Our New Fall Rhythm & Routine (Work-At-Home, Homeschooling Family)
The seasons are changing which means it is time to revisit our rhythms and routines. Today, I’m sharing the ins and outs of our family’s new fall rhythm and routine with you. I hope it inspires you and encourages you on your journey to more intentional living!
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1
Each season change I evaluate how our days are going and determine what changes I want to make. One of the areas I evaluate and determine if I want to make any changes is our daily rhythm and routine.
We are a homeschooling, work-at-home family. I am also in seminary, which means that we have to be intentional with our time and establish rhythms that allow for us to work together and get done what needs to be done each day.
I have found that establishing a daily rhythm in our home makes the days run so much more smoothly. Everyone knows what to expect, and I know that the most important things have a place in our day. Of course, we don’t perfectly adhere to this rhythm every day, but having a general plan helps us know what to expect and when.
I have gone through several rhythms and routines as a mom of four kids. Each season is truly different and taking into account our current needs and then setting intentions and routines accordingly has been such a huge help to me. Having the freedom to change what isn’t working, or is no longer working is one of the things I wish I had realized early on in my mothering journey would be a constant process.
This is why seasonal planning is so important. This regular rhythm and routine for planning my time and setting my intentions for the next few months keeps me from feeling stuck, and I always know that when something isn’t working, I’m going to get a chance to evaluate and change it.
This fall I made some pretty big changes to our family’s rhythm and routine.
My kids are 11, 9, 6, and almost 2 right now, which means I’m not managing several nap times, making everyone’s food, or remembering to brush everyone’s teeth. My older kids are helpful to our family, and they also have their own agendas each day that doesn’t include me. Truly, it’s a sweet season, and I want to savor it!
What’s also true is that we have a toddler underfoot still, and he still makes lots of messes, requires constant care, and still needs his booty cleaned and teeth brushed. His naps are our quiet times, and his wake times are our busy times. I’ve learned that this, too, is a sweet season, and I want to savor it!
Therefore, our fall rhythm and routine reflects the current needs of our family culture and structure. I’m a big believer in not believing you have to do all the things all the time in every season. You can pick and choose what is for this season and what you can release for another season. This isn’t a forever plan, but it’s our plan right now. So, without further ado, here’s our family’s rhythm and routine for the fall season.
Our Fall Rhythm & Routine
Wake-Up at 5:00 am
My day starts at 5 am. I love the mornings because it is when I can simply be. No one is asking me questions. I’ve usually had a decent night’s sleep, and I can spend some time reading, thinking, and writing. This is also when I do my seminary work.
My Morning Routine:
- 5:00 am Wake
- 5:15 am Bible & Coffee
- 6:00 am Planning
- 6:15 am Work: Seminary, Writing, and/or Bible Study Prep
Kids Wake-Up Time is 8:00 am
My two-year-old and six-year-old usually wake up around 7:30 am. They will watch a show or play quietly until 8 am when we wake the boys up to start the day.
We’ve found that waking our kids by 8:00 each morning means they keep a consistent nighttime routine (which also means we keep a consistent morning routine!). Plus it gives us plenty of time to eat breakfast and do our morning checklists in order to be free for our morning activities.
Upon waking, each child gets dressed and makes their bed.
- My 11-year-old takes care of the dog (walking, feeding, etc.).
- My 9-year-old cleans the garage (vacuuming up the dog hair, organizing the shoes, resetting everything from the day before).
- My 6-year-old unloads the dishwasher and plays with her little brother.
Breakfast – 8 am
We aim to have breakfast around 8 am. Breakfast is laid back and everyone is semi-on-their-own. I usually make my breakfast along with the 6-year-olds and 2-year-olds. The big boys all make their own most mornings.
Breakfast was a point of contention for me. It’s hard choosing breakfast foods that everyone likes, and then challenging to time it all for when everyone’s awake and ready to sit down. Therefore, I opted to let breakfast be more laid back in this season.
I direct the big boys in what they can choose (no cereal every day), but mostly they manage on their own and we aim to be cleaned up from breakfast by 8:45 am.
After Breakfast is Home Care
Once we wrap up breakfast, it’s time to finish our morning checklists.
Each child has his or her own checklist to guide them through the rest of the morning, and to be honest, mine is nearly the same. The only difference is I have to think about dinner.
I wasn’t sure what to call this part of our morning because each day is different, so I’m opting for Morning Block. 🙂
Starting around 9 or 9:30 am each morning, we enter our morning activity.
