Here at the end of February, we're in a bit of a rhythm with the homeschool schedule. Are you curious to know what a day looks like for us? Follow us through our routine and see what homeschooling looks like in this large family!
Homeschool Schedule for 2/26/18
My day starts when George, my 6-month-old squishy friend, wakes up to nurse. I bring him into our bed. My husband gets up and starts his day. When George is finished nursing, we cuddle a bit and then he goes back to bed.
Sometimes I start my day at this point, but not often. Today I decide that what my family needs most is for me to have more sleep before the day begins so that I don't crash mid-morning right about the time school begins!
The alarm on my watch goes off. I head downstairs just in time to kiss hubby as he heads out the door to work.
Six kids (everyone except the baby and oldest daughter) are already awake and busy in the "school room" (our den). The three oldest are playing a board game my eldest created. The three youngest are playing with the six-year-old's new toy.
I make coffee and a protein shake, grab my daily vitamins and head upstairs. I remind the kids to stay in the school room so I can have my "quiet time".
Upstairs I flip open to the devotional I've been reading. I get about ten minutes to read and think (and text my husband something I found particularly encouraging) before the three-year-old comes up for a visit.
Normally I'd just scoop him up and snuggle him while I read, but he's soaking wet. Thankfully, his eight year old sister followed him upstairs and she takes him down for a diaper change.
In between a few more interruptions I pray for a bit (mostly "please give me patience") and read a chapter in the book we'll discuss tomorrow for Book Club.
Technically our first activity of the day is Bible Time. However, our morning seems to start more smoothly if we have something to ease us into the day. If everyone is in place by 8 a.m. we listen to our current read-aloud for a bit before Bible Time officially starts.
The little ones bring some quiet (haha) toys and the oldest two have knitting and drawing projects. We listen for ten or fifteen minutes.
Then, everyone hops up into their seats for Bible time. We sing one hymn. Recently we've been going through all the hymns with choruses so the pre-readers can join in more.
We have a quick prayer time. I give them a heads up on the layout of our day in case anyone wants to pray over anything particular on the agenda. I begin and we go around in a circle. Everyone can either pass or pray. No pressure, but everyone has an opportunity.
Once Bible Time is done, we head to the kitchen for breakfast. Last night hubby and I surveyed the leftover pancakes and decided there were enough for Monday morning breakfast.
Apparently between last night and this morning, hungry big kids (last night) and little ones (this morning) ate all but two pancakes. OK, peanut butter toast it is!
As they finish breakfast, I look at the clock. It's 8:45. I write "9:45" on the kitchen whiteboard because that's now our target time to begin "Table School". If we get ourselves there early, we'll have a little more time for more read-aloud.
Everybody hurries off to get their chores done as quickly as possible. (You can find our current chore schedule here.)
During this hour, I'm like a waitress serving the dinner crowd. I run here and there, keeping tabs on everyone, nursing the baby again, making sure the toddler doesn't destroy anything, helping the five-year-old do her hair.
My step counter says I've done seven flights of stairs. It feels like a lot more.
The older kids are done with chores and take turns playing with the baby. The younger kids hustle to finish their tasks and everyone gathers by 9:35.
Ten more minutes of read aloud gives me a chance to change the baby and tuck him in for his morning nap and grab what I need upstairs for "Table School". Oh! And to make a set of photocopies I forgot.
Our new thing recently is to start table school with an item of interest. The kids are constantly asking me all kinds of questions and I'm constantly responding "That is such a great question! We should look that up!" And then I forget.
So I did something super fancy and sophisticated. I taped four pieces of paper to the wall in the hall by the kitchen and now when they ask a great question, I tell them to go write it on one of the papers (or ask a big kid for help).
Today I skim and read the interesting parts of an author biography on Wikipedia. That leads to an interesting discussion about domestic abuse, divorce, and government assistance.
We review the Spanish alphabet. Except, I am unprepared and can't remember how to pronounce about a third of them past H. So we skip to the days of the week, because I can remember that song from our Spanish lesson.
