A Day in the Life with Kids Aged 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, and 5

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Ever wonder what it’s like to homeschool six kids?

A Day in the Life with Kids Aged 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, and 5 - a real life look into what a day at our house looks like.

Earlier this month, Simple Homeschool reposted one of my “homeschool day in the life” posts from years back. It struck a chord with lots of mamas in the throes of having new teenagers, young toddlers, and lots of things on the to do list. I was curious why it was attracting so much attention, so I went to reread it.

Oh my goodness! I had forgotten how crazy life was three years ago. Sure, today is pretty busy, but wow! Just wow! Life in 2011 was even crazier. Who woulda thought?

I thought it would be fun to share what our days are mostly like now in 2014. Oh, we still have our “life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolates” days, but for the most part we’ve found a new rhythm. I didn’t even know that we had.

A Day in the Life

5:00 – FishPapa’s alarm goes off. He showers and gets ready for the day, leaving at 6 to get to work by 6:30. Awhile ago he was able to change his schedule so he could maximize his time at work. He works at a university, so getting there before most of the staff and students allows him some extra-productive time. It also means that he can be off work at 2:30, meaning he’s home about 3, unless he runs errands on the way back to our house.

5:30 – On a good day, I’m out of bed and getting my workout clothes on. Hitting the gym by 6 means that the facility is peaceful and quiet. I love peaceful and quiet.

On not so good days, I bury my head under the covers and sleep longer. As nice as this sounds it also means that I get to the gym later, get home from the gym later, and everything in the day starts and ends later. This usually doesn’t work out in my favor.

6:30 – I’m home from the gym and making a post-workout breakfast: usually eggs and vegetables. Skillet Eggs is one of my favorite meals. If I’ve got the makings of Monkey Salad, I am extra happy. It used to be that I had coffee at this time, but recently, I decided to wait until later in the morning when I actually need it. I don’t need it when I’m just home from the gym and energized.

During this little bit of time, I hopefully snatch time to journal and read my Bible. I haven’t found a devotional this year that I love. I’d like to find that.

Too often than not I use this time to answer emails or read Facebook. Unfortunately, I think I do that last thing a little too long each day. I think it’s the equivalent of what reading the newspaper was for my mom when I was growing up. I’d like to use my time more wisely.

A Day in the Life with Kids Aged 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, and 5 - a real life look into what a day at our house looks like.

Between 7 and 8, the kids start to trickle downstairs. They have breakfast; some take showers; some read or play. We chat and talk about the plans for the day.

On a good day, folks work on their Morning High Fives. I shower while the girls take a bath in the tub next to the shower, start some laundry, try to figure out a plan for the day.

9:00 – Three days a week, I have a mother’s helper come to play with FishChick 5 and FishChick7 when she’s not busy with school work. Sarah takes the girls to the neighborhood park, reads stories, plays with them, and works on little projects with my five year-old. Sarah stays until noon.

9:00 to noon – The other five kids and I work on schoolwork. I do grammar and writing with the 2nd and 4th graders, math with FishChick7, and otherwise ride herd on each with his own individual tasks.

My 16yo (11th grade) and 13 yo (8th grade) have lots of independent work: an online writing class, computer math, a local science class, and video latin. They do Bible, history and literature with me. Athletics includes weight training and hockey.

My 11yo (6th grade) also has a fair chunk of independent work: an online writing class and computer math. He’s a big reader, so I know he’s pretty much constantly learning.

My 9yo (4th grade) is a budding reader which is so much fun to watch. He has computer math, but the rest of his work is with me.

A Day in the Life with Kids Aged 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, and 5 - a real life look into what a day at our house looks like.

My 7yo (2nd grade) is now reading like a fiend. Again so fun to watch this step. All her work is with me as well.

All the kids not in high school also do spelling and phonics apps on the iPad.

Noon – Sarah goes home and we take a break for lunch. I usually have a meal plan. Sometimes I follow it. Sometimes not.

After lunch and kitchen jobs, we finish up the day: mostly with Bible, history, literature, and science for the younger crowd. FishChick5 and I work on her kindergarten stuff.

Currently, we’re reading The Hobbit together as some of the youngers were too young to pay attention last time we read through it.

By 2, we’re usually wrapping things up, schoolwise. I head to the office to start my other job, while the kids put away their stuff and tidy zones.

3:00 – FishPapa is usually home at this point. We pull out some kind of snack, hopefully a healthy snack.

The kids head outside to play or disappear to various corners of the house to read or play. There’s often about an hour of video game time in these afterschool hours. We’re still working on a rhythm that works for us. I’ve been known to let it go so that I can get somethings done. Sad, but true.

FishPapa and I visit when he gets home while I’m doing some task: kitchen work, editing photos, or folding laundry.

(Despite the fact that the kids do their own laundry, there seems always to be more to fold. I think it’s the sheets and towels and the random socks that no will claim. Need to figure out a system for all that!)

A Day in the Life with Kids Aged 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, and 5 - a real life look into what a day at our house looks like.

The afternoons vary depending on the day and the season. Hockey season means everything is crazy, and we have to reestablish a new schedule every three months. Currently we break down M-Th this way:

  • taking myself away to Starbucks to work
  • taking FishBoy11 to karate
  • date night
  • taking girls to ballet
  • grocery shopping, errand running

5 and 7:30 – This is usually dinner time, but that can vary each day depending on what’s going on. Since I’ve had a steady stream of recipes to test, I’m usually the one to make dinner. Every night is an experiment. Not sure if that is good or bad.