- Monday: Outside Play (Being outside for hours is a priority for us. So as soon as they are done with their morning checklist, they are free to roam outside!)
- Tuesday: Ladies’ Bible Study in our home (This was important for me to include in my week. This is a time for me, but it’s also time for my kids to just be with friends for a couple of hours.)
- Wednesday: Sabbath (We implemented a mid-week family sabbath time, which means we try to do something fun together as a family or rest at home together mid-week. The weekends can be full of sports and ministry, so this mid-week time is sacred to us.)
- Thursday: Homeschool Co-Op (Our group meets once a week for a couple of hours.)
- Friday: Outside or Time with Friends (Like Monday, the kids are free to roam outside when they are finished with their morning checklist. Every other Friday, we meet friends outside somewhere to play.)
This was one of the biggest changes I made to our rhythm and routine. In the past, we would start school around 9 am, but this year I moved our learning time to the afternoon. I did this because there were some activities I wanted to include in our mornings, but also it is just impossible to do school time with a toddler underfoot.
Re-arranging how we use this block of time has been a true blessing! I only wish I had thought to make this change sooner!
Lunch Time – 12:00 pm
Around 12:00 pm, the kids come into the kitchen to make their own lunches. I still make the toddlers lunch, but one of the boys usually makes their sister’s lunch.
After we finish eating and cleaning up, the kids are free until 1 pm.
R & R Time – 1-3 pm
R&R stands for Rest & Read, and it runs from 1-3 pm.
The older two boys read their assigned books for an hour, and then they have the second hour to use however they want. They usually listen to audiobooks for the second hour and do a quiet activity.
My six-year-old just plays quietly in her room during this time, and the baby goes down for his nap.
As for me, I use the first hour to work out and the second hour to rest. Since I get up early, I might take a cat nap, walk in the garden, or read a book. More commonly though, I take a nap!
Together Time – 3-4:30 pm
A few minutes before 3 pm, the kids are allowed to come out of R&R and make tea and popcorn (or some other snack). We then transition to the school table to begin our learning time together.
For the next hour and a half, the big three kids and I work on our school subjects while the baby is napping.
The baby usually starts stirring around 4 pm, but he plays in his bed until we are done. Usually, my husband gets him up from his nap and brings him down for a snack.
At 4:30 pm, we do a home reset and prep for our evening activities or go outside and play.
Here is our general routine for the week.
- Mondays & Wednesdays: Home Nights (On these nights, I try to prioritize time around the dinner table and our current read-aloud before bed.)
- Tuesdays & Thursdays: Soccer nights for the big kids. They make a smoothie or grab a protein snack as they head out the door around 5:15 pm. The little guy and I will join them sometimes, but more likely we stay home. We usually play outside together before I come in to make dinner, and he watches a show while I cook dinner.
- Friday: Hospitality (every other week we host our small group in our home; the off week we try to have someone else over for the evening)
- Saturday: Date Night (occasionally we can snag a babysitter for a date night, but more often we do a date night in right now)
- Sunday: Family Movie Night (We eat frozen cauliflower pizzas and end our busy weekends with time together)
Dinner & Bedtime
We aim to have dinner around 6 pm if we don’t have activities, and after that, we spend time as a family. These are the nights I try to prioritize reading aloud with the big kids and getting them to bed on time (by 8 pm).
If we have soccer, then dinner is usually around 8 pm. This is far from ideal, but it’s working for us to eat dinner afterward right now. The kids usually eat, shower, and go straight to bed (usually by 9 pm).
The toddler is in bed by 8 or 8:30 most nights.
For me, I usually last until 9:30 pm, and I’m almost always asleep by 10:00 pm. Getting up early is only possible if I go to bed. I’m not naturally a night owl, so this works pretty well for me. The only time I struggle is when we choose to watch a TV show after the kids go to bed. It is hard to shut it off after one episode, so this is something I don’t usually do unless I’ve had a nap that day.
For the most part, this is how our days are flowing this fall.
Having a rhythm and routine to our days sets clear expectations for everyone involved, which makes for a much more peaceful home life (for us at least). No one is constantly guessing, or wondering what’s coming next. I don’t get asked a million times for something they know isn’t part of our priorities right now (aka, tech time), and I don’t have to direct the children all day long on what’s next.
Starting a new routine isn’t easy. There is always a learning curve, and time must be allowed for everyone to adjust, but once you get into the flow, it’s like second nature to keep moving through your day in faithfulness.
What about you? Do follow a rhythm and routine each day?
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