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    What’s in a Day?

    September 29, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    Well, I’ve noticed a few posts out there detailing what a certain family’s day looks like, so I thought I’d try my hand, especially since we’re midway through the term and I actually have a feel for how this year is going to go. I’m not going to give a certain day–I’m going to give a composite day, which I think best describes our average day. To contrast, yesterday morning my 8-year-old woke up at 5:30 AM, and proceeded to wake me up by turning on lights in the house and being a little less than quiet. He was scolded and told to wait until 6:00 AM from now on.

    But I’m not including that, because it’s never happened before and doesn’t describe what is typical (well, of our four days of school per week–not of our field trip/nature study day). My goal here is typical.

    The reason I’m writing this is because I love reading a description of days, or hearing about them from other families. When I have a picture in my head of what it looks like at someone else’s house, I tend to get good ideas on what I could do better at home.

    So, here is our average day, more or less:

    • 6:15 AM–Our oldest awakes. He has a clipboard outside his door because, being an early riser, he likes to get up and work. (Once I got over the shock, I learned to work with it.) He does his Bible reading, math, copywork (we are only working on cursive letter formation right now–nothing fancy), and so on. If he has time left after all of that, he likes to read.
      • I awake sometimes between 6:15 and 6:45. The earlier, the better, so that I have time to read my Bible. Now that it is darker outside in the mornings, I’ve been having trouble rousing myself…
    • 6:45 AM–The day “officially” starts. Siah is out of bed. I start breakfast (smoothies or oatmeal are our weekday fare). I wake the other three children, change O.’s diaper, etc., while Si dishes up whatever I prepared
    • 7:00 AM–Breakfast with Daddy, until about 7:20, when he leaves for work. The rest of us spend a bit more time finishing up breakfast because we are slower
    • 7:30 AM–Morning routine starts. This means I get dressed, put on makeup, make my bed and tidy my room, etc. I also turn on the dryer to fluff the load that I dried over night. Once the clean clothes are put away, I start a new load. I try to do one load per day on weekdays so that I can fit three or four loads into Saturday and take Sunday off.
      • The girls make their beds, dress, brush their teeth, and start their chores. Typically, this means Q.-age-three empties the dryer and brings a full laundry basket to my room for folding. A.-age-five puts away silverware, empties the trash in her bathroom, and cleans up anything that ended up left out over night.
      • E. empties the dishwasher and vacuums. We have a rotating schedule so that the dining room is vacuumed every morning, and something is vacuumed every day.
      • O. plays somewhat peacefully in an Exersaucer in my room. Or, he does the same, but as loudly as he possibly can! I know he is old for it, but if I let him wander the house while I’m working, he makes a complete mess and possibly breaks something. So, I have trained him to play nicely without going anywhere. I probably only have a few more months where this will work, but by then he should have gained more self-control in general.
    • 8:30 AM–Free time. I used to try and start school at this time, but no one liked it, so now we take a break. This is fine now that the toddler is in that grey area between taking a morning nap and not taking one. This is when I post whatever I drafted the day before, or start typing up my notes from my reading. A lot of my “blogging” is done by hand, and then transferred to the computer later. I also read my Bible here if I got up too late to do it earlier. I am working on transforming this into a time to exercise instead of doing it earlier in the day.
    • 9:00 AMCircle Time begins, and O. goes down for a nap that is getting shorter each day. I tried just letting him stay up, but apparently he still needs some sleep because he was very crabby when I did that. We do Circle Time, and everyone gets in trouble at least once.
    • 10:15 AM (sometimes 10:30)–snack. My children eat approximately 17,001 times per day. They have their father’s metabolism, which means they burn through food like nobody’s business. I have been trying to minimize snacks as they get older, but with little success. They each have a cup of milk and then some cheese, except for E., who prefers an apple.
    • 10:30 AM–kindergarten with A. (this is reading lessons, a read aloud, sometimes basic math or a Kumon workbook page, and I’m trying to add in drawing). If E. is done with his work, he takes Q. outside and plays with her. If not, Q. plays in our play nook until it is her turn. Sometime during kindergarten, O. begins screaming in his room that he is “all done” with his nap. “Ma! Ah dun! MA!”
    • 11:00 AM–preschool with Q. (letter lessons, a read-aloud and/or Kumon). A. takes O. outside, after we have made sure he has the requisite piece of cheese in each hand. E. reads for his Ambleside narration.
    • 11:15 AMAmbleside time. E. narrates, and then most days we have another Ambleside reading that I read aloud, and then he also narrates orally. (If the reading is a geography reading, he narrates using our globe.) The girls are outside jumping on the trampoline, while also taking turns popping their heads in the sliding door, letting in flies, and asking me when or what lunch is going to be. O. is whimpering at the door, wondering if he can manipulate me into another piece of cheese. (Sometimes he can.)
    • 11:45 AM–Everyone is banished outside until lunch is ready. Then, instead of making lunch, I sit down and die.
    • 12-Noon or shortly thereafter–Eat lunch. 95% of the time, I serve leftovers. I purposely make large dinners so that there is enough for everyone (including Si, who takes his lunch) the next day. I eat faster than the short people at the table, so I then read them a bit from our read-aloud.
    • 12:30ish–E. and I do dishes. A. and Q. run through the house and pick up a little. O. empties the bookcase when he thinks no one is looking. Sometimes he alternates this with trashing the game shelves in my linen closet.
    • 12:45 or 1 PM–Finish reading aloud. I aim for at least a chapter each day, two if we can fit it in.
    • 1:30 PM–Q. goes down for her nap first. A. takes a nap every three days, and if it is a nap day for her, she goes down at this time also because they share a room.  I check my email or reader while folks are playing.
    • 2:00 PM–O. goes down for a nap.
    • 2:15 PM–Afternoon meeting with E. We review/correct his work, go over his written narration for the day.
    • 2:30 PM–QUIET TIME! This is still hard for A. to understand. I tend to read unless I have pressing chores. If I have been up at night, I take a nap so that I can make it through the rest of the day. E. is usually creating something in his room. A. is in the living room looking at books or playing with dolls. Sometimes, they both go to Granddad’s house.
    • Between 4 and 4:30 PM–I start dinner. The time depends on what we are having. Preparing dinner tends to take me 2 hours no matter what I do. I have finally made my peace with that. However, I have recently discovered that fish is the ultimate fast food. It really is 30 minutes or less from package to table. I love fish, even if it means I have no leftovers for lunch.
      • Children are outside until dinner is ready. Sometimes one or two of them are helping me with something for the meal, but generally this is another playtime for them. I try to make sure they get about four hours outside daily during good weather.
    • 5:45 or 6 PM–Family dinner. Si is definitely home by this time, usually quite a bit earlier.

