Mondays and Wednesdays are by far our busiest days with various music lessons and orchestra. Fridays the older kids have debate classes all morning. I don’t figure anyone wants a rundown of our extracurricular schedule, so I chose to let you follow us through a Thursday, in which we are home most of the day. I absolutely LOVE to wear my comfy, fuzzy jammies all day long, which is why Thursdays are my favorite!

The bright snow fills my bedroom with light, waking me up extra early. Everyone else is still sleeping. It’s hard to get out of bed, because my bed is so warm and soft, but I do because this is my favorite time of day. I love to be all alone with my thoughts!

Homemade breadI baked bread yesterday, so we’re going to have french toast for breakfast, which means I don’t have to get breakfast started right away, and can work on my writing for awhile.

Emma wakes up at 5:30 am to practice her violin. She decided, after some prodding from her violin teacher, to set her alarm and wake up early so she could add another hour of practice to the hour and a half she already completes in the afternoon, and she does it of her own volition. I’m pretty proud of that girl!

Hyrum’s alarm goes off at 6:00. He gets up early to milk and feed the cows before heading off to seminary (religious classes) and his college classes. I’m pretty proud of him, too! He had his wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday, and has chipmunk cheeks that make me miss the two-year-old version of him.

Our Morning Routine

I wake the rest of the kids up at 6:30 by shouting Rise and Shine and turning on their bedroom lights. They clean their rooms and begin their morning chores. (Morning chores explained here.) We’re pretty regimented around here, because it’s the only way to get anything done with eight kids, ha, ha!

At 7 am, all who have completed their morning chores and cleaned their rooms are called to breakfast. We start with a quick family prayer and scripture study so Dad, Kendel, can participate and then he goes out the door to work and Hyrum leaves for his college classes.

Following breakfast, we clean the kitchen. We rotate through the kitchen cleaning assignments using our nifty organizers. (FREE printables here!)

Time for table work

We start school at the kitchen table around 8 am with Circle Time–a short devotional which consists of prayer and a scripture, poem or thought, copywork or memory work. The kids then each create their own schedule for the day, which takes less than a minute. I’m trying to teach them to be organized. They each list 4 ‘works’ and 4 ‘funs’ that they want to accomplish. They like to collaborate with each other to decide on the fun things so they have the same goals as each other, and it gives them something to work toward since ‘works’ must be completed before ‘funs’. The photo to the left is my five-year-old’s schedule for today.

From there we move to math. Everyone has to finish math first because it’s the hardest for my middle-schoolers to get through, so they would skip out if I let them. Math only takes my littles 20-30 minutes or less, but the middle-schoolers usually spend over an hour. We use Saxon math. They read through the lesson themselves and then complete a problem set per day, just asking questions as needed. I sit at the table with them while they work independently so I am available to explain. Once the day’s assignment is completed, that child and I check the assignment, then the child corrects anything they missed and we check again. We repeat that until the assignment is 100 percent correct and they seem to have a thorough understanding.

My logistical secret is to finish with my 5-yr-old first, because she needs the most help, and then I can better concentrate on the older kids. She reads well phonetically, but needs my help to understand lots of the hard words.

Caleb has a hard time with his new problems–box and whisker plots. I can see right off that it’s because he didn’t read his lesson or do the example problems. It is critical that I patiently insist that he first try to learn himself, before I jump in and help.  Ask me how I know. It is also very important, at least for my family, to keep everyone working at the kitchen table with the rest of us because there are too many temptations (called electronic devices) away from the family.

Today we listen to The Greatest Showman and share a batch of chocolate chip cookies while we work. I use music and snacks during school frequently, because I want my kids to want to be at the table with everyone.

By 10 am, my three 3 youngest have finished all of their schoolwork and are outside playing in the snow. Usually, they would be practicing, but today we make an exception. They can practice later. My older kids have finished their math and are working through their grammar, writing and other subjects. It takes the older kids longer because they have more responsibility.  I work on my business.

Lunch time, afternoon music practice, farm chores and play

At noon we clean up school work, open a huge bag of tortilla chips and set a couple of bowls of salsa on the table. The big kids and I keep working while we eat, and the littles read while they eat.

Following lunch, the big kids finish their responsibilities and take care of farm chores while the little kids practice. Each child in our family starts piano lessons as soon as they can read well. Once fluent in note-reading they may choose a stringed instrument to play, if desired. So far five have learned violin, three cello, and all of them have learned the guitar. My oldest also plays the flute and organ, my third plays bagpipes, and two of them play the harp.

After practicing, I let them help me make dinner. We’re having fondue tonight, so Caleb chops carrots and broccoli while Elsa makes a pound cake, Melody washes and chops fruit and I get the sauces started in the crockpots.

My littles LOVE craft projects. This morning they found a fun science/art project about rainbows (St. Patrick’s Day is in two weeks) that they added to their schedules under the ‘funs’, which will keep them busy for the next couple of hours. They would do science experiments and crafts all day long every day if I let them.

They watched the Magic Schoolbus ‘All about rainbows’ episode and then made fruit loop rainbow projects.

When Hyrum returns home from school, I practice with him and Caleb for a couple of hours, because they have a cello recital coming up. I am accompanying them on the piano. I then work on my business until dinner time.

Dinner time and evening

We enjoy the fondue we made together, then clean up the kitchen. Elsa has an extra orchestra rehearsal scheduled for tonight, to which Kendel has to drive her, so he isn’t able to read aloud to the kids tonight. They are reading Little Britches, for at least the tenth time.

We dip assorted raw vegetables and breads (and sometimes cubed, cooked meats) into Swiss fondue, then we dip assorted fruits and pound cake into chocolate fondue.


We dish the fondue sauces out onto plates for the little kids to dip from, so we don’t have ‘double-dipping’ going on from the pots.

In the name of being completely honest, when I told my eight-year-old I what I was writing, she said, “Oh! So you’re going to tell everyone how we fight and don’t obey?” Yeah, there is some of that. And lots of messy countertops and floors, too. And our mudroom is covered, floor to ceiling, in snow clothes and wet stuff. Oh, and did you notice that most of us are wearing pajamas in the dinner photos? Ha, ha! This post is in no way intended to pretend that we are a perfect family, but rather to show how fun a typical homeschool day is! Regardless of the imperfections, our days are joy-filled and fun!

One great thing about homeschooling is that every day is different, which keeps it all fun and fresh. Tomorrow we will spend the day skiing! I love creating, and I love that I get to create whatever I want, each and every day! The absolute best thing about homeschooling is getting to spend our days together as a family. We experience all the ‘aha’ learning moments, and also all the deeply profound family moments–together! It really is a privilege, for which I am grateful!


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  1. Sounds like fun! I want to come play!!! And spend the day!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      You are more than welcome anytime!

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