Let me check my schedule: Create a workout parody video. CHECK
Who’s having fun?! We are!? (Hint: I schedule fun into my week.)
I schedule Saturdays for playing and Whew! Just finished creating a silly work-out video with my family. We dressed up and I donned some bright pink lipstick. Blue tights, overlaid with my swimsuit. Nothing like a little family fun to get the day going.
“Wow,” you say, “Tasha’s family is so cool. I wish I could be as cool as her.” Well, don’t let me fool you. We completely trashed the house and had cheerios for breakfast all week, pre-packaged chicken nuggets three days in a row because my mind has been so overwhelmed with I-don’t-even-know that I couldn’t think past the next five minutes and then it was time for another meal… and another meal. What is it with these people!? Didn’t I just feed them? I don’t know what day it is anymore. My mom’s birthday was on the 17th and I almost missed it because I was a week behind (thought it was only April 11th) **Face Palm**
I have bad days and good days, BUT I have a daily routine that keeps me mostly sane during this quarantine.
The only way I have survived is maintaining my schedule. Do you have one? Years ago I scoured the internet looking for a Stay-At-Home-Mom routine and didn’t find one I liked. So I made up my own. It morphs through the years, each new kid and season changes it.
Morning Routine and Homeschool Life
The ideal perfect morning would look like this, but more often than not I crawl out of bed at 7 because the baby’s still not sleeping through the night:
5:30 AM Wake // Pray // Meditate on scripture // Stretch
6:00 AM Make bed // Shower // Dress
6:15 AM Drink water // Put (frozen or premade) breakfast in oven // Read // Study
6:45 AM Empty dishwasher // Start laundry // Set out breakfast
7:00 AM Wake kids // Help the littles with Morning List
Too often I let my day start here.
Kids’ Morning List: Make Bed, Get Dressed, PJs Away, Diaper in Trash, Drink Water, Go Potty, Fix Hair, Read Daily Verse, Take Care of Pets. (This list is an anchor and must be done before breakfast.)
7:15 AM Breakfast and Tidy Kitchen (Kids Help: Clear the Table, Wipe the Table, Sweep the Floor.)
8:00 AM House Blessings (Each kid has a separate daily chore. Gather laundry from all over the house, empty trash, sweep bathroom), Extra Daily Chore, (This will be anything that needs done to maintain the home such as wiping the mirror in the playroom, dusting the piano, vacuuming around the furniture, watering plants, sweeping the entry, lining up shoes, etc. We skip this when breakfast runs late.)
8:30 AM Walk Outside, Online Workout, or movement of some kind. (If nothing else we pretend to be a variety of animals. I have a 7, 5, and 3 year old, so they like that, and we have to keep moving throughout the day because, you know, kids and energy.)
9:00 AM Morning Time // School
Morning Time with the Kids, My Favorite!
I learned this term from A Humble Place, but it is a Charlotte Mason homeschooling idea. This is the heart of what is most valuable in our home education. Not worksheets and tests and homework, but singing, and poetry, and beautiful ideas.
Our Morning Time can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a full hour depending on the moods of the kids and what we have going on for the day and if we started on time. I won’t go into much detail, but this is bullet points of what we cover; if short on time, we don’t do everything listed:
Pray for God to speak to us and bless our day
Bible story or scripture to think about
Song from our Hymnal: We sing all the verses to the same hymn for an entire month
Review one or three other hymns from previous months
More Singing: American Folk songs, silly songs, National Anthem
(I excuse myself to put the baby down for a nap right around here, I don’t know what they do while I’m gone for 10 minutes, but they’re all still alive in the living room or on the couch when I get back.)
Pledge of Allegiance
Poetry: We love poetry! This is a lovely book: Favorite Poems Old and New, Selected for boys and girls by Helen Farris. We read 1-5 a day depending on how we feel. I ask, “Shall I stop or read another?” The answer is usually, “More!” I pick one that I like and read it every day for the month along with the dailies. By the end of the month the kids are reciting it with me. We have found many poets we love, Carl Sandburg and Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a couple.
Art Appreciation. We look at prints of famous paintings. We don’t worry about educating ourselves on the style or anything. I just show them the picture and talk about what we see and what we like. “If you were in this picture, what would you be doing?” “What are they doing here?” “What do you suppose he is thinking about?” “Do you think she is sad?” (You can buy many of the prints here. So far Peter Bruegel the Elder is our favorite. Who knew!?)
Nursery Rhymes. Great for little guys and surprisingly still applicable through elementary. I love watching my three-year-old learning along with the 2nd grader. I often find them reciting these while they play through-out the days.
We close with the Lord’s Prayer, sing the Doxology, and a simple Benediction, “May the Lord be with you.” And we answer each other, “And also with you!” (My boy used to say, “May the Yord be wif me.” It was lovely.)
After our official Morning Time is over, the youngest wanders off the to play with cars and little animals while I read a chapter book. I find narrative stories that are engaging, yet not dumbed down in the least. A.A. Milne’s “Winne the Pooh” we have read multiple times. Currently we’re reading Richard of Jamestown by James Otis. We’ve read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Chronicles of Narnia. If we are short on time I’ll skip this because Dad will read to them in the evenings, too.
