Homeschooling, Homemaking and a Large Family: Bringing it Together – Schedule Fall 2012

I mentioned on the RO Facebook page last week that I was putting together a new schedule, revamping curriculum and compiling new reading lists for the children. Many of you asked if I would post detail on the blog and since it’s been a while, I figured I’d share some of our new plans.

Although I have specific times listed, our schedule generally works more like a routine. We simply move to the next activity when we finish the previous one. There are a couple times during the day that we try to keep to. We try to always start breakfast at 7 and I try to move to working with the older kids at 11. We also try to stick with a regular dinner time, however, it tends toΒ  fluctuate depending upon Mark’s day.

You may notice that there are a lot of empty slots in my schedule, that’s primarily because we’ll have a newborn (and I’ll be recovering from a c-section) in 3 weeks and I’m hoping that this schedule will last through that transition.

Here is a link for easier viewing of the schedule.


Here is a brief explanation of most items on our schedule.

Explanation of our day:

  • 5:30 Read Bible – The children start their day with independent Bible reading, an hour for big kids and half an hour for little ones. The older children read through the entire Bible 4 times a year and the younger ones read through it twice a year. Colby, as a beginning reader, will soon start reading through the New Testament over the course of a year.
  • 6:00 (for me) Shower/dress – I also do a quick tidy/clean up of the bedroom and bathroom as I get ready for the day.
  • 6:00 (little kids) catechism with dad – Our children all memorize the Children’s Catechism and Westminster Shorter Catechism
  • 6:30 Start laundry and dress littles – We’re currently using the room-by-room laundry system
  • 6:30 Dress and Morning Routine (for kids) – Each child is responsible to dress, make their bed, tidy their bedroom, brush teeth and hair and do one task to help get the day going. This link takes you to a list of chores that our children did for their morning routine 3 years ago.
  • 7:00 Breakfast, etc. – We eat breakfast, go over our memorization box, have a time of family worship and three days a week we spendΒ  a few minutes on a hymn, picture or music study Charlotte Mason style. This frequently takes longer than an hour. πŸ™‚
  • 8:00 Preschool (Mom, Nick and Isabella) – Although I call this “preschool” it’s probably not what you think of when this word is generally used.
  • 8:00 Table Chores – After each meal, each child pitches in to help with clean up. When they are on their game they can generally clean up a big dinner time mess in 20 minutes.
  • 8:30 (little kids) copy work and dictation – The children tackle this on their own and bring me their finished work to check (sometimes I will look at their assignments at 1:00.
  • 8:30 (little kids) teaching reading – I currently listen to Colby (5) read in McGuffey’s readers and Nicholas (4) is working his way through 100 Easy Lessons.
  • 8:30 (big kids) Writing – The big kids complete their daily writing assignment
  • 8:30 (big kids) Grammar – A couple of the kids have a few more lessons to finish up in Analytical Grammar. Then this assignment will go away. In the meantime, they will probably need to use their free time to complete these assignments.
  • 9:00 (little kids) Sonlight – How we use it, what we like and what we don’t like. We also work on another memorization box, specifically for the younger children and read a variety of other living books (as time allows) during this time.
  • 10:30 (big kids) Science – A Q & A about how we teach science to all of our children. (We use Apologia.)
  • 11:00 (big kids) History – Mark and I have created our own history curriculum for our older children. We have a list of books, CDs, DVDs and other resources that we are working through together. We spend this time reading aloud, listening or discussing our current topics.
  • 12:00 (little kids) Science – This is a link to the same Q & A post about teaching science
  • One day a week at various times for different kids – Nature Journal page one other day a week Art
  • 2:00 Rest, reading and quiet time – During this time little ones sleep and big ones spend time reading through their choice of book off of their book lists that contain literature, history or character books.

You may also be interested in (that I didn’t include above):

Are you a schedule or routine family or do you play it by ear?
Do you think I’m being optimistic about keeping this up once little one joins our family??


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30 Responses to Homeschooling, Homemaking and a Large Family: Bringing it Together – Schedule Fall 2012
  1. Krystin MyCloneMama
    July 30, 2012 | 10:42 am

    THANK YOU, I’m working on a routine, we’re still working out the kinks of homeschooling, plus we’ve changed from a workbook curriculum to a Classical curriculum, AND we’re expecting a new baby this fall.
    I’m working on getting our new home in order as well!!
    THank you for this post and your blog as a whole!


