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Large families, please share your schedule

Guest momtomany

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Guest momtomany

We have seven children. Some of what we did with our 2 oldest children, when they were younger, was a classical approach, but we've sort of fallen away from it (life got busier!) and I want to get back on track. Our children are 17yog (doing online highschool now), 13yog (quite clever), 10yob (a little behind), 6yob (just starting to read some simple phonetic words), 4yob, 2yob, 9mog. I have an idea of what curriculum I want to use for everyone, but I am overwhelmed with how to schedule it all in now that I have 7 children. Can any of you parents with several children please share with me how (on earth!) you fit it all in? Aside from the three R's, History, Geography, and Science, I also dream of teaching them piano (I have my Gr.8), Latin, French, and maybe one other language. We are doing some school everyday, but I don't feel that we get nearly as much accomplished as I could if we had a more organized schedule. So if any of you amazing parents who manage more than the average family have any suggestions or can share your schedule, it would be very much appreciated.

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I have seven children too. We work in blocks of time, not to a strict timetable. My children have a list that they need to work through each day. A lot of what is on their list is independent work and I do mostly work with programmes that can be self-teaching and done independently to a degree.


So this is our basic day's plan:


Breakfast and read Bible/pray together


Morning chores time - this gets the basics done so we're not trying to work in chaos;)


9:00 - 11:00 I work with ds6 and dd8 on the things they need me for. Ds6 needs me for most things while dd8 has some independent work first, then I swap and work/read with her. The others are not allowed to (or not supposed to) interrupt me during this time except to bring me completed math work. I like to mark math as soon as possible to catch errors. The other kids are working on theit 'list' work during this time. If they need me for something then they save it for their 'meeting' with me.


11:00 Break time, morning tea.


11:30 - Lunch. 'Meetings' with other children individually to check work and do what they need to do with me.


Lunch and more chores!!!!


Read aloud time all together.


QUIET TIME: read quietly for an hour. If a child has already managed to complete their reading hour by then, they can do something else quietly in this time.


Free time, music pracs, or complete unfinished work. I have some very efficient workers and some who are....well.....not so efficient. ;) They may still have to finish things off in this time.


Well, that's the basic plan. At the moment my baby is still young enough to just fit in with what we are doing. When she is a little older, I may have to assign some older siblings to play with her for awhile so I can work one on one with others. Maybe...... I'll figure that out when we get there.


Wow. This was a bit long - sorry.

Hope it helps a little.

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I have 5 ds and a dd! due on Thanksgiving.


Our schedual is similar to pp.


*morning chores

*piano practice (i'm like you I teach them myself) Lesson from Mom when nessesary

*Bible/Memory verses

*ds 10, ds 9, ds 7 work on their "list" (usually Greek, history lapbooks for younger two and ds 10 starts his list)

*mom works with ds 5 (Phonics, writing, math) usually ds 3 joins in, then they go play quietly

*mom works with ds7 (reading, math, grammar, writing, spelling) and 9 on (math, LA,)

*As ds7 and ds 9 are working I give ds 10 what lessons he needs and assign work as the different subjects get finished.

*ds 7 is done in about 2 hrs. Ds 9 about 3. ds 10 takes about 4 hrs. for the basics. What he does not finish in the morning he does after lunch


*quiet time/naps/ds 10 and 9 do history and lit reading

*read alouds for all


*chores/outside play


*time with dad


This is what we do. Good luck with getting back into classical. You can do it!



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Here is our daily schedule:


6:00 dd12, dd11 get up, shower, make beds \ dd12 starts a load of laundry \ dd11 goes down and starts breakfast for the three of us \ I get up, exercise, shower, make bed

7:00 dd12 and dd11 do Latin \ I work with them

7:30 dd12 and dd11 start Math \ I work with them

8:00 dd12 and dd11 continue Math \ I get dd7, ds4 and dd2 up, dressed and start breakfast for them

8:30 dd12 and dd11 start English \ I do about 10 minutes of oral review with olders while the three littles finish eating. \ dd7, ds 4 and I clean up kitchen.

9:00 dd12 and dd11 do writing assignment \ I am available to help \ dd7 plays with ds4 and dd2.

9:30 dd7 sits down to do Math, English, Phonics, Writing and Poetry \ dd11 does Literature and History reading \ dd12 is in charge of dd2 and ds4.

