I’m not sure what the draw is when it comes to “reality this” and “lifestyle that,” but I’m sucked into just like you probably are.
I like seeing how people similar to me go about their lives, or how they approach different situations. It helps me to think about how I’d handle a similar situation, or it gives me ideas and inspires me in some way.
Of course, there needs to be quite a bit of moderation or else watching reality tv shows and reading my favorite lifestyle blogs could become a serious time-suck, but that’s a good principle to live by no matter what you’re talking about. Moderation that is. It’s healthy for you.
One of the things I like seeing is how people who are in a similar place as me make life work for them. As in, how does this mom with lots of kids making working at home and homeschooling work together smoothly? How does she decide which supplements to give her kids and which ones to skip? How does she prepare healthy meals and keep her house clean?
Are you with me? Do you do the same thing?
If so, then today, I’m going to give you a glimpse into my family’s daily routine and how we make things work here in The Visser House.
Keep in mind that this daily routine is a basic routine, and it is flexible. It changes on certain days or when certain events come up, and it changes depending on the season of the year (and life) we’re in.
Our “Normal” Daily Routine
Okay, so now that you’ve seen a basic version of the daily routine that we try to follow, let me explain some of the above.
First, I’m one of those moms that NEEDS to be organized and have a routine or else life is chaotic and unstructured… which means I get nothing done, and I’m grumpy. But, I also need flexibility in my schedule to do what I want if I feel overwhelmed, smothered, or bored. Thankfully, our daily routine provides structure and flexibility at the same time.
I’m also one of those moms that believe in letting my kids play freely instead of structuring every minute of their day. Now, I’ve read a lot of parenting books, and I’ve looked at both sides of the coin, so to speak. Part of me wants to structure their day so they learn the benefits of a schedule, they’re productive, and they stay out of trouble, but then the other part of me wants them to just be kids and enjoy playing, learn to be creative when they’re feeling bored, and to discover themselves without the constraints of a schedule.
So, I feel like we’ve bridged the gap a little. There are structured parts of their day like waking up and going to bed, their mealtimes, chore time, and school time, but you can also see from our schedule that they have lots of free play time built into their daily routine as well.
Play time for my kids comes in many different forms from playing board games, to playing with toys in the house, to playing in the bath, to playing outside or going on “adventures,” to watching a tv show or playing a video game, to building forts and secret hideouts where they can read or listen to their audiobooks, to doing an art project, etc. They get into all sorts of things, and they never come to me complaining of being bored. They’ve tried that in the past only to have mom give them an extra chore.
Mean ole’ mom… I know.
Next, my kids have chores, and they’re mandatory.
I learned from other precious women long ago who were way ahead of me on this parenting journey that I should expect my kids to do chores and help out around the house.
I firmly believe that kids need to feel useful and a part of something bigger than themselves so I’m constantly telling my boys that it takes all of us working together to keep our home running smoothly. They do indoor housework as part of their daily chores, and they earn a set allowance for completing them correctly and on time.
Schoolwork, for us, is always a struggle. Well, I should say it’s more of a struggle for me. And it’s not necessarily the schoolwork that’s the struggle, but the actual schooling part. I’m constantly doubting myself and my ability to teach my kids. I mean, how should I school them? What’s the best method? What’s their learning style? Do we really need to spend 5 hours a day on schoolwork? Do I use textbooks and workbooks or do we take a more laid back approach? Do we really need to cover ALL of these subjects or is it okay to pick and choose?
It’s mostly because I’m constantly doubting myself and my ability to teach my kids. I mean, how should I school them? What’s the best method? What’s their learning style? Do we really need to spend 5 hours a day on schoolwork? Do I use textbooks and workbooks or do we take a more laid back approach? Do we really need to cover ALL of these subjects or is it okay to pick and choose?
Oh, my word! Seriously… I often feel like a hampster on a wheel, and I over-think everything. However, I definitely don’t think I’m alone in this. It seems that there are lots of other homeschool moms have this same struggle. “Hey, mama!”
Thankfully, I have my mother-in-law who’s been there, done that as well as some other experienced homeschooling moms (and I’m so thankful for many of you homeschool bloggers and your e-books) who don’t mind to listen to me whine and give me their advice. It makes me feel so much better.
Anyway, we have about three hours set aside for school which works great for us right now. I only have two in school at the moment, and they get everything done during that time. I’m sure that things will continue to change as more kids are “officially” in school, but we’ll adjust our schedule again to make it work.
The boys do individual work for subjects like math, spelling, language arts, handwriting, and reading. Most times they do it on their own, but sometimes I work with them so I can see how they’re doing. They also have group work for subjects like art, history, science, geography, etc. that we all do together. We also don’t cover each subject every single day of the week so our school days are never the same.