  2. Dawn@OneFaithfulMom
    July 30, 2012 | 11:15 am

    See, what I need is for a mom like you to write MY schedule, and then come implement it in MY house with MY kids until they get it down. Yeah. LOL!!


  3. Annie
    July 30, 2012 | 11:35 am

    Kimberly, we also use more of a routine method like your family. When I first began homeschooling three years ago I tried to schedule our learnIng but soon found myself and children frustrated because I thought I needed to mimic a “traditional” school structure. Thank the Lord we no longer feel beholden to that flawed approach (I am strictly speaking for my own family) and now if we must take longer in a certain subject or if the Lord keeps us in His word for the whole morning, I am just fine with it:0)


  4. Katie
    July 30, 2012 | 11:47 am

    I think you can do it when the baby comes! Reading can be done while nursing, and I’m sure you’ll have ample baby holders while you do what you need to do. You’ve probably been doing most of it while you were pregnant anyway, and for me, it’s harder to be in the 1st or 3rd trimester than to have a newborn. Let us know how it goes (if you ever have a free moment to post!!)


  5. Sarah
    July 30, 2012 | 4:56 pm

    We have a schedule for more formal home education time although do sometimes deviate from this. The rest of the day tends to be run to a rough routine-I need to work on this. Your schedule has given me some ideas.

    I’m sure you can keep this up when the baby comes-this is when the schedule will show its strength.

    Looking at this and thinking about my children, I wonder, do your little ones manage to concentrate for 2 1/2 hours in the morning? We tend to have a break about half way through that time.

    We were only just starting home ed, just over three years ago, when my youngest was a baby so this may be my inexperience, however, I found that getting through lunch and feeding and changing the baby took more than an hour. You have older helpers so this may be less of an issue.

    Great to look at your schedule esp around the evening which is when things tend to go awry for me.


  6. Kimberly @ Raising Olives
    July 30, 2012 | 6:57 pm


    Good question about the little ones. It’s how I’ve always worked with my littles and it’s something that I’ve considered and try to keep things moving.

    During the reading/copy work time, Nick (4) spends about 10 minutes reading to me (I try to keep it short because he is just 4). The rest of the time he is playing. Colby (5) reads to me for about 10-20 minutes (depending on the day). He LOVES copy work, so when he finishes reading this is bonus time for him. As a matter of fact, he does copy work frequently throughout the day for fun. (Hmm, thinking about this perhaps I should move his copy work to rest time since he’s not needing to sleep then. That would allow him a few minutes of outside play before digging into the rest of it.)

    After the reading/copy work time we move to a different area and the kids fetch books and craft supplies (physical activity). At the beginning of Sonlight time we sing and say our memory verses (complete with physical actions).

    Then we get into Bible reading, and prayer when the children have to be still and listen.

    Next we have a history reading when there are usually pictures to look at and we get out the large floor map and find the places we are reading about (more physical activity).

    Once we get to read alouds, the youngest ones are free to play on the floor quietly and the older ones are free to crochet or knit, carve or whittle, draw or finger paint, etc.

    All that to say, that it’s not 2 1/2 hours of being still and concentrating. There are a couple half hour or less periods of that interspersed with physical activity and creative play.

    It works for us and usually the kids will beg me to read more when our time is up, which leads me to believe that it’s not too much for them. πŸ™‚

    My half hour for lunch may be optimistic. We do use this more as a routine, so as we go “overtime” we just flow into the next activity.

    I always forget how much time it takes to feed and change a newborn and how often it needs to be done.


  7. Jenn
    July 30, 2012 | 7:17 pm

    Do you get up at 5:30 every single day? And will you keep this up once your new baby is born? When do you meal plan, school plan and yard work? Do your children do that in the afternoon during chore time? I would love to be able to have a schedule like that but my husband works a swing shift going nights to days, 12 hour shifts. Which changes every 4 days. I feel I get a schedule and everything changes.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Do I get up at 5:30 every day?

    Generally, yes. I’m naturally a morning person and usually wake without an alarm. I enjoy mornings and get lots done during the morning hours. (However, I’m not much fun in the evening.)

    Will I keep this up once the baby is born?

    Possibly, it depends on the baby. Have you noticed how little ones often get up for an early-ish morning feeding (around 5 or 6)? When our little ones do that, I’m up for the day. If little is sleeping, I won’t be setting an alarm to get up.

    Matthew (13) takes care of most of the yard work. He does this during his free time or on the weekends.

