There is no typical day for us – each day brings about its opportunities and challenges though the structure of our day often remains the same. Today, I’m sharing our ‘usual day’ that is what it might look like on paper, but interspersed are photos of not the usual activities.
Because we look at the whole of our family life as learning and training opportunities for our children I really have to start telling you about our day from about 6.00am onwards, though some of the children like to wake earlier (as I do). The key time is that by 8.00am we need to have completed our personal responsibilities and are ready to join in with whatever the family is doing. In these two hours we need to get up, make bed, get dressed, have our quiet time, go for exercise (which not everyone is doing at the moment), have breakfast and do our designated chore.
At 8.00 we start with family devotions and a family meeting where we talk about the activities for the day and fill in everyone’s diaries for the day.
8.30 – 12.30 is our focus or study time. During this time on a study day we study the following
- Bible study
- Character (one week a month)
- Discipline Studies – Math, Writing, and anything that needs regular practice – this differs for each child. Music, Drawing, Typing, Handwriting
- General Knowledge such as history, geography and science
I teach Character with everyone (even Joshua) joining in. When I teach Bible study it is just with Nomi and Daniel as Josh and Jess do their own independently. Everyone does their Discipline studies mostly by themselves though I still work with Daniel on his reading/writing skills. I am available to help anyone should they need it though there is often about ½ hour for me to do something else – maybe get a few office tasks done, or cook something, or clean something. Nomi and Jess both study general knowledge topics by themselves and I teach Daniel one on one, using Sonlight.
We have study days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thursday our focus differs as the girls volunteer at Mainly Music. I do a little study with Daniel but my main task is cleaning the house while Daniel does yard maintenance. Friday is very flexible. We either try to go and enjoy God’s creation (depending on the weather) or we stay in the airconditioning and study living math and writing classes, though when it is that hot we may try and go to the pool for swimming/exercise.
Alternatively our focus time could be spent on a family project instead of study. For example we may be on a morning tea roster and we spend that time in the morning cooking, we may have gifts that need to be made and we sew, we may need to spend extra time cleaning the house or visiting with people. I make sure that our activities during this focus time are purposeful and consistent with our goals for our family.
12.30 – 1.30 is our lunch and chore time.
1.30 – 2.30 is independent study time. This used to be a rest time when they were younger, nowadays it is generally used for reading and/or writing but it is a time where I ask not to be disturbed if possible.
2.30-5.00 Productive Free time or Family project time. During this time the children read, create, or play. The goal is for them to be purposeful in their activities but they have free choice of how they spend their time unless the family has a commitment. This has given them time to pursue personal interests and talents.
5.00 – 7.30 Chore time and family time including meal time, read aloud and clean up.
7.30 – 8.00 get ready for bed, reading, lights out (for Daniel, Nomi and Jess)
My children go to bed fairly early but we find this gives them the amount of sleep they need. When my children get to around 15 we’ve given them the freedom to choose their own bedtime, based on the idea that they will be responsible and get enough sleep to function the next day. Josh, Jess and Daniel all like to get up around 5.30 (not that they always do!)
That is the outline of our days. Each day is different as we make use of the opportunities that come our way. I have found though, that having a structure for our days gives our children a sense of ownership to their activities – they can go ahead and do what needs to be done without me calling each and every shot. This is particularly important as they grow older, but even when they were younger a familiar structure gave them security, knowing that today would be similar to yesterday. But on the other hand it has helped them be flexible as well, because I can simply say “Our focus today won’t be study but we’ll be working on this project” and they can make the adjustments to their day and expectations.
Do you have a structure to your day that gives you the freedom to live as a family? A structure that helps you achieve what you want for your family?