We are eclectic homeschoolers as I mesh a lot of different homeschooling styles together, but I try to stick with classical homeschooling as much as I can. We use a combination of textbooks and workbooks along with classic literature, video, e-books/e-course, and more to make homeschooling work for us. I love curricula that are cyclical meaning we cover it once then we repeat it again at a more advanced level. Our history and science are structured this way. The language arts and part of their science are both classical, Charlotte Mason style curriculum that they love, and our geography, Bible, and piano come from e-books/e-course I’ve found through homeschool blogs. We also do field trips occasionally to help them see things “in action,” and the kids love doing lapbooks that coordinate with what they’re learning. We’re also getting ready to start a nature study notebook for Isaiah, who loves being outside.
So far, homeschooling works well for us. The boys do great, they learn what they “need” or are “supposed” to learn each year, they are technically a year ahead of their age as far as public school goes, and they are well-rounded. The thing I love about homeschooling is that it’s so very flexible and you can go at your own pace if you need to. Plus, there’s so much time to teach kids about life as you live it right alongside you.
If I didn’t use a meal plan, I’d be a mess, and I’m sure we’d eat junky, unhealthy foods more often than we do. I still have a long way to go when it comes to meal planning and making it work for us, but I’m getting there. Slowly but surely. If you wanna get more of a glimpse into how meal planning works for me (and my struggles with it), check out my Meal Planning Monday series.
Quickly, breakfasts have to be fast at our house. I don’t cook a 5-course Southern breakfast every morning although those are my favorite kinds of breakfasts. Lunch has to be quick too. We usually have leftovers from supper the night before or some other quick-fix lunch. Supper is where I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen, and I’m working toward cutting time out there by doing a better job with prepping meals ahead of time and utilizing my crockpot more. Wish me luck!
Mom & Dad Chores
When Dean gets home he gets right to work on some house project we always seem to have going on. Well, after coming in to say hi and give me a hug, that is!
Sometimes the boys help him and other times they do their own thing. When they do head out to help dad, they oftentimes earn extra money depending on the work and their attitudes while they’re working. Right now there’s brush to clear, wood to chop and rick, tractors to fix, cedar shake shingles to haul, deck to paint, and more. There’s lots to do as summer is a busy time on the mountain.
I, on the other hand, spend this time on my part of the housework. Fun-fun, right? You’ll find me washing, sorting, and putting away laundry, washing dishes, scrubing toilets and tubs, cleaning little fingerprints off windows for the hundredth time, making beds, sweeping the floor, so on and so forth. As much as I dislike chores, the house sure feels nice when it’s clean, and if the windows are up, a cool breeze is blowing in, and I can hear the kiddos playing outside, it makes it a little bit easier.
After supper, we all try to spend a little time doing something together as a family. During the winter months we usually opt for movie nights, game nights, or story times, but during the summer we like to go for drives down old country back roads, walk through the woods on our property, get a little more outdoor work and play done, or plan some special activity like going to a nearby park or foraging for herbs and mushrooms. If I’m extra busy with work, Dean takes all the boys and does something special with them. You know… guy time. This helps me to have some peace and quiet so I can work on what I need to do. I’m not really sure how much I actually get done, though, because I spend more time missing the guys than I do getting work done. Oh well. Thankfully, those times are few and far between.
Life is often busy for us during the day with school and work so it’s important for us to slow down and take this time together as often as we can. There’s no one like family, and we want to teach our kids to enjoy each other now so they’ll enjoy each other when they’re adults too. And ole’ mom and dad would like to keep ’em hangin’ around us too!
Mom & Dad Hobbies
Once the kids are in bed, Dean and I often have time to relax together, enjoy a cup of tea or an evening snack and chat about the day or anything else we need to discuss. Other times, though, we’re tired and ready to crash. Since we rarely go to sleep when the kids do, if we’re tired, we’ll cuddle up in the bed together and watch our favorite tv shows. (Yes…I know that blue light is bad for you at night! No… I’m not perfect!) After a couple shows, our bodies have had sufficient time to wind down, and we’re ready for beds.
Then, of course, there are times where I need to get even more work done online so I head off to finish some things up. Dean will play the guitar, browse Craigslist, or do something else along those lines before we go to bed. Thankfully, now that I’ve switched my workday around to working in the morning (when I’m most productive), doing school in the afternoon, and tackling household things in the evening, it’s very rare that I need to work at night. I seem to get so much done with this new schedule. I love it!
Variations In Our Daily Routine
Like I said earlier, our routine changes depending on the day or the week, what we decide to do with our evenings (after dad gets home from work), and the season of the year we’re in.
Right now, my mom watches my kids two days a week so I can get some serious work done on a secret project I’m working on for you! Oh, mama! I can NOT wait to tell you more about this, but for now, it’s hush-hush. She watches the kids in the morning so their part of the morning routine is totally different, but the afternoon and evening parts are the same.
Our evening routine does change on certain days of the week as my kids have some activities they participate in two evenings each week, and sometimes we even head out of town for a midweek play-date with all of our cousins… because hanging out with them all day Sunday is just. not. enough.
As far as seasonal variations go, during the summer our evenings always seem to be filled with house projects or being outdoors in some way, fall brings more outdoor family activities like hikes, adventures, and other outings, and winter keeps us indoors with more game nights and movie nights.
So there you go! I hope you’ve enjoyed another inside look into my life and how we manage things here on the homefront (for the time being anyway).