all have our strengths and weaknesses—educators and children alike. But we lived life together and our relationships are strong and healthy with each other.

Last day of homeschool

But then the fateful day came when we finished the last homeschool book. At first, it felt great. We finished strong. A little nervousness creeped in, but I had big plans. I bought a new planner and some office supplies. We painted a bedroom and made it an office. I planned to write.

My girls drove off to the high school, and I started my first day of school as a mom not a homeschool teacher. My lip trembled a bit, my eyes watered, but this was my chance to write, so as the morning sunshine brightened my office, I researched markets.

You know, nobody talks about the shifting of roles and seasons. It’s just expected that we roll with the punches.

But now, three years later, we’ve lived through all the changes Covid brought, my world has changed and continues to change. Good and exciting changes like upcoming weddings, but sad changes too like a year of lasts.

This year is my youngest’s senior year, a year I’ve lived through four other times with four different children in four different ways. Those were all emotional years filled with hearts swelling with pride and love and other emotions like letting go. Yes, these are expected and necessary, but that doesn’t mean that they hurt any less.

It’s exciting for them to decide their post-high school education and career plans. As a parent, don’t you wonder where those years went? When did the chubby, toothless baby turn into a confident, beautiful adult?

When one homeschools, she wears the hats of mom, teacher, janitor, chauffeur, advisor, etc. But then the house gets quiet. There’s no new textbook to explore together, no test to correct, no hard concept to wrestle through. It’s just done. They’ve moved on.

Shifting of roles is complicated

I should move on. I should, yet nothing is as I expected or anticipated. Life is complicated. I can’t explain; I just know this is how I feel. Maybe you’ve homeschooled and you’re finished. Maybe you’ve never homeschooled, but you have life changes you’re moving through. Do you feel stuck in a holding pattern, waiting to discover what’s next?

Overthinking is a problem I have.

My days are busy. Very busy. Just in 2022, parental health issues, wedding and shower plans for a son and for a daughter, public school activities for my youngest, keeping up with home and garden, visiting sick friends, fulfilling volunteer obligations, completing my writing and editing commitments, and writing a YA novel keep my days full. It isn’t a matter of keeping myself busy. Busyness just takes my mind off the grief. Maybe one day, I’ll wake up and joy will greet me instead.

I’ve decided to blog about my journey to discover what’s next. If you’re on a similar journey, I hope we can explore together. I hope you’ll share about your life, and while we converse, we can celebrate our victories together or comfort each other in our disappointments.

Because whatever happens, we mustn’t be alone. We’re never alone, though it might feel like it. Jesus walks with us, and others understand. They live through their own shifting of roles.

And somehow, in the end, we find joy and purpose again.

What change are you struggling with?

#youmatter #yourlifematters

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash.

6 Replies to “Shifting of roles after homeschooling”

  1. You did a fantastic job with all of the kids! They are all smart, confident, and ready to face the world. It has been so much fun for me to watch all five of them grow up and decide what they want to be. I’m a bit weepy thinking about the end of having Welsh kids visit every week. The end of an era for me too. I’m going to miss them. I just said to Joe what wonderful, hard working kids you raised! Good for you!

    1. Thank you, Lisa. You hold a special place in all their hearts, as well. You encouraged each of them in different interests: biking, wood carving and burning, plants, insects, birds, books, drawing, painting, art projects, poetry, landscaping, and of course, trying new foods. 🙂

  2. I am in total agreement with Lisa. Michelle…you raised amazing kids. If anyone ever “talks down” to me about home school, I will be obliged to punch them 🙂 Your kids are the smartest, kindest, generous people I know. They have excelled through high school, and into the work force. You have so much to be proud of. They have left their home confident and exceptional young adults and 99% of that credit goes to you, as you were there 24/7 for them.

  3. We all wrestle with change. I’ve often wondered why change doesn’t become easier as we age. Even after experiencing many changes and adjusting to many different life stages, we find transitions are difficult. There’s a continual challenge of “letting go” and “trusting God.” As you mentioned, grief accompanies some transitions. I’ve wrestled with the sorrow and grief in losing my parents and other life changes. However, I’m also learning to accept and live with grief with intentional gratitude. God is at work and He is always good.

    1. Thank you, Gretchen, for the reminder that God is at work and that He is always good and that intentional gratitude will help us to accept and live with grief. I think knowing that others wrestle with change also helps us all know that we’re not in this alone, that others understand. I appreciate your contribution to the conversation.

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