I had researched homeschooling and prayed about it and even though I wasn’t sure I could do it, I decided to try it. My oldest was just a preschooler. How hard could it be? I thought.
Turns out it was a real challenge. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the education I needed. I had a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and I had already decided that staying home was the best choice for my family. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a supportive husband. He was all for me homeschooling. Finances weren’t the problem either.
The Problem with Homeschooling in a House in CHAOS
The problem was that I couldn’t stay on top of the laundry. I never knew what was for dinner. I was exhausted from staying up late and waking to crying kids. As a result, I was short-tempered as I tried to teach. I never got the teaching time in that I thought I would. I lived in fear of someone coming over, seeing the shambles my house was in, and telling me I had no business homeschooling. I struggled to even find time to shower, let alone do any kind of cute craft project I thought I would be doing with my kids.
I realized I didn’t have what it took to homeschool. I certainly didn’t have the organizing genes I needed to have any more kids. I was in a pretty discouraged state when a friend mentioned FLYLady’s emails.
FLYing Saved Our Homeschool
The advice I got when I signed up for FLYLady’s emails was such common sense. I needed routines, but I was doing everything haphazardly. I suppose I thought that’s what homeschooling was—freedom from routines. The truth was I was enslaved to depressing disorder because I didn’t have them.
I was so overwhelmed and desperate when I started learning to FLY that I followed Marla’s routines to the letter—even though she wasn’t a homeschooling mother of three. I even took a bath at night like she did, though that wasn’t my habit.
I quickly realized that being too perfectionistic could enslave me just as much as my willy-nilly ways. I focused on a few aspects of my routines. I cleaned my sink each night after dinner and loaded and ran the dishwasher. I can’t even explain how powerful that was for me! Every morning I could get up to a clean kitchen sink, free of last night’s dishes. I could have my three-year-old help me unload the clean dishes. Somehow there was peace in my home because my sink was clean.
I started showering every morning and got dressed in attractive clothes, including shoes. My family started asking me where I was going because I looked so nice. This habit gave me more energy to get things done and I felt better about myself than I had in years. I realized that I could do anything for 15 minutes! I started using my timer to declutter, have my kids do chores, and even to do school.
Before long I was convinced that I wasn’t a homeschooling failure after all. I believed I could do it! In fact, I was so encouraged that I believed I could handle a bigger family. I continued FLYing my way through homeschooling six children.
Homeschool FLYing Made Easier
While the routines and habits I learned from FLYLady have been invaluable to me the past 16 years, I found myself wanting more. I still struggled in some areas. I wanted missions that were specific to homeschoolers—missions like researching curriculum, organizing school supplies, and preparing used curriculum for sale. I wanted to prepare all those fun seasonal activities for our homeschool ahead of time, instead of realizing that I had once again waited too long and missed out. I knew I could save time, money, and my sanity if I just had a plan, but I couldn’t find one.
So I created my own. The Organized Homeschool Life is the tool that complements FLYLady’s Homeschool Control Journal, reminders, and missions. In just 15 minutes a day, you’ll be on track to get your whole homeschool life organized—not just your schoolroom.
The missions that are already organized into calendars make homeschool FLYing easy! I would love to have you join me in organizing your life through homeschool FLYing this year. For more homeschool FLYing tips, listen to my interview with the FLYLady on The Homeschool Sanity Show.
Dr. Melanie Wilson is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six. She wrote an article about how FLYing changed her life for Woman’s Day magazine in 2002. She is the author of So You’re Not Wonder Woman, The Organized Homeschool Life, and the Psychowith6 blog. Connect with her at Homeschool Sanity on Facebook.