Making Your Skills List

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Going back to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom is scary. There are people your age who have BUILT their careers while you were wiping noses and changing diapers.

So if you can’t go back to your old career, what CAN you do?

This is where you make your skills list. Your skills list will have every type of skill you have and will help you evaluate yourself for potential employers as well as seeing if you need to make a career change. However, this will require you to REALLY look at yourself. Good and bad. You need to write ALL your skills down.

To help you get started, start with listing all the skills you learned from each of your jobs before becoming a stay-at-home mom.(Yep, even the ones in high school)  This will also help you when you go to dust off that resume by adding some updated descriptions of your work. For example, I use to work at Sonic while in college. I learned how to “balance” food while rollerskating. It sounds like such a small thing, but you would be surprised how many times I was asked about it in an interview. It was a great way to show as an example how I was a great multi-tasker and was perfect conversation starter into my personality. Why did I roller-skate if I wasn’t required to? Because I could (and the tips were much more profitable, too).

Next, your going to list every job you have been done while staying at home. What do I mean by this? Well, what do you DO all day? Sit down and eat bon-bons and watch soaps? or do you do laundry? clean the house? Home-school? etc. Either way, LIST those skills!

Having difficulty describing your Netflix binging while the kids are away at school? Label that skill as “movie critic” or “media analysis”. Are you a Facebook junkie? Write that skill down as “proficient with social media”. Don’t blow those skills off! There are people who will PAY people to do these things for them. You don’t need a degree to post on social media. Just know people and trends.

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Here is a small example of my list of things that I’ve been doing for the past few years as a stay-at-home mom to help get your mind buzzing on yours:

*Cooking (2 course meals)

*Cake decoration (i’m not great but i know the basics)

*Do laundry including using an industrial machine for larger items

*Clean house (not a bad job choice if you don’t mind cleaning other people’s messes, which you have been doing with your kids all these years)

*Teach (history, math, english, science)

*First Aid knowledge

*Managed small guild in MMO, organizing mergers, raids, and recruiting (LEADERSHIP SKILLS! Don’t laugh. A guy actually got hired at a Yahoo! for this reason)

*Proficent with Social Media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)

*Hostage negotiator (Kids. need i say more)

*Teenage Crisis Counselor (Girls.)

*Wash Dishes

*Pet groomer

*Dog walker

*Babysitter

*Event Planner (birthdays, bat mitzvah’s)

*Blog (social media calendar, editorials,)

This is just a small list, but should help you think about some of the things you do. Big or small. It’s the small things we let pass us by and yet we will find that we might be able to actually DO something with it.

If you craft, list all the types of crafting skills you have. Include projects that you have done to really shine your skills. Made costumes for the school play? Add costume designer to your skills list!

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Now, some skills you can’t just jump into (like becoming a doctor because you know a little first aid). So you will need to probably go back to school or to a technical school to get certified in that field. For example, as the financial secretary of my synagogue I’ve become fascinated with numbers. Many moons ago I took an accounting class and loved it. I’ve decided to go back to school and learn accounting because my degree is no longer applicable to what I can do in my life anymore. I need a new “career”.

Soon you will begin to realize that even though you haven’t been “working” you HAVE been working but on your other skills. I would love to see which one of your skills really spoke to you. Comment below with you “skill”.

~Gin

Finding who you are

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So I heard back from some potential employers.

No go.

Part of me is a bit disappointed about their decision to not hire me, but the other side is going, “whew!”

Thing is I don’t know if I really wanted to go and work for them. It was in the field I had been trained and educated in, but didn’t I leave for a reason? For some of you, you may feel the same. What you left behind when you decided to stay home may not be the same as you left it. Industries are growing at a rapid rate these days that few things are the same.

Which means you have the luxury of reevaluating if this is what you really want to go back to. Some might say, “of course!” while others may feel lost in the new changes. Unless you have been working part-time on the side in your field you might just as well be a kid fresh out of college.

But hold on…..

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First, you need to think about if you could be in any job, what would that job be? Do you want to have a job that has the flexibility to allow you to still be home when the kids come home from school? or are you looking at work that is the regular 9-5? or works around your husband’s schedule?

Self-employment is the most flexible job. You are your own boss and you set your own hours. Do you have a special skill that would allow you to be self-employeed or a contract worker? When I was younger I was a Real Estate Agent. This allowed me the flexibility to be home when the kids were home but cut generously in my weekends. Also, the pay fluctuated greatly. Some temp agencies will also have jobs with flexible schedules.

As with any job change though, check to see if there are any educational or certification requirements before beginning.

