With juggling four children, two businesses, home care, and homeschooling, you can imagine that our rhythm and routine are very full. Having a daily rhythm helps us keep the peace and all be as intentional with our time as we can.
Rather than trying to stick to a rigid schedule, I have found that creating a general rhythm for our days helps us all feel more in control and at peace, without feeling like a failure if things don’t happen at exact times. I do like to have general times in mind for our days, but I try to keep our days open with a lot of margin so that when things don’t go as planned, there is room to shift things around.
We rely heavily on a visual schedule using these Daily Rhythm cards. It is especially helpful for me to look at throughout the day to recall what we have going on and for my children that do best knowing what to expect. Honestly, all of us use and love having it. I set it up in such a way that I can put the cards in order for each day and move them around when things shift and change. I do this by using an adhesive-backed velcro strip on my wall and then cutting pieces of the soft side of the velcro on the back of each card.
Shop: Daily Rhythm Bundle
As a working and homeschooling mom with littles, having a daily and weekly rhythm frees me up to work when it’s time to work and rest when it’s time to rest. Without this, I also can’t imagine we would be very consistent in completing our homeschool lessons because there is always something that comes up with having little ones and running a business.
I have learned that our daily rhythm is an ever-changing element, always needing to be adapted to the changes in our home life. Our rhythm shifts, at least slightly, a few times a year. I have blogged multiple times about our daily rhythm because it has changed so many times over the years.
Our Family Rhythm Through The Years
- Our Family Daily Rhythm (2023)
- Our Homeschool Morning Time (2023)
- Homeschooling Year Round & Summer Daily Rhythm (2022)
- Our Homeschool Daily Rhythm with Two Toddlers (2021)
- Our Homeschool Daily Rhythm With a Toddler and Baby (2020)
- Homeschooling with a Baby in Tow (2019)
Our Work Life
My husband owns his own carpentry and cabinet business and we are currently building a house, in which is the general contractor and project manager for. He does his computer work from home in the early mornings but spends most of the weekdays at the house build or in customers’ homes. He leaves the house around 8 am and comes home around 5 pm.
I currently spend about 15-20 hours a week creating content, writing blog posts, developing curriculum, filming, and communicating with the Treehouse Schoolhouse team. I do the majority of this work during the hours that our afternoon nanny comes. Sometimes I also spend early mornings writing or a bit on Saturdays.
For a long time, I tried to run a business and manage my home and children with no outside help. It came to a point that I knew I either needed to lay my business down or hire help. When we were able to implement regular childcare, I was finally able to do each area of my life with more excellence. Having a nanny has freed me up to be present in my work while working, and present in my motherhood and homeschooling while not. I am very grateful we were able to find a nanny who thrives in creating a rich environment for my children to be creative and use their imaginations in play. We provide her with the resources to fill the afternoons with handcrafts, projects, games, outings, and creative play. Sometimes I save a craft or cooking project that aligns with our lessons for her to complete in the afternoons. Other times, she comes up with creative ideas on her own. Being homeschooled herself, she understands our values, thrives in this position, and loves continuing our lifestyle into the afternoons while I am working.
Depending on the week, she is with the children for a couple afternoons or one full day a week. On those days, she has started to help with homeschool lessons! Her main responsibility while she is here is to be with the children, but she also does some light tidying and keeps the laundry moving while she is here. Sometimes I also ask her to do some dinner prep like chopping veggies or cooking rice for our meal.
Our children are currently 2, 4, 8, and 10 years old.
The 2 and 4-year-olds spend most of their day together in free play- either inside or outside. They love doing the Preschool Morning Time Bundle and being included in our lessons with Treehouse Nature Study. They especially love the hand rhymes, folk songs, fiction books, and hands-on connections. While we don’t require any formal schooling until around age 6, they are always invited to join in whatever we are doing. While it’s nothing formal or structured, I do have some intentions I keep in mind for them for these early years when creating our daily rhythm.
Related: Homeschool Preschool: Five Intentions for the Early Years
During our homeschool lessons, I keep a lot of things on hand to help keep them occupied nearby. You may appreciate this post: 50 Low-Prep, Low-Mess Ideas to Engage Your Toddler.
My 8 and 10-year-olds do most of their schooling together, as you will see in our daily rhythm below. In their free time, they enjoy playing outside, drawing, doing projects, and reading.
Outings and Extracurriculars
I keep our Monday-Thursday mornings reserved for homeschooling. If we go on outings or to doctor appointments on the weekdays, then they are always in the late afternoons unless we are on a break from school. Sometimes the children have something like an art class nearby in the afternoons as well and our nanny will take them to those. We only homeschool on Mondays-Thursdays and on Friday mornings we go to our local Wild and Free group. Each Friday we meet with a large group of families for unstructured outdoor free play, such as hikes, swimming, or creek splashing. Sometimes we go on field trips with this group to places like a pumpkin patch or historic sites.
