I am always getting asked what my day is like. I am guessing people are curious about how a Mom, with five kids, manages to homeschool, clean the house and keep everyone alive. So, here's a peek into a typical day in the Herrera house.
My bedside alarm goes off. I hit snooze...several times. I am not a morning person.
I manage to drag myself out of bed. I head into the bathroom to get ready for the day. I have gotten this down to a science and I am pretty speedy about it.
I am fairly presentable by now. No, I am not ready for a photo shoot but I do have on clean clothes, a freshly washed face, clean teeth and my hair is in some semblance of a style. I head to the kitchen where I make breakfast for all five children, pack Lily's lunchbox and gather up Lily & Noah's backpacks.
For the most part, my children are all awake at this time of the morning. They can be found watching cartoons in the living room waiting patiently for me to get them breakfast. The only exceptions are Noah and Claire...their room has a baby gate in the doorway so they have to wait for me to come and let them loose. I get Noah and Claire dressed before bringing them downstairs. Meanwhile, the older kids are already eating their breakfast.
Breakfast for the kids is finished and I have managed to scarf down a poptart or a smoothie while checking my email and Facebook. I proceed to brush teeth for Claire, Noah and Lily. I also fix Lily's hair and help her choose an outfit for school. The older two girls are instructed to make their bed, brush their teeth and hair and get dressed for the day. Contrary to popular belief, just because we homeschool does not mean that we lounge around in our pjs all day. Of course, we do have days like that but they are the exception and not the norm.
Head out the door to drop off Lily and Noah at school. They attend school at a local church that is a five minute drive from our house. I toss Claire in the car to ride along, however, Annie and Meg stay home on their own to watch a bit of TV while I do the carpool lane. I am fairly confident that at their current ages (11 and 9) they are capable of staying home for the ten minutes it takes me to drop off their siblings and return home.
I am back from dropping off Lily and Noah. I make sure the TV is turned off and that all the beds are made and then we head to the schoolroom/basement to get started on our day. Claire spends time playing in the basement while we homeschool. I don't follow a set schedule each day in regards to homeschool. I just make sure we cover all of our subjects by the end of the day. I almost always try to get math out of the way first when the girls are fresh. After that it's anyone's guess as to what will come next. History is a favorite so it will often come next, but there are times when I want to get grammar over and done with so it will come next. The girls are pretty good about digging in and get started and the whining is generally minimal.
We are all ready for a break. So, we head upstairs and everyone grabs a snack. Annie and Megan will often head off to play for a bit after they are finished with their snack. Claire and I usually curl up on the couch and watch the last half of Sesame Street.
It's back to the grind! We all troop back to the basement. At this point it is hit or miss in regards to Claire's antics. Some days she is content to go off and play on her own and other days she ends up sitting on my lap and coloring while I do school with the girls.
It's time to pick up Noah. Claire and I jump in the van and do that while Annie and Meg finish up whatever they have been working on.
Lunchtime! We all eat lunch together at the kitchen table. I will often finish first and then unload/load the dishwasher while the kids finish up.
Claire goes down for her nap. Noah settles down to watch some TV. Annie and Megan head back to the schoolroom to finish up their work. At this point they are usually working on things that don't require me to teach (reading, grammar worksheets, spelling word review sheets, etc...) so they are on their own. I will usually use this time to do some housework (laundry, a bit of dusting, mop the floor, etc...).
The girls are finished with school, Claire is still napping and Noah has moved off to play on his own. I try to have the TV turned off at this point so that everyone is encouraged to entertain themselves. Doesn't always happen that way but that is the general plan. I head over to pick up Lily from school.
Lily is home and joins in whatever game the girls have going on. I always take this time to sit down and be a bit lazy. I find that I really need an hour or so of doing something I want in order not to loose my mind when the end of the day rolls around. So, I will sit down and read for a bit or watch a show on Netflix. I sometimes browse the internet reading homeschool blogs or "pin" things on Pinterest.
