When I began homeschooling, I gave little thought to what I was potentially leaving behind. Fortunate to have another source of income, I went on hiatus from my career for several years to raise my young boys. As my kids grew, I completed some freelance work, but my primary focus was on my family and homeschooling. Now that my kids are nearing the end of their schooling, I am left to wonder about what happens next. Do I attempt to go back to my former career or do I move forward in a new direction?
Almost as if God was answering my questioning mind, I recently received an email from a recruiter who was looking for someone to fill a freelance position. I was amazed when I read the job description; it was exactly like what I used to do full-time, and aligned beautifully with my experience and skills. Surely, this was a sign that I should respond. After a brief time of prayer and Bible reading, I felt confident I should pursue this opportunity. I spent the next hour or so polishing my resume and writing a detailed response to the recruiter. Even though the number of hours listed in the job description were more than I was looking for, I was certain that I could somehow make it work.
Later that day, I received a response from the recruiter. It began well enough with the “thank you for your prompt response,” then took a turn for the worse with, “your experience is too outdated.” Ouch! Outdated? Who was she calling outdated? I was hurt, angry, and confused. My experience isn’t outdated at all. The skills listed in the job description are things I implement daily. However, the difference is no one is paying me to use these skills. I began to ponder my predicament. If you are not employed to use your skills and demonstrate your abilities on a continual basis, does that mean you become outdated and are no longer relevant? If so, that may be bad news for parents who choose to put their careers aside to homeschool their children.
So, what is a homeschooling parent to do? Do you need to have an exit strategy in place before you even begin? Maybe. It is probably wise is to stay current in your field if you hope to return to it one day. If you hold a professional license that has yearly requirements, it is a good idea to keep up with those assuming you want to keep your license. As for me, I have put my bruised ego aside and am choosing to rely on God. Perhaps returning to my former career is not the path to follow. After all, I am not the same woman now that I was then. I will trust God to show me the way. As it says in Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” I am certain homeschooling was the right choice for our family, and I am certain there is a new calling in my future if I can be patient enough to receive it.
Heidi Kinney is a freelance writer and editor. Her background includes professional teaching in the area of mathematics, as well as writing and editing for several educational publishers. She has been homeschooling her children since 2007. She shares homeschool resources and lessons on her website, SharedLessons.org.