Two Generations of Homeschool FlyBabies

Dear FlyLady, and All You Lovely Homeschooling Flybabies,
Marla, you were my homeschool study skills tutor in high school, and ten years later you are the very same so I can teach my babies.I was a Flybaby as a homeschooler. In high school I was responsible for my school work and managing my time. My mother was BO. She could not imagine why I could work all day and get nothing done! I thought there was something -wrong- with me because I could not keep it together. It seemed so easy to her and to all the other responsible teenagers, but while I was smart and creative, I lacked the ability to make priorities, plan for success, and then attain those schooling/chores/work goals.When I was fifteen I found Flylady, subscribed to the emails, and decided to infiltrate the house unnoticed. I had “Zone” missions I did when no one was home. I started keeping “shining sinks” around the house–wiping the bathroom counter at night, putting the dishes in the dishwasher and wiping the kitchen sink, keeping my desk “shining” by having it always prepared for the serious business of school work. Flylady was the gentle voice in the chaos of “WHY CAN’T YOU BE CONSISTENT?” I started to build good habits and gain the control I needed to grow into an adult.Fast forward ten years. I am a homeschooling mother of three: two sweet school-aged munchkins and one precocious crawling infant. I am still a Flybaby.

When I have it together, the children can trust me. They don’t perpetually ask to do the next thing they need me to do. I am one step ahead of them. They feel secure. They don’t whine. They trust that MOM HAS GOT THIS. Even if I have days/weeks/months of battling my natural tendency to be inconsistent, I always remember “My Kids Need Mom to Be the Hero” and it brings me back to the gravity of bringing up these children.

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Flying while Homeschooling means 5 things to me. (I’m a Flybaby. I love lists.)

1. Be Ready for Tomorrow.
At the end of the day, prep for tomorrow. At the end of the school day, prep for the next school day. Sharpen pencils, ready the next worksheets, glance over lesson plans, PUT IT ALL AWAY.

2. End the school day.
By that I mean don’t let it linger without a ceremonious end. When the kids know “school is done I can play” it helps create the structure they need to freely use their minds to focus on the other important work of kids: play. For us, we say a closing prayer and tidy the classroom (5 minutes on the timer!). Older kids’ extra homework can be done after a break if need be. But there is a point that the school work should be done so that family time can be enjoyed by everyone. If a student is spending 8 hours in a seat struggling 5 days a week, it is time to reevaluate the curriculum level and the child’s learning approach.

3. Many hands make light work.
We pause our school day to do our chores, and then have recess. It is amazing what can get done in 10 minutes when you have six hands focusing on the same task! It is FUN to work with kids. Which brings me to:

4. You are not the maid.
Some homeschooling moms do most of the housework during the day because “The kids need time to study. Kids in the public school don’t do chores!” You are right. They don’t. They also don’t have a full-time paid janitor to pick up after them. To make the school run, the house to run. For the house to run, every person chips in. If you reflect positivity and ask in a way that respects the other person (even for the seventh time), you will be surprised how your children will follow your lead if you set the standard. Remember, USE YOUR TIMER! My kids knowing there is a Start and an End! They expect it and they LOVE it.

5. Teach the virtue of Attentiveness.
Being attentive to your surroundings can help you be a proactive, rather than reactive, person. If your child takes action without being asked (helping someone, picking up a book on the floor, doing something without being asked), praise them highly. And often, every time they do it. Tell them why you are proud of them for seeing something that needed to be done, and doing it. Encourage the quality gently in children who have trouble with this, some people just don’t notice. Love them through it, don’t condemn. And never, ever compare your children. Every child is precious and is worthy of our 100%. Remember, that is why we are homeschoolers!

Love,
Brandi N

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