Mid Morning Schedule {My Daily Morning & School Routine}

  [As requested, this is a continuing view of our ‘schedule’ during the school months for our family of 10, soon to be 11!
The last post covered the morning schedule – this post will cover just after breakfast until lunch time is finished. While this is a typical day, not every day can go smoothly or without fuss and wrinkles. Sometimes things happen – sometimes messy things fall int our schedule and our day is turned upside down! But for the most part, this is how our winter mornings play out… ]

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“If you don’t know what your purpose, goals, values, and priorities are in life, you will never be able to manage your time, life self, home, job or money. You must schedule a plan and plan a schedule.
Many of us don’t want to take the time or effort to develop the sound strategies to be successful in life. There are those who want to be controlled by life rather than controlling life. These people will usually end up angry, cynical, frustrated and disappointed with the hand that life has dealt them. On the other hand, people who seem to control [their] life end up satisfied, joyful and successful.
They radiate happiness.”

-Emilie Barnes, More Hours in My Day

A fresh white snow is falling gently down on this very wintry January morning as the house stirs from its sleep – it’s 7 a.m. and time to wake up the children.
While in the spring and summer months, the children rise earlier, we use the winter months for a time of rest. This means a slightly later rising time for the children – although, it is still a challenge to raise from a warm cozy bed when the outdoor world is still covered in inky blackness.
Nonetheless, the day begins, even if the sun has not yet risen in winter Ontario world.


On the breakfast table you will a nourishing, very simple breakfast to begin the day. The oatmeal is hot the milk is cold – the breakfast bell is rung and before I know it, there’s a herd of lovely children all congregating around the kitchen table, hungry and ready for the morning to begin.

Before the children can eat, we have outdoor chores to attend to, however. Chickens need feeding, fresh water for the animals and the older girls take care of the bigger animal tasks. It does not take them long, but it is certainly somewhat of a sacrifice to stumble out of one’s warm and cozy bed to go directly outdoors for your morning chores. Abby and I both hope we are instilling a sense of dedication and work ethics when it comes to the outdoor farm-ish chores.


Breakfast is usually hot oatmeal with maple syrup or brown sugar and cranberries, poached  or boiled eggs on toast or scrambled eggs with toast. We rarely eat meat for breakfast – it is a luxury if we do. [We have given up bacon a few years ago, so turkey is the next best option.] In the summer months, we tend to have more granola with fresh fruit in place of the hot oatmeal.

One requirement for breakfast is that everyone is to be dressed fully, beds made (and hopefully rooms tidy) and hair braided or done. As we have six girls, this does take time and often I am scrambling to get everyone’s hair finished (thanking my oldest daughter who will often help get hair ready for the day), but it is a good idea for us to have everyone ready for the day when they arrive at the table. No one eats in their p.j.s and they must be in a good, happy mood for the sake of the entire family. I have noticed if we leave the hair grooming until after breakfast, we are considerably slowed down for the day. It is easier to have it done before everyone eats – plus it teaches, I believe, good grooming habits of eating while clean and presentable.

Once every bowl is cleared, we recite our monthly Scripture passage. This is how we memorize Scripture – simple repitition and nothing more. We are memorizing a Psalm right now – we will all open our Bible and say it together. The little ones will follow along, but if they can’t read yet, they simply learn it as we say it out loud.

Most mornings, we will sing a hymn to start our morning off on the right note. The children LOVE this part of the morning. It is a great way to teach various hymns and learn beautiful theology at the same time!

After breakfast, the children and I all scatter throughout the house. With our large family, we have additional morning chores that need tending and tending to quickly, if we want school to start on time. Each older girl is assigned a morning chore and the little ones are assigned a bit easier chore. Chores vary from helping clean up breakfast (sweeping, washing dishes, putting away food, etc.) to cleaning bathrooms (we have two bathrooms), sweeping staircases, cleaning up the back room (mud room/library room for the children) and tidying up the school room before the day begins. Every second day, we add a second morning chore – this will include vacuuming the parlour (as I love to call it), dining room, bedrooms, along with dusting and straightening the rooms.


[On Saturdays, we work on deeper cleans, but during the week, we attempt to maintain cleanliness and cleaning up as we go to ensure a tidy home. If a room needs a floor washed, however, it will be washed that day and it shall not wait until Saturday.]


This whole “breakfast/Bible/brush teeth to cleanup/chore time” takes from about 8-9 a.m. I have tried to have school start earlier but with the animal and barn chores taking place outside, it does not happen. I have come to realize that animal husbandry is just part of our school and home life and it needs to take a place in the morning before school books are opened.

At 9 a.m, it is expected to have school starting – the older girls pick up their instruments [as musical studies are an important part of our school routine] and find a quiet corner of the house to practice cello and harp. The middle girls take turns at the piano in the dining room for practice. The younger ones gather around the kitchen table for math, language lessons and cursive lessons. These practice sessions take quite a while, but once the {noisy!} music lessons are somewhat finished, the girls rotate to use the computer for our online Math program.