    Meal planning is also done (twice a month) during free time or weekends. Meal preparation is done during table chores and regular chore time.

    Something to remember, we homeschool year round, so it’s not uncommon for us to have a 4 day school week. This allows us to catch up with maintenance and special projects as needed.

    Oh, my AMAZING husband does most of the grocery shopping. I know, I’m blessed.


  8. Tisha @ Delectable Home
    July 31, 2012 | 11:56 am

    Are your kiddos currently doing any music lessons/practice? This is one of the things I find hard to fit in around everything else, especially since there is only one piano πŸ™‚


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Not currently, although several of them practice regularly during their free time. We’re planning on adding lessons and more regular practice for more kids after the baby arrives.

    Of course it’s nice that several of ours are violinists and can practice at the same time. πŸ™‚


  9. Tisha @ Delectable Home
    July 31, 2012 | 8:38 pm

    So will you add music to the mornings or afternoons? Do your nappers sleep through practice? I’d love for my big kids to do practice during naptime, but I’m terrified of waking up Nora. I think it’s harder now that she’s mobile – I have to keep an eye on her all the time! You’ll do great when the new baby gets here – no worries!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Probably a little bit of both, practicing during the morning and afternoon.

    Our nappers will sleep during practice. πŸ™‚ It’s tough when that doesn’t happen.


  10. Michele
    July 31, 2012 | 10:09 pm

    I think it’s very ambitious of you to try to keep this up once the baby comes; but if anyone can do it, I think you can!! =)

    I had baby number six 13 mo. ago and I found that this year’s homeschool year was not as “productive”. On the other hand, we learned a lot about making priorities (Bible study stays, anything else can wait) and living out what we were learning.

    While we accomplished less last year, I would consider it a success in many other ways. This year, we keep at it again!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I think that the question of whether this schedule will work once the baby comes will depend on what type of personality little one has.

    I remember telling Mark, when Bella was about 2 or 3 months old, that I didn’t think we’d ever be able to completely homeschool again. She was extraordinarily demanding. πŸ™‚


  11. Elizabeth
    August 1, 2012 | 8:55 am

    I awarded you The Sunshine Award! Come check it out!


  12. Chris
    August 1, 2012 | 10:04 am

    I was wondering what Math copy work consisted of? Or is this two separate things?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Copy work and Math are two different subjects.


  13. Elizabeth
    August 2, 2012 | 8:40 pm

    i enjoyed reading this post twice and looking over your schedule. I remember the days/years when I used to have a schedule just like this one that started at 5 or 5:30 every day!!!

    We’ve sure fallen away from that!

    Thanks for sharing! I love your blog and your family! Question: When Do you blog? email, etc? During the afternoon free time??

    i wish you well with your new baby! πŸ™‚


  14. Melissa Carneado
    August 4, 2012 | 8:26 pm


    You had said your 4 year old Nick reads. – what program did you use to teach him? I have a recently turned 4 year old (may 23rd) that is currently going through “teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons”. I’m not sure how well this is working for him as he seems to struggle with it a lot… but he wants to know how to read sooo bad! any tips?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    You may be interested in this post on Teaching Reading as well as this post about Beginning Homeschooling (where I talk about not pushing a child who isn’t ready to read). πŸ™‚

    If he’s really struggling with the lessons in 100 Easy Lessons (which is what we’ve used with all of our children), then he’s probably just not ready to learn to read. My best advice would be to just wait, spend lots of time reading to him and give him time to explore. If he wants to learn so badly that this isn’t a happy option for him, then perhaps just looking at a letter each day and teaching him the sound that it makes. Feel free to do the same letter for a week (or more) if he has a hard time remembering. πŸ™‚


  15. Elizabeth McBride
    August 4, 2012 | 10:39 pm

    LOL, you left out lunch. πŸ˜‰


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    No, lunch is on the schedule at 12:30 and at noon we have different children scheduled to make lunch on different days.