10:30 dd7 continues one on one with me \ dd11 is in charge of dd2 \ dd12 does Literature and History reading \ ds4 sits next to me and does some preK work

11:30 Lunch \ Clean Up (done mostly by dd11) \ Break \ dd12 switches laundry over to the dryer

12:30 dd2 goes down for a nap \ dd12 and dd11 do Poetry, Spelling, Logic, any work they didn't complete in the am. \ dd7 and I do History or Science \ ds4 plays with toy, does activity, colors, etc.

1:30 dd7 works on Poetry, copywork and ETC \ dd12 and 11 and I do History or Science \ ds4 goes to his room for quite time

2:30 dd12, dd11 and dd7 have to help tidy up school area \ dd12 finishes laundry \ dd11 gives the kitchen a good cleaning \ dd7 tidies up the living room and sweeps the kitchen\dining area \ ds4 gets up from quite time and I spend about 30 minutes doing something with him

3:00 I shoo everyone away to do their own thing and relax for about 45 minutes before dh gets home.


Fridays we have a short day. We do only Math, Latin, English and History. We usually get done by 11 and then everyone helps clean the house. Extra curricular activities are restricted to after school hours with the exception of ds4's story time which is Tuesday at 9. On that day dd12 acts as me while I am gone (only about 1.5 hours) and then she completes her work after school on that day. She gets special privileges to compensate for this.


Our yearly schedule is 3 blocks of 6 weeks on 1 week off \ 6 weeks off from Thanksgiving through New Year's \ then another 3 blocks of 6 weeks on 1 week off. That way every six weeks we can give the house a really good cleaning, doctor\dentist appointments can be scheduled, field trips can be scheduled and I have a week to schedule\organize the next six weeks. I also like having the whole holiday season off because with all the making, baking, visiting, traveling we do its hard to get school done anyway.


Well, that may be more info than you needed but it is all pertinent to keeping my homeschool running smoothly. Recently a friend of mine, who has 8 dc, used my schedule as a template to create her own and she said its working well. Her oldest is 16 and she said she had never considered making the older ones watch the younger ones. She's been hs'ing for 10 years...I told her I don't know how she did it!

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Ours is pretty similar with some time differences because dh works nights.


8:30- if the little ones are up we do preschool


9:00- up, breakfast


9:30-12:30- oldest works independantly, I get the two boys school done. They might switch off playing with the little ones, but we usually get everything done but history and science now.


12:30-2:00 lunch then free time or naps


2:00- until dh wakes around 3:30- history with boys and/or biology with everyone


3:30- 5:30 dinner, then free time until dh leaves for work


5:30- 7:30 finish school with oldest, checking work and doing the couple subjects she needs me for- boys play with littles


7:30-8:30 snack and clean house (this works so much better when dh is gone instead of during the day when he is trying to sleep, and our house is clean in the morning so everyone can sleep later)


8:30- littles go to bed, bigs read or play those board games that are so hard with the littles under foot- the boys and I go to bed around 10 and sis goes around 11:30



I agree that regularly deep cleaning and organizing really has to be done although 3 or 4 times a year works here. Other years we have cleaned at each meal, but right now cleaning in the evening is working well. We do have a rule that if you go in the kitchen and eat you clean up your mess and 10 things so that helps keep the kitchen under control all day. So if everyone put thier plate in the dishwasher then we get 34 other things picked up (my 4yo thinks he only has to do 4 things ;) and the 2yo isn't expected to do it yet) then there usually isn't much left for me.


Menus and grocery lists are required too. I have recently splurged on e-Mealz and I love it!


We school 4 days a week- on Thursday we volunteer at the food pantry/pregnancy center, then get groceries, then the boys have tumbling- so it is filled up. If any school isn't done Fri, we finish up Sat. morning before dh gets up.


The school aged kids all have thier own schedules of work to do everyday. I've attached what our old one looked like- we've used something similar every year we've homeschooled. Just this week we have changed to a schedule that is more of a list-- under Monday it says




ect. Then a list for the other days we do school. My oldest really need something a little more planned out so we'll see how it works. I was trying to attach it but I can't get it small enough.



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In our home, it's looked a bit different every year as the dc have grown, we've folded in more kids for formal schooling, used different curriculum or taken part in outside courses and, of course, added a baby or toddler to the mix. I have 7 children, with the oldest now graduated and off to college. We only have a starting time and then follow a routine, not set times. Here's our schedule this year:


8:00 -- start school. At this point, dc have eaten breakfast, dressed, made beds, done chores and are ready for the day.


Bible time (usually 30 min): Bible study, memory work, prayer, sometimes singing.


