With some regularity I will have requests for me to share our schedule. I am always a bit hesitant since I certainly don't want to burden or discourage anyone. And, to be quite honest, our schedule is much more "free-spirited" than it was in years past. There were many years when I had a large number of "little ones" that it worked best for me to schedule the whole day, in half-hour increments. That way I could be sure that (in theory at least) each child was "profitably occupied." And this worked really well for us for a long time.
At this point though, our youngest is 5 (!! How did *that* happen?!!) so this different season called for a change. My husband Tom is a policeman and for many years has worked an evening shift. This has been perfect for us, as a homeschooling family, since the children get to see/spend time with their father all morning long.
Tom's "love language" is quality time, so almost every day he would ask me to sit and visit with him about this or that. This proved to be a challenge for me as I wanted to complete my responsibilities teaching the children, etc, but Tom wanted to have a leisurely visit! To honor him I dropped the schedule and now simply work my way down a "most important things first" list. That way I can be more relaxed about the changes in plans which happen a lot with Tom.
On to my "Day in the Life" last Thursday!
Thursday starts very early for me with a 4:45 wake-up call for my master's swim class. Oh! It is hard to get out of my warm bed so early in the morning. For many years I would be up at night with little ones, but that never seemed to be much of a burden~ it was so cozy to whisk them up and back to my warm bed with me. That was the only time during the day when I didn't have to "share" my babies with anyone else!
A screenshot of my iPhone alarm...
Sleepy dogs curled up together.... as the wood stove cools off overnight the dogs move from the stove to this little carpet. Poor "Dude" our Great Dane was neutered on Wednesday... thus the "cone of shame."
One of the reasons that I get up at 4:45 is so I can spend some time in God's Word to start my day...
Then I head out the door to the YMCA where we swim. A peek through the door to the pool area...
I swim from 5:30 til 7:00 am which works out great since 7am is pretty much when everything starts rollin' here at home. Most mornings we have granola and milk or yogurt here, but today I wanted to make pancakes~ yummy! (just realized that I haven't ever posted our recipe for gluten-free pancakes~ they are pretty good, if I do say so myself! I'll try to get that written up here soon)
While I'm cooking pancakes and straightening up the kitchen, the older children are outside taking care of our animals. We live on a little six acre farm and have Nubian dairy goats (babies due soon~ yay!), chickens, rabbits and even a duck.
We aren't getting very much milk right now since our does are due to freshen soon, but still Jake has a bit of milk to strain and ice down each morning.
Once we finish breakfast and clean up, the older children begin their school work independently, and I begin school with the younger boys. First we work on scripture memory (the book of Ephesians right now), then we do the subjects that we can all work on together, like science and english. You can check out my post on "How We Homeschool" for particulars on the curriculums that we like to use, if you are interested.
A new daily activity that we have recently begun is studying geography each day by checking out the most recent "24 Hours in Pictures", then finding the location for each photo on Google Maps. This has been *so* fun~ really making a dry subject like geography come alive, plus giving me many opportunities to touch on current world events with the boys as well. I am seriously shocked how quickly they have learned where things are this way. Highly recommended activity!
Once we finish our group activities I begin working on reading with each of the boys individually. The boys who aren't actually reading with me will work on their math lesson using the computer. We also require the children to run or bike each day for their PE... so on warmer days they will sometimes go out back to get their running done while I read with someone else.
Dan, who isn't quite old enough to use Teaching Textbooks on the computer for math, works with me at the counter in our front room.
I sometimes let Timmy work on a reading app on my iPad during this time. The Bob Books app is pretty fun for him.
While I continued to work on school with the younger boys, Tom and Jake left to find a part to repair a lawn mower and a part for our furnace. I *love* it that the boys have so many opportunities to work on projects with Tom... these things simply wouldn't happen if he weren't home during the day and if I couldn't be flexible with their schedule. We do still require them to complete their school assignments, but I think these practical opportunities to learn lawn mower or furnace repair are extremely valuable.
A small detour to show you my "hexies"... aren't they coming along nicely?
Throughout the morning as I have small breaks working with the younger boys, I take a few minutes to work on laundry. The girls like to wash their own clothes but I pretty much wash all of the boys clothes, plus Tom and I's clothes~ eight boys' clothes living here on our little (at times very muddy!) farm can add up to a lot of laundry!
Here's my laundry method: the children are responsible for bringing all of the dirty laundry down to the laundry room. I sort the clothes by color and wash/dry them. As soon as the clothes are dry I hang any pants or nice shirts that would wrinkle and sort the rest into laundry baskets, one for each child. I don't fold them, just sort them. I have a label next to each laundry basket with the name of that child and the clothing size that they are currently wearing, just in case anyone else ends up wanting to help with the sorting! Could happen you know?!!
The boys don't have dressers in their bedrooms any more.... we found that they were mostly running downstairs each morning to get their clothes anyway. Eliminating the dressers also eliminated messy drawers and gave them more room in their bedrooms as well!
While I am downstairs I like to peek at the little lettuce seedlings that are up under lights. Yay for green! I've got a bunch more seeds to start in the next few weeks~ *so* excited for spring here!
I also started a new batch of bread during the morning. I typically make 5 loaves of whole wheat bread at a time and, depending on our menu, I repeat that every day or every other day. I *love* making bread and the smell of bread baking in our home! mmmmmm......
Timmy was helping me here....
I finished working with the younger boys by noon and got them started on lunch. At this point I forgot to continue taking pictures for a while... I changed and drove a few blocks to pick up my friend Jenny so we could get a quick 4 mile run in. She has been running longer than me, so I always feel like I am holding her up, but she assures me that she doesn't mind at all. I'm always *so* glad that I ran, once I'm done, that is! We did have fun together though... running with a friend is a great way to build a friendship. She talks and I listen and pant. It works. ; )
Once I finished running I took a quick shower and headed out to a doctor's appointment.
And them home to complete dinner preparations. On the menu this night: Oven-fried chicken.... gluten free! Yummy! That's another recipe that I'll try to post soon.
Most days Tom will leave for work about now... his schedule varies. That's why when we run together, it will usually be over lunch. Today was his day off this week though, so we got to have him home for dinner.
On a "normal" afternoon I would also grade/check off the older children's homework. At the beginning of each week I give each of them a printed page listing their assignments for the week so they know exactly what to do. My goal is to grade their work daily so they get immediate feedback about how they're doing. That didn't happen today though since I had a doctor's appointment and that's ok, we'll simply get caught up on grading the next day.
Miss Abbie setting the table....
A little laughing and horsing around during dinner,
and some after-dinner clean up. I thought our Corgi Jasper was so cute looking up at Tom and Gabriel, hoping that something would fall.....
And there you have it... a somewhat semi-normal day in our busy household!