We in no way follow this faithfully each morning. I have been working for about 7 1/2 years to consistently wake up at 5:30AM - I'd say my success rate is at about 5-10%. But I keep trying. I function best (ie, most patiently and kindly) when I've had a chance to be awake for about half an hour in silence, in the Word, with a mug of coffee and/or tea before having to interact with anyone else. Which means that most mornings, I am absolutely not at my best when I hit the ground running at 7:30ish, praying aloud as I help the girls get breakfast on the table and maybe even remembering to turn on the kettle for my coffee.
There are 2 copies of this daily schedule hanging on our walls: one in plain sight of both the kitchen and living room, and one in the schoolroom. Instead of it being a guilt-inducer (being we hardly ever follow it totally), it is a huge motivator for me - it reminds me to keep getting up and trying again to pursue diligence and good time management.
|Special thanks to Will for converting this from an excel spreadsheet to a jpg. :)|
*Bible Time: I read one chapter a day (I started January 1st with Genesis 1. After 8 1/2 months, I just started Ruth 1 today!), and generally I read the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month (31 chapters = about a chapter a day!). I really like to be alone during this time, like I said, but there have been times where little girls have slipped sleepily into the recliner with me and I've learned to embrace this. I read aloud to them, and pray with them if they're up for it. It doesn't happen often, but it's precious time to me now. They know that while I'm showering and getting ready, they need to be in their beds or reading in their bedroom, though.
*Breakfast: My dream would be a nice, healthy, warm (or at least not cereal) breakfast every morning. But right now, we're just kinda sorta getting there. And we don't actually get around to eating until about 7:30/7:45ish. I do eggs & sausage, oatmeal, waffles, or smoothies about 3-4 times a week when the food budget allows, otherwise it's plain cereal, fruit, & milk. What do you do to make breakfast time healthier & time-efficient?
*Getting dressed, etc: Now that my older girls are able to pick out their own outfits, brush their own teeth, and (for the most part) comb their own hair....oooooh! Getting everybody ready for the day is so much nicer!! Moms of really littles - be encouraged! Someday they will do these things on their own. My daughters know there are only two guidelines about choosing clothes: the outfit must be modest - covered to the neckline & over to the shoulders, and down to the knees, AND weather-appropriate. The clothes do not even have to match. My husband decided a couple of years ago that their personal style (polka dots & stripes with floral?!) is not a heart or safety issue, so we will not "fight" those things, in order to allow grace. I'm not going to lie, some outfits really challenge me to hold my piece. :) (Do you find struggles over clothing worth your energy?)
*AM Chores consist of making beds, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, and a general straightening-up of the bedroom and living room. Hannah is increasingly called upon to "help", but sometimes if she's playing quietly while I get our Bible lesson ready, I just let her play. Which chores do you ask of your kids in the morning?
*For Bible time, I follow Sonlight's curriculum for whichever Core(s) we happen to be studying. For the older girls, it's a lesson from Leading Little Ones to God and a corresponding Bible passage; for Hannah it's a page from her 101 Favorite Stories from the Bible book. We also take turns praying, and the girls each get to choose a song to sing or dance to. If you have a regular Bible time, what books or activities do you enjoy with your kids?
*Reading with Hannah is her "school time" for the day. I find that when I take the time to read for even 10 minutes with just her while the other girls play or read, it makes a HUGE difference. She doesn't get into as much mischief later on - I think because she feels secure & loved in that short time. I use Sonlight's P3/4 curriculum with her. How do you engage your littlest ones in the mornings, or do they prefer to play alone?
*Obedience training is something I picked up from Michelle Duggar - I saw her mention it on an episode a few years ago and loved the idea!! The essence of it is this: taking the time to teach your child to listen and obey right away. Sometimes I ask H to do zany things - spin around twice and touch her nose, etc. Sometimes I send her in the other room to bring back one or two toys (working on multi-step directions!). Sometimes, I ask her to clean up an area of the house with me...I use a variety of commands just so she'll get used to doing what I ask right away without making it seem like drudgery. Unfortunately, this is usually one of the first things to go if we get behind in our mornings - I'd really rather it didn't but that's the reality. How do your children learn obedience?