Littles in circle time (math) with older sister while I meet with younger boy for math, grammar, spelling, writing.


Littles have snack and outside time with younger boy while I meet with next oldest boy for math and grammar/writing.


Littles have read aloud time with next oldest boy while I meet with almost oldest boy for math, grammar and writing.


Littles with me for reading instruction while all the olders work.


Littles with almost oldest boy for nature time while I meet with younger and next oldest boy for Latin.


My oldest dd is for the first time outsourced for every class, through dual-enrollment, online or co-op. Last year, she was in the mix but she and almost oldest boy were combined for nearly every subject.




After lunch, 1 hour reading/quiet time. Littlest naps, everyone else reads, Mom gets to think her own thougts. :001_smile:


History and science are covered one day a week through co-op or an outside class that I teach.


Music lessons are done in the late afternoon.


Read-alouds in the evening after dinner.


Hope that helps,



P.S. Another thing that has helped me in scheduling is starting school with the early riser, well, EARLY. A few years ago, it was helpful to meet with one of my sons before everyone else was even up.

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I am more relaxed than others. Never could stick to a schedule very well. And I only have 5 kids. And I would move in and out of being more relaxed/unschoolish about things and then swing back to being more formal. . . so you can take my thoughts with a grain of salt! However, here are some things that got me through:


1. Montessori trays - I would set up Montessori activities at different stations around the house. I couldn't replicate a neat and tidy Montessori classroom, but I could get Montessori in in this way. So the littles would play at these stations while the older kids did the 3 R's at the table. When the littles got bored with a Montessori activity I'd change it up a little or switch it out for something else. I used a lot of stuff/ideas from Michael Olaf and Montessori Services. Some stuff I bought, other things I cobbled together from things I had, found at garage sales, etc. When the morning was over, I packed up the Montessori stuff and put it away until the next morning. So in this way, I could provide learning opportunities for my toddlers through Kindergarteners while at the same time helping my older ones do more formal lessons.


2. I always began the day with a read aloud at breakfast. I did lots of our reading aloud over meals. (I have gotten away from this, this year mostly because my 18 yo son has taken over the education of my 11 yo for the most part and my 15 yo is very independent. So I've been teaching my 9 yo one on one.) If I didn't get the RA's done at breakfast and lunch, then we'd read aloud over dinner or sometimes, for something special, we'd have dessert and finish reading aloud then. These read alouds were related to Religion, math, science, nature, history, geography. I'd have a big stack of them and rotate them throughout the week. We did lots of oral narration. Literature read alouds happened either during quiet time when the kids listened to audio books or in the evening when my dh read aloud to them. I was often too tired to read aloud at night. Once kids hit high school, they are pretty independent, with me checking up on them as the day progressed and trying to meet with them to review, usually a few times a week after dinner.


3. After read alouds, we'd do copywork/penmanship/writing and then Math. After that would come Latin.


3. I also do/did drill stuff over meals. My parents did this when I was growing up. They quizzed us on times tables, country and state capitals, kings of England, etc at the dinner table. We actually thought it was fun!


4. Unless we were doing hands on science at a co-op (which often was the case), I ignored science (other than read alouds) and let my dh do that. He likes to buy the kids science kits for birthdays and Christmas and work with them that way. Or occasionally he'll plan stuff to do over the summer. We also participated in a number of science fairs. And the kids watched lots of nature/science shows. So science was always done informally until high school. And you know my kids knew just as much science as other kids in their high school classes (we have a teacher who teaches high school science to the home schoolers around here).


5. After lunch, there was a mandatory quiet time; anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. If I had a child or two that needed to read aloud to me for practice, we do it then. Then I would shoo them off to their rooms and I would take a 20 minute nap, wake up, have a cup of tea and then work with the older kids and also check other independent work they might have done earlier in the day.


6. Since we spent a fair amount of time in the car driving to activities or running errands, I did/do car schooling in the guise of more audio cds. You can practice Latin, math, listen to SOTW, etc in the car while driving around.


So there you go, fwiw!

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We have 8 dc in grades 9,8,7,5,3,2,K, and 2yo. My scheduling solutions are 3 fold --- block teaching, a few DVD lessons, and choosing materials that lend nicely to independent work (always after instruction). The block teaching has been my saving grace, along with the organization of TOG! We also school 7 weeks on, 1 week off to avoid burnout (b/c we are doing so much with so many). This gives us 2 weeks off for Dec. holidays/Spring Break and a full month break in the summer.


