A Day in the Life of a Crazy Fool: Part 1

I might be a Crazy Fool. After all, I have 6 children under the age of 12, I’m a Catholic, I homeschool, and I’m pregnant. Goodness gracious!  To most in our culture, I am a crazy fool. Why would I do such things?

The short answer?  Because my heart is full of love. The long answer? Uh, I don’t have time for that because I have 6 children under the age of 12, and I homeschool.

In any case, I was asked if I might elaborate on what a Typical Day looks like in my household, and so today is Part 1. Before we begin, however, remember that the following routine is just what works for our family.  Of course your routines and daily schedules will be different, as your families are different.

6:00am Prayer

BEEP!  The alarm goes off, and my husband and I roll out of bed, grab our Liturgy of the Hours, and begin the day with prayer in the living room in front of an icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  We do this in the semi-dark, with just a lamp and a few flickering candles, which is beautiful and mysterious.

We have 45 minutes set aside for this. The first half is prayed aloud with Morning Prayer. The second half is spent in silence. During this time the children are also waking up, and slowly they join us. They grab a blanket and crawl up on the couch in silence. I’d like to think they’re praying too, but probably, they’re just zoning out.

So as not to worry when this time is up, and for very practical reasons, we program our coffee pot to be done at 6:45. When it beeps, we’re done.

6:45am Early Morning School

At this point, many things happen.  Of course my top priority is the coffee.  So, I grab my cup and head to the computer for a half an hour of work.  My husband, Blessed Saint That He Is, commences Math with the eldest. (I hate math. See HERE for that one.)  Children 2,3, and 4 begin handwriting and math facts.

Children 5 & 6 wander around and mess with stuff.  You know, like tear books off of shelves.

While the older children finish up their Early Morning School, my husband and I get ready for the day. The older children also know to begin their next task.  For example. Child #2 and #3 practice piano, and Child #4 & #5 set the table. And the toddler?  Uh, she’s busy wrecking something else.

8:15 am Breakfast

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again. One of the best decisions we’ve made was to Eat Breakfast Like a Prison Camp. It works well for us. Everybody eats breakfast at the same time; everybody eats the same thing; everybody cleans up their spot together.

We eat peanut butter toast every single morning, except Saturdays and Sundays. (Saturday is generally oatmeal, and Sunday is cold cereal, which the children think is the best thing ever.) I like this arrangement because it’s not stressful. There’s no complaining because the children know what to expect.

So, around 8am Child #2, otherwise known as The Toast Master, makes everybody’s toast. Child #4 sets the cups, Child #5 sets the napkins, and I put the first load of laundry in. Then we’re ready for action; we pray our Table Prayer and eat.

After Meal Prayer, I read the Mass readings of the day while the children eat. This is the beginning of what some call “Morning Time.” I have chosen to use breakfast as our Morning Time for two reasons. 1.)  We are all naturally gathered together anyway. And 2.)  The children have food in their mouths, so it’s generally quieter.

After I read the Mass readings, we do talk about them, but only briefly. Then I eat my food, and we finish with our Poetry. The children are always memorizing something, and most of the time, I have them all do the same thing. We just finished John 1 for the Christmas season, and now we’ve moved onto “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.

After all the children have had a chance to recite, they put their dishes away, and we break up for the next part of the morning.

9:15am Piano & More School

At this point the children brush their teeth and take turns at the piano. (Child #2 and Child #3 have usually finished their piano before breakfast.) And I sweep the upstairs floors and switch out the laundry for a second load.

One-by-one, as they finish piano, they come back upstairs and begin Round Two of school. The Eldest works on a Science workbook from Seton, a little history reading from RC History, and Latin from Classical Academic Press. (Classical Academic Press, by the way, is now my favorite place for curriculum.)

Child #2 and Child #3 commence Spelling and Phonics from Seton.  Child #4 works on Math.  Child #5 “plays” with Child #6, which means, that Child #5 is supposed to keep the Toddler busy and distracted enough so that she’ll not destroy everything when my back is turned.

And during this time, I pull aside Child #3, my slow reader, and have him read to me.  Then Child #4 reads to me.

Then I pour myself a stiff drink (just kidding!) and get ready for Mid-Morning Prayer Time, which I’ll detail in Part 2 of “A Day in the Life of a Crazy Fool.” Stay tuned.

Kim Heilman and her husband live in the cold, cold north where they are raising seven children.  She is a stay-at-home mom and is thankful for such things as coffee, wine, and the Catholic Church.  Her conversion story may be found in Ascension Press's Amazing Grace for Families book.  She also blogs at Musings From the Home.