Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Schedule 2014 - (for nine kids: ages 15, 14, 11, 8, 7, 5, 4, 3 & 3)

I have consistently received requests from readers to see my current schedule for our family of 11. *smile*   And I'm so happy to oblige!  So I now have a topic in our home page "Topics" list where I will post our new schedules as I create them for the beginning of each school year in the fall, and for this school year here is one additional new one for us since we have made some big changes in our family recently such as no longer having any nappers (for the first time in 15 years!).  Eliminating naps required us to then rework our whole morning activity plan for the youngest 4 kids, as well as adjust bed times and wake up times for all of the kids. So here is our Spring 1014 schedule if you're interested to see it.  Hope it's helpful, and I'm happy to answer any questions you have about it.  

(Click to enlarge once or twice)


Blessings to you!



You might also enjoy reading my additional posts on scheduling: 
Family Scheduling Series - My Posts on This Valuable Concept

Recommended resource:
Managers of Their Homes, by Steve & Teri Maxwell ($25)
Managers of Their Schools, by Steve & Teri Maxwell ($18)
Managers of Their Chores, by Steve & Teri Maxwell ($25)

33 comments:

  1. You are so organized.. it's amazing. Do you find that the day -to-day schedule in reality is pretty close to how you have it laid out? I'm curious about your teen daughters... my teen and 12 year old both have hit the typical pattern of needing to stay up later and then sleep in a bit more. My 16 year old would completely balk at getting up at 5am (she's not too thrilled about 6am on school days as it is, and sleeps until 9 or 10 on the weekends). Are your girls okay with that early schedule? And do they ever have social time with friends their age? Church youth group or something? I'll bet they are a huge help to you.

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    1. Yes, this is really how it goes. Sometimes something gets missed if we're doing a lot of character training some days, but that's okay. And once in a while things go in a slightly different order in the morning, but always the same activities that I know fit in to the day.

      As far as teens needing less sleep, we do not allow the kids to stay up later if they need less sleep, but they have the freedom to get up as early as they would like. =) Night time is hang-out, TV watching, unproductive time; mornings are productive. Our children are required to always get their school done first thing in the morning after morning jobs, and then have earned the privilege of extra free time having finished early. Also in the evenings Bob and I need to be "done" and off duty, and have time together with just us if possible ( usually I'm going to bed though). Currently we have 3 oldest kids who choose to get up extra early and get started on their days, orchestrating their night time sleep so that they sleep well and hard but getting up to be productive and have a great attitude the next day.

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  2. I notice that you eat dinner at 7pm, which often happens at our house also! I was wondering, when do you do baths for all of the little ones? I didn't see it on the schedule. I am so tired by the end of the night sometimes that baths don't get done before bed (even though we don't plan on them every night; we have girls one night and boys the next and just rotate every other night like that, except Saturday, when everyone gets one in preparation for church on Sunday). Then I find that we have to try to squeeze it in during the day sometime when we have a few minutes.

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    1. I was going to ask the same bath time question! Erika, I lovr all your help. Thank you. The other question I have, is you really get your seven year old to sit for 3 hours? :)

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    2. For some reason it's become a fad or something for parents to believe that their young pre-adolescent children need to be fully bathed every single day. They don't need that. Unless they live on a farm or somewhere where the climate causes them to sweat all day long, or if they play in a muddy back yard a lot I suppose, they really don't get that dirty to need full baths. Now I'm all for keeping kids clean, don't get me wrong! I have a post on how and why I do that, here. http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/05/large-family-laundry-strategies-how-i.html We actually don't have a back yard that our kids can use or property 9 mo. out of the year as it's too swampy. So they don't need to be bathed every day. UNTIL they reach pre-teen years where their hair then requires daily washing in the shower and so do their under arms *wink*. =)

      We bathe our youngest children every Saturday, clip everyone's nails, etc. And usually another time or two during the summer time when they're sweaty, or covered in sun screen or salt water, or if they've been throwing up with the flu or something. But other than that they're really clean all week.

      Our kids do, however, often have "play baths" where they use some of their free time to have a lengthy play time in a bath for an hour or more. When we do weekend showers it's very on-task and we get them all through in about 90 min. but it's not a play time (that would take hours). So they have separate play baths for that enjoyment of playing in water.

