Listen to the podcast HERE!
My life runs on routine. I don’t even have to think very hard to tell you what a typical day looks like for me because there is an order to it, and a lot of my day runs on autopilot because I’ve set it up that way – less for me to think about, more time for me to spend doing the things I love and being with the people I love!
I outline all of this in my book Home Management for the Homeschool Mom, but this post isn’t about that. It’s about what my typical day looks like, so you can see the natural flow of my day. You will see that I am not superwoman, I’ve simply put some things in place that make my day run as smoothly as possible – and even then, it’s never smooth. One thing we have to realize as moms is that a smooth day isn’t one without kinks or troubles – it is a day without a mommy meltdown from the stress that comes from living in frenzy and chaos.
I wake up between 8-9 am. Yes, for some of you reading this, that is LATE, and I even find myself hesitant to divulge that information. But, keep in mind – I don’t have animals to care for and I do not get up before my children, and that is approximately when they get up.
I don’t get up before the children because no matter how early I get up, they always match my waking up, so rising earlier to find quiet time or get things done before they wake up doesn’t work for me. I am also a night owl (as are most of my children), so I’ve embraced it, and choose to sleep later so I can go to bed later.
For the past 12 years, I have had a baby waking up with me, so my first job is to get the baby changed and fed. I will then either grab some breakfast for myself or go get ready for the day, leaving the baby in the high chair with some toys and siblings to pick up every toy she drops (super fun game!), or put her on the floor to play with siblings crowded around her jabbering at her.
This is also where my Morning QuickList comes in. My QuickList is a short To-Do list for morning, afternoon, and evening that keeps me on track with simple tasks that I feel have to be done no matter what kind of day I’ve had. They are not difficult, but they are necessary. You can get your own QuickList by clicking HERE!
I make my bed, gather the laundry from my room and the hallway, make sure the bathroom is ready for the day, and head back to the kitchen to take my vitamins, and get my day planned out, which involves looking at and adding to the to-do list I started the night before, plus checking my Google calendar. I also prod the children along in their morning chores. The older 2 girls take turns – one day on, one day off – being the toddler’s “buddy.” They help her brush teeth, get dressed, and make sure she gets whatever she needs throughout the day. This is a safeguard for me because I cannot be everywhere at once. If the toddler should need something, I want to know that someone can help her out, and it is easier for me to assign that “helping out” to a specific person for the day. Most everyone else can help themselves, except the baby, who is my responsibility. Sometimes I also assign someone to the 4 year old to help him out.
During this time frame, my oldest son (aged 19) heads to college or work. During the school year, he is in and out all day long.
Around 10 am, everything is in place for us to start school. It’s almost like I have an internal clock. I can start WAY early in the day and STILL it is 10 am before I’m ready to start school.
I call everyone to the living room and I read to them from whatever Story Bible we are currently using. Right now, that is The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos:
We usually have 1-2 other read alouds during this time. Currently, they are –
and Grandpa’s Box
After our Read Aloud time, my older kids (ages 11, 12, 16) head to do their work, and my little boys (ages 4, 6, 8) head to the dining room table with their workbooks. The stackers with their work are kept in a corner of the dining room.
The older kids take turns working on our two laptops at the bar and working from the other resources that make up their school day either at the table or in their rooms. (I will have a curriculum post very soon for you!) I check in with them periodically to make sure they are doing well and getting through all of their work.
The 4 year old isn’t capable of doing “real” school at this point, but I did buy him the Rod & Staff ABC Series to give him something “schoolish” to do because he was asking. He needs a lot to keep him busy, and I am revamping our Toddler Box concept and adding in some more age and developmentally appropriate activities for him to keep him busy. (I will be talking more about the NEW way I will be handling his schooling very soon!)
While the olders work, I go to the table to check on the youngers. The boys usually start their handwriting on their own while I work with the 4 year old. I can then focus on working with the boys on their Phonics and Math. I use my Traveler’s Journal to keep notes of what we do and things I need to keep in mind for the future.
As it gets closer to noon, Mercy usually needs a nap, so I take a look around to see which of the older kids is finished with their work or has a break, and I designate them the lunch helper while I put Mercy down. I don’t have a daily designated lunch helper, because I do not want to pull a child away from their work if they are in the middle of something simply because it is “their day.” I’d rather ask someone who is finished and has the time to help out.
Lunch is the maker’s choice of soup, salad, sandwiches, or leftovers. You can see my post on our easy lunch menu HERE. By lunch time, my younger school aged children are finished with their seatwork and tidy up the table so we can eat.