    After this, it varies by days. Some days, we have a meeting with friends (we are studying Faith of our Fathers together). Other days, my husband shops for groceries and I bathe children (or occasionally we both go together). Many evenings, we read aloud after dinner. On Wednesday nights Siah is leading us through a study of Discovering Jesus in Genesis. Sometimes we have friends over for dinner. And so on and so forth.

    Bedtime is at 8 PM sharp. Naturally, this means we are still tucking children in at 8:15! This depends on how many song requests or extra Bible story requests we have, or how many scoldings we have to give.

    So that is it, the pattern of our lives. I try not to leave our house very often because, to be perfectly honest, I don’t juggle well. I can do the one thing right now, which is to say our school life. Whenever I try to add in very much more than that, I begin to fail, and failing at school, since it is my primary job, is not acceptable. That doesn’t mean we don’t have times that life happens, but it means that I say no to midmorning Bible studies and errands, as well-intended or helpful as those things might be.

    What about you? If you have a “typical day” post, link it in the comments!

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    9 Comments

  • Reply amy October 1, 2010 at 2:38 am

    i love this brandy, especially circle time, where everyone gets in trouble at least once… this is so true in my home, but maybe at least four, five, six times! thanks for sharing. here’s a link to my post on our daily schedule:
    http://totrainupachildwithlove.blogspot.com/2010/09/to-chronicle-day.html

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts September 30, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Rebekah,
    I figure when my children are no longer taking naps in the afternoons, I’ll have space to take up those sorts of things again. But for now, we are so limited in waking hours, that it was as you say–errands OR learning, but never errands AND learning. Remember, though, I only do 4 full days of school. So sometimes I DO run an errand after we finish up a nature walk or something on our extra day. But it is SO hard with all littles if we try to cram six days of work into only four or five. This is the same reason why I started cleaning my house on Saturday mornings. πŸ™‚

    KM,
    That is pretty much what my schedule looked like when O. was a newborn. πŸ™‚ I think that when your times out are still a part of your lessons it is much easier to still accomplish our goals of educating than when, for instance, I made a run to Target.

    Not that I don’t love Target. πŸ™‚

    postmodMom,
    I’m glad a posted this so that no one has the wrong idea about us. πŸ™‚ So true what you say–they come IN when you want them OUT and OUT when you want them IN. Good thing they are cute! πŸ™‚

    Rahime,
    But I didn’t get anything done when I had fibromyalgia, and we both know that is why you’re slow. We have to live where we are at. When I had a newborn a couple years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long…goodness…) I used to fall asleep during our read alouds because I was so tired. Even after O. started sleeping through the night, Q. was still up because she was potty training and totally paranoid about wetting the bed. My sleep-deprived state is also how I ended up with the caffeine addiction! πŸ˜‰ So, we have to live where we’re at, you know? This is simply where we are…this week, at least. HA!