The boys (ages 2 and 4) play or have random, unplanned snacks (mostly oranges right now!) at the kitchen table while the three ‘little’ girls (ages 5, 7 and 9) do their book work around the kitchen table. I have a few special educational type toys they can play with — at the kitchen table only — while we work.

They also have a nice collection of Thomas the Train toys in the back room (which serves as a library and mudroom for our house) so they can play together there, as well, so long as everyone is playing nicely and quietly. At some point, the toddler (age 2) may need a nap if he is being restless and cranky during the morning hours. We can all read his moods so easily – if it was a later night, we will take a short nap from 11-noon so we can get some quiet school work finished. In a home that is busy and somewhat noisy most times, Lazarus, age 4, is quite content to play quietly by himself during this time.

As the older girls finish their music lessons and rotate to work on their Math in the kitchen and their own personal bookwork, they also pick up their book-work (spelling/Language/literature, Apologetics, writing, Early Church History) and begin their paperwork. The older girls can work more independently and can also find a cozy corner in the house to do their quiet work. Often times, it is in front of the cozy fire or at the kitchen table, grouped together with the little ones.

This would take us to at least 10:30/11 a.m. – at that point, the little ones are ready for reading lessons {see above work book – it has been the most successful learning-to-read program in our homeschool world, in my humble opinion} in the parlour, by the cozy fire. We have doors closing the living room off from the rest of the house so we find it is the best place to practice reading – no noisy interruptions.


One thing that has helped me, personally, with reading lessons – which can take up to 45 minutes or so for three different girls – is to crochet while the girls read to me. Reading lessons can take quite a while sometimes and require a good deal of parental patience… 🙂 … and sitting still …. sitting still — and patience! — is something that does not come easily to me when I know I have other chores to attend to, so therefore, if I can do something productive with my hands while the girls are reading out their lessons, it’s a win-win for us.

On a side note, I must also mention I am a ‘stickler’ to not having morning interruptions by the outside world in our school routine. I know life happens and schedules can be changed, but I very much attempt to keep our mornings in check, on time and efficient. I do think this key to staying focused in the home-run school setting.

Although I do not talk on the telephone very often, I still turn the ringer off on my kitchen phone so we will not be slowed down by a morning impromptu conversations  by random callers.
I do not own a cell phone to distract me – but if you do, I would suggest turning it off! and since the computer is being used by the older girls for their Math program for most of the morning, there is no chance of being distracted by the computer/internet.

We try to stay focused. The only time we stray from our morning schedule is when The Man of the House, daddy, is home. We take the day off school for that very reason – to be with him. He is one of the reasons we homeschooled in the beginning – his work schedule is very strange and unpredictable. In fact, there is no schedule – but if he happens to be home one day, we take that as a “Saturday” and work with him, get errands done or do things as a family.

Three mornings a week, we have in home music lessons {cello/harp/piano}. At that point, I take the children who are not involved in the music lessons upstairs so we can work quietly in their rooms. It’s tricky to keep them all quiet for a few hours, but it works. 🙂 We are very blessed to have music teachers come to our home for lessons.

It is something I had prayed about when we began our home education journey. I once read about a homeschooling mom of many who said they would only take music lessons for the instruments in which a teacher could come to their home. Well, I thought that was very wise (please picture all the driving and school interruption that would take place as I waited three hours at each music lesson stop! What would I do with the little ones?) and adapted the same policy. If God wanted us to learn the instrument, He would provide a teacher. And indeed, He has! We have a lovely Christian piano teacher who comes to the home and teaches four of the girls and we also have a two lovely, Christian teachers for cello and harp come to the home and teach two girls their music lessons on Fridays. Isn’t that amazing? God is good and faithful, even in the little details.  My father in law drives the girls to vocal lessons on Wednesdays so while the teacher is not in the house, I can still stay home with the little ones and teach their morning lessons during the music instruction time. I am so thankful.

At this point in the morning (nearing 11 a.m.), we all gather together at the large kitchen table again for some group instruction. I will read the living book (mostly a science related book or living book on history) to them all together, we can recite poetry or study art and the artists. I am working on a way to read to the little ones as well as reading to the older ones, but sometimes I only have time to read the upper books to everyone (science and history). I read up, so to speak, so even though it is beyond the little one’s years of formal education, they are still hearing history lessons or science lessons as the older girls do. If we cannot get to the outloud reading before lunchtime, we will gather together after outside play after lunch and read around the fire when the children come inside again. (This would take us to about 1:30/2 p.m. in the winter months.)

After all of this school time, it is now lunch time! Lord willing, there will be a pot of soup already simmering on the cookstove – or last night’s leftovers from dinner. (Don’t scoff at leftovers! They can be a life saver in a pinch of time!). We usually have soup and homemade bread or just plain old leftovers for our lunch. Whatever it is, it is nourishing and filling. Sometimes, after a particularly full morning, we listen to Adventures in Odyssey (keeping in tune with which one is played – I am not a fan of the newest editions) while we eat, other times we listen to Your Story Hour. This is also a chance for me to go around the table and ask each child what they have accomplished school-wise for the morning. This will help me know what needs to be done in the afternoon time.


