All three women, who happen to live on the same street, left
their busy careers to home school their children.
Each cited a variety of reasons for leaving careers they loved,
and discussed different emotions they felt after making the
‘Justify my value’
“I had a real identity crisis at first. My identity was gone,”
said Coss, who put her license in escrow and will have to prove she
has kept up her skills in order to reactivate it. “I loved being a
Because of her belief that society doesn’t always appreciate the
value of stay-at-home mothers or those who home school, she said she
often identified herself as a doctor.
“I felt that I had to justify my value,” she explained. “I still
do it, especially when I’m around other doctors. I shouldn’t need to
feel that way, but I do.”
Coss is around other doctors often because her husband, Steven,
is also a physician.
“He’s been my biggest fan,” Susan said.
Steven said he initially was surprised by his wife’s decision to
home school five years ago, when the family lived in Florida,
because she had never discussed the idea.
Their eldest daughter, Catherine, was scheduled to start first
grade. Susan had spent the last eight months getting her Florida
medical license and was set to return to work. She also holds
licenses in California and Ohio. The family made several moves over
the years as both Steven and Susan began their medical careers in
“Two weeks before school started, I was convicted that I was
going to home school. God wanted me to do this,” she said. “I saw it
as a calling.”
She said that the poor reputation of Florida’s school system
coupled with her desire to teach the children about Jesus Christ and
the Bible made her conviction stronger.
Now living in Jackson Township where she said the schools are
“great,” Susan continues homeschooling Catherine, who is now 11,
along with Jennifer, 8, and Steven Jr., 7, for religious reasons.
While she misses her practice at times, she said she is happy
with her decision.
“I miss it when I’m around other physicians — that camaraderie,
the mental stimulation of it — but, I don’t feel like I am
“I’m blessed in ways I hadn’t anticipated,” she said. She has
relearned history and other subjects she had forgotten as she taught
her children every day. She also acknowledges being fortunate to be
able to afford staying home.
“There are a lot of people who are making true sacrifices in
order to homeschool,” she said.
Susan said that she replaces the mentally challenging aspects of
being a doctor by challenging herself in other ways.
“If you have a desire to learn, there will always be a
challenge,” she said.
Her latest “self project” was a six-week speed-reading course at
the Summit County Library. It was a way to keep up with the
children’s reading assignments.
Across the street, Colleen Parker, a former registered nurse,
homeschools her youngest son of three, Reed, while his two older
brothers attend Heritage Christian School. Seth, a sophomore, and
Quinn, an eighth-grader, were both homeschooled through the seventh
The transition to high school went well, she said, with one
exception. They needed to learn to raise their hand before speaking.
For Parker, the decision to homeschool was also based on her
desire to teach religion and shape her boys’ characters. Her husband
Steve, a local dentist, needed convincing.
“I honestly prayed about it,” she said. “I said, ‘Please make me
know I can do this and change my husband’s heart.’ ”
She continued, “One day he said he thought we should try it.”
She cut her nursing hours to part-time after her second son was
born, often working a 3 to 11 p.m. shift. When she became pregnant
with her third and was homeschooling her oldest, she decided to give
up her nursing career altogether.
“I felt like I was being torn, “ she explained. “Homeschooling
was hard. I was dragging myself off to work. It was a hard decision,
but I knew it was the right one.”
Ten years later, Parker said she still misses her career and
anticipates returning in a few years with great excitement.
“Honestly, there are times when I wish I didn’t do what I do,”
she said. “But I know what I’m doing here is so good and important.
It overrides the drive to be in the workplace.”
“You don’t get a lot of praise at home,” she went on to say. “But
through the years those things have become less and less important.
I gain a lot of satisfaction doing what I do.”
Recently, Parker was asked to coach a soccer team and she had
doubts about whether she should try it. The encouragement she
received from her son Seth was worth more than a paycheck.
“He said, ‘Mom, you could do that. You’re a good teacher.’ ”
Parker said. “I felt good about that.”
As vice president of new products for Fitness Quest, a
direct-response marketing company based in Canton, Diane McAndrew
enjoyed a jet-set life of traveling abroad and meeting new people.
Later, after her three children were born, she quit in order to
spend more time with them. She started her own consulting business
from home, which still involved long hours and travel.
By the time her oldest, Gabrielle, now 11, was ready to begin
second grade, McAndrew had spent two years of contemplating the
“I realized the years go by and soon they’d be gone,” she said.
“I’d be able to have a direct influence on their lives by
She now homeschools 9-year-old Michael and 7-year-old Christian
along with Gabrielle. Her husband Michael is president of a
wholesale distribution company.
McAndrew said she initially missed the lifestyle she had before
homeschooling took over, but she has no regrets.
“It was the right decision for me,” she said, who adds that she
has many friends who do a great job of juggling both career and
kids. “It’s a personal decision.”
As are the other two families, the McAndrews are living with
their decision to homeschool year by year. They keep their children
socially active with outside music lessons, sports, art, and field
trips with other homeschooled children. McAndrew said her children
have the option of going to school, but are happy at home for now.
Like most parents, she said she has little time for herself, but
“before long those days will be gone.”
“I didn’t think I could be fulfilled, but my days are very full —
even more hectic than before,” McAndrew said.
She said she hopes that by sharing her experience, other women
who may be contemplating the move from job to homeschooling may be
“I would have loved the assurance,” she said. “It’s not for
everyone, but you can be fulfilled and you can be happy and