Our Family Rhythms 2022: Homeschooling with Two Toddlers in Tow

Our Family Rhythms 2022: Homeschooling with Two Toddlers in Tow

5 comments

I cannot believe that January is just a few days away! Every six months or so I like to evaluate what is working and what could improve in the flow of our days. What better time to do that than before the start of a new year? 

I have learned that our daily rhythm is an ever-changing element, always needing to be adapted to the changes in our home life. There are so many factors that play into creating a daily rhythm and reasons things may need to shift, such as a baby's nap needs, extra curricular activities, the temperature outside, or a busy work season. 

With juggling four children, two businesses, home care, and homeschooling, you can imagine that our home is very busy. Having a daily rhythm helps us 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. 

I have blogged multiple times about our daily rhythm because it has changed so many times over the years. I enjoy sharing our different daily rhythms 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. There is no wrong or right rhythm, but just one that is best for your family in whatever season you are in.

Read: Our daily rhythm looked like at the beginning of 2021, Our rhythms with three kids, and Our homeschool preschool daily rhythm.

As a working and homeschooling mama, 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 babies and running a business.

Along with having a daily rhythm in mind for our days, I find that having visual aids that coordinate help me stay on track and help my children know what to expect of our day. We use these Daily Rhythm cards and they help us all so much.

A Bit About Our Work Life

My husband owns his own carpentry business. He does his computer work from home in the mornings, but spends most of the weekdays out in the field at his workshop and in customers’ homes. He leaves the house around 8am and comes home around 5:30pm. I spend about 15-20 hours a week writing blog posts and curriculum, filming for Instagram and YouTube, communicating with the Treehouse Schoolhouse team, and answering messages. Currently, I have dedicated time for working three afternoons a week, from 1:30-6pm. During those afternoons the children are with our nanny. Our nanny has been a gift to our family as this business has grown. She takes the children on outings, such as to a playdate, to the library, or the park. She also cooks dinner and helps me stay on top of household tasks while she is here. 

A Bit About Our Children 

My children are currently 19 months old, 3 years, 7 years, and 8.5 years old. Our two toddlers nap for part of our lesson time and that is on purpose because they are both very busy and make reading aloud, crafts, and most things that require my full attention with the older two children very difficult. While we do include them both in our Morning Time routine as well as have intentional reading time for just them, they both spend most of their day playing and exploring (which they should!) During Morning Time and the chunk of lessons that they are with us, I have a lot of activities and toys nearby to help them stay engaged. 

Related: Here are 50 Low-Prep, Low- Mess Ideas to Engage Your Toddler

We also keep a lot of snacks on hand and that helps a lot! Homeschooling with little ones is not for the faint of heart, but it is possible and I know it’s just a season. My older children are 7 and 8.5 years old. They are technically 1st and 3rd grade, but with homeschooling we don’t really stick to grade levels exactly. We do most of our schooling “family style”, which you will see in the daily rhythm below.

Read: Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2021-2022.

Outings and Extracurricular Activities

I keep our Monday-Thursday mornings reserved for home care and lessons. If we go on outings or to doctor appointments on the weekdays they are always in the afternoons, after the toddlers’ nap times. For example, in this season on Mondays at 3:30pm my oldest son has a piano lesson. A few times a month in the afternoon I also like to plan a playdate with friends. As mentioned above, our afternoon nanny also takes the children to the library weekly and to other places to play while I am working. Other than that, we usually stay home and play outside, bike, or do crafts or baking. We only do Morning Time and lessons on Mondays-Thursdays and on Friday mornings we go to our Wild and Free group and spend the rest of the day playing and resting. 

Weekends

Our weekends are very relaxed and filled with free play, outings, movies, hiking, exploring our downtown, and visits with friends and family. We often also like to try to squeeze in some one-on-ones with the kids when we can, going on a bike ride or out for a treat. I also like to spend some of every weekend unplugged from social media and also some of each weekend getting organized for the next week by meal planning, grocery shopping, homeschool planning, and cleaning or organizing areas of our home. My older children are only allowed screen time on the weekends, so they usually watch a show or movie on Saturdays or we do family movie time one evening. 

