Life-schooling for 6

by Libby

My crazy family consists of daughters aged 10, 5 and 19 months, and sons aged 8, 6 and 3.
We don't have a typical schedule as much as a rhythm that leads us through the day.

6:30-husband gets up and gets ready for work. I (Mom) think about getting out of bed, then roll over and go back to sleep.

7:00- I actually get up to find my husband and oldest on the back porch enjoying the sunrise. This is one of our favorite things to do together, and I join them.

7:15- The sun is up and hubby has a meeting to get to. My oldest and I have some hot tea and enjoy practicing ASL while we wait for the other kids to get up. We started learning some basic signs together 4 years ago, and she loved it so much she's nearly fluent.

8- By this time everyone is up, and I do my best to get a baby in the high chair, corral everyone to the table, get my asthmatics to take their medicine, and make gluten-free, vegan pancakes (lots of food allergies in the family.) My oldest has type one diabetes and has to count the carbs in everything she eats so we know how much insulin to give her through her insulin pump...that requires some pretty tricky algebra, so I count this as math.

8:30- I send everyone upstairs to get dressed/wash up/clean room etc. Ten minutes later, when I have the baby dressed, I find my girls in their room reading and playing, my older boys fighting over legos, and my three year old looking for me because he got his arms stuck in his shirt (which is also inside out and backwards).
We try again.

9:15- Everyone looks at least half way decent and I may or may not persuade someone to help me clean up from breakfast. The kids all run in and out. They play with blocks, climb trees in the yard, play instruments, play on the computer, dance and sing to music, make art projects, read like crazy, make up games. We might go for a walk/bike ride, to a local nature center or to the playground.

On Wednesday we have co-op and are out from 10-4

12:30- Everyone is hungry. The kids all help me make pasta with veggies and cheese on top, and yogurt and fruit. This again requires carbohydrate counting and figuring the insulin dosage, so that's more math. My younger kids also get to practice reading (reading the box of pasta), colors, shapes, counting, etc.

1:00- My two youngest go down for a nap, and everyone has a bit of quiet time. I use this time to read to my kids, then do 10-15 minutes of phonics with my 5, 6 and 8 year olds while my oldest reads by herself or does a page of math.

1:30- Enough school for right now. I clean up the kitchen and respond to a few emails while the oldest 4 play by themselves. (which means coming to me every 10 minutes to tattle, ask a question, or get a hug) I also make a point to do fine motor and sensory therapy with my 6 year old.

3:00- Everyone is awake again! In the afternoons, we might have dance, soccer or gymnastics practices for the older kids, so we spend our time playing taxi. If not, we might run some errands, or just play some more.

5:30- Husband gets home and takes over the kids so I can make dinner (the kids like to help, so a few of them usually end up in the kitchen with me any ways)

6:00- Dinner followed by more time to play. We might watch a movie as a family, or listen to daddy play guitar.

8:00- I put the baby to bed, while my husband gives my 3 and 6 year olds a bath (we have to alternate who gets a bath what night).

9:00- The younger kids go to bed/say they're not tired when they can't keep their eyes open.

9:30- My 8 and 10 year olds go to bed. I stay up and read and spent time with my husband.

9:40- My 8 year old comes back, insisting he's not tired and wants to stay up and talk with us. I agree, and enjoy the snuggle with my biggest boy.

10:05- Mister "i'm not tired" is asleep on the couch. I don't bother to move him.

Midnight- Just as my husband and I are thinking about going to bed, we get woken up by a nightmare/potty accident/high or low blood sugar/baby who wants to nurse/"I can't get to sleeeeeeep." and end up staying up all night.

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