    The other thing to remember is that most of us add one child at a time. So we don’t start out with four kids; we start with one. I had almost three years to get good at one before I had another! All of that to say, things happen gradually, you grow into it, children get more helpful as they get older, etc. It all works together.

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts September 30, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Rebekah,
    I figure when my children are no longer taking naps in the afternoons, I’ll have space to take up those sorts of things again. But for now, we are so limited in waking hours, that it was as you say–errands OR learning, but never errands AND learning. Remember, though, I only do 4 full days of school. So sometimes I DO run an errand after we finish up a nature walk or something on our extra day. But it is SO hard with all littles if we try to cram six days of work into only four or five. This is the same reason why I started cleaning my house on Saturday mornings. πŸ™‚

    KM,
    That is pretty much what my schedule looked like when O. was a newborn. πŸ™‚ I think that when your times out are still a part of your lessons it is much easier to still accomplish our goals of educating than when, for instance, I made a run to Target.

    Not that I don’t love Target. πŸ™‚

    postmodMom,
    I’m glad a posted this so that no one has the wrong idea about us. πŸ™‚ So true what you say–they come IN when you want them OUT and OUT when you want them IN. Good thing they are cute! πŸ™‚

    Rahime,
    But I didn’t get anything done when I had fibromyalgia, and we both know that is why you’re slow. We have to live where we are at. When I had a newborn a couple years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long…goodness…) I used to fall asleep during our read alouds because I was so tired. Even after O. started sleeping through the night, Q. was still up because she was potty training and totally paranoid about wetting the bed. My sleep-deprived state is also how I ended up with the caffeine addiction! πŸ˜‰ So, we have to live where we’re at, you know? This is simply where we are…this week, at least. HA!

    The other thing to remember is that most of us add one child at a time. So we don’t start out with four kids; we start with one. I had almost three years to get good at one before I had another! All of that to say, things happen gradually, you grow into it, children get more helpful as they get older, etc. It all works together.

  • Reply Rahime September 30, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Great average day post.

    It always astounds me how much you fit into a day.

    Mine usually goes something like this: Wake up around 8 or 9 and feed the animals (did I tell you we did get another puppy?). Check emails, while drinking a cup of tea for 30 min to an hour or so…it takes me forever to really “wake up.” Start a load of laundry. Take the dogs outside for a walk around 10:30 until about 12 or 1.

    Get home, put wash in dryer, feed the puppy lunch, read blogs and then get ready for work. Leave for work around 2. Get home from work around 11 pm. Feed dogs and cat if ‘Chung hasn’t already done so. Scrounge for something to eat and collapse into bed.

    This year is better so far because I’ve decided to take Tuesdays off in addition to Friday and Sat., so having a 4 day work week with a day off in the middle of it means some of my errands and chores can get done on Tuesdays rather than on the weekend or after midnight.

    But on the whole, I feel like I get nothing done and am constantly trying to keep up with life…I don’t know how you manage w/ schooling and caring for 4 little ones. πŸ™‚ Something I’m hoping to work toward.

  • Reply postmodernMom September 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I love the sliding glass door and flies bit! We have that too! I have found that when I need the kids inside I have trouble getting them in…when I want them to stay out (when I’m painting the entryway hall, for instance), they pop in and out every two minutes, with neighbors in tow…

    Thanks for the description! I had been envisioning your crew huddled around you attentively in an atmosphere of peace and quiet. Not to say that’s a realistic description of anyone’s homeschool day…it’s just what was in my mind when I read your blog. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Kansas Mom September 30, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Thank you for sharing! I’d write a post like this one, but right now my day consists mostly of keeping Second Son from crying too much while First Son learns something and telling Kansas Dad I have no plan for dinner when he arrives home at 6 pm.

    I have also somehow managed to schedule something away from the house three days a week every single week, not counting our two monthly commitments. Not errands, though, school stuff. I hate getting every one out the door, but I love what we’re getting out of it so we’re keeping them all for now.

  • Reply Rebekah September 30, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Oh, I liked this part, “I say no to midmorning Bible studies and errands, as well-intended or helpful as those things might be.”

    I often find the errands I try to do during the day make “learning time” impossible. The idea to do it in the evening didn’t occur to me although two nights in a row I’ve had to do some errands – thanks for this! I think I have solved one of my schedule issues! It’s especially tough because my hubbie does not have a consistant schedule (he rotates between night and day 12 hr shifts). Due to his schedule I have felt like I only have about 7 days out of the month to have more structured learning time but with this new perspective that will change. πŸ™‚ yeah!

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts September 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Your photos made me think of this a bit different. I didn’t really paint a picture like THOSE did. For instance, with my description, you cannot see that E. narrates while in this awkward upside-down position, or that Q. builds with blocks during Circle Time…

  • Reply Mystie September 29, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I also love to read what other people’s days look like. πŸ™‚ And I already had a photo post in the works, so I went ahead and published it today.

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