Thanks to everyone who has commented on this series. You are all an encouragement to me! This post is what many of you have been waiting for, my schedule or daily routine. In an effort to keep my posts from becoming epic novels today I will discuss my schedule and write about the kids’ schedule later this week.
In a nutshell this is what an average day looks like for me.
- Wake-up between 6:30-7 (usually closer to 7).
- Read my bible, check emails, and weather.
- Take a super fast shower.
- Start breakfast between 7:30 and 8.
- Breakfast, morning clean-up.
- Start school by 9 am.
- School with kids from 9-12 with interruptions for laundry, meal prep, and naughty children.
- Prepare lunch with help from kids.
- Lunch from 12-1. I make lunch and the kids clean up. I use this time to check email, catch up on a few chores, check school work.
- 1-3:00 School with kids.
- 3 pm – usually we are finished with school at this time. Three or four days of the week we have a project we work on together, cleaning, organizing, or fixing things around the house.
- 3:30 – 4:30 pm Free time for everyone. I use this time to work on the blog, pay bills, return phone calls or emails, work on school admin, or work on craft projects.
- 4:30 pm dinner prep
- 5:30 – 6:30 pm Dinner /dinner clean-up
- 6:30 – 8 pm kids ready for bed, devotions, general clean up of the house
- 8 -10 pm mom and dad time, this varies depending on the day, sometimes we will both be working on the computer, sometimes I bake or sew, sometimes we hang out and chat.
- 10 pm – In bed, I usually read for about 45 minutes to an hour after I am in bed.
Waking up: I am not a morning person. For many years I tried to get up at 5:45 or 6 but I just don’t operate well at that time no matter what time I go to bed. I also end up getting really tired in the afternoon when I wake up that early. If I sleep until 6:30 I am able to make it through the day without feeling tired.
Breakfast: We usually eat a hot breakfast in the morning. If I make biscuits or muffins I will make them, put them in the oven, and then take my shower to save time. If I make pancakes I will work on laundry or other small tasks in between flipping.
School: My oldest two children do most of their school work on their own. This frees me to spend more time with my little ones.
Lunch: When I am making lunch I will try to work on dinner too. If I am baking bread I will get it in the bread machine, or cut up veggies for dinner or brown the meat. Since I am already in the kitchen it makes sense to get these things done early.
Projects: Working together with my kids shortens the time we all spend cleaning. We are able to accomplish a lot in our half hour of work. My kids are extra motivated because they know that when they are finished their free time begins.
Free Time: I try to make the most of my free time. I usually have list (in my head) of things that need to get done and work in order of priority. Since my kids are having free time too, I rarely have interruptions.
School planning: I usually school plan for the next week on Fridays. Since I already have their books out it works well for me to look over the next weeks lesson’s, write up school schedules, and plan for the week. If I don’t get it all planned on Friday, I finish on Sunday afternoon. As for grading papers and checking work I try to do it as we go, occasionally I get behind and will spend an evening catching up.
Menu planning/ grocery shopping: I plan my meals for 30 days at a time. I was planning weekly menus but that took up too much time. Now I spend about an hour planning 30 meals and creating a shopping list. I spend one (long) evening shopping for all the nonperishable items on my list for the entire month. Then I only need to pick up dairy and produce on a weekly basis, which I can do in less than 45 minutes. If you look at my meals we don’t eat many fancy, or time consuming dishes. I love the crock pot and anything I can prepare in less than 30 minutes. We eat many of the same meals over and over because I know how to make them quickly and the kids will eat it. I also don’t spend time going from store to store trying to match coupons and save money. I shop at the commissary and CVS, both of which are a mile from my house. I don’t have time to hit several stores each week.
I stay at home: I realize this is not possible for many families who take their kids to therapy or other appointments. I do not run errands throughout the week. I go to the grocery store and bible study, that’s it. I am able to accomplish a lot because I am not in and out of the car. We are very selective regarding the extra-curricular activities our kids participate in and evaluate everything based on how it will affect the entire family. I try to plan ahead so that I only need to make one trip to Target for extra supplies each month. This saves me time and money. I reserve my library books online and try to pick them up and return them while running other errands.
I don’t watch television: I haven’t watched tv for about 6 or 7 years. I cannot even imagine how much time I have gained by not watching tv. My husband and I watch a movie every 2 to 3 months, or maybe not even that often. It is not a priority for us, and we would rather spend our time doing other things. I check the news daily to keep updated and we receive a weekly paper, but I don’t usually read it! Having my evenings or mornings free from tv allows me to catch up on reading, or work on other projects after the kids go to bed.
My husband doesn’t stop working when he gets home from work. I don’t write this so that you will nag your husband to do more around the house, I write it because he is one reason I am able to do so much. We function as a team in our house. For as long as I can remember after dinner he bathes the kids and I do the dishes. He tucks the kids in bed almost every night. This was never something we discussed or wrote down it just happened. There were many years when he wasn’t home at night or not home at all, so he enjoys this time with the kids. If I take on a big baking or craft project he usually rounds up the kids and plays with them so I can work uninterrupted.
We clean on Saturdays. Saturday morning we all clean the house. On a good day we can clean the house from top to bottom in under two hours. If we have plans for a family outing on Saturday we clean on Friday night. Everyone has assigned jobs and we all work together. Because we keep the house picked up throughout the week our house is never super dirty, so our weekly cleanings take very little time.
I pull a late nighter about every 10 days. I try to do this on Friday nights but occasionally it happens another night. I seem to get a second wind about 10 pm and can be really productive for a few hours. While I don’t recommend breaking your sleep schedule with late nighters, it is something I do.
Organize, Minimize, Simply: The less stuff I own, the easier it is to maintain it. I am constantly de-cluttering my home. I pay bills online so I have less mail to deal with. We have no debt so we have fewer bills. Fewer nic-nacs mean less things to dust. Less furniture makes it easier to vacuum. If a toy is not played with frequently it takes a trip to Goodwill. If we have somewhere to go in the morning, clothes are laid out the night before. The diaper bag is always packed and ready to go. Library books are stored in one spot. Creating systems like these allow everyone to help out and make it easy for me to stay organized.
As I said before, I am not an expert, these ideas work for our family, they might not work for yours. My schedule doesn’t always go according to plan, my kids get sick, I am on bed rest, my dh deploys…. I’ll address these topics in my next post.