Related: Find or Start a Wild & Free Group here.
Our weekends are very relaxed and filled with free play, outings, hiking, exploring our downtown, and visits with friends and family. We often also like to try to squeeze in some one-on-one with the kids when we can, like going on a bike ride or out for a treat. Saturday nights we make homemade pizza and usually do a family movie night.
I also like to spend some of each weekend getting organized for the next week by meal planning, grocery shopping, homeschool planning, doing a library run, and cleaning or organizing areas of our home. As a general rule, we only allow screen time on the weekends, so the kids typically watch a show each day as well.
Our Family Daily Rhythm
Here is a quick glance at our typical weekday daily rhythm. You can scroll down to read in detail about each block.
5-7am Mama Morning Time & Make Breakfast
I start my day around 5am. I couldn’t always do this, but now that everyone sleeps all night, I can. I sleep later on the weekends. I get ready, make coffee, and eat a light breakfast while I read my Bible and journal. Four mornings a week, I leave the house at 6:40 to go to an exercise class that starts at 7. Most mornings I make a quick breakfast for the family before I leave. They usually have a combination of some of the following: eggs, sourdough toast or english muffins, fruit, plain yogurt with honey and granola, and oatmeal.
My sister and I meet up for a 45-minute boot camp style workout, and I am back home a bit after 8 am. I use my drive times to listen to podcasts. When I get home my family is up and my husband is wrapping up Bible time with the kids over breakfast.
7-8 am Breakfast & Bible
The kids wake up between 6-7 and start their day playing or cuddling and reading on the couch while my husband is completing his morning computer work. Around 7 he gathers them to begin Bible. They are currently going through Hero Tales 2 and the book of Matthew. They also talk about current events, memorize scripture and pray together. In the past, They’ve used many family devotionals and some days we just talk about what is going on with people we know and in the world and spend time praying.
Related: Check out our favorite family devotionals in our Amazon Storefront.
8-9 am Morning Chores, Home Care, and Free Play
My husband leaves around 8 and we clear the breakfast table and the older kids begin their Morning Chores. They used to use their chore charts from the Daily Rhythm Bundle to remind them of their responsibilities, but we have done it so long that they don’t need the assistance anymore. They have a short list that is mostly self-care like getting dressed and their bedrooms need to be tidy. Once they have completed their chores they are welcome to play inside or outside until I gather them all for Morning Time around 9 am. The little ones play or stay near me to “help” as I do my morning responsibilities. I get dressed, get the little ones dressed, pack lunches, prep for dinner, and set the table for Morning Time and school.
I have found that packing lunches in the morning helps the flow of our day tremendously, even if we aren't going anywhere. We just grab their boxes and eat during lessons or outside during break. We love these stainless steel bento boxes. I love that they have different colored silicone covers so I can easily customize the kid’s lunches without confusion. I also think ahead about what I will have for lunch, which is usually leftovers or an easy salad. I decide what we will have for dinner and do any prep that I can, like thawing out meat or throwing a meal in the slow cooker. Doing all of this upfront makes our days go so much smoother! .
9-10 am Morning Time
I gather the kids back together and give each of them their Morning Time Menus and dry erase markers. These are restaurant menu covers filled with sheets of paper that we use during morning time. First, they fill out their Calendar and Weather Charts. The little ones have simplified menus filled with the Preschool Morning Time Bundle. Then we go through the week’s hand rhyme, folk song, poetry, and picture study from Treehouse Nature Study. Sometimes we do a hands-on project that coordinates with our nature study like sculpting an animal from clay or dissecting a flower or fruit. After we finish our Morning Time lessons, we spend 20-30 minutes reading from our weekly book basket. The older children read independently from books in a curated basket filled with titles covering nature study, science, and geography topics that we are studying that week. I read picture books from the Treehouse Nature Study booklist for the week or other living books for young children.
Related: Our Homeschool Morning Time and 100 Living Books for the Early Years.
10-11:30 am Individual Lessons
Around 10 the older children begin their individual lessons. These are the subjects that they can work through with little to no help from me. I spend this time being available to them, but also giving the younger children my attention. During this time the kids work through scripture memory, copywork, math, grammar, independent reading, and typing lessons. They each have a daily checklist to help them take personal responsibility and stay on track.
