One of the main questions we get after “Do you know how that happens?” is “What’s your schedule look like?” It varies in different seasons, but for the most part we have what we call a Flexible Routine. We believe structure is very important to the children and essential to everyone’s sanity in a large family. I’ve seen large families do it stricter than us and I’ve seen large families function without any schedule at all — but for our personalities and the multiple demands we both take on outside of our home, we need a healthy routine.
4:50 a.m. Our first alarms go off. On a good day, I go to the gym at 5:15 and Drexel gets up to read the Bible and pray. The baby is usually asking for water or a bottle around this time. Lately, Drexel has been helping the baby and I’ve been fighting hard to get up.
6:30 a.m. I get home from the gym and some of the little kids are trying to get up. We’re usually telling them to hit the couch, or crawl into our bed so they will continue to be quiet for another half hour. I squeeze in a shower, a bit of prayer and Bible reading and bring my journal, Bible and no longer hot drink to the table to finish with breakfast.
7:00 a.m. Drexel makes breakfast. He loves a hot breakfast. Most mornings it is grits & hashbrowns & eggs, pancakes & bacon, oatmeal & sausage, yogurt parfaits or waffles.
7:30 a.m. Drexel started a new job this year so he is capitalizing on early mornings at work. He heads out the door and I sit at the table collecting my thoughts for the day.
8:00 a.m. The kids start cleaning up breakfast. Everyone has a job and Drexel has been getting on me about delegating. So I have been doing it and the kids have been rising to the occasion! Even the 3 year old unloads the silverware. I’m still getting their daily chores on a document that they can visually see so I don’t have to verbally delegate, but I’m not there yet. In the mean time, they know for the most part what is expected of them and I just have to give reminders.
8:30 a.m. If the kitchen is clean, kids are relatively dressed and everyone is being kind – they get 30 minutes of morning play. They like to build forts, have a game on their minds or just disappear to their rooms. I am often still sitting at the table collecting my thoughts for the day. I finish writing out my prayers, meals for the day, any to-dos or random things that come to my mind.
9:00 a.m. I put the baby down for her first nap and we start school. I have recently split up all the kids to 3 different learning spots. I sit with the 1st and 2nd grader at the large kitchen table. The 3rd grader sits closely at the buffet with a Kinder buddy. The 5th grader sits at the tiny school table with a 3 year old preschooler. He has the most patience during school and doesn’t mind the babies under foot. The 2 year old likes to mimic the 3 year old so he is usually cutting and crafting for at least an hour.
10:30 a.m. Ideally we have Reading, Writing & Math done. We break and come to the couch for Read Alouds, History and/or Science and Scripture Memory.
11:30 a.m. We clean up the living room that has blankets and books everywhere. I start folding laundry at the kitchen table while Kai (6) or another kid makes lunch. It’s something like PB&J, turkey sandwiches, quesadillas, chicken nuggets or what we call a “snunch” (crackers, cheese, meat and fruit).
12:30 p.m. We clean up lunch and prepare for nap time. Same clean up routine, except the little kids switch either floors/counters. The kids put their laundry away.
1:00 p.m. Most days 6/8 kids nap. I am a firm believer in rest so even my 7 year old daughter naps (and actually falls asleep). On a rare occasion like today, I let the 5, 6, and 7 year old stay up with the 9 and 10 year old. The 1, 2, and 3 year olds are napping.
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Naptime – the oldest boys will read, do math facts, puzzles, games or go outside. Sometimes they can earn Kindle time but I don’t prefer that habit so it’s usually off the table. I am in my first trimester and need a nap. If I’m not sleeping, I read, write, pay bills or try to rest. I don’t really cook or clean. I use this time to renew my mind for the later afternoon and evening.
3:00 p.m. At least one child has woke up from nap. Most of the kids are usually groggy and go outside if the weather is nice. If it’s really cold or really hot, they will watch a show.
3:30 p.m. If I nap, I am usually groggy. I will make a cup of tea, hold a baby and think through dinner prep.
4:00 p.m. I start dinner and the kids are all outside. The babies are under my feet or playing in the living room. Sometimes the oldest boy is stuck in a book and he will entertain the baby while he reads. Sometimes the 2 year old enjoys being outside with the other kids and I can cook without any kids in the kitchen – but that is rare.
4:30 p.m. Drexel is finding a new routine with work and marathon training, so if he doesn’t run super early in the morning he comes home and runs. We snag a quick walk together or a few minutes in the kitchen to connect.
5:30 p.m. Dinner is ready. On a good night, we sit down together at the kitchen table. Sometimes, there are still stray pieces of laundry that kids need to put away so half sit at the buffet and half sit at the kitchen table – but they’re close so the kids spin in their seats and talk to everyone the whole time. Drexel and I finish catching up about the day while feeding babies and feeding ourselves.
6:30 p.m. Kitchen clean up. Same kitchen routine. I like to help with dishes and appreciate my kitchen super clean before bed so I come behind the kids and tidy up a little extra.
7:00 p.m. Depending on what the kids played outside, the little ones get a bath or everyone rotates through a shower.
7:15 p.m. Reading, quiet time and lights out. The little ones go to bed at 7:30. The baby, 3 year old and 7 year old are in one room. The 2, 5, 6 and year old go down in the other room. The 9 and 10 year old get to stay up til 8:00. They usually read, get extra time to talk/dream/play with Dad.
8:00 p.m. I am usually mentally checking out for the day. I have to pray over my heart around this time because my 9 year old loves to talk and will stay in my room unless I send him to bed. I crawl into bed and read or check social media. Drexel reads or does school.
9:00 p.m. I have been trying to put my phone away by 9:00 p.m. Drexel and I will either read or have time together. It’s usually lights out at 9:30 p.m. or 10:00 p.m every night and we go to bed at the same time. That was a habit we made early on in our marriage and we love it.
Things that change:
In the summer, we are usually outside past sunset. We eat outside and play for hours so this schedule is just shifted to be a little later.
We school year around so we have a lot of flexibility there. I could do another post on our schooling schedule (weekly & yearly), so I won’t add all that here.
Sometimes we throw out the schedule and play outside all day or work/clean inside all day. If a mom friend texts me and needs something or we feel like we need to mix it up, we do what is most important first. We homeschool so we can do life with other people and learn day in and day out.
I think that’s about it! Happy to answer questions – just drop a comment or message me.