If I have learned anything since beginning home education, it is that having a daily rhythm is crucial to my sanity, my children’s peace, and our consistency in lessons. A daily rhythm is a less constricting word for a schedule or a routine. With so many responsibilities and roles that come with being a mom of four and home educator, creating and sticking to a daily rhythm is the only way I feel I can be intentional with our time. While I do set actual times for the events in the day to help me stay on track, it is more about the order of events than times, and the times vary depending on the day.
My children are highly visual and my oldest son particularly feels out-of-control when he doesn’t know what to expect of our day. It brings so much peace to him to have a visual schedule with boxes he can check off as we go throughout the day. I made and use these watercolor rhythm cards, but in the past (before the kids could read), we have used these chore cards from The Peaceful Press and these daily rhythm cards from StephanieHathaway Designs.
I have also learned that our rhythm is an ever-changing element, always needing to be adapted to the changes in our home life. I have blogged multiple times about our daily rhythm because it has changed so many times. I do love sharing it, though, because I know it really helps me to peek into other people’s days to get a grid for how I can potentially set up my own. You can read about our homeschool preschool rhythm and this post where I talk about how to homeschool with a baby in tow (my third was 9months at the time).
Our most recent changes are that we have another new baby in the house and that the two oldest are more “seriously” homeschooling now than they were in the previous rhythm posts. My children are currently 7.5 years, almost 6 years, almost 2 years, and 2 months old. My infant isn’t on a schedule in the least bit yet, so a part of the rhythm that isn’t written below includes nursing her about every 2 hours, changing her, and helping her fall asleep throughout the day.
Our Daily Rhythm
5:30 - 7am Mama Morning Time
I wake up and make myself a french press or latte, light my bedside candle, grab my books and journal, and spend some time reading, praying, and preparing my heart for the day. The baby usually wakes up sometime during this period and I nurse her in the bed and lay her next to me while I finish my time. The other kids start waking up between 6:30-7. When they wake up, they are allowed to come into the bed with me and read quietly or go play until breakfast.
7 - 7:30am Make Breakfast
I head to the kitchen and make breakfast while the kids are playing and my husband is getting ready for work. During this time I also pack my husband’s lunch so he can leave right after Bible Time.
7:30 - 8am Breakfast & Bible Time
My husband leads this time using a family devotional. We recently finished Our 24 Family Ways and absolutely loved it. I will share a review of it in detail soon, but in the meantime you can watch this highlight on my Instagram. Each morning includes Bible reading, discussion, scripture memory, and a time of praying together.
8 - 8:45am Morning Time
We say goodbye to my husband, clear the breakfast table and begin Morning Time. During this time we do our Traceable Calendars and Weather Charts, read and recite poetry, do picture study, and I read a picture book. My toddler plays nearby or sits on my lap. We often add things in to involve him like fingerplays, puppets, or read some board books. Read more about our Morning Time here. To read about how I find quality picture books, click here. When Morning Time is finished we get ready for our Nature Walk.
9 - 10am Morning Nature Walk and Ride
This is something new we have added to our rhythm to help schedule in some exercise for this postpartum mama and to start our day out with fresh air. I pop the baby and toddler in the double stroller and the big kids grab their bikes or scooters. We are fortunate to live right by a greenway, so we walk to the entrance and hop on. There are a few different routes we can choose to give us some variety. On our walks we like to listen to music, tell stories, and look for interesting bugs or animal tracks.
10am - 12:30pm Snack, Stories, Morning Chores, and Free Play // Daily Cleaning Tasks and Cleaning Loop
As soon as we get home from our walk, the big kids prepare a quick snack for themselves and the toddler. They grab some books to read while they eat. Sometimes I will pull up an audiobook for them to listen to, and other times they just read independently while they munch and I nurse. When they’re done snacking they grab their chore charts and get to work. Morning chores usually take them about a half hour and when they are finished they are free to play until I call them for lunch. Usually they head outside to play in the backyard or downstairs to the craft table to work on projects. During this time, I tackle my Daily Chores which are clearing the sink of dishes, one load of laundry, cleaning countertops, and sweeping. If I have time, I take care of the next task on my Cleaning Loop List.
