Our Schedule: 4 Moms, 35 Kids

This week 4 Moms will be talking about scheduling.  Be sure to visit the other 3 Moms to hear different perspectives and ideas and don’t miss next week when we all live blog how a day REALLY goes with real time updates.

Life in a Shoe
The Common Room
Smockity Frocks(4 Moms live blogging day)

I’m a schedule person.  I’m also a “drop the silly schedule, spur of the moment” person.   I like to have a plan and know what to expect, yet I like to have the flexibility to follow an interest or a whim when it suits.   So while we have a pretty specific schedule, we use it as a tool to know what needs to be done and to have a plan to fit it in rather than a master that runs our day.

We’ve found that having a schedule in place gives us something to shoot for even though we rarely (if ever) follow all of it.  We get much more done when we have a plan rather than when we don’t.

I was introduced to this type of scheduling just after our fourth child was born.  Our children were 3, 2, 1 and newborn and I thought that my days of taking a shower were over when one of my friends recommended the book Managers of Their Homes .

The book changed our home.  I went from not having the time to take a shower to being able to have quiet time with God, occasional company for dinner and time each day to rest, knit or crochet.

Did we stick to our schedule?  Rarely.  However, it provided a plan.

Below is very close to that first schedule that we used.  Amber was 3, Kaitlin was 2, Matthew was 14 months, Alyssa was an infant, Mommy was 20 something. (Alyssa usually woke up to nurse at 5:30.)When each child had their turn “babysitting” Alyssa I was always close by and Alyssa was strapped into her car seat or swing.  The children simply showed her toys, talked with her or danced in front of her.  They loved having the opportunity to help with the new baby and Alyssa was safe.

Our basic schedule (above) that was put in place over 9 years ago can still be clearly seen in our current, much more complex schedule.  We’ve added 5 children, accomplish a lot more each day and specifics have changed, but the basic structure has remained.

Do we stick with it?  Rarely.  It does still give us a plan.

Amber – 13, Kaitlin – 12, Matthew – 10,  Alyssa – 9, Carter – 8, Sadie – 6, Savannah – 5, Colby – 3, Nick – 1, Mommy – 30 something.  (Mark is currently not working on the catechism at 6:00 with the younger children because of the 90 Day Challenge.  Catechism work will resume at the end of this month.)

Having a specific schedule helps the house to continue to run even when mom doesn’t (like during the first trimester of a pregnancy).

I sometimes think that I may be expendable since so much is done by the children.  My role has certainly shifted from the person who did EVERYTHING for EVERYONE to the person who makes sure everything gets done.  It’s not that I have less responsibility, it’s just that I’m much more of a manager now.

One other thing that I’d like to point out about our schedule.  I am naturally a morning person, it’s just the way God made me. When I wake up, I’m HAPPY and ready to start a fresh new day.  On the other hand I’m not that fun at night.  Our schedule reflects that aspect of my personality, your schedule should reflect your personality.

I’ve posted a lot about scheduling:

How we create our schedule.
Tips for making a workable schedule.
Our chore list .
Our specific school schedule.

Also visit the other moms of many to read about their scheduling thoughts and ideas:

The Common Room
Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe

Do you use a schedule or are you more comfortable without having that structure?  Do you think it depends on personality or do you think a basic plan will benefit everyone?

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45 Responses to Our Schedule: 4 Moms, 35 Kids
  1. Jen@balancing Beauty and Bedlam
    March 11, 2010 | 8:52 am

    Oh schedules…Im always fascinated with others but not to wonderful about implementing them ourselves (even though my mOTH book is completely dog eared.) 🙂 Best intentions….thanks for sharing, Kimberly …


  2. Christin
    March 11, 2010 | 9:02 am

    I’m in the process of creating our schedule right now, using Managers of Their Homes. Morning sickness has slowed this down a bit, but it’s coming along!
    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Kara
    March 11, 2010 | 9:08 am

    I just made a schedule after thinking I was losing my mind and although we don’t always stick to it it helps because it is there. And my children know what they are supposed to be doing at any given time. Thank you for sharing yours!


  4. Bonni
    March 11, 2010 | 9:13 am

    Knowing that I HAD a schedule was enough to keep me sane, even if several days passed without using it! We, as moms, have to learn not to beat ourselves up if our daily lives don’t go quite as we had hoped or planned!


  5. LaShawn
    March 11, 2010 | 9:14 am

    We just started MOTHs schedule two weeks ago. It has changed our house so much. It is so much less chaotic. When things start going towards the chaos mode we look at the schedule and get back on track! It has really given me a peace about my house.