After lunch, it’s cleanup time again! I also make sure I have our dinner meal prepped and either cooking away on the cookstove or ready for the oven.  Two children are assigned to help with lunch cleanup so it will go quickly. And then … everyone is whisked outside for an hour’s play – even in the winter! Their daddy is wonderful and always makes sure they have an ice rink in the winter (although this year, it looks like we will not have a rink after all, sadly) and if there is no rink, there’s sledding down the front hill.  There’s always something to do outside so ensure we get fresh air – a walk through the fields or even just bringing in the week’s worth of firewood.

While this is a general view of our morning routine, some mornings are different. We pull out the ‘art cart’ and watch a Bob Ross video or a tutorial on watercolours and paint together while listening to a story. We practice poetry or have tea time at 2 and all read our favorite poems. Some days, there are beautiful birds outside our winter window and we will all take time to look up the type of bird and draw the little creature in our nature journals. Not all days are the same – but this is the ‘frame work’ for a typical Gauthier school morning.

Do we do school in the afternoon?

Well, it will depend on how much we finished in the morning. Usually, the older girls have an hour or two more school to attend to – by 3 p.m. we are all ready for a break and have quiet time, but that can be another post for another day (afternoon schedule). If we have had music lessons in the morning, often times our science and/or history lesson is accomplished in the afternoon around the cozy woodstove fire while the little ones play blocks on the braided rug covering our worn floor. It is a cozy scene and one I appreciate very  much in the winter months.

However, for now, we are through the morning and the major bulk of our school day.

Home education can be such a blessing! Yes, it is work. Running a home is work, even if you are not home educating. However, homeschooling does require that extra burst of dedication from the parents (mostly the mother, if I am to be honest, however, the dad must pay for all the curriculum so that is his part of the dedication). It requires organization and determination and good organization – when it is challenging, you must commit to not give up. I would never change our homeschooling years for anything else. When I think of other mothers, sending their children off in those big yellow school buses that rumble away down our street every morning, I think they are missing out on SO much. Not to mention the hours away from home, but the spiritual and character training that come from a Christian home can be erased within hours of being immersed in the secular, public school system.


I feel blessed to have the opportunity to home education our children and I do not take it for granted. If you have ever thought of taking your motherhood course to this home education level, I would encourage you to pray and talk to your husband about the journey you could embark on together. While it is work and requires dedication, you will not regret it. It will be one of the biggest blessings for your family!


January 27, 2020 - 11:45 am

Kristal Thank you Ladies for the sweet encouragement!

January 23, 2020 - 6:36 pm

Monica We use Saxon math and have pretty much always used it (oldest is 11th grade) and while it’s not “kid-friendly”…(not cute, it’s plain and may seem boring) it seems to be an amazing math that all of my children have excelled in. Just an encouragement for Kristal.

I love this post and the photographs, everything!! Amazing, mama!! God has really helped you to manage your mornings and has given you much, much wisdom!

Wonderful! Hugs, Monica

January 23, 2020 - 3:25 pm

Gigi Kristal, I have heard good reports about Saxon math. Math is only program we don’t switch around – they start out with Math U See and then move to TT as they get older.

January 23, 2020 - 11:49 am

Kristal You sound like me, we have changed math curriculums more times than I can count (well, maybe exaggerating a bit, haha). We are currently on Saxon, but it’s not my favorite. I’ve heard of teaching textbooks, thank you for sharing that is what you are using. I usually like to persevere through a curriculum for an entire school year (unless it truly isn’t working), but I am already actively looking for next year. 🙂

January 22, 2020 - 12:30 pm

Gigi Thank you, mom. xo

January 22, 2020 - 12:29 pm

Gigi Kristal, yes, I find getting dressed first pivotal for the morning success! 🙂
I added some links for some of the programs we are using – every year, things can change, but this is what we are using for now. We have used this math program for a while – there are four girls in the program.

January 22, 2020 - 10:38 am

Brenda This blesses my heart xoxo

January 21, 2020 - 11:34 pm

Kristal You are so smart to hold your morning hours as an uninterrupted time to homeschool. For me, I look at home educating/ homemaking as my job. I don’t continuously interrupt my husband (or friends) at their jobs. They would never get any work accomplished, or could be reprimanded if they work under someone. I try to think of my day like that and when I do, I often feel more dedicated to solely focusing on the task at hand and doing a good job at it. I really enjoyed this post. It’s really encouraging to hear of a mom of many share how she gets it done. I also really enjoy the way you explained your schedule. It’s actually a bit similar to mine, except for having the kids come to breakfast dressed for the day, and to practice their music lessons at the beginning of the day. We often get dressed after breakfast (which I feel leads to later mornings, even though we are all up by 7am as well), and we practice piano after school (which I have noticed grumpier attitudes about this in the afternoons when they are more tired). I really like the idea of trying out these different routines. I could see it helping with attitudes.
Also, could you share what online math program you are using? As my girls are getting into more advanced mathematics, I am looking at different avenues of math versus just using a textbook. I would love you hear what you use and your thoughts on it.
Looking forward to your afternoon post!! Many Blessings to you Gillian!