I struggled with *getting it all done* when the kids were young.
I thought I had to get up before the crack of dawn and read Bible devotionals and do high impact workouts before the kids woke up.
I wondered why I was so stressed and tired all the time.
My kids are 19, 14, 13, and 10 this year.
I would love to say that life’s a breeze now but that would be a lie.
I could paint a rosy picture of everyone being super independent and getting along 100% with all chores and work completed to excellence and in a timely manner all day, every day.
But that’s not reality for anyone.
Our schedules have evolved over the years:
- Homeschooling with preschoolers and a toddler
- Homeschooling My 3 Girls and Preschool Son
- Successful Schedule
- Homeschooling in Germany
- Homeschooling a High Schooler
- A Typical Monday
- More Free Time
- What Do We Do All Day?
- Homeschooling Teens
I update my philosophy for homeschooling and living priorities frequently. I prefer relaxed, streamlined, stress-free to busy, rushing, and cluttered. I thrive with a slow schedule.
If a chore or assignment doesn’t get completed today, there’s always tomorrow. My kids don’t need harsh deadlines right now.
We clean what needs to be cleaned without a strict chore chart. We all live here and we all pitch in when we can. Some things get tidied almost daily and others weekly. Some things get forgotten until it’s embarrassing. I’ve made sure to encourage my kids to be helpers from a very young age and they almost always have great attitudes when asked to help with a task.
We all live here all day, every day. I won’t apologize when it seems most people who work full time and have their kids go to school have spotless homes because they’re never there and/or hire maids.
I like getting up when my body is ready and feeding the birds while I wait for my coffee. I enjoy the ease of snuggles on the sofa during read alouds every day. I don’t mind postponing dinner to look at sunset or the moon or because they don’t want to come inside just yet.
This is my mission field. This is my church.
I am raising life givers, world changers, lovers of nature and humanity, laughers at the impossible, greeters of the birdsong.
Our Realistic Schedule:
My eldest works a part time job at a local bank typically Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday mornings. I drive her and sometimes pick her up for her lunch break and my husband or I pick her up when her shift is over.
She shares our VW Beetle, and my husband drives it to work Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We also have a minivan for the family.
She takes college courses Tuesdays and Thursdays. She drives herself to class in the VW and my husband takes the minivan to work those days.
I don’t have access to a car those days. It works fine for us for now. I just schedule appointments and make sure to run errands and go grocery shopping Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.
My son and I usually get up around 8 AM.
I make a hot breakfast for my younger three kids.
I get the middle girls up.
My youngest daughter never wants to get out of bed. Her breakfast is usually cold by the time she comes downstairs, no matter how proactive my planning might be.
I unload the dishwasher and usually start a load of laundry. Doing a load of laundry every day keeps me on top of it. It’s mostly pajamas, loungewear, workout clothes, and my husband’s uniforms. I really don’t wash the towels and bedding as often as I should.
I plan dinner if it’s not already thought out and thawed.
I switch the laundry to the dryer. I catch up on writing and social media.
Lunchtime is usually leftovers or something quick and easy.
Afternoons (usually Monday, Wednesday, Friday) are reserved for errands, shopping, or finishing up school work. I help the kids with notebooking or maps.
When Dad gets home from work, he does the math lessons and reviews science and completes any demonstrations or experiments with the kids.
I often go on a walk (about 1.5 miles) in the evenings, before dark, so earlier in winter and later in summer. The kids and my husband sometimes accompany me.
We all eat a hot dinner together every night.
When it’s nice out, the kids play, ride bikes, roller blade, scooter, go to their friends’ houses in the neighborhood, play catch or scoops in the front yard. Otherwise and in addition to that, the kids read, play video games, watch shows after dinner.
Almost every night, I take an Epsom salt bath before bed – with chamomile tea. It’s me time.
Bedtime is usually around 10 PM. iPads are plugged in to charge in my bedroom and wifi is turned off at midnight so we sleep better.
These are usually easy days. I have little responsibility on Sundays. We have a big breakfast and usually a nice relaxing dinner. When it’s nice out, we go on nature hikes. Some seasons, there are soccer or baseball games.
I feel most productive on Mondays. I clear away the stress and mess of the weekend.
This is our boring day. Nothing special and I’m ok with that.
My husband takes our son to ninja lessons. Dinner is after that.
The two oldest girls have aerial gymnastics. Dinner is after that.
Homemade pizza and movie night!
We don’t really have a weekend schedule. Saturdays are for yard work and big chores. Relaxing with movies if it’s rainy or very cold. Catching up with math and science and projects. There are sometimes baseball or soccer games during those seasons. We often like to grill and have a relaxed dinner.
I keep our schedule flexible so we don’t get overwhelmed.
I like having a lot of free time to be spontaneous like hiking in the woods near our backyard creek or baking brownies. We can go for a walk or watch a movie together.
I do not limit screentime or food. I make suggestions. I try to model healthy behavior. Some days, it’s a down day because someone doesn’t feel well or whatever. If someone tries to get a lot of junk food right before a meal time or bedtime, I ask if they think that’s a good idea. I also don’t buy a lot of junk food except on special occasions. If someone doesn’t like a meal or misses it due to an event, she is free to eat whatever they like afterwards.
We don’t stress over any academics because they will always get done one way or another. Academics aren’t the most important thing to me. I am not striving for my kids to get perfect scores on standardized tests or into the best college. Since we don’t follow a public school schedule, we don’t do grades or levels or testing, and my kids are happy.
I prefer to focus on guiding my kids in their critical thinking and being kind and loving to everyone.
We flow along with the seasons and I love watching my children grow and change as I guide them along with life and learning.
- Teach Your Own: The Indispensable Guide to Living and Learning with Children at Home by John Holt
- Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross
- Free-Range Kids: How Parents and Teachers Can Let Go and Let Grow by Lenore Skenazy
- Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
- Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom
- Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray