7:00 Jobs - A few kids are up earlier but at "seven-oh-oh", as my little ones used to call it, they all make beds, clean up their rooms, get dressed and spend some time in the Word. This gives me the chance to crack open my sleep-deprived eyes, get ready for the day, and read my Bible too. Despite the "seven-oh-oh" policy, the 3yo and 5yo ask me the usual plethora of questions, "Is it time to eat?" "Can I cuddle wiff you, Mommy?" I say no to the former, and yes to the latter.
8:00 Bagels for breakfast - Panera donates day-old bagels and breads to the Wycliffe Linguistics Center where we serve; and how can we say no to free food?!
8:30 Morning jobs: My 14yo and 10yo boys haul some old lumber to the burn pile that John had torn out of the attic earlier in the week.
My 8yo girl unloads the dishwasher and reloads it (the dishwasher gets run twice a day at the Toliver house!). My 12yo girl, assisted by her questionably helpful 3yo sister, straightens the living room, bookshelves and schoolroom shelves. My 5yo son collects dirty laundry and takes it to the laundry room as well as empties bathroom trash and my 7yo girl cleans off the table and sweeps the kitchen. The house NEVER reaches a completely clean state with 10 people living here - cleaning is a never-ending job.
I do some cleaning in the master bedroom which is in a state of chaos due to one of my husband's current projects: master bathroom and closet remodeling. I should clarify: I only have one husband but he has lots of projects.
9:00 Exercise for me and the 7 older kids (our 8mo baby girl is already down for her morning nap). I've been reviewing Family Time Fitness for Schoolhouse Review Crew. This is the first time we've ever done structured exercise together as a family (house demolition and remodeling doesn't count!) and the kids and I have really, really enjoyed it! Okay, the sore thighs after the first day of frog squats -- not so much.
9:30 After teeth are brushed, we start off with Bible reading. In our evening Bible reading we are reading through Genesis with Dad, so in the mornings, we discuss what we are learning there (my 8yo wonders what day God created color!) as well as review some of our Bible memory verses. This morning it's Ephesians 4:25-32. We decide that "Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification..." is one to focus on for the day.
9:45 A few quick rounds of Brainbox World wakes our brains up - and our competitive spirits. Geography is one of my favorite subjects. We have a few geography games we play but the giant US and World maps that have always hung on our dining room/schoolroom walls have been the biggest factor in my kids knowing their geography well.
10:00 Reading and Math Since I've already written the daily assignments on our giant seven foot tall whiteboard (no exaggeration), the older five start their schoolwork. I sit down to read Just Like Max and A New Coat for Anna to the 3yo and 5yo. Interruptions are part of the day so while reading I answer questions about my 14yo's math (Teaching Textbooks explains things so well that it's uncommon for me to have to explain things - thankfully!).
My 12yo works on her OYAN writing assignments while she waits for her brother to finish on the computer so she can do her math. With only one desktop, someone is always waiting for their turn. The 10yo and 8yo are reviewing multiplication facts with flashcards (they both need review on this one!) and the 7yo is working on her Explode the Code. She's learning to be a good reader, but this book that I found in the Boutique (for free) improves her reading skills.
10:30 Science By this time, the baby is up from her nap and fussing to be fed. So while I nurse her (welcome to real life, folks), the 7yo, 5yo and 3yo sit on the living room floor while the 10yo and 8yo take turns reading aloud from the Apologia Astronomy book which we just started.
It's written in a narrative style, not like a dry textbook, so it's interesting for all the kids as we discuss the solar system. There are plenty of laughs as we do a demonstration of how the moon revolves around the earth while the earth revolves around the sun. The moon keeps bumping into the earth. It's a good thing God designed it better than our bumbling attempts!
Somewhere in the midst of all that, the baby gets completely distracted and decides she'd rather watch the sun/moon/earth demonstration than eat. The 14yo and 12yo work on their Apologia Science in the other room.
11:15 History and Outside Play The 3yo, 5yo and 7yo go outside to play...
While the older kids listen to the Mystery of History audio cd for the current chapter. They have projects and worksheets that go along with the chapter - some of the kids do well working as they listen; others wait until the cd is done since they do better listening without a distraction.
I change the baby's diaper and she cries because she thinks I'm putting her down for another nap. Not yet, baby girl. But if you keep crying, it will come sooner than expected!
11:45 Time for a Sermon!The 8yo and 10yo join the younger ones outside while the baby plays in the playpen in her room for a little while, listening to Cedarmont Kids (Alone Time is everybody's friend!).
The 12yo and 14yo grab their notebooks and Bibles and sit on the kitchen floor to listen to their Grandpa's sermon CD. Three benefits from this: one, they receive outstanding, powerful Bible teaching; two, they learn to take notes in an outline fashion; three, it's good to hear Grandpa's voice! We enjoy listening to him preach regularly even though we live 1000+ miles apart. I fold laundry while he preaches - interrupted by several back-door visitors (aka. children with questions, arguments, etc). It might be my imagination, but I think I can hear my Dad laugh as he preaches because he used to deal with me fighting with my siblings...
12:15 Lunchtime - Laundry folding will have to wait. The baby sits in her high chair while the 12yo feeds her half a jar of sweet potatoes. The 14yo makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (we're high class around here...but at least it's on homemade wheat bread!). I ring the dinner bell to call the rest of the kids in for lunch.
Are you tired yet? Me too! After lunch, I put the 3yo and baby down for afternoon naps, while the older ones have independent reading/book time. Book time is an absolute, never changing part of our schedule. Not only does it give them focused, uninterrupted reading time, but it also gives me an hour and a quarter of quiet time. The day is only half done! One Year Adventure Novel and one-on-one reading with Mom is coming up later in the afternoon. Plus diaper changing, nose wiping, fight solving, and I need to collect the materials for John to do the science project with the kids later this evening, and...what on earth am I going to make for supper?
Read about how other moms fit it all in at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!