New Year, New Rhythm

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New Year, New Rhythm

It’s a new calendar year and a new school year for us. 

I am a huge believer that every family dynamic is unique and that each family has to discover what works for their household as a whole. A family’s daily rhythm with infants or teenage children will look different than a family with only preschoolers in the house. I also have experienced that nothing is set in stone. There is always room for shifting as your family’s needs and interests change. I shift around our daily rhythm about every few months, depending on the baby's nap needs, the temperature outside, and various other reasons.  I share our current daily rhythm only as a starting point to get you thinking about what would work best in your home.

I am strongly passionate about giving children structure and predictability, as well as room to explore, create, and play with no agenda on my part.  I am equally passionate about creating margins in our routine for me to take care of myself by getting in nature, reading, creating, and sipping coffee in silence. This particular daily rhythm also shares how I am prioritizing fitness for myself. 

I wanted to share with you our entire weekday schedule, not just the school part because I want you to see it in light of the big picture, in hopes of helping you discover what works best for your family. 

A few things to keep in mind as you read:

  • The current ages of my children are: Baby (8 months), Toddler (2.5 years old), and school-age children (6 & 7.5 years old)
  • My husband leaves the house for work around 8am and returns home around 5:30 each night. Sometimes he works from home and joins us for lunch, but usually it’s just the kids and I home all day. On Fridays he gets home around 1 and teaches the kids afternoon lessons so I can spend some time writing.
  • We spend most of our weekdays at home and go on most outings on the weekends. A few exceptions: on Wednesday afternoons (after lessons) my daughter has a private ballet class that is sometimes held at our home and sometimes held at a friend’s house. On Thursday evenings (after dinner) my husband takes the two oldest children to Trail Life and American Heritage Girls. Most Friday mornings we attend our local Wild+Free group, and on those days, we only have afternoon lessons.

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. In order to set up our days for the best success, I have used a visual schedule to support my oldest son since he was very young. I saw the benefit of using one for every child when I was a teacher. We currently use these Visual Daily Rhythm Cards along with this Daily Rhythm Checklist, both found in the Daily Rhythm Bundle. I laminated the cards and velcro them to the chalkboard so we can remove the cards throughout the day as we transition from one thing to another. 

Here’s a quick glance of our typical weekday daily rhythm.

Mama Morning Devotionals

5:30-6:50 Mama Morning Time

I set my alarm for 5:30 to squeeze in a few quiet moments before the kids wake up. I make coffee and snuggle up in my cozy green vintage rocking chair and spend some time reading the Bible, journaling, praying, and reading any books or devotionals I am working through. I also take a few minutes to answer messages and get my head organized for the day by writing to-do lists or other things like that. The last 20-30 minutes I usually have a snuggly child or two on my lap.

6:50-7:30 Get Dressed & Make Breakfast/ Kids Play

 At 6:50 I head back to my bedroom and get dressed into my workout clothes, wash my face, and make my bed. I try to start cooking breakfast around 7. I usually make a full hot breakfast including eggs, bacon or sausage, and roasted veggies or fresh fruit. I also take this time to pack my husband’s lunch for work. When the kids wake up, they come to the living room and are free to wake up slowly by cuddling on the couch or playing until we call them for breakfast. During this time my husband is in the home office working until breakfast.

Bible Time

7:30-8 Breakfast & Bible

Breakfast is on the table at 7:30 and my husband leads the kids in Bible Time. I usually sit and engage for some of this time, but my main role is to manage the baby and toddler so that the big kids can focus. Sometimes I sit in the living room nearby and change the baby and toddler’s diapers, nurse the baby, or play something quietly with the toddler, but can still be involved. In the past my husband has used various family devotionals to lead this time, but he is currently using the Bible portion of the lesson plans in our core curriculum to lead this time. It usually includes bible reading, discussion, scripture memory, and prayer time.  If you’re looking for a family devotional that’s easy to open and use, I recommend this one: Our 24 Family Ways.

Editable Chore Chart for Kids

8-8:30a Morning Chores

As soon as breakfast is finished, we say our goodbyes and my husband leaves for work. My two oldest children grab their Morning Menus from a nearby bookshelf and a dry erase marker. They begin their Morning Chores which you can see above. As they complete them, they check off the boxes on their Daily Chore Chart. When they are finished, they bring their Morning Menu back to the table to begin Morning Time. During this time I wipe the table, sweep from breakfast, set out our books, and set up something for my toddler to do or play at the table during Morning Time. He is also free to play in his room or in the living room.

