Saturday, November 23, 2013

Our Schedule and Meal Plan with Details

Another homeschool mom asked me to share what our family's schedule looks like.  I decided to post it here so I could share with others if anyone else ever asked.
We have a schedule that works for our family, because I prayed and asked God to help me create a schedule that would ensure that I have one-on-one time with every child, to teach them and to love them.  It is a wonderful schedule for us, because I have time with every child, and they have dedicated time with each other.  The younger ones do academics in a fun and relaxed way with me in the morning, while my older kids work independently.  In the afternoon, the older kids each have an hour dedicated to play with the younger kids, while I work one-on-one with the older kids.  There are still not enough hours in the day to "do it all," but at least we are sure to get some or most of everything done, which is more than ever happens when chaos reigns.  The kids know the schedule, so they are not constantly asking me what we are going to do, and they are not constantly asking me to do what they want to do.  When they do ask me to do something different, I can simply remind them of what is scheduled and let them know what we are doing in that moment.  Occasionally, I can tell them if and when their desire might be fulfilled.  It might be later in the day, or it might be later in the week, but they are usually good with it, because they know there is a time scheduled for it and they can look forward to it.  If we have an off day or a field trip, we just go back to the schedule the next day.  The kids, even my teenagers, find comfort and confidence in knowing what to expect.
The same concept holds true for disciplining, even my youngest, children.  Our one year old has picked up on the schedule and happily participates in different activities in different parts of the house or yard throughout the day.  I did not know how to teach self-discipline to my babies until after my third child.  I started with our fourth as an infant to train him to listen to my kind words and choose to obey.  I can simply say, "No-no.  Don't touch."  Our one year old will pull his hand back and consider his actions, then move on to something else.  He stays out of the kitchen cabinets and away from purses, keys, and cell phones, etc., because he has learned not to touch them.  If he is tempted, I can remind him with a few kind words.  It is very pleasant for him and for me.  If you want to know more, I will be happy to tell you more.  God is good.  He has answered my prayers and has shown me how to parent, because I had no clue what I was getting into when we started our family.  I really screwed up with my older kids, but love does indeed cover over a multitude of sins, and God really does work all things together for the good of those who love Him and whom He has called according to His good purposes.
General Daily Schedule:
Wake up, read Bible, and pray around 6 or 6:30
Wake everyone up around 7:00AM 
(While they are waking up, still lying in bed, I tell them things like: This is the day that the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.  God is love!  God made us in His image.  He made us to love.  Our goal today is to live in love.  It's what God made us for.  He commands us to love Him and to love others.  Love is the fulfillment of the law.  He gave us the Golden Rule so that we can know if we are being loving or not.  If I am treating someone in a way that I would not like to be treated, then I am not acting in a loving way.  If I am treating someone in a way that I would like to be treated, then I know that I am loving that person the way God wants me to love.  It's a good day when God's love shines in all of us.  Let's do everything without complaining or arguing so that we will shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life.  You are a treasure.  You are a gift from God.  Note: I do not say all of this everyday.  I say some of these things every day, as well as other things, as the Lord leads.  I learned from my first child to never ask, "How are you doing this morning?" or "How did you sleep?"  The answer was never good, and it always started off the day on a sour note.)
7-7:30 I do a devotional, read the Bible, or read Missionary stories to my older kids while I nurse the baby.  The younger two (4 & 6) play or read.
From 7:30 or 8:00 until 9:00 we do chores and eat breakfast. The four and six year old get dressed independently, put plates, forks, and napkins on the table, then they are given the big responsibility of babysitting their baby brother in the playroom (gated to keep them all in), while the big kids and I do laundry, gather trash, put way clean dishes, tidy the house, and cook breakfast.  Some training was necessary to teach them to stay in the playroom until we call them to breakfast.  Some training was necessary to teach them how to play with the little one.  They are so proud to have this responsibility, and they look forward to their time with him.  They do very well.  Of course, all of the big people are watching and listening as we go about our chores.  They are not really alone with the baby.
9-10:00  MATH - The three big kids work independently, while I spend some time teaching math to the younger boys.  Usually, one of the big kids takes the toddler for a while to play in their room while they study flashcards or read, so that I can work one-on-one with the boys for at least 20 minutes.  Sometimes, I put the little one in a backpack carrier or in the stroller while I work with the boys.  I also use some of this hour to check on the older kids' math, which they work on independently.
10-11:00  Foundations - The big kids work independently while the youngest four join me in the living room with a whiteboard and a copy of the week's memory work.  We block all exits to corral the little one and start working on the Classical Conversations memory work together.  Wednesday - we spend a lot of time finding the songs and singing them over and over and over.  Thursday - we teach the memory work to some friends who come over to study with us, so we sing and review everything very thoroughly on this day, too.  Friday - we go through all of the work more quickly and play some games with some of the subjects.  Monday - we quickly review the week's work, then play review games with all of the past week's material.  I will likely have to start focusing on single subjects each Monday.  It is getting to be a lot of material.
11-12:00 Reading and Writing - Our nine year old (KES) watches the little one while I work with boys on Reading and Writing.  10-20 minutes each.  During this hour, I have KES read to or play games with the boys, while I put the baby down for a nap around 11:45.

Noon to 1:00 is lunch and afternoon chores.  We make lunch, eat lunch, clean up, and do a few set chores (laundry and cleaning up the kitchen).  Mondays - sandwiches, chips or crackers, raw veggies, and fruit  Tuesdays - PB&J, something crunchy, some kind of fruit, sometimes a cheese stick, sometimes raw veggies (made the night before to take to CC)  Wednesdays - sandwiches or leftovers and whatever we can find in the fridge  Thursdays - something quick and easy like sandwiches, leftovers, or mac&cheese or SPAM  Fridays - same as Tuesdays because I put them all in the car from 12-1 to drop my oldest off for Robotics  (We eat in the car and get back in time for me to study Latin with my 13 year old daughter.)  Saturdays - pancakes, eggs, and bacon for brunch  Sundays - leftovers

1-2:00 I study Latin with my Challenge A student, while KES plays board games and card games with the boys.  Little one is still sleeping.  Oldest studies independently or is at Robotics.

2-4:00 I work with KES on EEL and IEW (Language Arts), while the oldest two each have an hour to study and an hour devoted to the three little boys.

4-5:00 Dinner prep for me and free play for all the little ones.  They usually like to play outside on the play set or play make believe in the house together.  I can watch them all from the kitchen either way.

5:00 Dinner  - I'm in the process of changing it a bit, but here it is:  Mondays - currently boiled chicken, rice or bread, and a veggie, soon to be meatloaf  Tuesdays - always a crockpot meal, usually a roast with carrots and potatoes, because we are gone all day to Classical Conversations  Wednesdays - hotdogs with buns or with rice, veggie, spinach salad, which is quick and easy so I can be sure to get dinner on the table and take KES to choir practice on time.  Thursdays - usually Frito Pie: Fritos, homemade chili, cheese  Fridays - Pizza Night: pick up pizza and salad, everyone loves pizza night  Saturdays - something yummy for dinner  Sundays - still not set

After dinner is play, baths, bedtime for the younger ones and finish chores (6-7:00) and schoolwork (7-8:30) for the older ones, if needed.  This is when I have time to go over questions and spend time on schoolwork with the oldest two Challenge students.

6:30 is bathtime for the three boys

7:00 is bedtime for the three boys

9:00 is Mommy and Daddy time!

God is with me throughout the day, whatever I do and wherever I go.  I am learning to talk to Him about everything, all day long.

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