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    3. Sarah,
      To answer your other question, I do not expect our 7yo to sit for 3 hrs. strait. She does some school at the table, some at the computer in the other room, some in another room on the floor for variety, some on the living room couch. But she has been working up the discipline to do her school work completely before having free-choice time for a few years now, gradually adding in more school subjects and more time sitting somewhere around the house. She didn't step in to this routine over night; it's been gradual.

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  3. I appreciate you sharing your schedule, it helps give me ideas for my own! My guilt from not being able to keep my 3 year old taking a regular nap in the afternoon was also lifted. Jessica, we find ourselves in the same situations with baths...we own and operate a dairy farm, so the children (5 10 yrs and under) need to shower/bath at night instead of morning. Our older boys almost need to daily, but the younger kids are every-other-day & Saturday night. Our day also cannot get going really good until 7:30am, after the morning milking, which I do. I would prefer an earlier start in the house but I think what matters most is that we calm the chaos with a schedule and routine. Thanks for the encouragment and ideas!

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  4. Wow, youre a champion! How does the kids feel about this shedule? Do you manage to stay positive thoughout the day with such a schedule? Wow i have 4 kids (from Norway) and Im really fascinated by large families who make it work w/homeschooling etc!

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    1. The kids love it. It's relaxing, predictable, they have control over how quickly they get their responsibilities done and therefore when and how much they have free-choice time, and their younger siblings are occupied during the day which is also peaceful for the older ones. =) Now our kids also love non-school days when we're out of our routine such as Tuesdays and weekends, as that adds variety. But more open-ended days have their stresses, too, and they're eager for more predictability and control after a day of something different. And I'm certainly more positive myself with routine and predictability and productivity. I do not like the chaos of "winging it" - it NEVER ends up pleasant, even when I try it once-in-a-while thinking that it would be nice. LOL Nope.

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  5. Oh, i forgot my initial question haha, which program do you use to make the chart?

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    1. Excell. But I've used Word and made tables, too, which also worked great.

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  6. Hi Erika! I just sat down to write up our family schedule this morning, which is quite a task since I have never been able to implement one, and then I get the email of this post. Perfect timing, as always, Lord. So, here I'm sitting here wondering what in the world the Lord wants me to learn from you, being that I don't homeschool our 5 and our daily needs are quite different. I also use Teri Maxwell's system, Managers of their Homes. Love it, if I can get myself to stick to any routine, this will be what does it! Anyway, here is my question: What does your day prep involve?

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    1. - making the bed
      - showering/dressing
      - opening all the window blinds
      - gathering laundry hampers, sorting it, and starting a load (with the rest all ready to be rotated through)
      - checking my to-do list and making some prioritization notes
      - checking emails, answering any really quick ones but mostly just seeing what's on my "plate" for later.
      - checking my phone for any texts so far that day that I can answer quickly
      - getting my apron on and ready to be doing food prep.

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  7. Another question: When do you blog and how much time do you think you spend on that in a week? Thank you for your desire and willingness to share what the Lord has so graciously given you plenty of: your no-nonsense organizational wisdom!

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    1. I blog mostly on Tuesdays when some of the kids are at my parent's house for the afternoon. And during the week I try to also be answering email questions and prepping a topic in my mind for the next post. It's impossible to know how much time as most of it is in pieces every day; but hours over the course of the week. It's how I choose to use my bit of free time. Some people read novels or sew; the Lord has called me to blog. =)

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  8. I just assumed the bathing of the littles got done in the "dress/groom" space.
    One thing that has helped me tremendously is to lay out everyone's clothes the night before (the ones that are too young to pick what they want to wear anyway) including mine. The little ones (almost 2 & a 3 year old) don't really need a bath every day unless they got really dirty playing outside. We take a warm rag and wipe them from head to toe before bed every night and they take baths every 3rd day and on Saturday nights in prep for church the next morning. Our older ones (still only 6 & 7) take a shower every other day, switching days. Unless they too get really dirty outside (as is common with boys). They don't spend quite as long in the shower as we do since they have smaller bodies so baths in general only take about 10-15 minutes.
    Anyway, not sure if she does baths in the morning or not, I just assumed that it fell under "grooming" :)

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    1. No, baths don't fall in the "grooming" category. That time is just wetting hair and brushing it, and brushing teeth, and getting dressed and pajamas put away. But it takes a good 30 min. to do this for the 7 youngest kids. To see about when and how I do bathing see the first comment above.