After dinner, every kid has a kitchen job and then we finish up with the gaming or watch one of our two TV shows or a movie.

8:00  – Ideally, devices and game time are shut down by 8, so that we can hit the hay by 9. We’ve figured out that this is what’s best for the rhythm of our household, especially since FishPapa gets up so early.

It doesn’t always work like this. Last week, we started Agents of SHIELD (affiliate link!) too late and that meant we were up much later than usual.

(I love that show. Sigh. What a geek….)

9:00 – This is our target for lights out. I try to stagger the kids: girls at 8, middles at 8:30, olders by 9. The weekends are a whole different story, but these are the weeknights.

These days everyone can get his own jammies on, brush his own teeth, get his own water, and climb in bed. I make the rounds to say goodnight. The littles love it when I lie down for a few minutes to chat. I love it, too, though I don’t make it the priority that I think I should.

That’s the day.

So, there we are, three years later, with everyone potty trained and able to speak in full sentences. Life has a bit more regularity and predictability than it did in 2011. I’m surprised, quite frankly. Three years ago I lamented the fact that there was no rhyme or reason to my days, and here, in a flash, it’s back.

Take heart, busy, overwhelmed mama, this, too, shall pass. The things that I worried about in 2011 have not come to fruition. Evidently that was wasted breath. I should have prayed more than fret. Life is still tumultuous, but in different ways than when people are little and physical dependent on you.

Our days are far from perfect, but the new normal is pretty sweet. As are those six kids.

But they always were, weren’t they?

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  1. Jess that is an absolutely beautiful, awesome, and “normal” day. I don’t have children, but I can appreciate the chaos that life can bring. It is great that you take a moment to talk to your kids. My absolute fondest memory when I was a pre-teen until I was 17 and went to college is that my mom and I would talk EVERYDAY as soon as she got home from work. A couple times a week we would walk to the local convenience store–when it was in the budget. It was three house down and across the street. We would buy a 8oz glass bottle coke for me and a 8oz glass bottle diet coke for mom. We would talk the whole way home and talk while we finished our drinks once we got back. If it wasn’t in the budget I would help her prep dinner and talk to her. I don’t know how we had so much to talk about. Now that I live 2100 miles away I don’t get to talk to her as much as I should, but those conversations sure can go on forever when we do.

  2. Thank you for your real life post. I greatly enjoyed reading it. I have a question for you regarding what online writing program you use. I have an 11 year old boy who needs a little bit of help in this area.
    Thank you again for your post.

  3. One of the things I love about homeschooling is the opportunity to actually connect with your kids, especially if you have a lot of them- I have 11- 1 adult child, the rest still at home. For a while, my oldest daughter(14) was still attending school while I was homeschooling everybody else. I felt as if I didn’t really know her. She would be gone all day, come home, and stay in her room all night. Now that she’s homeschooling again, I feel so much closer to her. She stays downstairs for most of the day (she does her work in her room; the inevitable noise makes it hard for her to concentrate), and we laugh and talk together all the time now.

  4. Curious to know more abt your online writing class…need some help on that around here! Thx!

    1. Kathy, another good source for online classes is an online prep school called Laurel Springs. My kids take all their classes through Laurel Springs and we are very happy with it. Our kids previously attended public school and although they got good grades, their writing skills were awful (one of the many reasons we pulled them out). They’ve made huge progress at Laurel Springs because they are now writing on a regular basis, not only for their english classes but also for social studies/history, science, and sometimes even math. It’s great.

  5. Loved this! And just when I was wondering how you do it all! You are a super mom if I ever met one. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love this post! I only have 3 kiddos but they are 2, 4 and 6 and some days it is hard to squeeze school into a day already full just dealing with basic needs. I like hearing your perspective about your new normal and your memories of what was. It gives me hope for a light at the end of the tunnel… 🙂

  7. Love this! I have 5 boys 1-17…it’s nice to see how other families structure their days. We’re relatively new to homeschooling so still figuring some things out there. It’s so nice to get so much family time.

  8. Thanks for this post Jessica! I’ve been wondering for quite some time what a “normal” day in your life would be and this was an interesting look! I also have 6 kids but my oldest is only 9. Its so encouraging to read your posts! Keep up the good work, I love your blog!

  9. Loved this peek into your days. Can you tell me the name of the spelling and phonics apps you found for the Ipad?

  10. Hello,
    I really love your blog posts!
    If you could share what Computer Math are you using with all of your kids?Any specific link to your Homeschool curriculum and Schedule?
    Thanks for your your blog!!!

  11. Thanks so much for this post ! I really enjoyed reading it ! I think I don’t need a site to help my kids with their 2nd language English , I will let them read your blog instead 🙂

  12. You sound very organised! It’s good to appreciate the rhythm when we realise we’re finally back in one, isn’t it? I love your photos.
    We’ve been recording Agents of SHIELD – you’ve reminded me to watch it. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your day!

  13. I am planning to begin homeschooling my (currently) 6th and 8th grade children starting this fall. I would love to see your daily schedule for the older children. I have been working on planning their curriculum and much of their work will be independent, but I’m just not sure how to structure their day.

    1. That’s a hard question for me to answer since I have so many younger ones. The kids share one computer for school, so the morning is spent shuffling people through their assignments that require a computer. Same goes for the ipad. At the middle school and high school ages, I’ve laid the responsibility on them to manage their time and run their schedules themselves. We have a weekly and/or daily meeting to check in and work on things together, but otherwise, they are on their own.