Homeschool Art Supplies

8:30-9:45a Morning Time 

We start each morning by using the Traceable Calendar, Day and Time Sheet, and Weather Chart. After that we sometimes do a few minutes of Bible work from our curriculum if there are any projects that they couldn’t do over breakfast (something with paper or a craft). Then we spend some time studying one of the beauty subjects. These are selections of poetry, picture study, and songs. I am currently piecing this portion of our Morning Time together using various resources and switch them out each week. After that, I pull out our book basket, which is full of books covering the current week’s history and science topics. Depending on how much attention the little ones need, I either read a few books from the basket aloud or the kids read them to themselves. We complete one quick phonics or spelling lesson and the last 20-30 minutes, the kids spend reading a current chapter book independently. While they read independently, I read to the toddler and baby.

9:45-11 Mama Time/ Room Time

This is the time of the day that I have figured out how to fit in a workout. At 9:45 I start preparing a snack for the toddler and two big kids. The toddler sits in the living room with his snack and watches a show, usually Daniel Tiger or Busytown Mysteries. The older children get a bowl with a dry snack and a water bottle and go to their rooms for a one hour “room time”. They set their timers and are expected to stay in their rooms, reading or playing, until the timer rings.  I put the baby down for her morning nap and go downstairs to throw in and switch a load of laundry and then complete my workout (I can see and hear the toddler from where I am). My current workout program is 30 minutes. After it’s over, I grab the laundry from the dryer and head back upstairs. I usually have 20-30 minutes left until the kids are finished with their room time, so I change my clothes, put on makeup, and do some work for Treehouse Schoolhouse.

11a-12:30pm Free Play & Lunch

When the kids’ timers ring, they bring their timers and snack bowls to the kitchen and they are free to play, craft, or read. They usually head outside to ride bikes, play on the trampoline or tire swing, or explore the woods. During this time, I continue to do some work, nurse the baby, work on household chores, and play with the baby and toddler. I make a quick lunch around noon of sandwiches or leftovers and we eat on the back porch or at the table. After I wipe the table, I set out our school materials and put the toddler down for his nap. 

Homeschool Math Lessons

12:30-3pm Lessons

The baby isn’t ready for a nap again until about 2pm so she is awake for the first part of lessons, just crawling around or in the highchair nearby. This is the time in our day where we do most of our homeschooling. Here is what we cover in these hours:

  • Read Aloud
  • Language Arts
  • History/ Geography
  • Science
  • Math
  • Loop Subject

You can read more about these subjects in detail and what resources I use in this blog post

3-5:30pm Outside Time & Before-Dinner Chores

The toddler usually wakes up around this time I get him ready to go play outside when the baby wakes up. I tidy up from school and when she wakes, I feed her and then we go outside. The kids that live in our neighborhood usually come over to play outside with the big kids. Around 4:30, the little kids and I go inside so I can prepare dinner. I make dinner and call the big kids in for “Before-Dinner Chores”. They complete their chores and check off their chore charts. My husband usually gets home around this time and washes up for dinner. 

5:30-6pm Dinner

We all eat dinner together and talk about our day. When we are done, everyone pitches in to clear the table. 

6-7pm After-Dinner Chores

The kids grab their chore charts again and get to work. When their list is complete, we do a bedroom check to make sure they have cleaned their rooms properly. Each bedroom has a separate list in their bedrooms to help guide them on cleaning their rooms. My daughter shares a room with the toddler (who makes a lot of the mess), so my husband or I will often help as well. . Once they are finished with all of their chores, they may come out and have dessert (usually applesauce or a piece of fruit, but sometimes a treat like a cookie!). During this time, I am sweeping the floors, washing the day’s dishes, and wiping the table. I also finish up folding and putting away any laundry from the day.

7-8:30pm Playtime with Dad

My husband usually reads to them or tickles and wrestles with them while I continue to clean up or bathe the little ones. He puts the toddler down for the night around 7:30 while I nurse and put the baby down. The big kids go to bed around 8:30.

8:30-10pm Connection with Husband & Work

My husband and I catch up on the day’s events and usually sit together in the living room while I tie up some loose ends for Treehouse Schoolhouse or work on meal planning or school planning. He likes to watch shows or read. I also shower in the evenings and we try to be in bed by 10. 

What do our weekends look like?

Weekends are usually filled with house projects or my husband or I taking Saturday to work while the other has the kids for the day. I fit in my lesson planning for the week and grocery shopping at some point in the weekend as well. The kids are only allowed screen time on the weekends, so that usually looks like a family movie night or some time playing the Nintendo wii. They also play outside most of the weekend with their neighborhood friends. They don’t have to complete their chore charts on the weekends, but we ask them to do a few things here and there to help out. We also sometimes offer them “extra work” on the weekends to earn money.

Click here to read my other Daily Rhythm posts throughout the years as our lives have changed and children have grown.

I hope this post helps you think through how you might set up a Daily Rhythm that suits your family.