Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I've been asked more than once how I "do it all". So I thought I'd share a little bit about our family's schedule, and some of the ways we try to get everything squeezed into our days.

John gets up at who-knows-what-time and tries to get some work in before the morning chaos begins. If Hope doesn't decide to play mama and wake the littles up at 5 am, the kids usually sleep in until they are awakened at 7am. I get up about 15 minutes before that and try to get a shower in (or not) and breakfast started. We try (try being the key word) to sit down and have breakfast as a family at around 7:15 and a super quick 5 minute family devotion before I take Ava to the potty, get her dressed for school, and pack a lunch for John and Ava. John takes Ava and her little friend to school. They are out the door by 7:40.

Then Liesel, Jude and Simeon do breakfast kitchen clean up duty while I give Zoya her medicine and start her tube feeding, which is to be given over a 20-30 minute period. My smart husband came up with the idea to rubberband the syringe to a cabinet knob and let her sit on the counter tops during her feeds so she can't wander around the house and so I don't have to stand there holding a syringe for half hour every time I feed her. Thanks honey. While she is being tube fed, I get Joseph and Hope dressed and ready for school. Meanwhile the older kids clean the kitchen and supervise Zoya's feeding. Jude wipes off the table and benches, Simeon wipes the counters and stove, and Liesel sweeps. The dishes are put in the sink for me to do later. Then I get Zoya ready, pack lunches (including Zoya's Pediasure for school administration), and load everybody up. On Mondays we have coop so we pretty much skip breakfast clean up and get to come home after a long day to a very messy kitchen.

While I take Zoya, Joseph and Hope to school (less than 1/2 mile from home) at 8:50, Liesel, Jude and Simeon are (supposed to be) feeding the dogs, the cat, and horses. They each have a 'farm' job, including straightening the porch, yard, barn and pet care. Liesel's guinea pig is totally her responsibility and she takes care of him when she first gets up in the morning before breakfast. The cat only shows up at the house a couple of times a week and usually only when it's really cold. He loves exploring the nearby woods and hangs out in the barn a lot.

If all of the above has been done to my satisfaction, we start homeschooling between 9:00 and 9:15. Our school is divided into Group work and Independent Work. We usually start with group work which is Science, History, Memory Work, Latin. Then while the kids do their independent work (Math, Language Arts, Writing, Typing, Math Drills), usually from around 11:00 to 12:30, I am trying to catch up on laundry, breakfast dishes, and whatever cleaning I can squeeze in---which typically isn't much as I'm often called on for help. It works out best if the kids can come to me for help while I fold clothes, make my bed, or do the dishes.

After lunch the kids are supposed to read for 30 minutes. If that doesn't happen we try to get our reading in at bedtime. After reading is "free time" although I require my musicians to practice piano and guitar at this time. Liesel and Jude are now both taking piano AND guitar and are doing so well. Simeon thinks he might eventually like to play the drums, but in the meantime will start spring soccer soon as his extracurricular activity.

At 1:45 I meet the carpool to pick up Ava and we either go straight to therapy or back home, depending on the day. Monday we have coop, piano/guitar lessons and therapy which is a lot for one day but it frees up other days so we can be home more. Wednesday is also therapy day. On therapy days I either take a book to read while I wait, or run errands close by. (Goodwill is just a couple of miles away! Yay.) I try to schedule appointments for afternoons so it doesn't run into school time but it doesn't always happen that way.

At 3:30 I pick up Joseph, Zoya and Hope from school. 4:00 is snack and play time for everyone.

At about 5:30 the kids work on their paid jobs while I make dinner. Each kid has a zone they are responsible for picking up, Windex-ing, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting or whatever needs to be done. John decided we could either hire a maid or pay our kids. Kids work for far less! I've had to lower my standards, but for the price I can't complain. Hope's job is to 'babysit' the little ones in her room. They put a CD on and dance in front of the mirror. And the girls are teaching Joseph ballet, which is really cute!

John gets home around 6:00 which is right at dinner time. We always eat as a family. Someone has to sit by Ava at meals to make sure she doesn't throw her bowl and utensils, and someone has to sit by Joseph to make sure he doesn't cram too much food in his mouth all at once. At 6:30ish while John and the kids clean up the kitchen, I give Zoya her meds and tube feed her, put Joseph and Ava on the potty, bathe them, brush their teeth, and get them ready for bed...PJs backwards of course! Ava and Joseph are usually in bed by 7:00, and Zoya by 7:30-8:00, and Hope by 8:00-8:30.

Boy, do I enjoy 7:00 bedtime!

(P.S. I do the grocery shopping at Aldi on Sundays immediately after church. It is cheap, the lines are shorter, and I can run in without kids while John stays with them in the van. Also, doing grocery shopping on Sunday with everyone in the van means lots of hands to help carry the bags into the house and put groceries away while I make lunch.)

After the little ones are in bed we try to spend quality time with the older kids, whether it's by doing family devotions/Bible reading, watching a movie, or just hanging out. The older kids are in bed by 9 or 9:30, later on weekends. Once the kids are in bed I make it a policy not to work any more. I've been working all day and I think I deserve some time on the blog, facebook, reading, studying, or watching a movie. Right? Often John does work during this time, or watches a show on Netflix with me. Lately we have been enjoying Lie to Me. At the moment he is working on taxes while I play on the computer. I suppose I should be in the office with him offering him moral support!


Anonymous said...

You are so organized. I need to be more that way. Maybe my house would not be such a disaster.

You are busy but I know you love it.


Deb D. said...

Wow! What a well-planned day you have. I love how the kids are involved and have responsibilities. No wonder they are growing up with such good character!

I also admire how you have breakfast together. What a wonderful way to start a day.

Thanks for sharing!

Roberta said...

I was SO tired after reading this blog! But because I have been in your home and with your family, I know this really works for you! You are an amazing wife and mom, and we appreciate you taking time to blog about your happenings. I wish I was there to put on the crock pot, and I think I could even learn to feed the horses! Hope Simeon has a happy birthday today! LOVE OMA

Jennifer said...

Wonder Woman...for sure. You have an amazing schedule. I'm sure it's not exactly perfect everyday, but you are instilling some wonderful qualities and work-ethics into your children, while keeping your family close...wonderful!

jenny said...

busy! you sound very organized.

Kristy said...

I do think that WOW is the common word here amazing family!!!

Leslie said...

You truly are super mom! Thanks for typing this all out...inspires me to attempt to be more organized.

Chad and Dana said...

Man, o, rock my socks! Do you know Malia still brings up stories about our visits to your home? She said just yesterday that she wished she could live so close to a pond like Jude does. To explore and enjoy. Miss you and our conversations, tears and all! Life is good here...getting better every day! Love to catch up over a cup of expensive coffee day maybe!

Charissa said...

I'm kind of laughing at the remarks about me being organized. I have NEVER thought of myself as organized! It's called surviving, I think. And Dana, I miss you. Why have we not seen each other in so long?

Shelly said...

Man i am tired just reading this! You seem to have it down to at T that's for sure! I love that you make it a point to have breakfast and dinner together, your family is truely amazing! :)

Justine said...

Very cool! Two weekends ago I spent all of Sunday afternoon trying to devise a new chore system. I decided to go with a "large family" system (gleaned from a couple of large family blogs.) So far so good. Your system sounds great, too. Thanks for posting!