Monday, February 4, 2008

Typical Day

Sometimes hearing another person’s daily schedule and routines can help and encourage us. So, today I revamped a post of mine from a couple years ago on my old blog and figured I would post just what exactly a normal day looks like for me.

Writing up an ordinary day is a bit challenging, because very few days truly fit that category. I try to get out of bed at 6:00 when my alarm goes off. Dressed, dog out to ‘take care of business,’ and personal prayer time before waking up the 12 boys at 6:45. Okay, maybe a little explanation would be helpful here. We live at a residential school for children from disadvantaged homes. These boys (grades 4-7) live with us Sunday night through Friday afternoon. They attend school here on the campus and eat their meals in the dining hall. We work with them on chores, homework, learning social skills and other Mom and Dad type responsibilities. We are truly their home away from home. More about our job here.

Some days my own five kids are up before the boys, some not. The boys get up, get dressed, and do chores. My role is to supervise and make sure they are dressed neatly in their school uniform, and don’t mess around while doing their chores. Everyone has an assigned chore that rotates each month from cleaning the bathroom; to vacuuming and straightening the great room; to cleaning the kids’ kitchen. At 7:30 they are on their way out the door to breakfast and then school. My husband accompanies them to that, so I stay at home with our own kids and their day really begins then. I check chores, and then we have breakfast and clean up the kitchen.

Sometimes we have time for a few other chores before Bible time at 8:45. I realized that if my kids carry nothing else with them from their growing up years, I want them to remember that developing a relationship with God was a top priority, one I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle as the day gains momentum. So, we start with that. At 9:15 we jump into our other academics. I have the next two hours broken down in half hour increments. The kids rotate between one-on-one school time with me, personal Bible/reading time, chore time, and a time to play with the younger two. That gives me 30 minutes with each of the older three and with the two little ones together as well. This format has worked really well so far this school year. I allow some flex time at the end of the morning so if it took longer than 30 minutes to cover their individual work, we’ll still be all right. Whenever we finish up that (sometime between 11 and 11:30), we check chores and do any group chore that needs doing (scrub kitchen floor, fold laundry, clean out couches, etc.)

The kids take turns each day helping me prepare lunch while the others watch or listen to an educational video or tape about something relevant to their studies. My husband, and often his brother as well, join us for lunch sometime after noon and we spend some family time together with lunch, clean up and a little play time.

Our afternoon covers the rest of the academic subjects on a rotating basis as well as quite a bit of me reading out loud from various books. We cover history, science, music, literature, PE, geography, Spanish, and any number of other topics that catch our interest. This takes up until around 2:45 or so, sometimes with a little break in the middle.

At 3:00 I am back “on the clock” and check the demerit list on the computer to see what kind of day my boys had at school. They do time outs for any negative behavior at school and fix any chores (doing extra if they didn’t do well in the morning.) 3:30 is study hall and more school time for my own kids (homework, typing, silent reading). We check everybody’s homework (all 15 of them), make sure no one is talking, and sign off in their notebook when we have seen each assignment completed correctly. That is a task that often spills over into after dinner, which we leave for at 4:45.

We return from dinner around 5:45 and each night is a little different. Monday they have a rec time for about an hour, Tuesday night the kids have woodshop and get to call home, Wednesday night there is an AWANA club on campus that we are involved in, Thursday night we usually relax and watch a movie together, and Friday they are gone by 6:00. Other than that they have supervised free time in the evenings. We have cottage meetings now and then to conduct formal social skill training with everyone and then at 7:30 each night they have snack and shower time, alternating with their roommates. At 8:00 we usually listen to a story (right now we are working through Detectives in Togas) or I read out loud as a way of winding down before lights’ out at 8:30. Then we get our own kids to bed, and I try to get the house clean, laundry washed, paperwork taken care of, and relax with Charles before going to bed and doing it all again the next day. Needless to say, the school year is very busy for us. We have very little down time, but we enjoy our jobs and being able to work together as a family. We try to keep our weekends pretty quiet and just be together.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by how much must be accomplished each and everyday, but I know it is where God has us right now, and our kids are loved and we are able to see so much growth in the boys that we work with each year. For now, I am glad we are here and doing what we are doing


The happy Homeschool Mom said...

I just have to say WOW! God is using you to do some of his amazing work. I will definitely not look at my schedule the same way again.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading your day in the life. Thanks for linking from working moms board on the lounge. It is very inspiring to hear the commitment your family is making to these boys. Kudos to you.