The fascination with big families starts with a simple stare while you watch a family of eight troop through the store aisles. You don’t even attempt to hide your awe (or disgust for those who think something should be done to stop large families from reproducing) by picking your chin up off the floor. You stare hard looking for signs of exhaustion and you feel triumphant when you see the slightly dark circles under her makeup showing through and those stray hairs falling out of her mom bun. Aha! So she isn’t a machine after all.
It doesn’t end there though—no, ma’am, the desire to know how she does it grows insatiable until you find yourself stalking her on social media searching for new updates. You’re not really like that, are you? I didn’t think so, but sometimes you can’t help but wonder how many loads of laundry she does a day anyway? Or how big is her grocery bill per month? How does she homeschool her kids when you would be tearing your hair out by now?
Lots of hair. And it grows back quickly.
Seriously, I don’t know how other big families manage their daily schedule but today I’m sharing how we do ours! I’m a fairly organized person and I love my routines. Some might call that boring and predictable or safe and secure, all of which are true, but it keeps us free of chaos and everyone knows what to expect. We save the spontaneity for other times, like…well, I don’t know when but we have been spontaneous at least twice before.
Before I share our schedule, let me tell you a few things. We utilize our older kids for a lot, meaning in the mornings or any other times we go somewhere, an older one grabs a younger one helping dress them or feed them or buckle them up in the car seats. A buddy system, if you will. This is a great way to teach your children responsibility and they love the important job of helping others.
We also make do with the resources we’ve got, so for this daily schedule and homeschooling from the farm, this means we use the other office room as our school room, lunch room, nap room, etc. Had I thought this far ahead, I might not have wished for a school room all those years ago because this certainly isn’t what I had in mind but it works so we use it.
This year we decided to put the twins in the three-year-old preschool program at our church in the mornings so we drop them off before going to the farm. Without the two of them running around helter-skelter, we’re able to focus and accomplish more in the mornings. The kids have planners for the first time this year and we write out their schoolwork at the beginning of the week so if I’m on the phone or with a customer, they can work on it independently.
We also do a large portion of reading in the evenings before bed. This is something we’ve done for years and it’s probably our favorite time of the day with everyone relaxed and gathered together. We read everything –devotions, poetry, Shakespeare, Dickens, Aristotle, history, and of course our favorite readers and read-alouds from Sonlight.
Do you have enough background? Ready to dive into our day together?
Here we go…
6:30 a.m. Wake up, morning routine –Personal devotions, make bed, brush teeth, get dressed.
7:15 a.m. Breakfast –usually consists of smoothies, oatmeal, granola & almond milk, or yogurt.
8:15 a.m. Load up –drop twins off at school, head to the farm.
9:00 a.m. Farm –the kids get settled and pull out their Bibles for Bible time while I let the guys know I’m there and check messages. We usually spend about 30 minutes on devotion, Scripture memorization, and discussion.
9:30 a.m. This is the time when we dive deep into our tougher subjects, the ones the kids need the most help with or my undivided attention while the twins are at school, like math or language arts. I try to do their work in 30-minute increments, like 30 minutes of math then 30 minutes of language arts, etc, until it’s time to pick up the twins.
11:30 a.m. Read-alouds or readers in the pick-up line.
12:15 –1:00pm Lunch (in the back office/school room)
1:00 –1:30 pm Break –there’s a sand lot on the back side of the office where they can safely play with their toy trucks and tractors or just run and exert some energy before naptime.
1:30 –4:00 pm The youngest three will nap during this time while the oldest three tackle more schoolwork. We try to pick a read aloud until the little fall asleep and then we pick up more difficult schoolwork.
5:00 pm –Head home.
6:30 pm –Dinner –I try to bathe the littles before dinner because they’re usually pretty dirty from that last hour of playing on the farm and I prefer clean babies at the dinner table. 😉 We almost always sit at the table together for dinner because it’s important to me and one of our favorite times of the day (besides our bedtime routine!). We rotate games while we are eating to encourage talk with each other. Even though we are with each other all day long, it’s usually more fun if we talk about stuff other than the farm or schoolwork. Some of our favorite dinner games are high/low or guess-what-I’m-thinking. These never fail to bring laughs and just move us into a calmer mood before settling down for bed.
7:15 pm –Bedtime. They never fall asleep before 8pm (and lots of times not until 9pm!) but this is when we read together and pray as a family.
9:00 pm—11pm. These are my power hours when I write or clean or just do whatever I need to do. I’ve tried to move this part of day to the morning but I’m so sluggish in the morning, this isn’t something I can do at 5am. And I’m sharpest late in the evening so this time works for me.
So there you have it. You’ve wondered what it’s like in our home and our daily schedule and that’s how we do it. You may have been looking for suggestions to try for your own family and that’s great. Please, if something from our schedule inspires you, then by all means –try it. But, remember we are all different and what works for our family may not work for yours. I learned a difficult lesson this past year trying to take on too many things and fill my schedule to overflowing and it ended badly. Don’t let the same thing happen to you.
Oh, and about all those questions wanting to know how many loads of laundry we do per day? 2-3 loads per day. Grocery bill? $600/month. Homeschooling from work? Priceless.
I’d love to hear about your family schedule in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Jump in on the discussion because we’d love to have you!