Our Family Daily Rhythm

Here is a quick glance at our typical school day daily rhythm. You can scroll down to read in detail about each block.

5:30-6:45 Mama Morning Time
6:45-7:15 Meal Prep
7:15-8 Breakfast and Family Devotions
8-9:30 Morning Chores, Home Care, and Free Play
9:30-10:30 Morning Time 
10:30-11 Break
11- 11:30 Individual Lessons
11:30-12 Lunch & Read Aloud 
12-1:30 Family- Style Lessons
1:30-6 Outing/ Free Play/ Dinner Prep (I work 3x a week in this block)
6-7:30 Dinner and Dinner Chores
7:30-8:30 Time with Dad and Bedtimes
8:30-10 Relax and Connect

5:30-6:45 Mama Morning Time  

I start my day around 5:30 am. By this time my husband is already up and out the door to go workout. I get up, wash my face, make my bed, and head downstairs for coffee. I like to sit in the living room with my freshly made pour over or latte and take my time in silence waking up. I spend some time reading the Bible, a few pages in a book, journaling, and praying. I also look over our day and lessons quickly in my planner to review the day’s plans. The children start to wake up around 6:30-7 and will join me on the chair until I need to hop up to make breakfast. They are all still in their pajamas and are usually playing or cuddling and reading on the couch while my husband is completing his morning computer work. 

6:45-7:15 Meal Prep

I spend this time each morning making the family breakfast, packing my husband’s lunch, and assembling lunch for all of the kids in their bento boxes. Having their lunches already made makes it simple to grab during lessons. I also think about dinner and do any simple meal prep that I can before the day gets going, like throwing something in the slow cooker or setting meat out to thaw. 

7:15-8 Breakfast and Family Devotions

By 7:15 we are gathered at the dining room table for breakfast and family devotions. My husband leads this time of our day. Family devotions typically include Bible reading, scripture memory, discussion, and prayer. We are currently going through Our 24 Family Ways for the second time and loving it.

Related: Check out our favorite family devotional here

8-9:30 Morning Chores, Home Care, and Free Play 

My husband leaves around 8 and we clear the breakfast table and the big kids begin their Morning Chores. Once they have completed their chores they are welcome to play inside or outside until I gather them all for Morning Time around 9:30 am. The little ones play or stay near me to “help” as I do my morning responsibilities. This is the main time in my day that I get cleaning done, so I try to stay focused and get as much done as I can. Some of the things I focus on in the mornings are unloading and loading the dishwasher, switching and starting a load of laundry, cleaning the kitchen from breakfast, and sweeping. My older children are responsible for cleaning their rooms in the morning so I check their rooms. I also get the toddlers dressed and myself dressed and ready for the day. I grab the kids an easy morning snack and set the table for Morning Time. I also pull out a few activities and toys for the toddlers.

9:30-10:30 Morning Time  

We do Morning Time at our dining room table and in our living room. I gather the kids back together and give them a snack and their Morning Time Menus. The toddlers are either at the table with us or playing nearby. We start Morning Time by completing the calendar and weather charts from the Morning Time Bundle. Then we use Treehouse Nature Study Winter for the remainder of Morning Time, which includes hand rhymes, folk songs, poetry, picture study, nature study books, and sometimes nature study projects. My 3 year old really enjoys the songs and projects. We also sometimes read another book or two during Morning Time that is more geared toward the little ones.

10:30-11 Break 

By this point in the morning the little ones are antsy and want to get outside. We all spend about a half hour outside to get fresh air and movement before the next chunk of lessons. This usually looks like climbing trees, rollerblading, biking, playing in our mud kitchen, or tromping in our backyard woods. I come back inside with the toddlers a few minutes before we begin lessons to clean them up and clear the table from Morning Time and transition to lesson time materials.  

