It’s that time of year again. The time when I re-look at our family rhythm and crave the simplicity and calm of fall.
This year’s rhythm looks a bit different since Gavin is now in the mix. He just turned one and a beautiful mix of snuggly and wild man. Nap times are very much part of of rhythm. Please note, that the times I have listed are ranges. Some things could vary by about an hour. And some days, we have to surrender and roll with the punches.
~ 6:30 Kids wake up
Morning Math: I set out a simple math activity on the kitchen table for Lydia (just turned 4) to play with while I make breakfast. Somedays, if my husband is home, she ends up just reading books or playing with him instead. I don’t spend time prepping this math activity so it’s not a big deal if she doesn’t do it that day. Examples of what I place out are- Base Ten page with minipulatives, math cubes for pattern work or measuring, puzzle, flashcards with counting rocks, classification sheet or even just a math book. So simple but the 10-15 minutes of her doing these have been awesome for her math skills. I bop in and out and chat with her about the math skill, but keep it very informal. We don’t do any additional math other than day to day life lessons.
Breakfast: We all try to eat at the table together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We eat eggs, avocado toast or oatmeal with fresh fruit depending on the mood, weather or amount of time we have.
Habits: Simple morning habits we currently do are-make bed, get dressed, brush hair and teeth. I’m not a big chore person. Lydia helps when I ask her to and often just joins in when I’m doing a chore. There may be a time later in life when we follow a bigger chore chart, but for now I just like her helping be a part of life. For example, after breakfast, she puts her bowl in the sink. Before dinner, she helps set the table. When I’m done with laundry, she carries it back to the bedroom to put her and Gav’s clothes away.
Free Play: Gav plays around the house until he is tired. He isgiving up this morning nap time, which is actually pretty nice. We read together, play babies, swing, and do little chores around the house. Lately, the kids have been playing outside while I sip on my coffee. We are a morning loving house so this is one of my favorite parts of the day.
~9:30-11:30/12:00 Morning Adventure: Many of our mornings we have an outing. I’m excited that the majority of our outings are short this fall. I love getting out with the kids but dread the exhausted baby time after a long outing. So this fall, I’ve worked hard to have our outings be 2-3 hours versus all day affairs. Snack time is somewhere in there. I have started packing a little lunchbox for Lyd most days for her morning snack. It usually has a fruit, veggie and a a nut/seed/cracker.
Monday: “Mom Mom Day” Lydia goes over and plays/learns with my mom. It is often full of gardening, pretend play and reading. Gav will be home with me which is neat to get some one on one time with him.
Tuesdays: Mix Up Days. Some days we will do an independent outing like the library, zoo or a park. Somedays we will join in on the Tuesday morning nature school class. Most days, I think, we will be home.
Wednesdays: Every other week we have Playschool. I teach the group and it is hosted at a state park. There is a mini lesson based on an author study theme and then the kids free play in the woods. The other Wednesday are little pop up events, get together for playdates or do extra grandma time.
Thursdays: Nature School. My mom teaches Nature School. Lydia will learn about soil, bugs, seeds, flowers and trees. They get to go in depth about things like pollination and learn about what types of soils are in our area. Lucky for me, my parents live right down the road for us so this is not only friend time but it is learning time, grandma time and close by. Yay for Thursdays!
Friday: Home. Glorious Home Day!
~12:30 Lunch and Books: We eat smoothies for lunch everyday. If we want crunch, we make it a smoothie bowl and throw granola on top. In the winter, I am sure we will have soup for lunches somedays too. During lunch we read our library books from the basket we keep in the dining room. More about library books and our reading habits in a future post.
~1-3 Quiet Time: Gav is very ready for a nap at this point of the day and Lydia is ready for a break. Lately, I have been putting on a show for Lyd on my computer while I nurse Gav down for a nap. I soak in my snuggles while Lyd takes a breather and watches something. Once I have given myself a break while nursing Gav, I use my ninja skills to escape him and come out of the bedroom. It is usually about 30 minutes. Our rule is, when I come out, if I say it’s time to turn the show off, she turns it off, even if it is in the middle of an episode. She’s pretty good about it. Not perfect, but pretty good. Once in awhile, I will have her play or she will get engrossed in an activity that she doesn’t remember her “show time” that day.
The second half of quiet time is when Lyd and I do “school”. We play and read together. We try to do things that are hard to do with Gav. This may be an art project, board game or reading longer books. For a guide, we use Blossom and Root. It is simple downloadable pdf curriculum that allows us to pick and choose what works for us. It is very Charlotte Mason based and includes studies on composers and artists as well as nature studies, STEM, basic language arts and math, all through play. We do the Volume 2 for most sections but use Kindergarten for reading. We don’t do all he lessons every week but it is nice to have something to open and run with. I don’t have any major learning goals for this time as Lydia is only four. It is just a nice time to get in the habit of working together and bond through special time. She is working on reading and learning how to explore her own interests. We are learning about artists and enjoying the creative process of art inspiration. our school time usually ends with a big stack of books and cuddles.
3-6 Free Play: We then free-play the rest of the day. I’m pretty strict about staying home in the afternoons. If we don’t, they miss out on their creative free play time and their moods end up cranky and overdone the rest of the evening or the next day. Not to mention, we all LOVE afternoon free play time. It is a block of 3-4 hours of play. We spend a lot of this time in the mud kitchen and backyard. We also spend a lot of time in the playroom bopping around playing dress up or store. Once a week my mother in law comes over to play with the kids during this time. Our afternoons are a treasured part of childhood full of play, without homework and tons of scheduled activities. There will be years soon that I am sure we will have a sport or music practice in the afternoons, but until then I am treasuring these early days.
Dinner Prep. I love cooking so normally I would say that this is a great part of our day. But you know…kids…pre dinner. I try to meal prep in that afternoon time so I can just turn on music and jam with the kids while I cook. Somedays it is one of the best times of our day. Somedays it is a whiney mess. Somedays I text my husband at 4:30 and say “take out please”. But we get fed, usually something pretty nutritious.
~6:00 Dinner. We eat dinner when Zach gets home. If he is going to particularly late, I eat with the kids and save a plate but he is pretty good about coming home for dinner, even if he pulls out his laptop later in the evening to finish up work.
After dinner, it is”Children’s Hour”. This is simply when we all play around in the playroom as a family. Depending on the weather, and moods, we go on a family walk. Sometimes it is 20 minutes, other times it is stretched to almost an hour. No matter how long, it is a cherished time for all.
~6:45 Books with my husband and Lyd. I nurse Gav to sleep.
After the kids go to bed, Zach and I do a nightly clean up. Zach often works at night. I often fall asleep early.
Love love love hearing about other people’s systems and rhythms. When is your favorite part of the day?