3. What’s a typical day in your house like? How do you maintain control over what has to be pretty chaotic? How do you make a household of 19 people run smoothly?
Our #1 goal is to lead our children to seek a close relationship with God & give Him every area of their lives. We have heart to heart talks with each of the older children regularly. We try to keep up with their attitudes & actions. It is a joy to see our children becoming best friends. If they can learn to treat their brothers and sisters like they want to be treated, then they can learn to get along with just about anyone along life's way.
We start the day with individual bible studies for all the children that can read by themselves. The little children who cannot read will sometimes sit beside an older one or watch Picture Proverbs.
We then begin our daily routine with personal hygiene (get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, etc...). Each older child has a younger buddy (or two) that they help. Once beds are made and everyone is dressed and ready for the day, it is time for breakfast, which is usually “serve yourself.” We usually keep it simple like cereal & milk, or a breakfast casserole prepared the night before.
After breakfast, everyone does their household chores -- or as we call it around our house, “jurisdictions.” Throughout the day we try to pickup as we go along, but naturally things tend toward disorder.
Around 9:00AM, the children start their music & individual studies – for grades 3 and up, studies such as Mathematic, Language Arts, Science, and History & Geography are done on the computer with Switched On Schoolhouse. For higher mathematics, we’ve found the Teaching Textbooks to be a wonderful resource. The younger children study using ACE paces. We use Sing, Spell, Read & Write for teaching little ones to read. It teaches the phonics rules in such a fun and exciting way, and our kids love it! For handwriting, we have our children do “Bible Copy,” which is writing out passages of scripture. The number of verses they do each day varies with age.
We break for lunch around 12PM. Often one of the older children will help to prepare lunch & we all help cleanup. After lunch we work to finish individual studies.
Around 1:30PM the little ones go down for naps (4 & under), and all the school-aged children and Mom gather around the table for Wisdom Booklets group studies - science, history, law, medicine. We work on one subject until we complete the study. We also memorize & review scripture, hymns & operational definitions of character qualities. The children especially enjoy this because they make up motions to help with memorization.
At 3PM, we break from group study. This is time to finish up music practice or individual studies, but if completed, this is free time. Dinner is scheduled for 6:00PM. We may do a "quick clean" on the house after dinner & then have free time. Then we start getting little ones ready for bed (baths, brush teeth, etc).
9:00PM is Bibletime with Daddy. This is probably our favorite time of day. Daddy reads the Bible & we discuss the passage together. We talk about the day & bring out points of how to apply what we have learned. Often our little ones will fall asleep as Daddy begins Bibletime, but they still love to be with us at this special time.
We’ve found that as our children have gotten older, we are now in a new stage of life. The older children often congregate into our room after Bibletime, and sometimes we’ll stay up for hours talking! I know we will one day look back on these nights as some of our most precious times together.
For each month, we have individual daily checklists that cover schoolwork, chores, music lessons, & personal hygiene. These were designed by Daddy so we could see at a glance how each child is doing. These checklists enable us to keep our children accountable & also reward them accordingly.
We have goals, but then we have reality! We are learning to practice flexibility -Not setting our affections on ideas or plans, which could be changed by God or others! Sometimes we have "Daddy Days" when Daddy overrides the schedule and takes the children out for family time, a field trip or a service project. We desire for each child to develop a learning spirit & a servant's heart that looks for opportunities to serve others. We try to make each day fun. Everyday is an exciting adventure!
Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you!"
II Corinthians 12:9 says," My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."