  6. Deputyheadmistress
    March 11, 2010 | 9:47 am

    Great post! I am NOT a schedule person, but I found some useful tips in MOTH as well.


  7. Deanna
    March 11, 2010 | 10:14 am

    I am not a great scheduler but I do have a general sense of the day!

    I think we could be much more productive with a specific schedule, though…

    Thanks for sharing!


  8. LisaC
    March 11, 2010 | 10:22 am

    That schedule is amazing! I am so impressed. Just yesterday I was thinking I need to work out a better schedule. I have not done a schedule like yours (ever!) since I had only 2 kids and it looked nothing like yours. Great job!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Don’t be impressed. Being scheduled is one of the good parts of my personality. Struggling to be more people oriented and less task oriented is one of the bad parts. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.


  9. Annette
    March 11, 2010 | 10:55 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m “only” a mother of 4, but have really been struggling with our schedule lately, especially in regards to homeschooling. I can’t decide if the fact that it takes me over an hour each night to get ready for the next day of school means I’m doing something right or doing something really, really wrong, LOL! I’m going to really take the time to read your other posts as well as the 4 moms/35 kids posts on scheduling today, and pray about it, and hopefully we can come up with something that works better to meet all our needs.


  10. PerryC.
    March 11, 2010 | 10:56 am

    Wow you guys are organized. I’m impressed!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Well, organized on paper at least. We rarely hit that mark.


  11. Janice
    March 11, 2010 | 11:01 am

    I have always been a schedule person and a morning person. It can be difficult to get up those non-morning children who seemed to always go to sleep later no matter the bedtime. My compromise was to let that child sleep a little later but had to give up free time (if needed) to finish school work. This child is still a night owl! The mom is still a morning person. 🙂 Great job, Kimberly! Keep up the good work!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I realize that I’m heading into new territory as our children get a little older. So I’m taking notes, just keep giving me pointers. 🙂


  12. Tina
    March 11, 2010 | 11:18 am

    I was introduced to MOTH years ago as well and it totally changed how I ran my house. I love it. It helps everyone, not just me. I’m also like you, in that, I enjoy my schedule but I also am ready to stray from it if I feel like being spontaneous. It is a guide for us and not the master of the house. I also enjoy being more of a manager now. Thanks for your blog 🙂


  13. FishMama
    March 11, 2010 | 12:36 pm

    Oh I need to come back and read your links! I am drowning — and it’s school time. So I gotta go! But, so glad I can come back for desperately needed HELP!


  14. Michelle
    March 11, 2010 | 3:09 pm

    I browsed to everyone…and wow what a difference! I like to be organized but you might stress me out for not keeping up to standard! LOL! So…your 2 and 3 year old swept and cleared dishes. I really need to start working on this chore thing with my 2 1/2 year old but don’t know where to start. I thought about setting the table. Sweeping? really?

    Anyways…love the schedule and must check out MOTH and your other posts. I also find myself reading and thinking I’ll be coming back looking in the archives after a few more kids!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I LOVE the variety within our group. I think that is going to be very useful.

    Don’t think that this happens in our house everyday or even most days. We haven’t even stayed close to schedule this week until today (Monday – OB appointment and lunch at the park, Tuesday – Music lessons from 9 – 12:30, Wednesday – Dentist appointments from 10 – 2) and today we only did half a schedule.

    Let me explain about the “sweeping”. We did this in one of two ways. Either the child got a dust pan and little brush and just walked around and swept up the crumbs that they saw (our now 3 yo loves to do this) or (if they proved they could be responsible) they got to use the vacuum with the attachment to get up the crumbs that they saw. There was no big broom involved and the standard of cleanliness was…lower than typical of a freshly swept floor. 🙂

    I needed the help and they were eager to offer it.


  15. Kathi
    March 11, 2010 | 3:49 pm

    I have MOTH, but it’s never worked (probably me).I think it’s time though, I’m drowning in all-things-not-getting-done!I think the first step for me, is how, after all these years of just “keep going, do the next thing”, scheduling feels almost unnatural…do you set a timer…watch a clock?I’ve had people tell me to actually go buy an egg timer kinda things.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We do not set a timer or watch a clock (except for the time just before breakfast). Everyone has a lot of little things to do during that time and if someone is moving slowly (or not moving at all) it causes everyone to end up with a cold breakfast. Everything else in the day just flows.

    I would say that our schedule works more like a “do the next thing” flow. It tells us all what the “next thing” is.

    I wouldn’t suggest buying an egg timer, but maybe having a “flow of events” planned for the day might be useful for you.