After lunch, the kids do Table Chores. By this point, I often need a break to regroup and get ready for afternoon school time. I check on the laundry, and then I take 30-45 minutes, have a cup of coffee or an iced drink, and either head to my chair to sit with my Mom’s Notebook (you can read more about that in my Home Management book) and my laptop or phone to check on the blog, or use the time to prepare for Afternoon School in the dining room by looking over my notes and gathering supplies for Tapestry of Grace or whatever project we are doing that day.
Afternoon school time consists of Tapestry reading, discussion, videos, and projects or another project from the list found here. This is usually completed by 3pm. The 2 year old goes down for a nap in the middle of Afternoon School at around 2pm, and the baby is usually up by that time. If we are not finished with school time, one of us (me or my girls) will feed Mercy in her high chair, and I will follow up with a bottle when I take another break after school is over. While I give her her bottle, I usually watch something on Netflix or Amazon or I play the Design Home app (there you have it…my guilty pleasure.)
Movie Time is at 4 pm (the toddler is usually up by this time as well), but the house has to be clean before the kids can watch anything. We do a 15-20 minute tidy right around 4 o’clock to get the house put back together and the laundry put away. After that, the kids are allowed to watch something until we eat supper – between 5 and 6 pm. The older kids work with me on supper as needed.
By this point, my oldest son is home from college and work, and uses this time to work on projects I have for him to do.
Now, you might be wondering where my husband fits into my day. He works a job with no set schedule that has him in and out at varying times throughout the day. Our routine stays flexible to accommodate him, but sometimes we just run our day and he shows up when he is available. He and I will often find time to grab coffee or lunch or a driveway date, and his evenings are usually free.
After supper, we do Table Chores again, and this is where our evening varies based on the day, season, and circumstances.
When I don’t have a baby who needs me in the evenings, we often spend that time singing, reading, and cuddling. When I do have a baby who needs me, the kids will hang out doing their own thing in the evening, and I will show up after I have baby down for the night. Fridays are movies nights for us, so on that night we watch something and stay up later. Some nights are haircutting nights or bath nights or family outing nights. It all just depends.
Our current toddler goes down for the night at 8 pm. She is a very easy keeper, so it allows me to focus my energy elsewhere…namely the boys and the baby. The baby usually goes down at 8 pm as well. Some nights she’s easy to get down, some nights not so much. If I’m having trouble getting her down, I will assign one of the older kids to make sure the boys (ages 4, 6, and 8) start getting ready for bed at 8:15 pm. They have a set of evening chores they work through and if someone doesn’t stay on them, they will lallygag through them all night long. My goal is to have them in bed by 8:30, saying prayers and giving loves. They are NOT easy to get to bed, particularly the 4 year old. He’s never been much for bedtime, so getting them all to calm down and actually sleep is a process that takes a lot of diligence and focus.
At this point, my older kids head to the parlor and shut the doors so their noisy chatter doesn’t bother the little boys too much. The toddler has a noise machine in her room (and I just bought the baby one as well).
In the summer, I have a fan on in each of the rooms that helps drown out any noise. I’m thinking a noise machine in the boys’ room might be a good idea!
Sometimes I will join the older kids in the parlor as soon as I have everyone down, and sometimes I will take that time to decompress alone and putter around the kitchen, write down my to-do list for the next day or go outside to drink a cup of tea. Sometimes one of my older kids will join me outside for a talk if they have something on their mind and need me all to themselves.
I will spend my evenings talking with the older kids and my husband, playing games, reading things the kids have written during their free time, working on the blog, and reading in my Bible and working on my Bible Study for the week. I usually take a bath to relax, and try to get myself to bed by midnight.
A couple of things to note:
- I have very few outside-the-house commitments. Bible Study on Wednesdays, the occasional outing or play date here and there, grocery shopping once a week are the typical things I have to do outside the home, but I really try to do very little else. I can always tell when I’ve spent too much time doing other things because I begin to get edgy and grumpy and stressed. I have a full workload at home, and this is my season of being home. I do not feel guilty and I am good at saying no.
- Exercise is still difficult for me to fit into my day. I am brainstorming a bit to figure that out. Our house is small, and any time frame I feel I can fit it into has babies sleeping in the rooms I could use. So, I’m still thinking on this one! When I can, I do Fit2B and some rebounding.
I hope that helps you see what a typical day is like in our household. I’m sure there are more things you want to know that I didn’t address, so feel free to ask any questions you might have!