I’m in the stage of homeschooling life where my fellow homeschooling moms are chatting and texting with me about the next stages for their kids. My oldest has “launched,” and my middle child is sitting on the launch pad as she starts her senior year with excitement and some trepidation. My youngest will begin high school this fall, and I find myself selling off all the books from our grammar years. The finish line is in sight.

For some, that last sentence is ending with an exclamation point; for some, it trails off with ellipses and a little anxiety at “what’s next?” For most of us, we have left it all on the table, and we know life is going to change and change quickly. 

A benefit I’ve gained from marrying a little later in life is that many of my longtime friends had children before I did, and I can look at their successes and challenges at each step and reap perspective and good counsel. Those closest to me are enjoying the satisfaction of looking back at a job well done and moving forward joyfully into the next season, and it gives me hope! 

Here are five things to consider if you find yourself asking what’s next as your kids leave the nest, and your role as a homeschool teacher comes to an end. 

  • Perspective is important. View this coming transition as a new beginning rather than an end, and you will have more delight and joy in what comes next.  

  • Determine your purpose. What was your purpose for homeschooling? Whether it was a better education for your kids, more time together as a family, or your child’s health and safety, you shaped what came next with that in mind. Now is the time to figure out the purpose for the next phase of life. Is it returning to a career? Spending more time with your spouse? Caring for aging parents? Maybe you have more to offer the homeschooling community, and your purpose is to help other families still homeschooling? It might be time to finally volunteer at the local pregnancy care center, or complete years’ worth of unfinished photo books. Maybe it’s time to think seriously about running for city council! It is vital to consider where you are headed.

  • Prepare for the next step. Once you determine your purpose, lay down plans. Re-entering the work force can be terrifying, and determining what steps you will need to take will be helpful. Research by contacting former colleagues or finding new contacts. If you hope to pursue more education, figure out the next course of action. If you want to remain part of the homeschooling community, determine where your strengths lie, what the needs around you are, and how those things fit together. Talk with your spouse about what he needs from you and how he sees your life together. 

  • And then, pursue your purpose. As your homeschooling work comes to an end, it is time to implement your plans. Your son or daughter is not the only one starting something new, and he/she will benefit from watching you move forward. Modeling purposeful living in each stage is a great lesson you can teach your now adult children.   

  • Last, rediscover passion. It’s been a while since it’s been just you and your spouse! You can be proud that you raised your kids, and you have prepared them for their next steps. Now with years and experience, it is time to take trips together, develop hobbies together, and find new goals. Establish new traditions. You’ll reminisce on Family Game Night, but it’s time to try Firepit Fridays or invite other couples over for games and conversation.

Your grown kids will still need you, but in a different way. Already, I’m seeing this as my son texts me from college to ask advice in a tricky situation. I find delight in hearing a friend tell me about taking a girls’ trip with her adult daughter. We all love to catch up on how our kids are doing. And I won’t miss the day I no longer have to think about math curriculum. 

With the coming change on my horizon, I’m enjoying these final years in a new way. I have renewed intentionality in the moments I have left, while anticipating what’s around the bend.