Claire usually wakes up around this time. We all end up in the kitchen for an afternoon snack. At this point the kids are free to do what they want for the rest of the afternoon. Sometimes that will mean sitting down together to watch a movie. Sometimes we will all head out to the yard and play. Sometimes we will go for a walk. It's basically whatever.... If the kids are being good about entertaining themselves then I will try to get a bit of housework done.
I will usually head to the kitchen at this point and start getting ready for dinner. I have this thing about cooking in a clean kitchen so I always unload/load the dishwasher, wipe down the counters and sweep the floor before I start making dinner.
I start making dinner. Sometimes this is an involved process. It depends on what we are having. I will have the kids take turns setting the table (napkins, silverware, drinks) and I try to keep it fair.
Carlos walks in the door and we sit down to dinner. We eat dinner together every single night. It is the rare night that we aren't all at the table together. I think eating together is so crucial to a happy family unit. We start off every meal with a prayer. We try to talk turns with this as well. Even Noah, who is four, takes a turn praying.
Dinner is finished and clean up begins. I usually load the dishwasher while the kids bring the plates from the table and put away the condiments. Carlos will take Claire into the living room to play with her a bit.
If the weather is nice, the kids will head outside for a bit to play. If not, they will usually go ahead and get their showers. The older girls take care of that all on their own...even Lily. Carlos and I handle bath time for Noah and Claire.
It's tidy time! We try to remember to have the kids pick up their rooms each evening. It keeps us from running into a giant mess down the road. Some nights we don't have time/remember to do this but we try to stick with it. I also ask the kids to work as a group and clean up the basement so it's ready for our homeschool day the next day.
Claire and Noah head off to bed. They share a room and having them go to bed at the same time seems to work out best. After they are tucked in the remaining kids gather in the living room. We use this time to do our family devotional. We are working through a book called "The Dig" right now and we are studying the book of Luke. The kids generally enjoy this. After we finish our devotional I will read out loud to the kids. We are reading "Peter and the Secret of Rundoon" at the moment. It is part of a series that takes place prior to "Peter Pan". The kids really love this series! Lily will often color or play quietly while we are reading. Annie and Megan sit still though and listen.
It's time for the girls to brush/floss their teeth and head off to bed. Carlos and I tuck them in with hugs and kisses and turn out the lights.
I am off the clock! I usually get my shower and then relish my kid free evening! Carlos is currently in grad school so he is usually busy studying. I spend my evening reading, surfing the internet, watching TV/movies....basically doing whatever I want. I NEVER do housework in the evenings. I would rather live in a messy house than spend my kid free time cleaning. I have five kids and spend my entire day running on full speed. The evenings are my time to relax. I don't have to change any diapers, answer any questions, fix any snacks or clean up any messes. It's my time!
11:30 - 12:30am ~
I head to bed. I am a night owl so it's not uncommon for me to stray more towards the 12:30am bedtime. On occasion I will even stretch it to 1:00am. Of course, that is usually only to finish a great book. I try not to do it too often or I am a total grump the next day.
So, that's pretty much a typical day in my life. On Mondays and Fridays, Lily and Noah don't go to school. Lily spends those days homeschooling with us because she has a work packet sent home every Thursday. Noah spends that time playing and making messes. :) I tend to do most of my grocery shopping and errand running on Saturday mornings. Although, there are occasions when a trip must be made during the week. I try to keep those to a minimum and do them on the days when Lily and Noah are at school. Annie and Megan will simply pack up their schoolwork and do it in the car.
We also go to the library once a week. I do this when Noah and Lily are in school to minimize the chaos we visit upon other library patrons. :) Annie and Megan are in charge of gathering books for themselves to read during the week when they have free reading time. Annie also reads each night in bed until 9:30pm. I gather books for Lily and Noah.
Currently, Carlos is teaching the older girls how to swim. So, after dinner he will head to the pool a few nights a week with them while I handle bath time and bedtime for the younger two. I am also planning to implement an exercise plan for myself sometime this spring/summer.
My biggest piece of advice I can give to other Moms who homeschool or who have a large family is this.....Always make time for you. Set aside time each day when you do what you want. It can be for anything as long as it is something you enjoy and doesn't cause you stress. :)