I like to document our daily schedules and routines every so often because life changes quickly and it is fun to go back and read these posts and remember what life was like “back then”.
Here is what our daily routine looked like from January to April 2017. As I write this, things are shifting here and there in our routines according to the needs of each child, so I wanted to go ahead and document what life was like with a 7-year-old, 5-year-old, 2-yr-old and a baby during the Winter and Spring of 2017.
Little Bug is the early bird of the family. Now that she is seven years old, she wakes up at around 6:30/7am (I am not sure exactly what time she is up because I am NOT up that hour!) and reads until she hears me up a little before 7:30am. I get up with just enough time to get dressed and make Beau’s morning bottle before getting him up at 7:30am.
This early morning time was my time with Beau. When he first came home, I did skin-to-skin with him every morning at that time for the first 6 weeks he was home. While he drank his bottle, I would read the Bible through the YouVersion app which will read aloud to you! I LOVE that app. After Beau finished his bottle, I read him a few books before getting him dressed for the day. Around 8:15am, he went into his pack n play for half an hour of Independent Playtime.
In order to give me this precious time with Beau, Dave started getting the older three children up in the mornings and getting them breakfast. He would often make me breakfast too! While the children were eating and doing their Morning Chores, I would eat and do my Morning Chores too which usually consisted of starting laundry if it’s a laundry day (I do laundry 2-3 days a week) and doing anything else I needed to do before the day really got started.
After breakfast all four children would play together in the living room while I finished up my Morning Chores and cleaned up from breakfast. I would love to say they all played lovingly together every single morning, but more often than not, I was also a referee during this time! And then, there were the mornings where, if only for a brief moment in time, they all four would be playing sweetly together and I would soak in the sweetness as I was scrubbing oatmeal off bowls and watching them play together.
9:00am was always my goal time to start school. First, I would put Beau down for his nap at 9am. Then, the girls would start their Copywork and handwriting while I took Sarge into his bedroom to read to him. Once the girls finished their Copywork they were to use the bathroom and then read books while they waited on me to finish reading with Sarge. After I read to Sarge, he would immediately go into his pack n play for his 60 minute Room Time!
Once Beau was down for his nap and Sarge was in Room Time, it was time to start school with the girls. We always begin by reading the Bible, going over our monthly memory verse and praying together. If it had been a harried morning, this was a great way to calm everyone (mostly me!) down and refocus.
After Bible time, it was time for CLE Math with Little Bug. Sweet Pea would get started on her Independent Work which consisted of language arts and math activities that she could work on on her own. Little Bug and I would do one CLE Math lesson and then we would move right into her All About Reading Level 2 lesson (and then All About Spelling once she had finished AAR2) followed by a First Language Lesson. She would take a short break water and/or bathroom break whenever she needed one, but we would finish all of that in under an hour.
When I was finished with one-on-one teaching time with Little Bug, it would be time to do Kindergarten with Sweet Pea. At first we were working through Confessions of a Homeschooler’s K4/5 Kindergarten curriculum and when Sweet Pea finished that, she started CLE’s Kindergarten II curriculum. Little Bug would finish up her math work. When Sarge’s timer would go off after his 60 minute Room Time, Little Bug would go get him and bring him to the dining room.
And this is when things got really interesting as there would be a 2-year-old in the mix while trying to teach two older children! However, having that solid 60 minutes of instruction time without a toddler underfoot is key to our homeschool success. Room Time is my number one strategy to use to school older children while managing a toddler! By that time, the bulk of everything was done and we were just finishing up.
I would strap Sarge into his highchair and he would have “Table Time”. This worked like a charm (most days) because he saw his big sisters working at the table and Sarge never wants to be left out and he thinks he can do anything they do. Most days, 10-15 minutes of table time activities allowed me to finish school with both girls by around 10:30am. Sarge enjoyed doing puzzles, animal magnets, coloring, playing with small quiet toys and doodling on dry erase handwriting books while he sat in his highchair.
We used to do our CC Memory Work review time right after Bible Time, but I found that Sarge enjoys CC Review time and would sit in his highchair and “participate” with us, so I moved CC Review time to the last 15-30ish minutes of our school morning!
Outside Time & Lunch
I aimed to be finished with school by 11am and then all the big kids would go outside to play (so I could have some time to breathe!). Once they were all outside, I would clean up from the homeschool tornado that always seemed to pass through our dinning room every day we did school. Then I would move laundry and get lunch prep started. Beau would get up from his nap at 11:30am and I would feed him his bottle. I aimed to have lunch ready by noon.
Walk in the Neighborhood
Once lunch was finished and cleaned up, we would head outside for a walk in the neighborhood. The boys would ride in the double stroller and the girls would walk or ride their bikes.