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    2. I read! That wouldn't work for us, our kids do spend a lot of time outside. Also, out two youngest are really messy eaters and their hair needs to be washed at least 3 times throughout the week. They are learning though. :) but I'm with you, the little ones don't need baths every day.

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  9. 1) I don't see any outside time listed. Is that only for weekends, or does
    that fall under, "free time?"
    2) Also, do you find a way to spend time daily with each child in a special way, like play a game or read a book with just them?
    3) What are play yards and why do you have them all playing in separate rooms? Does that prevent all the multitude of screaming, whining and fighting? :) (I see you actually get a workout in. Wow!)
    4) Do you keep the same wake/sleep schedule on the weekends?
    5) How do you function on less than 8 hrs sleep because I'm sure you and your husband's time together or just your individual "unwind time" is after 9:00.

    ** I have 5 children under the age of 9, which includes a newborn. I am finding life to be very difficult right now.
    Thanks for all your encouragement :)

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    1. 1. In the spring, summer, and sometimes fall (not winter when it's too cold, wet, and dark) they play outside in the cul-de-sac for the first hour or so of play-alone time (the light shaded space) when it's not raining. Then they choose to come in and have some quiet, independent time (their only time for this each day really). And often in the evenings when daddy gets home he takes them to a park or for a walk while I'm making dinner. And on the weekends we get out and play outside. And summers of course.

      2. I don't necessarily play with each child every day, but I always take one-on-one times through out the day. One walks and sing and works with me, and prep food with me, we clean together, serve kids together and do any errands always with one child for that personal time, etc. And we look for all of the every-day life situations and take those for one-on-one time. And we have the other times for play here and there, too, like playing a card game or something.

      3. This is a play yard http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Infant-Secure-Surround-Play/dp/B000G1YW98/ref=sr_sp-atf_image_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1395170122&sr=1-2&keywords=play+yard We only have them in the family room to help younger kids stay in a specific area to play and not roam the house. Most of the time now we use them to block off the whole family room so that is their play area they need to stay in and keep their activity contained in during school hours. Keeping kids productively occupied helps manage the relational issues. http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/02/young-children-inclusion-in.html

      4. No, different schedule for weekends. http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/09/scheduling-what-to-do-with-weekends.html

      5. I need about 7.5 hrs. of sleep a night. We don't have much time during the week so we try to be intentional with our time as much as we can on week nights. That's just part of the season of life we're in right now. WE do not have outside activities to be running around to http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2012/08/organized-sports-and-individual-hobbies.html. And we do guard our weekend time and do not plan more than one additional thing generally, to leave time to also get all the grocery and other shopping done, get enough rest, and spend time as a family. I plan at least a month out on the calendar for having people over for dinner, going to the zoo, other family events, and such to make sure our time is not taken up and we end up with no time together. There will be more time together when kids are grown - lots more time - but for now we do the best to use what we have and protect that time.

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  10. I am curious what you are doing for exercise. And does it not bother you to have to continue on for the rest of the day/evening without showering again after exercise?

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    1. I am doing ANAEROBIC exercise, rather than AEROBIC. This is short stings of intense workout, such as jumping rope, lunges and squats, push ups, kettlebells, planks, sit ups, and such. I don't sweat much, but it's the best exercise I've ever done, and the most effective - and it only takes 20 min. a day. So I don't need another shower.

      For 20 years prior to this I've always done aerobic exercise. I didn't know about anaerobic. This caused me to pour sweat, which I thought was then effective exercise - but I didn't lose a single pound whenever I was doing it. Not much of a motivation to keep at it. And I don't have time for it anyway as it would take 60 min. and require another shower. Anaerobic has been far better.

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  11. Erika, Are you prepping the same food for the entire family during your meal prep or are you still using the THM plan for yourself? TIA! Julie

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    1. I try to always prepare meals that can be adjusted to fit us THM people (3 of us in the family) and the non, and many of my recipes can be adjusted by leaving off cheese or something (which I know is on plan, but I can't have much of and not gain weight). I can adjust most of the recipes I already owned, but I'm also trying new ones all the time.

