I commented on our Facebook page earlier this week that I notice our house is a lot cleaner during the school year. There could be all sorts of reasons for this, but I think the main one is that, knowing how much I want to accomplish each day, I am much less likely to put things off when I have 5 minutes to wipe down a sink or whatever else.
That being said, I really do appreciate all of the work we have put into being diligent to our homeschool routines over the years. Very little has changed or shifted other than the general maturity of all involved (and thus some of the types of work they do). Here is our typical school day schedule.
The most important rule of our day is that no one may wake mom up before 7:00. At 7:00 you may come get me if I'm not already up but if you make noise and wake up Lucie, Mom will be grouchy so be forewarned.
Morning pre-breakfast routine is for kids to dress and slowly wake up. They take care of bed making and dirty laundry as they wake up. While kids are waking up, I get myself dressed and ready for the day and start my own morning chores. Before breakfast I generally start any laundry for the day (MWF) and pick up and sweep the main floor common areas. I also hop online quickly to share any new blog posts that day on social media.
Let the internet work its circulation magic while I am away.
Kids help with making breakfast most days. Anyone not up by 8:30 (except Lucie) will be woken up and not allowed the luxury of a slow wake up. We have breakfast at 8:30 or when everyone is up and dressed, which ever comes first. But be dressed before you sit with us or you won't eat.
We sit down together for breakfast, generally no later than 8:30, having morning prayers before we eat. I also usually read the newspaper during breakfast and cut out interesting articles for the kids to read and chat about as well.
After breakfast everyone does a morning chore of my choice. I have two chore lists I work off of for assigning chores: anything not done on my daily list and my weekly area. For example, the first week of the month is deep cleaning upstairs so we might go upstairs and clean under beds one day or wipe down doors/trim another day. The day before trash goes to the curb, someone will take out the inside garbage and recycling...stuff like that.
When everyone is finished with chores, we sit down for school no later than 9. Everyone sits down together and we start with the 15 minutes of spelling, then 15 minutes of math, then 15 minutes of writing. In between each chunk we take a few minutes break to swap books, move around, etc. I sit between Logan and Kylee who need to most hands on help and the boys come to me when they need something checked or have a question. Generally Logan does 2 subjects each day and will do "preschool work" with Lucie during the other chunk of time. Lucie also gets a special helper when Kylee (usually) or the boys reach a logically stopping point before the time is up. We are really working hard right now on everyone pitching in to help Lucie.
At the end of our rather intense 45-60 minutes (depending on the day), the older three break out into their individual subject work. They usually spend another 45-60 minutes on music practice, typing, research projects, religion, subject reading, etc. Sometimes I save Logan's individual work for this time since he is really working mostly one on one at this point and I want to make sure we do some reading/writing every day.
Between 10:30-11, people start to drift away finished or not and usually end up outside or playing somewhere else. Last week one day, they ended up making a movie.
Aidan or I usually start making lunch around 11, and we aim to sit down around 11:30.
After lunch we do a second round of chores. After lunch chores are rotated on a 3-4 month basis, with each child getting a "zone" they are in charge of. After they finish eating they head to their zone to take care of anything that needs doing. Logan gets jobs with someone else as he can't handle the open ended-ness that Kylee and Aidan can but I want him learning the jobs he will need to be independent in a few years. Caleb I tend to assign 1-2 small jobs each day that generally keep his area looking neat. Right now he is on lunch dishes so that is nice as his job doesn't change day to day.
When lunch chores are finished the kids usually head outside for awhile and I do another pick up/sweep of the main floor common areas and get any laundry folded that I finished that day. I basically resolve not to clean after this point during my day unless it is absolutely needed...which it rarely is.
We don't have really strict screen time rules/limits here, but I must see complete planners from the older two boys before they are allowed to use technology for fun. The complete planners must have all of their core subjects checked off, including music practice, and at least 2-3 other useful things they did that day. Unless the weather is completely prohibitive, it better reflect outside time or I will send them back! Afternoons are free time for the kids, with technology an option if planners are finished and the expectation they will work on schoolwork if it's not.
In the afternoons I work on blogging/writing, balancing checkbooks/bills, reading (fun and otherwise), sewing/knitting projects, napping (there is a lot of this these days), and other things like that.
Screen are expected to go off at snack time or when Daddy gets home, whichever is first. We have really backed off of snacks the last few months and some days they opt to skip it all together which is fine with me.
After snack (often during) they pretty much head outside, usually until dinnertime which can be anywhere between 5-7 depending on what activities we have going on. This has been the hardest adjustment for me with having older kids, finding a consistent time to eat together and rather than eating in shifts I've opted for shifting times even though it is a little harder on the little ones.
Depending on early or late supper, we often don't have much time between dinner and bedtime routines. Bedtimes are staggered, but by 8:00 it's usually pretty quiet and by 9:00 everyone is in bed with lights out.
Tim and I then pretend to have any sort of time together during the week OR sit in the office together catching up on work we didn't get done during the day OR collapse in exhaustion.
I'd tell you it is really romantic, but it's not.
Most days follow a very similar schedule and when I have to schedule appointments during the day I try to fit them into the more open areas of our schedule. If I can't get something into the afternoon or evening, I will make sure I put it right at the beginning of the day if at all possible.
Our days are busy, but we make an extra effort to keep our evening activities to no more than 2-3 nights/week and to really keep weekends as family time as much as possible. We do only very minimal chores (dishes and food prep/clean up mainly) on the weekend except for one big family clean on either Saturday or Sunday where we clean the house top to bottom in an hour or two. When we stay caught up during the week this is no biggie at all. We tend to do a lot of our yard work and gardening on the weekends but we usually don't look at this as chores because we enjoy it.
Thanks to approximately 1 000,000 readings of Blueberries for Sal (and counting), even Lucie knows about "saving up food for next winter"!