After our walk, we would come inside and get everyone ready for naptime. Diapers would need to be changed and I would have to get a TV show on. Beau drank a 8oz bottle before going down for his nap. Sarge was still up so in order for me to know he was safe while I was in the bedroom putting the baby down for his nap, I would turn on a TV show (usually Word World, Leap Frog or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) and strap Sarge into his highchair. The girls and Sarge would watch the show while I got Beau down for his nap. When Beau was down, I would turn the TV off and take Sarge back to his bedroom and get him down for his nap. Then, I would get Sweet Pea down for her nap by 2pm (yes, she is 5 but still needed a nap most every day!).
2-4pm is Rest Time in this house. The children need rest and I need rest! The first part of this time Little Bug does her Explode the Code and I help her if she needs help and then check over her work and make sure she understands the phonics rule in her lesson for the day. I also move the laundry along but I make sure I have down time while all the littles are down for their naps. After Little Bug does her Explode the Code she has the rest of naptime to read, create, play and pursue her interests.
The time after naptime and before dinner was probably the most varied part of our day. There were many things we did during this 1-1.5 hours before dinner. We would: play outside, play inside, go on a walk in the neighborhood, do a structured activity, clean up the house or fold and put away laundry. Beau got up from his nap at 4:30pm and would drink a small “snack” bottle and then join us in whatever we were doing at the time.
Dinner and Family Time
Dave is still the cook in this family. He gets off work around 5pm and walks from our home office (a corner in our bedroom!) to the kitchen and starts dinner prep. Once dinner was ready we would round up the troops and all sit down to eat dinner together. If there was time after dinner and before time to start bedtime routines, we would often go on a family walk together in the neighborhood. I liked to try and get as much of dinner cleaned up before going on a walk, but many times I would have to leave it and come back to it once all the kids were in bed. Sometimes, Dave would clean it up if I needed to go ahead and get Beau started on his bedtime routine. Dave and I are a wonderful team; we both know what needs to be done and we just do what needs to be done without really even having to discuss who is doing what!
Beau needed to be heading to the bathtub by 6 or 6:15pm. He loved his bath time! I would get him bathed, slathered in coconut oil (for his eczema), in his pjs and then feed him his bedtime bottle while rocking him in his bedroom. I loved that peaceful time with him. Often times he would be asleep when I would lay him in his crib for the night. During this time, Dave would be cleaning up the kitchen from dinner and then getting Sarge bathed. After Sarge was bathed, he would send Sweet Pea to take her bath and then go in to wash her hair if it was a hair-wash night. Little Bug would go shower in our shower.
Once baths were done, it would be time to brush teeth and hair and then we would try to have some time to read to everyone before bedtime. Dave would read to the girls and I would read to Sarge. A little after 7pm, I would take Sarge to his bedroom and get him to bed by 7:15pm and then at 7:30pm we would both put Sweet Pea to bed (she likes for us both to put her to bed). Little Bug had from 7:30-8:00 to read before she went to bed at 8pm.
I tell you, I love my children, but I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t know by 8pm all children would be in bed and the house would be quiet! Our house is LOUD…and for this introverted homeschool mom of 4, I am craving peace and quiet by 8pm every day so I can wake up and do what I love to do more than anything else all over again the next morning! Dave and I have the evening to finish any cleaning up we need to do, I always go around the entire living areas and tidy up so we start with a tidy house in the morning and then Dave and I have the rest of the evening together before we wake up and do it all over again the next morning!
I run a pretty tight ship around here. No…I don’t schedule our days down to the minute and allow the clock to run my life, but I do have very clear expectations of what we are doing and when and I find if we stick to these routines in place, life just runs so much smoother with four little ones to take care of. Young children thrive off routine and knowing what is coming next and what is expected of them. That is the foundation of my “schedule and routines”.
During this time, we have had a baby that takes two naps which greatly limits our ability to get out and about because the baby is sleeping over 5 hours during the day! Our family greatly values sleep and not just sleep but adequate amounts of sleep for every person. It is a small season because eventually Beau will take one nap and suddenly our mornings will be free again! (Actually, they will be free for the first time since Sarge was born in 2014, minus the 5 months Sarge was only taking 1 nap before Beau came home in December!) In the meantime, my children just know we will be home more than we will be out. They really don’t get antsy because I have numerous ways to keep them entertained here at home. The best way is by giving them nothing to do and making them find ways to entertain themselves by being creative! We also have our CC Community, playdates at our house (so the baby can still get his nap!) and I am very fortunate to have grandparents willing to stay with Beau while I take the older three on field trips and outings. Dave also works from home and we will often run somewhere leaving Dave working and Beau sleeping.
There are times where I feel run down and tired from being a homeschool mom of 4, but truly I wouldn’t trade these days for anything and it doesn’t take much for me to remember what a blessing these chaoticly organized days really are to me. One day I will be reading these posts in a completely quiet home because my four little birdies will have flown the nest. I just want to be found faithful in being their mother in these critical days of their upbringing and raise four children who will one day desire to trust the Lord and honor him with their lives, bringing glory to His name all the days of their lives. That right there is why I do what I am doing right now.