Related: My Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2nd and 4th Grade
11:30 am-12 pm Break/ Lunch/ Audiobook or Podcast
When they have completed their list and I have checked it, they are free to play until around noon. Sometimes we have lunch together at the table and listen to an audiobook or podcast and other times they take their lunch outside to eat and play.
Related: 20 Favorite Podcasts for Children
12-1:30 pm Collective Lessons
I usually set the little ones up with an activity or they are finishing up their lunch as we head into our collective lessons. They will often also play outside in our backyard where I can keep an eye on them. This is the time of our homeschooling when I read aloud and do any lessons that require me to really take the lead. For us, this is currently culture studies, geography, notebooking, and enrichment projects like art, baking, and crafts. Sometimes we wrap this time up around 1 if we don’t have any time-intensive projects.
Related: My Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2nd and 4th Grade
1:30-5:30 pm Handcrafts/ Free Play/ Outside Time
As mentioned above, I often work in the afternoons and our nanny has the kids. The kids spend their afternoons reading, playing outside, drawing, doing handcrafts. Sometimes they do projects with her that coordinate with our lessons and other times they are working on a longer project or skill with her over time (like currently, crochet). Much of their afternoons are just spent in unstructured free play. On the afternoons I am not working, we may meet up with friends or just have a relaxing afternoon.
5:30-7 pm Dinner
We usually eat dinner around 5:30-6. It helps that I prep in the morning and our nanny helps with some meal prep as well if needed. My husband is usually home around 5:30 and also helps with dinner or setting the table. We eat dinner together and then we all work together to clean up afterward.
7-8:30 pm Time with Dad/ Read Aloud/ Bedtimes
Most nights my husband reads a chapter book to the older children while I take the younger ones upstairs for a bath or reading in my bed. We work on bedtime together and everyone is asleep or at least in their rooms, reading with their bed lights by 8:30.
8:30-9:30 pm Wind Down/ Time with Husband
My husband and I spend some time connecting about our day. Sometimes I shower in the evenings, read, or catch up with friends. I try to be in bed around 9 and asleep by 9:30.
We have very full days, but having a daily rhythm helps us fit in rest, work, play, and school without it feeling overwhelming (usually!). Sometimes we throw the entire thing out on a random weekday and spend the day out and about getting breakfast and exploring a forest or staying in pajamas and having a play day. Having a plumbline of what our days look like though, gives me the freedom to go off that rhythm and not feel totally out of control because I can quickly find my way back.
How to Create a Family Rhythm
Over the years I've had many different daily rhythms to try to be as intentional as possible with our time and fit everything in, and let's be honest, to maintain my sanity. Routines and rhythms have been my lifeline on this journey!
Here are my top 10 tips for creating yours:
- Keep the whole family in mind- Don't forget to keep in mind baby's fussy hour and what your toddler needs as well.
- Focus on the order of events, not so much the times- It's fine to write down times, but focus more on the order and rhythm of events than the actual times.
- Use a loop schedule- Don't try to do every subject or every house chore every single day, loop some!
- Include home care and meal prep- Think about what it takes to keep your home running and plan it in!
- Implement a quiet time- All ages (including mom) benefit from a set rest time every afternoon.
- Have a visual schedule- Having the rhythm on cards for everyone to see the order for each day helps with staying on track. Make sure they’re easy to move around.
- Include personal care for Mama- Don't forget you need time in your day to eat, get dressed, and maybe even read a book or exercise!
- Be honest with yourself- Don't fall into the trap of creating a daily rhythm that is ideal, but is unrealistic.
- Leave margins in your day for play, rest, and the extra things that come up- Be generous in your time blocks to throw in the extras that inevitably happen.
- Hold it all with open hands- As needs change or you simply have an "off day", be ready to throw the whole thing out and start from scratch.
To help you get started creating a daily rhythm for your family, I created this FREE Daily Rhythm Printable. Download your free template here.
You can also shop our Editable Daily Rhythm Bundle below:
Hi Courtney, my littlest does take a nap in the afternoon somewhere in the 1:30-5:30 time block. I consider the free play for my older ones their rest time!
Do your kids have any sort of rest or nap built in the day?
Thank you so much for this! I have been working from home and homeschooling for a year now, and last year was chaos, so I figured this year I would prepare our school year a solid month ahead and get useful tools to help me and the kids get organized. I am definitely getting your daily rhythm bundle as I love your chores list and velcro cards! Also, as a single mom, I really appreciate your honesty and sharing your exact schedule and ideas to make it flexible! I love reading you! You definitely took some of my mommy guilt and stress away. Thank you and God bless you and your lovely family!
This is so helpful! Thank you for sharing your daily rhythm. This makes me so excited for our upcoming school year!