Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our evening schedule

Over the years I have used a lot of scheduling methods for our daytime routine - most of them stopped working when I hit four kids + homeschooling.  The only one I would still recommend is Managers Of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores by Steven and Teri Maxwell.  That being said, aside from the Chore Packs, I don't really use that system anymore either - I've pretty much absorbed the information and do my own thing now.  I'm not the schedule-the-day-down-to-the-minute sort.  It makes me tired. :-)

One thing that has always remained constant is that the evening is Daddy's domain; I don't schedule that without him.  It's his time to lead family worship and spend time with us in the way that makes sense in the phase we're in, and I see my role as a facilitator to that.

We've had all manner of evening schedules.  Right now we are blessed to have Mark home most every evening, with only a few occasional exceptions.  That has often not been the case, and so we've had to be flexible.  Here is what we do this semester:

  • 5:00 pm Mark is done with work and takes over baby and toddler while I fix dinner.
  • 5:30 pm 5:45 pm 6:00pm Dinner is supposed to be ready, and we are supposed to eat.
  • After dinner, the older kids help with cleanup, and the little ones play with Dad.
  • 7:15 - 2 year old goes to bed, and I take baby.
  • After that, Mark leads in family worship.  Our four year old is free to wander in and out, but the rest of the children have to be there.  
  • 8:15 (we hope) - family worship is over, and four year old goes to bed.
  • 8:30 We rotate this time between reading aloud every other day (currently reading The Hobbit), and play time.  "Play time" for us means that the oldest three take turns choosing a game or activity to play with Dad.  Sometimes I join - usually, I am busy with baby or doing my own thing at that time.  On Friday we all watch Star Trek. 
  • 9:30 - Older children to bed.  The oldest sometimes sits up and reads until 10:00 - on the condition that Mom and Dad are not available for any non-emergency needs, wants, or conversation. 
Well, that is one way of working the evenings.  We consider that time very precious, and guard it pretty zealously.  Not that there aren't times when someone isn't home, or we up and run off for ice cream - sure there are.  But those are by far the exception, not the rule.

There are doubtless as many ways of managing evenings as there are families who do it; this is what works for us right now.

Leave a comment and share how you use your evening time!  Or, do you have your family time at another time of day due to work schedules, etc.?  I'd love to hear how you manage that, too!

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