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Sometimes its not WHAT we are but WHERE we are. If you could live anywhere doing your job, where would that be? If you want to be a marine biologist, you may find it difficult finding jobs in a landlocked state like Arizona. However, if you were in a place like San Diego you might have better luck.

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The best jobs are those that you can do, however, anywhere. For example, nurses are good anywhere in the WORLD, as are teachers. Once you become a Realtor, its a matter of a small test to get you certified in another state. Some technical jobs also can even be simply done in a home office.

Simply, imagining your dream job is not going to get you that job. You need to look at yourself and see what skills you have and what you don’t to fulfill that job. Listing your skills will help determine what you can and can’t do.

~Gin

More Changes

Just as I put myself out there, more changes have happened. My eldest daughter was recently (finally) accepted into the Early College Program for her school district. In this program, an associate’s degree is completed simultaneously within her four years of high school. She is a sophomore this year so they said they will pay for her summer school classes to help her catch up with the rest of her class.

THIS IS AMAZING for our family! And of course for her.

My daughter has aspirations of becoming a business lawyer. We, as parents, fully support her and her work has shown that she is more than motivated to do this. This goes beyond the dual credit you normally get in High School as she will be physically on a college campus experiencing “college” from the safety of her high school life. She has been praying and hoping to get in since 8th grade. Entrance was based on a lottery and her number didn’t get picked till recently. She started crying with joy when I told her I finally got the call.

Now, this brings more changes to our house. There are some days the bus will not be able to take her to school because the regular high school is out but her college classes are still going. This means she will need a ride. Something that would be difficult if I was working. Especially if I was back working for an airline (since that is where my degree and experience is).

Maybe I’m making excuses but it feels like the universe is giving me signs again to not work. Or at least full time.

H&R Block

So to keep me “busy” I decided to reenroll into the Income Tax Course that H&R Block does. I did it once before about 5 years ago and even though the tax laws haven’t changed, much, I still feel like I need a refresher course. We haven’t even DONE our own taxes in the past 5years because we use a preparer. So I feel out of the loop.

My class doesn’t start till mid September so I have some chances to see if I want to keep looking for a job or just hold on and wait till after I do the course. My gut is telling me to wait only because I did apply for several different types of positions at several airlines and so far all I’ve heard back is crickets.

Again, is this a sign from the universe or me just making excuses?

I’ve also thought about going back and taking some accounting classes at my daughter’s college. I figured it might help me with doing the finances at the synagogue but even that I think I won’t be doing next year. It is only a two year position and that would make this my last year. The thought is there but I don’t know if I will act on it. I wouldn’t be working for a degree because I already have a AAS degree which is what a degree in accounting would give me. But I think the extra classes would help me feel a bit more confident only because for a business degree, I really don’t feel like I took enough finance classes nor were any required for me.

Let’s see what next week holds.

~Gin

Pokemon Go

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Thank you, Pokemon GO! Seriously, I have been trying to get my kids to go out since we MOVED to Texas. Our new neighborhood in Texas is much safer than our old home back in Phoenix so I’ve been trying to encourage them. At first it was noproblem. The heat here in Texas is nothing compared to the scorching heat in Arizona, but as we have lived here longer they have become accustomed to the weather and now refuse to leave the house due to the humidity.

Oh, vey!

Then last week something changed. Pokemon GO! was released to iTunes in the US. All of a sudden I have my kids BEGGING me to go out (without me) and so far my kids have been out of the house for two hours or MORE, DAILY to go “hunting” for Pokemon or battle at the nearby park (aka “Gym”)

As Julia Gunlock for Heatstreet.com reported, “Pokemon has more kids active and outside in 7days than in the 7 years of Haranguing from Michelle Obama.” (article here) Pokemon is getting kids MOVING without them feeling like they are missing their devices because it has brought the two together.

Now, Pokemon GO is not a new item in the iTunes store that did Augmented Reality Treasure Hunts in the real world. In fact, one of the first games to do this was a game called Ingress. Using the same concept as Pokemon Go, except you gathered clues to help you control a particular area. (like pokemon to control a gym)

If you feel lost in the craze. Don’t feel bad or even worry. Just as long as you have In-App purchases off, your kids (or husband) will love this new free app on iTunes. The concept is very similar to the video games that my kids have purchased. You go around look for pokemons and then battle at various gyms. The only difference is now they are no longer are in the game world but the REAL world looking for the pokemon. Getting them to get up and MOVE. As always you want to advise your children about stranger danger and to always look both ways when crossing streets. Mostly because they can really get excited when they see a rare Pokemon and not pay attention.

