Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our Daily Schedule

Until I tried to figure out how to upload a PDF document to a blog (so that it's downloadable for readers), I considered myself to be a relatively tech-savvy person. Now, humbled, I know that I am no such thing and am skipping the downloadable chart I made that my family uses (at least for now), and am instead posting our schedule in straight-up text. Even I should be able to handle that... (smile).

Might I just mention, as a precursor to the schedule below, that we almost never follow this exactly? I use it as a guide, but have worked very hard to let go of the guilt when it doesn't go quite this way everyday. We are part of a family- of human beings- so there is almost always someone or something that gets in the way. Still, over the past several years I've worked out a routine that works well for us most days, and have built up the tolerance for the days that just, well, don't.

Here it is...

Morning Routine (7:00 am-9:00 am):
No one gets out of bed until 7. This is one of my only "hard and fast" rules. (In fact, I bought this clock to make sure the kids know when it's OK to get out of bed.)
We get up, the kids play a bit while I check email, empty the dishwasher, check my calendar, start a load of laundry, get dressed for the day, and swish and swipe my upstairs bathroom. Ben lets the chickens and dog out.
We eat breakfast.
We all pitch in to get the kids dressed, with teeth brushed, and the kitchen put back in order.

Morning Chores (9:00 am -10:00 am):
I do all of my house cleaning in about an hour per day. I keep a schedule of which rooms I do on which days, and there is a list of high-use areas which get cleaned every day (as part of the evening routine, see below).

Here is what gets my attention each day of the week. If the area is already pretty clean (by some miracle), then I declutter/organize it:

Clean out van and diaper bag
Schoolroom and my office
Kitchen and
Living Room
Kids’ bedrooms;
Restock bathrooms
Our bedroom
Yard/Deck; water plants

Every day, our kids are presented with tasks which allow them to earn "commission." (We use Financial Peace, Jr.) These tasks include some things they do because they are part of our family, like making their beds (age appropriate standards, of course), and things they can do for cash, like vacuuming the living room and feeding the animals. During the chore time in our day, the kids do both- if they finish with their "guaranteed tasks" for the day then they are free to either play inside or outside until school time or do some other chores which will earn them money. Their choices change daily.

Morning School (10:00 am -11:30 am):
We do morning calendar binders (you can read more about that here) which include calendar, weather, and time management pieces, among others.
We read our Five In a Row book as a family on the couch, and complete the activities for the day together. I adapt these activities a lot so the younger kids can participate, or I provide time for them to use a playscape/other activity which relates to a book theme, while I work with older kid(s).

Free Pay and Lunch (11:30 am-1:00 pm):
This time is usually spent outside or at least doing gross motor skill development (Yoga videos or obstacle courses) on rainy or snowy days.
We eat lunch at some point during this time, typically around 12 or 12:30, and the kids continue to play while I clean up.

Afternoon School/Nap (1:00 pm- 3:00 pm):
Eleanor naps each day, and Ava naps most days during this time.
This is the more technical school time which requires more of my focused attention to lessons (and not on babies!). We do reading, writing, math, and French on a rotating schedule. If Ava is awake, she uses her workboxes while I work with Ben, and vice versa.

Snack and Afternoon Play (3:00 pm- 5:30 pm):
We eat snack when everyone wakes up (around 3:00 pm).
This time is generally reserved for free play outside, but if I have a specific "home-skill" to do then we may do that together. This includes cooking (we almost always bake bread together on Mondays during this time, for example), sewing, knitting, freezer cooking, etc.
Daddy is usually home by this time, so projects often include whatever he's up to: building something, tending the bees or chickens, some gardening task, etc. Otherwise, it's just plain play in the backyard, usually with the public-schooled neighborhood kids, who are usually home by this time. I sneak in a quick run about this time too, if Daddy is up for watching the kids. (Smile- I have a triple jogging stroller if he isn't.)