*Helping with E's 'flush': E (my oldest) had major surgery in November and requires a 'system flush' each morning, if you will (see "I did not sign up for this part!" for more details if you'd like). The other two girls have been such a blessing - most mornings they play pretty well so that I can focus on E's needs. (What suggestions do you have for occupying your children when you need to get something pressing accomplished? I'd love a few more ideas!)
*Tutoring/Extended playtime: I love math, and I love teaching - so the Lord allows me to tutor from home. My mornings are set aside for that, and I rotate the girls' toys and activities Monday-Thursday so that they have something to look forward to and play with for that time. (Do you work from home? What are your tips for making the day go as smoothly as possible?)
*Daily chores: (inspired by the Time-Warp Wife's daily chore guide! Do you have a schedule, or are you more comfortable just cleaning as it's needed?)
Monday - clean the bathroom
Tuesday - clean the bedrooms
Wednesday - clean the kitchen (mop, clean fridge, etc)
Thursday - clean the floors, dust
Friday - groceries/errands
Saturday - yardwork/dump, etc
*Quick pick-up: I set a timer for every ten minutes - the girls work on cleaning up whatever they had out. I check in after ten minutes just to make sure they are making progress. "Quick" is really a misnomer, because they usually get distracted. Working on that. Slowly. ...so that it's quick. (Any tips for getting kids to clean faster? This is one area where I can. not. seem. to. make. progress.)
*While I prep for lunch, I expect my girls to be reading (or doing something that is seated and quiet and relatively not-messy: coloring, puzzles). I give them a 5ish-minute heads up to put their things away before lunch is ready, and then they help me set the table. Sometimes (more frequently with E&A), I let one of them help me make lunch instead of read. Elizabeth is able to pretty much handle making sandwiches, pouring drinks, and using the microwave by herself, which is actually really helpful!! (How do you handle meal prep with little ones about?)
*And then, we have lunch together, and continue on with our day. You'll notice that school doesn't happen in the mornings; it's because of E's medical needs and my tutoring schedule. But our afternoons are spent at the school table (or in our other classroom, known as "outside"), and that works best for our family at this point in time.
*A confession: I use the computer too much during the day. I mean to only check it in the mornings before the girls are awake and then again once they are in bed, but I will often just "take a couple minutes!" to check my messages in between activities. I am trying to break this bad habit by shutting down the computer in the morning at least until rest time in the afternoon. It doesn't always happen, but the Lord will not leave me alone about the wasted time I spend on the internet during the day.
I share our (attempted) schedule, not because I've got it down, but because I want to encourage you!!! If you feel like you're wasting your days, or just can't seem to get going in the mornings, try to find a routine and a schedule that helps your family - no matter how basic at the start - that inspires you to redeem your time better and motivates you to keep trying - even when you don't exactly follow it!!! God is the God of order, not confusion & chaos, and all throughout the Word He exhorts us to make the best use we can of the allotted time He has graciously given us!! Especially when we have little ones - who, in the blink of an eye, become big ones who need to know how to manage their schedules without us!
I'll put in a plug for the best time management resource that God ever brought into my life:
Managers of Their Homes by Steve and Teri Maxwell.
Seriously. It is geared for large homeschooling families but it is helpful for anyone looking to order their days more effectively!!
And here are a few verses that God brings to my mind whenever I'm tempted to be lazy or not be constructive with my time:
...only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ. [Philippians 1:27]
...teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing;
but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men... [Colossians 3:23]
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace... [1 Corinthians 14:33]
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [Ephesians 5:15-16]
[The virtuous wife] watches over the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Trying to number my days
and teach my daughters to number theirs,
for His glory!
I'm sharing this post over at A Proverbs 31 Wife, Growing Home, Teaching What is Good, The Time-Warp Wife, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Walking Redeemed, Hope In Every Season, Serving Joyfully, I Choose Joy, & Simply Helping Him!
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