So for all those people who want to make fun of Pokemon, it is usually because they don’t have kids or their kids are to old to remember Pokemon. I never even liked Pokemon and I still play with my kids. Why? Because it gets us moving AND lets me spend some quality time with them. It funny when they try to teach me about each Pokemon. Each one is like a mini-pokidex.

So download it. Have some fun with it but defiantly try it before you knock it. And if you get servers are busy (like I did above)just log out then log back in and that usually works. Otherwise, just wait a bit.

Let’s start over

911I’m back.

I’m here with my Lipton tea (fresh without milk since my kids used it all up) and sitting at my kitchen table at 3am thinking of what should I write. Is anyone even reading this? Apart from my family and friends, probably not.

As you know from my previous post my son has decided to go back to public school. I don’t know if you could tell in my writing or not, but part of me was in fact hurt. Only because I had felt we had created this bond. This special relationship that would make us successful homeschoolers. I feel bummed that we aren’t going to do it anymore.

On the other hand, not homeschooling leaves me open to a vast more opportunities to do more crafts or even get a job again. Even my crafting has gone a bit downhill since I found little inspiration while dwelling in my own self pity from not homeschooling anymore.

Some projects you can expect up.

Sergering.

I bought myself a Serger with my birthday money. (Squeal!) I’ve been making napkins like crazy that my family had to have an ‘intervention’ asking me to please stop making them for now. For the 4th of July I was going to make some patriotic napkins. The family quickly told me no and said they didn’t feel right wiping their faces with the american flag. I don’t blame them.

Planner Addiction.

I have become ADDICTED to decorating my planners. Like, how did I miss this INSANE craze?!?! Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Recently I saw Michael’s start putting out “planner” decorations when all it was is the same scrapbook stickers and washi tape that we always use. lol.

Job Hunting.

Yep, you read that right. I’m looking at probably getting a job. (As if my life isn’t busy enough.) I’m still volunteering for my synagogue but I’m needing some cash flow. Mostly to support my crafting as well as have my own play money. My hubby is sweet and says I don’t have to but he knows I’m already starting to get stir crazy and its only summer.

Random Bits.

I don’t want to lose this blog. I’ve enjoyed sharing things with everyone and I wish to keep doing those things. Things are going to be a bit wonky for a while until we see where this blog will go. I’m sure it will stick with the theme of my life. Travel, Crafting, and Judaism. This. This is my life.

~Gin

Still Here…

I’ve been kind of silent.

Mostly because I’m not sure where this blog or my life in general will go.

Homeschooling at our home is quickly fading away. We are doing test to get him ready for public school. Both scholastically as well as emotionally and socially. This way when he returns he will have the tools that he needs to succeed in front of him.

I, myself, am staying busy too. With being our congregation’s Sisterhood president as well as it’s financial secretary my life these past few months have been rather busy.

Let’s just say its a welcome distraction to the end that is inevitably coming.

No more homeschooling.

My Jewish life has not ended though. (Nor will it in the foreseeable future) So keep close to the blog. I’ll be publishing my Passover Menu here soon.

For now, I hope everyone has a Happy Purim. IMG_3854

Upcoming Changes for 2016

After 3 years of homeschooling, ginnstars.com is about to go through some changes. My son has decided to go back to traditional school. After a long talk we both feel it would be for the best. The biggest reason is he feels like he is missing out with meeting new kids. Although the people he have met in his groups have been great and he has strong relationships with many of them, he wants to meet more kids. Many of his friends attend traditional school and he is hoping he will be able to see them a bit more as well as meet some new friends.

I do not take this personally but as a learning experience. He knows he is welcomed to come back to homeschooling at anytime. We talked about what to expect. The bad and the good. The bad being, the school system might feel he is not in the same grade as his friends but maybe lower. He’s been behind on his Khan and has only completed last years math recently. Yet, he has time to get caught up by Fall and we plan to go over what he is “suppose” to know according to the most recent state standardized testing. I’ll be teaching by the test until Fall, and I hate it.

The other bad is the getting picked on. This was an issue before, yet he’s learned a lot about himself and what he is capable of this past few years while homeschool. I am very confident that he is prepared for it and how to respond to such treatment.

I’m not sure where this blog will go. Over the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing what was planned and will probably tweak a few things. We will just have to see where this leads us.