What is a Loop List?
A Loop List is a list of tasks or subjects that you go through in order, one per day in the timeslot of your rhythm that allows for it. You aren’t scheduling a task/ subject to a particular day, but rather you just work down the list on each day that you have the chance. This works well for me in this season of littles because some days we skip the Loop Cleaning Task or School Subject altogether if it’s a crazy day and just resume down the list on the following day.
My Cleaning Loop List:
- Clean bathrooms
- Tidy our bedroom
- Tidy babies’ rooms
- Upstairs floors
- Downstairs floors
- Wash everyone’s bedding
12:30pm Lunch and School Prep
I eat, feed the kids lunch, and get the materials ready for school. If I need to sharpen pencils, set up supplies, or grab any additional materials from our craft storage area I do that here.
12:30 - 3:30pm Nap and School
Around noon I prepare a quick lunch for everyone. We eat and I put my toddler down for his nap. Thankfully he is a good napper and goes right down. After I put him down, I quickly clear and wipe the table and we jump into lessons. Both of my older children participate in school lessons now, and I am using the same curriculums for both children with adaptations for their skill levels.
Our daily school time currently includes:
- Morning Time overflow - any part of Morning Time that we didn’t get to in the morning or the whole thing if we had an outing and skipped it
- Chapter book read-aloud
- Language Arts - reading, narrating, phonics, copywork/ handwriting, grammar, poetry
- One of the subjects on our Subject Loop List - Art, Music, Nature Study/ Science, History, Geography, Handicraft
If my toddler wakes up before we are finished, he will draw or play with something nearby while we finish up.
3:30 - 5:30pm Outside Play/ Tidy and Dinner Prep
The kids help clean up from school lessons and head outside to ride bikes, play in the backyard, or play with neighborhood friends. I am usually beat by this time, so I take a few minutes to decompress with the littles before prepping dinner. Sometimes I have to use this time to finish the task from the cleaning loop if I couldn’t tackle it in the morning. I prepare dinner and tidy the house before my husband gets home around 5:30.
5:30 - 7pm Dinner and After-Dinner Chores
We eat together and then the kids refer to their chore charts again for their after-dinner chores. These chores usually target areas of the home that get messy throughout the day and also include the things they need to do to get ready for bed. After dinner I start working on the dishes and getting the toddler and baby ready for bed.
7 - 8:30pm Play and Read with Dad
Once the kids have finished their chores they are free to play or read with my husband until they go in their shared room at 8. My toddler goes to bed around 7:30. During this time I am usually still working on dishes or with the baby. The big kids play in their room until 8:30 when we let them know it is “lights out.”
8:30 - 10pm Decompress
All of the children are asleep so this is the time when I spend catching up with my husband, showering, reading, or blogging. I try to be in bed no later than 10!
My hope is that reading this was helpful and that you can glean from this to create the rhythm that suits your family’s unique needs and desires! If you make a watercolor daily rhythm on Instagram, make sure to use the hashtag #watercolordailyrhythm and tag @treehouse_schoolhouse.
I am so happy to hear that you found this blog helpful! Remember to give yourself lots of grace during pregnancy and once baby is born!
WOW I can’t thank you enough for writing this post. I live/serve overseas and have 3 kids and pregnant with the 4th. I’m 40 yrs old and tired ;)
My kids are nearly your same age: 8, 6 1.5 and the last is due in Jan 2023.
I am overwhelmed as it is and the idea of being successful with another is terrifying.
One of my biggest struggles is not getting any time with the Lord. I see you are squeezing it in in the mornings. My kids seem to all wake up at 6 no matter how late we put them to bed and I find I’m too exhausted to wake up earlier or to even stay up late to decompress or answer emails etc. I know I’m pregnant so that adds to it, but still.
I often think I need to do all the homeschooling in the morning just because that’s normal for school, but your post validated that I can focus on school in the afternoon when the toddler sleeps. Thank you so much for posting this, I look forward to sharing this and coming back to check out links you posted.