Now, have you had a chance to get your school schedule figured out?Yes, and it goes something like this on weekdays:
6:30 - wake up the little girls (Allison, Sarah, Eliza and Harmony who share a room) and the boys (Joey and Michael) and have them get started on cleaning their room. If they are done with the rooms by 6:45 (it's happened only a couple times so far), they get a privilege card.
6:45 - wake up Lillian (whose room is always clean) and have scriptures. We don't wake up Katie if she'll stay asleep, but she almost always wakes up. For over a year, we've had a basic format of reading. One of us reads between 5 and 15 verses, then we discuss what's going on, explaining it to the younger kids. Finally, we ask questions like, "What can we learn from this?" or "How does this apply to us?" We've gotten some pretty profound answers at times, though the most common answer is Eliza's. Nearly every day, she raises her hand and says, "To follow Jesus Christ!" We also get "to not be wicked" and "to be good." We're getting there!
After scriptures, we set a timer and everyone cleans the family room and nearby toy area for five minutes. We call it five minute madness and an amazing amount of work gets done in a short period of time.
7:00 - 8:00 - The kids clean their rooms and then eat breakfast (no breakfast until rooms are clean!). I shower and dress and then do the little girls' hair. Breakfast is cereal and toast on school days, things the kids can do themselves. The kids check the school lunch calendar and pack their own lunch if they don't like what the school is serving. Lillian practices the violin and piano. I'm spoiled because she never needs reminding. Starting in a few weeks, she'll have orchestra before school twice a week.
Around 8:00 -- The five school kids do five minutes of kitchen clean up, then leave for school.
Mornings: This is my best work time. I get the kitchen clean first thing, often listening to something interesting or educational while I work, then it's on to the other tasks. On Mondays and Thursdays, the kids bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room when they clean their room and I get started on sorting those piles right away. I keep up moving the loads through all day, and sometime in the evening (or the next day, depending on what's going on), I'll sit down and fold them. I have a family room right next to the laundry where I can sit down on the couch and fold. I play the laundry folding by ear, and since it's a relaxing chore, I don't do it in the mornings when I need the energy for other tasks.
Katie takes a morning nap and Harmony and Eliza are getting along wonderfully this year, so they are mostly playing nicely while I'm working in the mornings (at least so far -- those things can change quickly!). I'll take them outside to ride bikes or play in the backyard a couple of times, and they're always happy to go on errands with me.
I've got my work scheduled out for the week as follows:
Mondays -- Go through my in-box of papers and handle all of them, respond to all the emails I've flagged, and plan my errands for the week. Stay home as much as possible this day. Keep the laundry moving through.
Tuesdays -- Harmony and Eliza will be doing a playgroup with some other preschoolers in the neighborhood. When it's my turn, I'll get out the playdough or crafty stuff, otherwise, this is going to be my "spoiling me by setting aside time to write" day. I really want to have more time for this blog and a few other writing projects.
Wednesdays -- This is my kitchen day. I'll be making bread, cleaning out the fridge, finalizing a grocery list for Thursday, prepping a crockpot meal, and mopping the floors. A neighbor, Keli Erickson, suggested once that she wipes out her fridge every week just before prepping her grocery list and menu. It keeps the fridge job from getting overwhelming and it helps her visually see what they are needing to buy. I'm adopting her tip. The last two weeks, it's worked well, and I've been able to plan meals around the stuff in my fridge I've forgotten was there.
Thursdays -- This is my lighter wash day (if there is such a thing in a family of ten!), and I get that going as soon as I can. This is also errand and library day. I'll be going to storytime with the little girls and to the grocery store.
Fridays -- Once a month, I host a mother's group at our house. The rest of the days, I'm going to focus on getting the outside work done (weeding, lawn-mowing, etc) until it gets cold, and then it's going to be a project day -- tackling those messy storage areas, the pictures on the wall I really need to update, the home repairs, etc.
11:30 or 12:00 -- Lunch with the little girls.
Afternoons: Katie also takes an afternoon nap. Two days a week, Harmony and Eliza are going to be doing an afternoon preschool together. On those days, DH has arranged to work from home during that time so I can get in a couple of runs (I'll also do one run on Saturdays). The other three days, it will be quiet time.
between 3 and 4: Kids home from school. Homework is always done first and while I'm helping, I try to handle any urgent field trip forms or other misc. stuff from school. Anything non-urgent goes into my in-box to deal with on Mondays. One day a week, Lillian and Michael have piano lessons. Another day, we have horseback riding lessons from 4 to 6, with two kids going for the first hour and then two others for the last hour. The oldest six take lessons and love it (I do, too, and our gal is really inexpensive -- if you're in our area and interested, I'll pass along her name and number). Other than those two things, and Scouts for Joey one afternoon, afternoons are pretty free. The kids play outside or with friends.
Around 5:00: Afternoon zones. Lillian makes dinner once a week and is in charge of setting the table and prepping a fruit and veggie the other days. Joey is in charge of cleaning the front room and the great room. Michael will tackle the mudroom, and Allison and Sarah will empty the dishwashers (yes, we have two!). I'll be finishing up dinner most days. It's amazing how orderly our house stays with each child doing just a simple job.
5:30 or 6:00: Dinner
Dinner Clean-up: The oldest five do five minutes of clean-up, then each one of them has one (Michael, Allison, and Sarah) or two days (Lillian and Joey) a week to do the final kitchen clean-up.
Evenings: Mondays are Family Home Evening nights, one night is Scouts for Michael and Young Women's for Lillian, another night is Scouts for DH (he's with the 11-year-olds and will be Joey's scout leader come October) We're going to move date nights to an earlier night in the week so that Fridays can be a family fun night.
7:30ish: The younger girls go to bed. We read to them most nights. If my husband or I are busy with other things, the older kids are pretty willing to fill in. All the girls love to look at piles and piles of books on their own until they fall asleep.
8:00ish: Joey and Michael go to bed.
Whenever: Lillian goes to bed. She's really good about getting to bed when she needs to, so we don't have a set time for her.
Saturdays will be our family work days in the mornings, free time or family activities in the afternoons