~Gin

Learn From the Maccabees to Unlock Your Courage to Homeschool

Scan_20151106Feeling like homeschooling is going nowhere? Are you fighting to get your child to do their school work everyday? Do they seem unmotivated and just want to play video games all day? Is your spouse is starting to second guess this whole homeschooling idea? Is family pressuring you to put your child back in traditional school? Does the fear that if you put your kid back in traditional school terrify you? That they will be mislabeled as “special” and “behind” in their educational progress? Afraid they will be bullied for being label as such? Did you imagine this would be just like regular school except your child would call YOU teacher?

Homeschooling is hard and it takes a special courageous person to do it. Yes! I said courageous! Dr.  Robert Biswas-Diener from the Courage Quotient describes courage as, “the willingness to act toward a moral or worthwhile goal. Despite the presence of risk, uncertainty, and fear.

This week is Hanukkah and I’m going to show you how the courage of the Maccabees reclaiming the temple thousands of years ago can help you with homeschooling today. Because what it all comes down to is courage.

Being out numbered and overpoweredIsrael business

Approximately 2000 years ago, the Greeks demanded that the Jews worship their gods and eventually destroyed and defiled the temple with their sacrificed and statues of their pagan gods. A small band of Jews, known as the Maccabees, defeated the Syrians and the Greeks despite being out numbered and over powered. Yet, they over came their fear and destroyed the army. Then reclaimed the temple.

As a homeschooler you can also feel under-powered against the state, the school system, and even against other parents because each and every one of them is telling you to place your child in the school system. Their are truancy laws to make sure your child is in school at all times. Nosey school system administrators wanting to know your curriculum and progress. Non-homeschooling parents giving you that “look” when you tell them your child is homeschooled ,thinking you must be some fanatic. The social ostracization is enough to make you rethink this whole homeschooling thing. You end up feeling powerless and fearful of going to jail or worse, having your kids taken from you cause your a “bad parent” because you decided to homeschool.

Rebellion against the majority

The Jews also felt as if they were loosing themselves. Practicing Judaism became a crime so many Jews conformed and began to worship the gods of the Greeks. They assimilated into the society at that time.

Not long ago, homeschooling was a common practice globally. It wasn’t until the industrial age that traditional schools as we know them today came into practice. Initially they were sponsored by factories to help create the perfect worker in that field. It was not to meant to educate them above their class, but that was the result. More and more people began to follow in step and eventually it became the norm. Other homeschooler will describe this “factory” education as a reason to create docile workers which many homeschoolers feel is what is coming out of the public school systems today. Today, to homeschool is to be against the norm.

Can still be afraid, but still do it.eternal light

Do you think the Maccabees were not afraid? Do you not think that they felt a sense of crazy when faced with an army that outnumbered and out equipment them? They went in thinking, today may be the day I die. Yet, they overcame their fears and marched on with a zealousness that the Greek army could not compare as the Maccabees were fighting for the Jewish way of life for the present as well as future Jews.

We all fear failing our children. Greatest when homeschooling. Wondering if we are the best thing for them. Decision on if we are even qualified to teach. These are all verbal “weapons” that the school systems and educational government departments throw at us to make us afraid.

Speak up to the higher authority

With the Maccabees it was the Greek and their gods. In fact the first one to die was a Jew because he refused to conform. Today, in homeschooling its the naysayers. These are the school system, the Department of Education, the state, and even some parents. They are all telling you to conform. To allow your child to become this unthinkable, creative empty robot. Critical thinking in primary school has all but been eliminated. Music and Art programs are disappearing across the nation. Standardized test have become the new way to teach because that means money for the schools. If a child falls behind they are label and separated from the group. Those who excel are told to “dumb down” so they can follow the majority due to lack of special educational funding.menorah-animation

What to do

You are not powerless. You are not a “bad parent”. By homeschooling you are rebelling against the majority, traditional schoolers, and telling them that you want a quality, personalized education for your child because your child is not something that can be assembled on a factory line. They are unique and one-of-a-kind. No-one in this world can replace them. Despite what traditional school will teach them. You, too, must continue the fight to find new ways to make homeschooling successful. To put aside your fear of failing and face that fear with the understanding you might fail, but you will never fail your child. Is your child able to talk and communicate with others? Then you have not failed. You are teaching them the life skills they need to know and when they are ready to know it. When they are struggling, you step back. When they are excited, you help them run with it. Decrease your fear by stop being afraid of failing. Failing is what helps us grow. It helps us to see what works for our child and what doesn’t.

Share with me and others, what is your biggest fear in homeschooling?

For me, its that my son will want to stop because I have see the progress that he has made since we started homeschooling and I fear he may want to return to traditional schooling one day.

Comment below with what your biggest homeschooling fear is.

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