We eat a snack before we start at 7am (bread of some kind + fruit) and we eat a solid breakfast and lunch around 9 and noon. We work 'til we finish, not until the clock says so. The dc know this, so they tend to work hard to finish and not delay so they can enjoy free time. We snack about 3pm have dinner anywhere from5-7 depending on extracurrics for the day. The toddler naps for about 2.5 hours after lunch. I do prepare breakfast in advance and freeze or we eat quickly prepared foods (hot cereal, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, pre-made pancakes, french toast, sandwiches, burritos; lots of left overs for lunch; and I use the roaster or crockpot several times a week for dinner).


I spend Wednesdays with the Elders (dc in grades 7--9) going over Latin DVD, History and Science Discussions, Vocab, and teaching Writing (we Use Write Shop). The rest of the week, they work independently with a daily meeting where they can ask questions and have some daily accountability. 2 of those dc also need "periods" of time, so I set a timer for them throughout the day and sound the alarm that they need to move on to the next subject. On Wed, the Little League works on the computer doing drills and any independent work like reading. The ker has the day off. The Elders M, T, TH, F schedule is this:


The Elders



  1. math - 45 min (DVD programs)
  2. vocabulary - 20 min
  3. Latin - 45 min (the program lends nicely to independent work)
  4. Computer drill - 50 min (covering 5 subject areas)
  5. Science - 45 min.
  6. Writing - 45 min.
  7. History - 45 min.
  8. Elective - 20 min.
  9. Elective - 20 min
  10. Online PE/Health class - 30 min.
  11. Elective 20 min.
  12. HOMEWORK (anything they did not finish in their allotted time slots -- we do have to keep on track so we finish in our school year)
  13. Start at 7, finish by 4-5...yup, they have a very long day. The 9th and 8th grader do high school work, identical, save math. The 7th grader is a generally more diligent person than her brothers, so she's always finished by 3pm, and follows her own timeline. She also has less work, as appropriate for her grade level.



The rest of the week, I teach and spend time with the 5th, 3rd, 2nd and Ker. Our schedule looks like this:


Momma (LG = lower grammar 2nd, 3rd grade) (UG = upper grammar, 5th grader) The Ker joins in for sci/hist/bible



  1. 4:30 am rise and go to the gym w/ the Elders if they so choose)
  2. 7 am Bible/Hymns
  3. K phonics -- 20 - 30 min (includes phonics, handwriting, and read aloud)
  4. UG Teaching Block -- 1 hour (LA, math) (LG is doing computer work at this time)
  5. LG Teaching block -- until we're finished :) (LA, math, memory) (UG becomes independent at this point)
  6. History/Science rotating heavy and light days; heavy means lots with me, light means independent reading that will feed them a bit, but that I don't expect to be super in depth --- I am continually amazed, though, at what they remember.


The Little League (LG)



  1. bible/hymns
  2. assigned reading
  3. computer drills
  4. Language Arts w/ mom
  5. Memorization w/ Mom
  6. math w/ Mom
  7. LA independent
  8. Math independent
  9. Memorization independent
  10. History or science w/ Mom
  11. Bible Video w/ big sister in charge
  12. They break once in the a.m. and once in the p.m. for some outdoor time.



There are no times listed for 2 reasons: meeting time frames stresses me out! and also, at this point, I *know* how much we should accomplish per day, so we already have the work planned out (I do extensive summer planning) and we work to completion, not to the clock (for the younger ones). The key here is planning ahead to great extent.


We teach piano using Pianimals and currently, the 7th grader is teaching the LG boys every other day, where they practice what they did with her on the "other" day. After they finish Pianimals I, they are old enough to go on their own with Alfred's piano course.


We get it done using checklists for LG and planners for the 5th grader and up. The 2yo plays in sight and gets playdoh/fingerpaint, drawing, coloring, and outdoor play; otherwise, he just plays in the area next to the school table.


You can see our materials on my blog (in siggy) on the left side; as well as, schedules and ideas for large family living (like meal preparation). You can also see a Week in Review or two to see what we accomplish. People flatter me telling me we get a lot done, but it never seems like too much. We are diligent, but not stressed and we enjoy working....well, the teenage boys don't enjoy much right now except food and sleep, but I know they will grow out of that soon enough :D


It can be all done, you just have to commit to organization in all areas. It's a tough start, but once things are in place, you can quickly flow through it all b/c you're prepared and your family is self-disciplined and able.

Edited by johnandtinagilbert
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