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  12. Thank you for sharing! We cook whole foods from scratch every meal and try to prepare meals everyone can enjoy; THM is hurting my grocery budget so my weight has stalled again. Appreciate your input.

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    1. I understand. The THM FB group shares a lot of ideas on how to make some ingredients yourself, such as Truvia; but also how to substitute some ingredients. But also - health is expensive. And nicities in many of those yummy foods is expensive. Sometimes we just need to go without the really nice ingredients and do our best with what we can afford.

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  13. Your reply sparked my thinking over night and I have some fresh ideas on how to implement my eating plan with the family's menu; thanks again!

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  14. Hi. I have been following your blog for a few years and admire you greatly for your devotion to your family. I have tried to implement this type of schedule a few times since i learned about it from you but whenever something big hap[pens we tend to go into a survival mode and stay there for months. Thus the schedule gets pushed off to a later future over and over again. So there are some problems that i have thought of that are more of an obsticle for me to keep the schedule going . So i was wondering whether you can have some helpful input to give me ideas and hope that i will succeed with it one day.
    1. I have a vewry difficult time waking up early in the morning.
    2. I need at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep per day in order to be well rested and loving to my family.
    3. We are in full time ministry and our life is very sporadic with meeting with lots of people throughout the week.
    4. We homeschool four kids ages 10 to 3 and are expecting #5. Thus i am even more tired that usual.
    Please give some input on how i can PRACTICALLY resolve some of these issues. Thanks, Irena C.

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    1. 1. It's crucial to get to bed early enough so that you can get up on time. This takes self-sacrifice often times, and determining when we'll do those down-time activities outside of the evening time.

      2. So put that into your schedule. It's okay. But also consider things like whether or not you're needing some exercise in life or something to help you sleep more deeply perhaps and need less sleep?

      3. Then your children may need to learn to adjust and be flexible. That's okay. But also I encourage you to strongly consider whether or not that's best for the family.

      4. There are seasons where we need to build in time for extra naps, or let go of some cleaning or hobbies for a while, and probably drop outside activities so that all of your energy and time can be in keeping up on the basics at home.

      Blessings. Hope that's helpful.

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  15. I enjoy reading your blog. I do have a question though. In the past, you have strongly expressed your stance that all your children nap until the age of 5. Since you have three under this age who are no longer napping (according to this new schedule), I wondered if you could expand a bit on why this was.

    I've never been able to get my children to take naps past age three and a half or so. By that age I find they are able to productively occupy their time for our two hour daily quiet time. Blocks, train sets, reading, books on tape, and coloring are all favorite occupiers for our younger kids.

    Thank you very much for the information you provide in your posts.

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    1. Lisa,
      All of our kids balked at naps at age 3 but we pushed through it and told them they would still be napping, and after a few/several months they received that and kept with it.

      We still would apply the until-age-5 principle if we have more kids. But with the 4-year-lld and the twins the situation was different and we were trying to force it for over a year and a half; it was time to let it go. =) All the other kids went to bed at 9pm, but we were keeping the twins up until 10:30 pm so they'd need a nap still...but they were still getting up at 11:00 pm and turning on the girls room lights and waking up siblings and causing a lot of problems and starting parties together. LOL Plus we were spending 90 min. of the 2 hr nap time trying to get them to lay down and go to sleep! We tried having them nap together, and nap separately, we tried one playing with toys in a room separate from the one who needed more sleep... to no avail. So, it was time to let it go and have them go to bed at 9pm like everyone else. and let go of nap time. There are pros and cons for both having naps and letting them go. Maybe it has to do with having so many kids now up and not napping that the nappers simply couldn't/wouldn't embrace napping still? I don't know. But there it is. ;)

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  16. Post this on my fb and got ask why is dad not on the list?

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    1. I don't presume to schedule my husband's time. =) But he loves our schedule, sees the immense value in it, and chooses to join in when he's home in the evening (a block of time that we planned together), and he supports and maintains the schedule whenever I'm not home. Or he deviates from it to do something unusual with the kids, but then jumps back in when he's home again.

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