  16. Leslie B
    August 7, 2012 | 6:55 pm

    My children are only 4, 2 and 2mos and MUCH of my day consists of training, instructing and disciplining… how do you get through so many read alouds and in general, teaching, without being interrupted every 5-10min to do the above?? Are children #6 and #7 different at those ages versus the 1st and 2nd?? I’m hoping there is somewhat of a trickle down effect πŸ˜€


  17. Karen
    August 11, 2012 | 10:46 am

    How do you keep your children on the schedule? As a mother of 9 I find I have to constantly be keeping my children to the schedule/routine. No down time for me. I constantly am reminding them of what needs to be done and to stay on task. If I have an off day then the routine seems to be lost. Or if one child slips my attention and I have to retrieve them, I risk losing the others. My older children seem to have outgrown this, the younger ones battle it. (a battle of the will?) Just seems to be very high maintenance keeping everyone on the routine. Do you or have you had this issue and what have you done to help? Thank you!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Karen,

    For the most part, our children stay on schedule with little to no prompting from me. Of course, I’m the one that reminds the little ones when it’s time to change activities (i.e. “Get ready for Sonlight.” or “Time to fix lunch.”) because they don’t watch the clock.

    When a child who knows better chooses not to do what needs to be done when they’re supposed to do it, we treat it as disobedience.

    There will be a learning curve as your children learn the schedule. When we switch to a new schedule, I will often remind everyone of the time and what’s coming up next. (i.e. “Time for table chores. We have 30 minutes and then everyone should be started on their school work by 8:30).

    I also print the schedule, give all the big kids a copy to put in their notebook and post it prominently in the kitchen.

    You know your children, but as long as you’re not expecting too much from them (an hour of unsupervised math work from a 5 year old boy), this sounds like it may be a character/obedience issue.

    I’ve posted a couple of times about teaching diligence:
    Daily Chores – teaching kids how to work
    Teaching diligence



  18. Beth@ Acorns and Oaks
    August 15, 2012 | 9:28 am

    Kimberly, I think you’ve mentioned on your blog that you feed on demand. Just wondering how this works with a family schedule. I just had baby #5 and am nervous about getting back to homeschooling. We all thrive on a schedule (routine) and I’m not sure how to incorporate baby into this. Do your babies (under 3 months) have predictable nap times so you can know when you can have lunch, fix dinner, etc.? Do you either nurse or hold baby while working with the olders? Just trying to get an idea of how it plays out in your home. Thanks!


  19. Carol
    October 15, 2012 | 7:23 pm

    When you began homeschooling your first child, how did you find the state of your home…I am fairly relaxed as far as making sure everything is in it’s place, but I can’t stand it when there is stuff everywhere and I can’t walk or set anything down on the cupboards…I have a 2 year old, a one year old and a 4 week old…and I feel overwhelmed with trying to organize my small home ( 980 square feet bungalow style)…any suggestions for how to do all the chores myself and all the homeschooling(preschool) since my kids can’t really help yet…


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Carol,

    You may find this post helpful. It includes our schedule from when we had 4 children 3 and younger. Also, this post, Home with all littles and Beginning homeschooling when your oldest is 5.

    I found that if I concentrated on the most important things (children, husband, home and food) there was enough time to do everything that needed to be done. What there is not enough time for is extra things outside of the basics.

    Hope this is helpful.


  20. Linda
    June 19, 2013 | 4:17 pm

    Your schedule is great! Thank you for posting it.

    After a couple of moves, a remodel, and the most recent two babies born 14 months apart, I finally feel like we are at a point where we could follow a schedule again. (We have 9 children, 13 years – 10 months.)

    I have a question regarding your breakfasts and lunces. We, meaning the child/ren assigned to that day & meal, find it difficult to prepare either meal in under one hour. We also use two hours to prepare dinner.

    So my question for you is: What types of foods do you eat for breakfast and lunch that allow such a small window of time?

    This area has been one of my biggest challenges to our schedule.

    Thank you so much.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Here is a breakfast and lunch menu plan from years ago. It should give you an idea of the types of meals that we prepare.

    We plan breakfasts and lunches that can be prepared in about 30 minutes (this need not include baking or cooking times since we can get it into the oven/crockpot and then go get other things done while it bakes/cooks). For our household spending more than half an hour to prepare those meals simply doesn’t work.

    Nowadays breakfasts include:
    Eggs with Sourdough pancakes, sourdough English muffins or toast and fruit
    Steel cut oats cooked with all types of goodies
    Coffee cake and fruit
    Smoothies and muffins

    Lunches include:
    Sourdough tortillas with various toppings/fillings
    Peanut butter sandwiches
    Beans and rice
    Hefty salads
    Loaded baked potatoes

    We eat mostly real, whole foods and much of the pre-preparation (feeding sourdough starter, making dough, soaking/sprouting grains, fermenting, etc.) for our dinner meal is done in bits and pieces during the day (during table chores, regular chores, before bed or first thing in the morning) You can see an example of that in this post.


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