    You will probably also get better ideas from the others in our 4 Moms group, we all have different personalities and perspectives on schedules.

    The most useful part of our schedule is that the children all know what they need to be doing without me telling them, so we all get a lot more done and I’m not answering the question, “what should I do next?” every 3 1/2 minutes. 🙂


  16. Nicki
    March 11, 2010 | 4:40 pm

    I love MOTH and have used it for about 9 years. My schedule is my guide, and if we don’t do math at 10:30, that’s okay. As long as we get it all in, I’m happy. If baby needs his nap earlier than usual, we just do the ‘naptime’ stuff earlier, too.

    Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to get a glimpse into everyone else’s day, and pick up some good ideas!


  17. Jacque @Walking Therein
    March 11, 2010 | 9:38 pm

    Great series. Thanks for sharing!
    Scheduling does make the difference even when you can’t or don’t follow it every day. Just having a plan to shoot for helps to accomplish so much more than winging it.



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I completely agree that having a plan is important to getting it all done. When we don’t follow our schedule I KNOW what things are not getting done that day and that in itself is useful.


  18. thesleepyknitter
    March 11, 2010 | 10:19 pm

    These schedules look so helpful! Several weeks ago through Inter Library Loan, I tried to check out the book you mentioned above, but apparently, every copy in Kentucky libraries is currently checked out. That’s the first time I’ve ever been unable to get a book I wanted through I.L.L.. My librarian said, “Huh! Must be a pretty popular book! Try again in a few weeks.” So this post was a good reminder.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I often recommend this book and it is a fabulous resource, but she is a very strict scheduler, so take what is useful and leave the rest.


  19. Amy @ Raising Arrows
    March 12, 2010 | 4:20 pm

    I had to laugh when I saw this! I just finished a series of posts on making a to-do list and one thing I talked about was being a schedule person versus a routine person.

    Frankly, MOTH was hard for us to follow. My husband is very UN-scheduled so MOTH just never fit quite right. However, once I realized I was more of a routine person and did well w/ loose routines in place, things went a lot smoother.

    However, I am a firm believer that just “flying by the seat of your pants” is not an option…especially since our God is not a God of chaos.

    Loved peeking into your day! 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Routine! Routine was the word I was searching for while writing this post. I fall half-way between being a routine person and a schedule person (hence the middle of our schedule says after this and after that.

    I recommend MOTH a lot, but often forget how TIGHT of a schedule that she recommends. We don’t follow much of that, but there is so much good information and so many good ideas that I think it is one of the best places too start.

    However, you’re right, you have to be confident enough to ditch what doesn’t work. Setting a timer and stopping in the middle of an art project does not work at this house!!!! 🙂

    My husband is also very UN-scheduled so you’ll notice that once he gets home there is nothing planned besides eating, cleaning up and family worship.

    Thanks for reminding me what word I was looking for, routine.


  20. Tami
    March 12, 2010 | 4:32 pm

    I’m just blown away by that schedule! I’m more of a list person myself – and I list what we do after the fact in my planner. I guess it should really be called a recorder instead.
    The thing I am struck most with in these four posts (yours and the other moms) is the difference between serving the kids, and teaching them to serve the family. Our first two kids went to public school, because we didn’t know any better back then, and the first one graduated. The second started homeschool in 9th grade. When they were in school my life revolved around them and getting them, and all their stuff, ready and delivered to wherever they needed to be. Not just school, but baseball, golf, soccer, cross country, chess club, friend’s houses, youth group activities, etc. There was very little time for them to learn to take care of themselves and their own personal needs, much less to contribute anything to running the household. That’s just how it was – they were very active, and so their time was more important than mine or Dad’s. Most of the families we know still live that way. It’s just so important for them to build their resume for their college apps. In fact, my older son is in college now and his school has maid service in the dorms. Not for an extra fee, all dorms have it. For a little extra, you can even have housekeeping do your laundry, and from what I hear, many parents do. Apparently, this is not uncommon in colleges today, but I wonder when these kids will ever learn to take care of themselves. Will they be dependant on domestic help all their lives? Who will pay? I guess that is one answer to the problem of unemployment in the US in the future. And to be fair, I did have friends when I was a young married (I’m nearly 50 now) who did have a maid – paid for by the husband’s parents, because the wife was messy, and the husband liked his house nice & neat! That couple has come a long way, now they are missionaries in Brazil with 6 homeschooled kids. So even they turned out fine. But I digress. My point is that we are doing a much better job teaching our younger three how to live, just because they are with us. Even our now 10th grade son has come a long way, although he is resistant and still tries to pay his money-hungry sisters to do his chores, fix his lunch etc. Poor guy, he still misses the good life. At least now he knows that kind of service comes with a price!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Great comment, Tami. I too see this as a big difference between families and I think that it is a disservice to our children to raise them to believe that the world revolves around them.

