I am a very schedule oriented person. I am a planner. I love to sit down and write out “THE PLAN” in neat little boxes for every 15 minutes of everyday and have everything neat and organized.
I married a man who loves spontaneity and is the least routine/schedule person I’ve ever met.
In 11 years we have:
- Birthed (almost) 6 children.
- Lived in a dozen different houses (literately) in 3 different states.
- Changed jobs/work more than 30 times collectively (some by choice others not).
- Had more various other interruptions and changes than we even like to remember!
If God has been teaching me one lesson continuously over the last 11 years… it’s been flexibility. I am apparently not a quick learner! Transitions and PLAN changes are very difficult for me. I’d much rather be in control and have everything go according to plan. Ah well. Life goes on!
That said, some of our routines have remained fairly similar through the years and I do still sit down and plan out my little boxed life several times a year and TRY to stick to it when I can. It just makes me happy to cross things off a list knowing we are closer to a goal than we were before.
So, how does that look? At least once or twice a year I sit down and evaluate where our family is and where we want to be. I look at everything from finances, to attitudes, to ministry, to education and whatever lies in between. I pray and ask my man a few questions; determine whether we are on the same page and observe. Then I begin writing. I think best on paper. I write down goals, desires, dreams and hopes. I write down what we WANT and what we DON’T want in our family. I usually think a year from now or maybe even 5 years from now. Then I begin to break down those goals into smaller sections. What does that mean for the next 6 months? What things need to be daily routines for the whole year? What things are onetime events we can just throw on the calendar somewhere? How does that look for our monthly schedule, weekly schedule, daily schedule? And eventually my little boxes get filled.
Currently my schedule is a bit more limited than I prefer because of my pregnancy, but all things considered here is a look at our current general routine.
Usually on Sunday evening or Monday morning I take a look at the upcoming week and determine the details for that week.
My husband is now working a night shift warehouse job and a day shift landscaping job and sleeping when he is home. We don’t see him for more than a quick hug and kiss Sunday evening through Thursday or Friday night.
Daily my alarm goes off at 6:00 with worship music. I pray and struggle to get out of bed. Shower, dress, have a bit of quiet time and thinking time. My mother is graciously making breakfast for us right now until the baby is born; so I have a few extra minutes to plan and prepare for my day. The kids’ alarms go off at 7:00. Theoretically they are to get up and get their bedroom chores done before breakfast. That generally doesn’t happen but I do like them dressed for breakfast which is at 7:30. We pray and eat together discuss the day ahead a bit. After breakfast I usually clean up the kitchen while the kids pick up their bedrooms get their laundry corralled, and personal grooming done. (They have a check list to remind them of what to do and my oldest helps the youngest get dressed.) On cleaning days (Monday=upstairs, Thursday= downstairs) we clean first then begin “school”. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday we begin table work about 8:30. On Monday and Thursday we all work together to clean and then begin school after break/snack about 10:00.
Table work begins with reading the Word together and journaling/drawing about it and praying. All the kids join in this.
We are using KONOS unit studies right now and we do a lot of reading of living books. We often “narrate” by drawing or time-lining what we are doing. Sometimes we act out what we read. When reading about a character or event in history we then create a page for our time line notebook. Each of the kids have a time line notebook beginning at Creation through current day. We like to cut out construction paper pictures and glue them into our notebooks with a short description and the date we completed this page. We then put the page in the book in chronological order. It grows as we do. We also incorporate some of “Drawing With Children” in this process.
When doing science we read a lot of library books and simply talk about what the book shared and observe it in the world around us. We generally do a craft that corresponds to our science lesson.
For writing I have the three older kids copy a portion of scripture or a poem with proper punctuation in their best hand writing. The 4 year old thinks she is just as big as the rest and does a pretty good job of this as well.
Both the 4 and 2 year old sit at the table for most of this and cut and paste and draw and scribble and make pages and listen to stories. I have other “pre-school” type activities available if they get too wiggly/noisy- for them to hop down and do on the floor. Things like puzzles, counting/sorting bears, stickers, and so forth.
Fridays we generally play games to reiterate what we’ve been learning-usually in math or language arts. Math races, dominos, sorry, bingo, boggle, monopoly, Roadblock etc.
About 10:00 we try to take a 15 minute break for fresh air and mommy to switch the laundry over. (On Mondays, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday I start the laundry in the morning and switch it over-or have the kids switch it- whenever there’s a break.) We then have snack and either join back around the table for more of the above or the older ones work individually while I take a young one on my lap and work with reading. My oldest two are great readers. My six year old is having some trouble and the 4 year old demands to be treated like a first grader. (Mom says I was the same way.)
By 11:15 we are ready to clean up school stuff and make lunch. The kids generally go back outside for a bit more play before lunch. I make lunch or on occasion have one of the kids do so. (They are each to make one meal per week)
Lunch is around noon. Followed by clean up and then quiet time. The older three again have charts to accomplish during quiet time. It is best if I can lead them through these charts but with third trimester I am usually wiped out by this point in the day. I take the little girls upstairs and read to them and fall asleep with them. The older kids charts include an hour of reading (which the 8 & 9 year old love) (or trying to read/looking at books for my 6 year old), a math assignment (currently practicing multiplication tables for the 8 and 9 year old and addition for the 6 year old.) their writing (which might be copy work, journaling or writing a letter) and several minutes of a current project (cross stitch for 9 year old and knitting for 8 and 6). Once they are finished with these things they are free to go outside or play respectfully quiet of those still napping.
We have afternoon snack about 3:30 and the afternoon is spent running, swinging, riding bike, and other active free time for the kids and usually folding laundry, preparing supper, or sitting and watching with cross stitch or lap top for me. (Walking is very difficult for me in 3rd trimester so… like I said life is slower right now.)
On Tuesday afternoons we go to the library. On Wednesdays we bake cookies or something for the week. On Friday afternoons, usually daddy is home and plays with the kids. They love this of course!
Saturdays hold yard/garden work and sometimes a family outing, extra cleaning, laundry or just family fun.
Sundays are church, rest and daddy goes back to work in the evening. Sunday evenings we sometimes watch our weekly movie or have extended family or friends over.
Supper is generally around 6:00- shared with my parents when possible. Girls and boys trade off supper clean up every other day. Again after supper/clean up is more free time indoors or out. Indoor play often includes legos and match box cars or dress up and acting. Sometimes they do educational games on the computer or listen to stories on tape. The kids are also very creative and love coloring and creating things like costumes and masks. They catch bugs and watch birds and are full of life.
About 7:30 we begin baths and stories. I like to gather all the kids on the couch to read things like The Black Stallion (just finished) or historical fiction. I generally begin with a few picture books geared mainly towards the toddlers but all of us tend to learn from good picture books too! They then like to play with my hair and my oldest daughter’s hair while I read a novel to the older ones. Sometimes the kids draw while I read but often they just like to snuggle and listen. Prayers and in bed by 8:30-9:30 (depending on how long we get stuck in a book). The older kids usually read themselves to sleep at that point.
I don’t like to stay up late but do sometimes get caught on line or reading or praying or spending time with my hubby (on weekends).
And then a new day begins.