11-11:30 Individual Lessons 

I call the big kids inside and they begin their individual lessons, which are phonics and math. They can complete most of these lessons independently but I am available to hop back and forth between them as needed. During this time the little ones are eating their lunch. 

11:30-12 Lunch & Read Aloud

Once those subjects are complete I give the older children their lunches and they eat as they listen to our current read aloud and read along in their books. We use hoopla most often for audiobooks. While they are listening, I put my 19 month old down for a nap and get my 3 year old set up with a show in the next room. He watches 1-2 episodes of Daniel Tiger or watches books read aloud on a YouTube playlist (ad-free) before he takes his nap so we can have some focused school time. Getting both little ones settled takes me around ten minutes. When I am finished I usually grab my lunch and hop back to lessons to listen to the remainder of the chapter with them. 

12-1:30 Family- Style Lessons 

All of the subjects we complete for the remainder of lesson time are done together. Everyday looks different, but some of the subjects we cover here are language arts, history, geography, nature study, music study, typing, and sign language. We don’t cover all of them every day. This time often includes a lot of reading, narration, and notebooking, which requires a lot of focus. This is also the time that we would complete any projects like handcrafts or experiments. At some point during this block, I transition my 3 year old from his show to nap time. He doesn’t fall asleep everyday but stays in his room until around 3pm regardless.

1:30-6 Outing/ Free Play/ Dinner Prep 

Sometimes we wrap up lessons sooner than 1:30 but never later. The baby is usually waking up around the time we finish or shortly after. Three days a week our nanny comes at 1:30 and we change hands when she arrives. The older children tidy up their school area and are free to play inside or outside until dinner. They spend their afternoons reading, playing outside, crafting, drawing, and sometimes on outings to meet up with friends, or to the park or library. Although I meal plan for the week, whoever has the kids in the afternoon also makes dinner as well. The kids clean up any afternoon messes, wash their hands, and help set the table for dinner.

6-7:30 Dinner & Dinner Chores

My husband arrives home and we eat dinner together. Then the kids clear the table and sweep the dining area with my husband while I get the little ones ready for bed and wash the dinner dishes.

7-8:30 Time with Dad and Bedtimes

The two little ones go to sleep around 7:30 and the big kids spend a little more time with their dad and get ready for bed closer to 8:30. They are allowed to read in their beds until around 9 and then go to sleep.

8:30-10 Relax and Connect

In the evenings my husband and I connect and rest. Sometimes we read, watch a show together, or just sit and chat. I also enjoy taking baths or showers at night and going to bed early!

Shop: Daily Rhythm Bundle

We have very full days, but having a daily rhythm helps us fit in rest, work, play, and school without it feeling overwhelming. 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 movie day. Having a baseline for 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!

5 comments

Dani
Dani

I’m so thankful to have found you! I know our family rhythm will look different, but it is so good to see an example in detail. Thank you for sharing. I feel so much less anxious about our journey into home schooling with grade 1, pre-k and a newborn this fall.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

I want to thank you for sharing so many details about your morning routine, especially how you tend to your little ones who aren’t doing lessons yet. I am going to start homeschooling my daughter in the fall and have felt so overwhelmed since I have never known and do not know anyone around me who homeschools! Reading your daily rhythm gives me a realistic idea of what to expect and how it can be a relaxed flow and not so rigid as I tend to as a public schooler all my life. Thank you so much for everything!!

Treehouse Schoolhouse
Treehouse Schoolhouse

Thanks Becky and Megan for asking about this! In their lunch boxes I often do crackers and cheeses and like a hard salami with a piece of fruit. But we mix it up too. Kind of whatever is easy and what we have in the fridge. Sometimes we’ll do leftovers too!

Becky
Becky

I love that you share your daily rhythm. I have found it very helpful. I was wondering if you would be willing to share what you do for lunches for your kids? I seem to get in a rut or pick things that are time consuming.

Thanks so much!

Megan Russell
Megan Russell

I love the idea of making their lunches in the morning. Can you tell me what you put in their boxes? I would love some ideas! My kids are 13, 11, 9, and 3.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.