    Thank you.


  21. Rene
    March 12, 2010 | 9:01 pm

    I actually have never been a schedule person. However, two weeks ago, I decided to change. I read Managers of The Home and have written out schedules for everyone to follow. Now that I am homeschooling more children, blogging, and everything else with life, I decided that I had to have a schedule. I am excited to try it out. We are starting at the beginning of April, and will see how it goes!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Here are a couple of thoughts about MOTH and implementing it as a non-schedule type person. Don’t worry so much about time and timers (perhaps do that in the beginning to get going, but don’t be afraid to drop it) and work toward getting a good routine in place.

    Oh, and give it time. It seems horrible at first, but once every one understands what they are supposed to be doing and become accustomed to doing it things smooth out and speed up.

    My schedule is part routine and part schedule. Notice the after this, after that during the mid portion of the day. That is a great compromise for those who will go crazy if they are stuck with a rigid schedule.

    I’d love to learn how it goes!! 🙂


  22. Kimarie
    March 15, 2010 | 7:36 am

    Hi, Kimberly! I’ve been lurking for a while – thoroughly enjoyed this post. I also write out schedules, and yet we follow the basic routine and TRY to follow times roughly. I try to have a basic school start time (although that’s been ditched right now with the time change and getting everyone to be more diligent with before breakfast items and morning chores), a certain nap time, dinner time, and bedtime.

    I think you’ve told me this before, but not ALL your children go to bed at 7pm, right? Are the olders staying up a bit later now? We’re in the same stage with our children where we’re getting to two different bedtimes for olders and youngers – it always changes!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    For the most part all of the children still go to bed at 7. That will shift to 8 or so as the spring advances.

    Actually during the warmer months we are pretty sporadic with bedtimes. We do allow the children to listen to stories on CD in bed at night if they are getting up in a timely fashion without us having to wake them. 🙂


  23. Kimberly
    March 16, 2010 | 1:44 pm

    Hi its me again, I had posted a little while ago about chores and allowance. Do any of you children get an allowance and if not how do I get my girls to tow thier weight w/o expecting to get paid for it? Its all my fault I started to give them an allowance but then had to drop it due to money constraints and now every time I ask my girls to do something they as for money. I don’t mind something minimal like while waiting in line at the grocery store they will help with the bagging not only our grogerys but those of people in front of us just we can get out quicker, I will give them each a quarter for a gum ball or small machine toy. I have tried to come up with a good schedule for us but it always seems to fail after about a month.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks for the reminder. Here is a quick thought. I would sit down the children and tell them just like you said here. That this problem is your fault and that you don’t think you should be paying them for chores. Tell them that there will be other perks for working diligently and cheerfully (like you having more time to spend with them, them being helpful to you and being pleasing to God).

    Then I would make a big effort to praise them for how much they help you. When you take a trip to the park (or whatever) mention that you are able to do fun things like that because of their help around the house, etc.

    There will certainly be an adjustment period, but I think that it will get better over time.

    I will also mention this as a topic idea for the other ladies in the group.



  24. sonja
    March 19, 2010 | 8:11 pm

    Hi Kimberly

    I just have three questions. One is, do you give your kids any money at all? I haven’t read everything on your blog yet, but am really working on a building a schedule for our family. Our kids are 13, 10, 8 and 4, so we hope to have them doing a bit more around the home, but aren’t sure what we want to do about allowances/paying/etc. We don’t mind giving them money to learn to manage their finances, I’m just not sure how to approach it.

    Schedules are also difficult since my husband works shift work and is on call 24/7; one week he might help out with everything–driving, appointments and bedtime etc, but then he might have to suddenly leave for two days. Do you know any other people in this situation that could relate? I don’t have any friends that have a very busy shift-working husband on a pager…

    And my thrid question is this: what church denomination do you belong to? I read somewhere on your blog that you are reformed. We are CRC and I was just wondering if you were too. 🙂



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Sonja,

    Kids and money – Our children earn/receive money in a few ways. Mark and I have set up a few chores that are optional for our children. When we set them up we tell them how much they will get paid for doing them. They are generally big time tasks like refinishing the swing set or cleaning out and washing the cars. Our children will often choose to pair up and split the payment. Our children also receive money from relatives as gifts.

    We’ve been very pleased, for the most part, as we watch our children manage their money.