Dinner (5:30 pm- 7:00 pm):
We eat dinner as a family, and clean up. Usually while one parent picks up after the meal the other supervises bathtime, brushing teeth, and jammies. We also lay out our clothes for the next day, and our bags if we are going somewhere in the morning.

Bedtime (7:00 pm-7:30 pm):
We read stories as a family on the couch and just spend some time together as a family before bed. Sometimes this includes reading from a book, sometimes in means telling stories to one another or sharing with Daddy a school project from the day; on Fridays it means "family movie night". We do what strikes us.

Night Routine (7:30 pm - 9:30 pm):
I take a shower, and make sure the kitchen is cleaned (this is a room I mostly clean each night: counters, sink, dishes, floors...) and the downstairs bathroom has been swished and swiped.
Once everyone's clothes are laid out for the next day, we have "couple time." Sometimes this means just sitting in the same room with our computers on if we both have project we're working on, but other times it means we hold dinner until the kids are in bed and have a date at home, or even a movie.

Lights out (10:00 pm):
No matter what (unless of course a child needs us for some reason), we hit the lights and get some rest!

Some variations:
I did mention that this is *not* how things happen each and every day, right?

For example, on Wednesdays, since Daddy is home, we don't do any of this. Wednesday is our "weekend." We lounge, we take fun day trips, we repaint a room... just weekend stuff.

Likewise, Saturday we do school as usual, although sometimes we have a babysitter come in the morning (so Mommy can go grocery shopping in peace!), in which case we skip morning FIAR and only do "skill building" in the afternoon.

Sunday mornings we do church and then just come home and hang out, with no agenda at all, save a couple of what I consider to be "minor" chores. (As in, "if I get to them, great. If not, no biggie.")

See? It's all very fluid. I'm fairly certain that we don't ever get to Math 5 days per week, for example. As long as we're hitting our benchmarks, that's OK with me. If we aren't for some reason then I skip other activities for a while to focus on whatever it is that needs our attention. We make it work.

A couple of things that really help to make things run smoothly around here: we do use this routine. It isn't perfect, but the kids know generally what to expect at each point during the day, so there is minimal fuss when something creeps up on the schedule that they'd rather avoid. Also, our kids don't get "screen time" during the week (that means videos, computer or phone games- we don't have TV at all). This makes fights about those types of things non-existent, and it makes exceptions to the rule very intriguing. Also, the kids organize their day to some extent as part of their morning binder work. I'll share more on that in another post, but the essence is that I provide them with Velcro tabs which enumerate all the tasks that need to be done during the day, and they are allowed to put them in whatever order they'd like, within reason. Having a voice really helps to make the entire day run smoothly... or at least, smoother than it might otherwise.

What makes your family "work" on a weekly basis? Do you have tricks or non-negotiable items?

This post is linked up to I Can Teach My Child!


  1. Nichole - HollandMay 7, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Great job - you are an inspiration.

    1. Nichole, thanks so much for the kind words. I'm going to remember them next time I'm struggling to find time in the day to just brush my teeth! :)

  2. I just found your blog, and I'm loving it! I'm trying to develop a routine for my family much like yours, but it's been difficult (my boys are 2 and 1 and my husband works an on-call/late yeah...tough sometimes), so finding your blog has been a huge help. Thank you! I grew up "simply," and honestly think it is the best way. My husband's family was a total opposite with cable and video games and all that jazz, so it's been a little interesting ;) Thanks for all the great posts!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I struggled for while when I first started staying home with the kids- it took a while of living with chaos for some order to emerge, but when I started to recognize our natural patterns it became really very easy to set up a routine. My husband works weird hours as well, so I had to come up with a routine that included him if he was home, but that I could do on my own if he wasn't. The kids needed the stability of common expectations no matter which parent was there with them. (Plus, it makes it that much more special when you break out of the routine!) Good luck!

  3. Just found your blog as well through pinterest. Great ideas and I love your attitude!

    1. Thanks, Adrienn. I hope you come back again soon!

  4. I happened upon your blog while looking for homeschool lessons. Thank you for sharing your tips and schedules :)



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