**This post is being published almost a month late! :-/ Our first month of homeschooling really threw my schedule off! I’m hoping to get back into a groove now!**
In my last two posts I shared my planning and organizational woes and ideas. This is an area I feel like I particularly struggle with, mainly because *whines* keeping track of seven people, their stuff and their lives in general is hard.
But! Don’t feel sorry for me. I signed up for it. At some point. Without knowing what I was doing/getting myself into.
Okay, seriously. One of the super great things about my life is that I have a VERY smart “Other Momma” (see my post How God Can Use My Brokenness for a description of an “Other Momma”), and she raised and homeschooled seven children. And she still likes them and they her. SO, when I am lost, I go to her for advice.
When I realized how very much our day needed a schedule I went to her and asked what her schedule looked like when her children were young. The following has been an inspiration and encouragement to me, and I hope it is for you as well:
Up by whatever time at the time. Changed from time to time . . .
7:00(?)– Kids get up, do chores, have them done by breakfast or no breakfast unless there are extenuating circumstances
8:00– Breakfast — eat at breakfast time or don’t eat until lunch
8:30– I clean up kitchen — maybe? children get to work on school during the school year, but during the summer, special tasks like yard/garden work/animal care, and then play, read, make something, whatever.
Maybe before I cleaned the kitchen, we all sat together and read the Bible, sometimes memorized verses or a few times we tackled chapters. Then I would read one of the classics or just a really good book to them.
There was a time when we all, from Terah on down, (not with Anna — she wasn’t born yet) sat in a circle and had . . .The Learning Circle. We said, each one separately, whatever verse we were learning (I have a special memory of Zeke, age 3, repeating the 23rd Psalm) the abc’s, counted to 30, said the days of the week and months of the year, etc. This helped the younger ones with that boring stuff, made it kind of fun since the big sibs were in on it, and kept me from having to sit with them and go over and over it.
There was often a marshmallow or chocolate chip break in this time — just two mini-marshmallows or chips. For real. And they considered it a special treat. I have often said, “If you give a child nothing, then anything is a treat.” Doesn’t sound quite right or nice, but you get the idea. Life was good, and purchased treats and prizes weren’t part of it, but playing and supplies to pretend and create with and a healthy amount of free time kept them busy and happy.
Afterwards, I would sit with whomever was learning to read and write and do math and all that stuff and work through their studying with them. Sometimes I would almost fall asleep during their reading because I slept so little at night 🙂
After I was done with what I needed to do with them, they were off on whatever school they did by themselves and I would just move from one necessary task to the next. Our house was always neat after morning chores, and then a wreck the rest of the time.
Lunch was around noon, everyone sat and ate together. I usually cleaned up from that and then they all had quiet time in their rooms. Some graduated from this and didn’t have to be in their rooms, but that was a privilege earned by maturity and the ability to be quiet in the common rooms..
After the quiet hour we had snack time. I think this was 2:30 and it was regular! They so looked forward to it. Children looking forward to something is a great tool :-). ‘Sorry. No snack if you don’t stay quietly in your room for the whole hour.’
Supper was usually at 5:00. I usually had one or two of the older ones help me in the kitchen. They liked spending the time together with me, I think. Maybe not always.
They did the after dinner chores.
I considered myself done-ish after supper, though of course laundry and this and that were always ongoing.
Baths or showers began at 7:00-ish and thankfully I had three boys in a row and I could convince Bill he needed to help with bath time. He did the scrub machine on them. Stood them up, soaped his hands, and said “SCRUB MACHINE” and then with great haste and tickling rubbed them up and down and then arms and legs. They all made scrub machine noises and laughed during this process and then he sat them down and rinsed them off. I would do the bathing and hair washing though, until they were three probably. He scrubbed the girls, too, but only when they were quite small and if I was busy with someone. Anywho, baths, then toothbrushing then . . .
If there was going to be a movie, it would be after that and usually just once or twice a week, although that varied. Sometimes EVERY FREAKING NIGHT! Ugh. But that was at this house, not at the Camp. We walked, talked, read, built stuff, played games, listened to music, drew, played on the grounds, etc.
I believe bedtime was 9:00, but it may have been 8:30? If there was a movie, it was later. We would gather a few minutes before bed to read the Bible and pray. We didn’t discuss the Bible, just read it. MISTAKE! I wish we had developed a habit of discussing what we were reading and encouraged questions and such. We didn’t and discussion is rare to this day.
Side random notes: I remember that they could not have coffee with me in bed in the a.m. until they earned the right by not spilling for a long long time. It was a long time before Miss Anna could have coffee in bed with me in the a.m. And they had to be up pretty early to do this. There was a time for some of them when they would bring ME COFFEE IN BED! Sigh. Those were the days.
When we lived at the Camp, no one watched tv during the school day or much even during summer break. Even in the winter, though when we moved here, we began to watch different shows at different times. For a while we watch Martha Stewart because she had cooking and crafts. For a time, Eli got up extra early and watched Arthur, I think. There was a year during which we broke for Little House on the Prairie when it came on in the a.m. Andy Griffith was in there somewhere during lunch, I think.
Computer games were limited to one-half hour per day and only after school and chores.
There were toys they had to ask permission to play with because of the mess. Modeling Clay, once we had silly putty but only once! Legos because there were 8,000,000. They could play with them every day if they wanted, just had to ask first so I would know for sure who needed to do the cleanup if they didn’t clean up afterwards like they were supposed to.
They had to pick up so many pieces of trash in the yard or items to be put away at least once a week. Like 25 or 50? Later on it was kindling, and in the fall and/or winter, kindling pick up was every day. It was super cute. After being introduced to the Ingalls family, the youngest girls would dress in old-timey stuff and take old-fashioned looking baskets out to collect kindling in.
That’s most of it. Lots of switcheroos over the years as needed and I got new ideas.
So that’s it. I love it. Of course I can read it in her voice, which is endearing, and most of you won’t be able to do that. But either way, I feel there is lots of good, real information here. Especially for those of us that didn’t grow up with organization and/or homeschooling and/or big families. Thank you Other Momma (Cindy)!