    Schedules – I don’t think I’ll be much help on this one. I have a friend, Kimarie, with 9 children who blogs at Cardamom’s Pod whose husband does a lot of long shift work. She may have some useful tips. I’d try using the contact form on her blog to get in touch with her.

    I was raised in the PCA (my father was and still is a PCA pastor) and that is where we were members until our move a little more than 4 year ago. When we moved to Knoxville, we joined a church in the CREC (Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches). Is that the same as the CRC? So our current membership is in the CREC.

    I’ve been hesitatant to post our demoninational affiliation because that can give people ideas or perceptions that simply aren’t accurate.


  25. Deputyheadmistress
    March 20, 2010 | 8:30 am

    Hi, Sonja,

    My husband was in the Air Force for 20 years (he was in boot camp on our first anniversay, and we already had an infant).

    He worked shift work for the first 15 years of his career, and in the military you are always on call. Of course sometimes he was also on more urgent stand-by, when he had to wear a pager, and he was often not only on call, but getting that call meant he was leaving the country where we were then living. There was also a period where he was gone to Saudi Arabia for two months out of every year, with additional occasional one or two week trips to other places (and he did not have a job where he traveled a lot by military standards).

    We have handled this different ways, depending on the ages of our kids, the times he was gone, the stuff going on in our lives, and so forth.

    There was a long chunk of time when it worked best for me to just plan our week as though he wasn’t going to be there and I was going to be playing single parent. Then if he was able to be there, BONUS! If he wasn’t, I had already figured out what we were going to do about it.

    There was also a time when it was best for us to declare Daddy’s Home Day as a spontaneous holiday- we still did schoolish, learning things, but they were more spontaneous- the kids would help him with a household project or repair, we’d take a picnic and go to the zoo or some other ‘field trip.’

    There were also many times when we did stuff with Daddy all day if we had him, and then when he left for work at 2:00 or 4:00 (depending on his schedule), we started ‘school.’

    I guess if I were to sum up, it really requires a lot of flexibility, and your schedule may need to be your plan C.


  26. Lois
    December 22, 2010 | 12:12 am

    Ohhhh I am glad I bumped back into “you”. This is soo helpful. I have only 6 and it seems soooo tricky to me. i have this book too and have a pretend schedule but am looking for a “realer” one=)


  27. Maria
    September 14, 2011 | 11:35 am

    I know this is an old thread, but do you find that your littles are still able to fall asleep around 7 even though they don’t get up until 3 or 3:30 from their naps? I’ve been trying to put DD (3) down to sleep at 7:30, but she won’t fall asleep until 9 or so even though I try to make sure she gets some sort of physical activity every afternoon after naps. My mother always had an early bedtime for us, but I’m having trouble getting my two girls to go to sleep early.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Maria,

    We’ve had this same basic sleep schedule since our oldest children were little (15 years) and have not had a problem with anyone falling asleep at 7. I think some of the keys are consistency and an early wake time.

    You may be interested in my post on early bedtimes, my answer to the question of how we get them to fall asleep so early and my answers to questions about getting up early.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Of course if you think that your kids simply don’t have enough time between nap wake-up and bedtime, then you could try moving nap time a little earlier or bedtime a little later. 😉


    Maria Reply:

    Thank you for the links! Reading all that has made me realize that my 3 yo may have trouble falling asleep just like I do (I’ve never been able to immediately fall asleep when I lay down, even when exhausted). I think I am pretty consistent about waking up/going to bed times, but I will try to be very strict/rigid for a few weeks and see if that will help. Do you find that you have to adjust the bedtime gradually back to 7 after the summer months or do you just pick a day and say, “Summer is over, bedtime is at 7?”

    Also, this is OT but was brought to mind by one of the linked posts. What are your feelings about homebirth now? I had a homebirth with my second (there was no way I was going to have a homebirth with my first) and although I loved it, I am constantly torn on the issue because of stories like the one about your little boy. But, maybe that’s something to answer in a post if you feel up to it.

    BTW, I just stumbled upon your blog a couple of days ago and I love it!


  28. joyfulmamma
    February 2, 2013 | 1:26 am

    Do you have a schedule posted when the time you started doing school with your kids were say, 6,5,3,1? When you do help your big kids with Math? Are you finding they need to do more school each day now that they are getting into highschool age material?


  29. Kelsey
    September 15, 2013 | 10:49 pm

    I am DEFINITELY a schedule person and a morning person and a list person and pretty much anything that involves marking things off and getting things done. 🙂 Thanks for the post! I currently have only littles at home, but am trying to treasure these days of crazy business while looking forward to the future days of more independence!


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