Next we hop into the school room to watch the next lesson in a hands-on algebra program we found. We're exploring negative numbers in expressions. Everyone from the 7th grader down to the 2nd grader heads back to the table to complete their exercises while the littlest three play "quietly" in the school room.
When the equations are done, I read aloud another chapter in the history book we've been enjoying, and the oldest four write narrations. One person asks to write about the author biography instead. Fine.
One person writes two sentences about Thermopylae and one about J.K. Rowling. Note to self: time to talk about topical paragraphs.
About this time every day, I'd like to crawl into the bed for a good cry. I'm not sad. I'm just so completely overstimulated and wiped from being "on" all morning. The kids have a break, but it's crunch-time for Mama.
I never actually had a real breakfast. Instead, I grabbed some cashews, pumpkin seeds, and cherry tomatoes and brought them to the table with me to munch on throughout school. I need more, but a few things will have to happen first.
I gather up all of the materials from school and return them to my room, because this is the one place I can make sure they don't disappear when I need them. I help the newly-five-year-old put on not-filthy clothes, because the dear lady from church who takes each of my kids out for a one-on-one lunch during their birthday month will be here to pick her up in half an hour.
Once the five-year-old is happily on her way (and the three-year-old has been safely retrieved from the porch where he needed to keep waving until he could no longer see the car) it's time to get the baby and nurse him again.
My oldest daughter finds me hiding in my room to nurse the baby and says she's hungry and offers to do lunch. I let her. I veg on social media and check email on my tablet while I nurse, because I need to tune out.
Half an hour later, I come downstairs to find lunch (PB&J sandwiches and pretzels) mostly done and cleaned up. Most folks have started downstairs clean-up.
The eleven-year-old takes the three-year-old upstairs for a little playtime and then a nap, because it's her turn for J-Day. Eventually he bumps his knee and is contented to be snuggled into bed and falls asleep as she reads him a book.
She comes downstairs to help with the rest of clean-up. I dump out one of the salad-in-a-mason-jars my husband prepped for us this week and munch. Since the toddler is already in bed, I get to eat all of my own olives this time.
I am seriously contemplating a drastic reduction in the amount of toys available downstairs as after-lunch clean-up time has been taking longer and longer each day.
But, to be fair, today clean-up time was somewhat derailed by the arrival of the UPS man with a special package. It appears we now have a foreign exchange student in our homeschool.
The kids are finally settled for quiet rest time. The oldest four need to do some private Bible reading (pre-reading the chapter we'll read aloud together tomorrow in Bible time) and some silent reading. Then they can do an activity of their choosing.
The twelve-year-old has some whittling and a card game. The eleven-year-old has her knitting and an audio book on her tablet.
Others are curled up in corners with books or audio books.
I head upstairs to get a little time to myself. I work a bit on this blog post and then have a lengthy doctor phone call.
Usually Quiet Rest Time lasts for an hour, but I release everyone early because the 5-year-old should be back soon and I know all the kids want to meet their friends who are coming home on the school bus.
They run out to meet their friends, but then return home almost immediately because it has started to rain. Time for inside activities.
Some folks return to what they were doing during quiet rest time. Some folks go upstairs to play together.
The five-year-old returns home. I get a full update from her and her lunch hostess. The hostess leaves and the five-year-old joins the play downstairs. I grab the baby and nurse him.
I turn on the oven to heat up the casserole my husband put together last night so it will be ready in time for dinner. He gets home from work around 4 p.m. and takes a little time to himself to unpack, unwind, shower and change.
Then he comes downstairs to tidy the kitchen and rinse the dishes to load into the dishwasher. Knowing he'll handle these tasks when he gets home gives me the freedom to ignore them during the day and focus on other things.
This is normally the time the kids would be filtering back in from all corners of the neighborhood and someone would be in charge of inspecting the yard for remnants of play. But because of the rain, they are all already inside.
My husband asks the kids to do a little last-minute clean-up as he gets dinner on the table. Normally I'd be a part of this process, too, but tonight I have dinner plans with a friend.
It has been a good day. A full day. A busy day. A good day.