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August Inspiration: Routines with 5 Boys

Today it's ideas from

Briena, a homeschool mom of 5 boys ages 12 to 2:

"One of the things I try hard to do as a homeschool mom is to stay "out of the way". What I mean is, as a homeschool student, there was so much of my time that was not well used simply because of the logistics of family schooling. When I was ready to do something, Mom was not. When Mom got around to me, I was deeply focused on something else. This cannot be completely eliminated when homeschooling multiple kids; and there is some benefit to the child in learning to respect his mother's time so I wouldn't say it should be completely eliminated; but it can reasonably be cut down to make homeschooling progress more smoothly and make Mom less harried. It helps to set everyone up for success.

So, every weekend I look over what we have done this week and our schedule for the following week and I create the schedule, day by day, in a checklist, with specific assignments listed. After I get the first checklist set up, it is easy because I just have to adjust the assignments each week...I do not have to recreate the document.  (Alternatively, here is something another mom does that accomplishes the same thing:

And every night, we put out all of the books required for the next day along with two sharpened pencils for each student and an eraser. As they finish each book the next day, they put it away.

At the beginning of the day, my kids are required to stay in their rooms until a specific time. The time is whatever time I can reasonably be fully awake, prayers said, and dressed in a relaxed way. Mornings go much better if I can complete these things without harassment ;-)  It will probably be 8am this year. It is later when I'm pregnant as I need so much sleep to not feel sick.

Now, I make an exception to this rule for children who will get up quietly and sit down to do school work. Depending on how much each child can reasonably do without my help, I let them out "early" to do it. So I might tell one child they can come out to do school (if they want is not required) at 7:45am and another might be allowed to come out at 7am to QUIETLY do SCHOOL. Nothing else. It is amazing for me to come out in the morning to a school day already underway!

When I come out, we start with morning prayers, before breakfast chores, breakfast, after breakfast chores, school. Our school day follows the idea of rhythm/routine not schedule (here is a great article on routine vs schedule by our own Jean Kermode: and chores are organized around meals. "

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