I do 10-ish minutes of a reading lesson with the Kindergartener out of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Engelmann. This will take us much longer than 100 days because we do the same lesson two or even three days in a row because she was getting frustrated. Slowing it down has been amazing for her confidence. She is now excited to see progress instead of discouraged when it was difficult. With the 2nd grader we’re using McGuffy’s Eclectic Reader Series a lesson a day, then I assign copy work to both of them. Copy work is often short. We desire a few perfectly written words rather than a whole page of sloppy handwriting. My kids have surprisingly neat handwriting.
The Kindergartener is done with school for the day. The 2nd grader has math practice, or learning new math skills; he’s going through the Math-It packet (Elmer Brooks), and The Complete Book of Math Grades 1-2 (School Specialty Publishing), he looks up a word in the dictionary and we read the definition together, finds a country on the globe and then finds the same country on our large wall map. We then talk about how we could get there from Nebraska. Those things are listed on his schedule; he can complete many of them on his own.
If you’re looking for some simple curriculum that invites family participation, memorizing scripture AND serving your community, I highly recommend Laura’s ebook Learn Your Letters Learn to Serve. This is INCLUDED with your club membership! (Everyone cheers!!)
We are often done by 10:30 AM. The kids have free time until lunch. They find all sorts of things to do on their own. (See, and here you thought my kids stuck to a boring schedule all day long.) They have access to craft supplies where they make paper puppets on popsicle sticks and put on shows, draw comic book-style scenes, draw pictures, my girl will often copy her reading lesson to show it off to Dad, they have train sets and blocks and tents, they build towers and dress up and generally make messes everywhere. If it’s nice they run around outside.
I do a variety of things. I may play on my phone, (I know, I know…Instagram is sucking my brain out.), meal prep, do a special project with one of the kids, sew something, read books, call my sisters, clean the bathrooms or other chores, go outside and check on my plum trees (THEY HAVE BUDS THIS YEAR!!), and put lunch in the oven.
11:30 AM Wake up the baby from his nap. Read to him, snuggle, and play.
12:00 Dad comes up from his basement cave where he’s working from home and we eat lunch.
All help tidy the kitchen, switch laundry (2nd grader’s chore), get ready to go outside.
Family walk or outside time (if the weather allows)
2:00 PM Nap time for baby, quiet time in separate rooms for everyone else. They are not allowed to talk to me or each other until 3:00. The 3 year old usually falls asleep in my bed. I don’t know what the 5 year old does, but she stays in her room with dolls and books and things. The 7 year old plays Legos and looks at picture books and draws in his room.
Finally, I check-out from mom-life in whichever room is the cleanest and causes the least amount of stress, and get incredibly snippy if anyone tries to talk to me during this time. With my laptop I sit and write and write and write. I blog (like now), but mostly I am attempting to write a novel. It’s been three years in the making but I am determined to finish it this year… #goals. I’ll keep you up to date if I ever finish. Because it’s on the schedule, I’m much more likely to do it.
If I absolutely don’t feel like writing, I read something I want to read and eat a yummy snack that I don’t share with anybody.
3:00 PM The bigger kids are allowed to come out of their rooms and play quietly in the house or go outside. The younger two generally sleep longer.
4:00 PM I close the laptop and come out of hiding. Wake the baby if he’s still sleeping. Dad joins us and we play outside, fold laundry, work on a home project together, grocery shop, meal prep, etc.
5:00 PM Dinner and kitchen clean up.
6:00 PM Family time. House clean-up, outside time, reading books, listen to music and play, dream and draw plans of the house we’re going to build someday, discuss important things like the most deadly animal in the world: Tiger or Mosquito, I might sew something, paint pictures, kids take baths, go on walks, etc. If I don’t schedule this time in, we miss it! This is my favorite part of the quarantine: Daddy is home every evening.
6:30 Baby is ready for bedtime routine and he’s asleep by 7:00
7:00 Dad puts the older three to bed. I finish cleaning the kitchen, fold laundry, bring the laptop back out to work some more, sew something, paint something, waste more time on my phone.
8:00 Lights out for the bigger kids
9-10: Lights out for me. And up again at midnight and 3 AM with the baby.
OKAY!!! That’s the basic outline of our day. Not every day goes by this schedule exactly. But the framework has SAVED my kids and me. They know what to expect, and Dad knows what to expect. They don’t have to ask me “Can I go outside?” “When is lunch?” “Am I done with school?” The answer is on the schedule.
What keeps you grounded?
Do you have a schedule or routine? Does your family know what to expect each day? Do they know what’s expected of them? This schedule has been a life-saver, but it’s been through many transformations. It will look differently this summer and next fall when Dad goes back to work.
Tell me, how is your day planned out?
Tasha, friend of Laura is a stay-at-homeschool-mom to four kids. When she’s not writing about money and birthdays and how to survive anything, she can be found Instagramming for Laura @heavenlyhomemaker, producing something from a variety of creative hobbies, sneaking treats she doesn’t want to share with her family, and repurposing old shirts into toddler dresses. She and her family recently bought two-acres of prairie and are dreaming of a little house to build on it.