When Mom Goes Back to Work
(Re-entering the Workforce)
Homeschooling moms often wonder how they can best position themselves to re-enter the workforce after the last child has “left the nest”—or even to augment the family income while still homeschooling. Here are a few tips to help you confidently land that job.
Update Your Resumé
Your resumé is a summary of your knowledge, skills, abilities, and accomplishments—think of it as your one-page ad, or the Twitter-sized version of who you are. It is not intended to be your full autobiography, but just enough to give you a “foot in the door” for an interview.
The typical resumé used to be written chronologically, but the functional resumé is becoming more popular and is often a better fit for someone with an employment gap. Search online for examples to demonstrate how to focus on your skills, versus your employment history. (One such model is available here.)
What do you include in a resumé after years at home, managing your household and teaching your children? An online search for “resumés for homemakers” or “re-entering the workforce” is a good start. For example:
As a homeschooling mom, you’ll want to include your teaching experience, self-training in education/early childhood development/adolescent studies, plus any additional in-service training in other fields, interaction with local and state school boards, and more. If you helped with a club, administered or taught at a local co-op, or even coached a sports team, be sure to include those skills.
If you were employed or trained in a specific field before homeschooling or staying at home, you could list those work experiences and the skills you developed during that time. Otherwise, focus on the skills you developed through home management, home educating, co-op teaching/management, and other volunteer or part-time work.
Here are just a few ideas of skills you may have honed during your homeschooling years which can translate well into the employment world:
Homemaker—Home management skills could translate into administration, working knowledge of nutrition, basic first aid/CPR, crisis management, schedule management and logistics, keen negotiation with vendors, meal preparation/ chef, clean driving record, collaboration in investment management, primary fashion buyer, primary purchaser of food and supplies, domestic task management and home management training, financial planning, fiscal responsibility, budget management, strong organization and hospitality skills.
Parent—Problem solving, interpersonal relations, multi-tasking, conflict resolution, schedule management for multiple individuals, organization, conflict mediation
Caregiver—Scheduling, compassionate care, medical care management
Homeschooling mom—Curriculum development, creative lesson planning, multi-age classroom management, experiential learning, progress assessment, working knowledge of learning styles, performance coaching, organization, in-service training in education/early childhood development/adolescent studies, persuasive writing, technical writing
Special-needs parent—Care management, therapy integration, functional knowledge of special needs terminology and concepts, treatment coordination
Support group or co-op participant or leader—Scheduling, fundraising, transportation, personnel management, collaborating as well as working independently, website maintenance, directing social media, conflict resolution, interaction with local government officials, coordination of multiple concurrent activities
Book fair or event planner—Event planning, delegation, volunteer motivation and management, project management, attention to detail, working as a team, leadership
Do Your Research
Was your last typing test on a manual Underwood or an IBM Selectric with interchangeable font ball? Be sure your keyboarding skills are current—and consider a course in word processing or office skills. Take computer classes or refresher courses in your past field, or consider expanding into another area of interest—what you were passionate about at 25 may not be what you would like to pursue at 40 (or later).
Whether it’s to brush up on your earlier skills or to develop a new interest, you’ll want to research the field. Colleen at PaintedGold.com advises, “Take a couple of community college courses or online certifications to get yourself up-to-date. Read trade journals and visit websites in your field. Get updated before you walk into that first interview. It’s one thing to have taken time off to raise a family—a wise and honorable decision; it’s another thing to simply be out of touch.”
The Self-Employment Option
Many women discover that they have an entrepreneurial streak and would be happy starting their own businesses, rather than being employed. There are pros and cons to this, and be prepared to spend some time—and possibly money—investigating and building this option. A happy medium could be offering your services to an existing company, working as a consultant or contractor or even as a telecommuter so you can work from home.
Don’t Know Where to Start?
Who may be interested in your particular skills? Network with people you know who are connected to your field of interest. Some women even have networking parties, similar to a home party plan gathering. To do this, simply gather as many of your friends as you can for refreshments or a casual meal, and let them know it is your “launch” party—tell them your aspirations and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of any opportunities. Think outside the box. Here are a few examples:
If you’ve developed a knack for hospitality or event planning, you might begin by looking into event management. Start with nicer hotels, your city’s convention center, and larger corporations that have conferences for staff or book booths elsewhere. There could also be a nearby Christian retreat center or ministry that could use your specific services.
Or maybe you have a bookkeeping or accounting background? Many homeschool support groups could use help navigating the IRS/1099 maze, understanding incorporation options, figuring out fundraisers, and delving into the intricacies of group financial management. You may want to investigate the certification requirements and consider a business still helping homeschoolers, among others. And of course, include on your resumé any accounting experience you gained before or during homeschooling.
You may not think you have what it takes to return to the workforce. According to Kathryn Sollman, founder of a New England-based network and recruiting organization, “people ages 45 to 64 comprise the fastest-growing segment of workers in the United States,” and this is good news for moms returning to the work world. “Employers not only want you, but need you. … If you present yourself as a soccer mom, you’ll be perceived as a soccer mom. If you present yourself as a returning professional, you will be perceived as a working professional.” *
So ask the Lord to guide you to the right opportunities, and then pursue your calling with diligence, persistence, and confidence!
Members are welcome to call in to or email our HSLDA consultants for help with preschool through high school, with struggling learners, or for special needs. Not a member? Join today!
* Megan Malugani, “Workforce Reentry Strategies for Sequencing Mothers”
Help for Homeschooling While Working