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Our New Back to Home School Weekly Schedule

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Our New Back to Homeschool Schedule @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Our schedule tends to be crazy.

And I’m not sure how many people can actually relate to our schedule. But, I’d thought I’d share it anyway, in case some of you need to get creative with your own schedules so everything gets done {well sort of}. A schedule/ routine should help you – not frustrate you – so keep that in mind!

Things I need to include in our new schedule:

  1. housekeeping
  2. kids chores
  3. figure skating
  4. daily exercise
  5. daily dog walking
  6. caring for the animals
  7. food preparation/ meal times
  8. music lessons
  9. karate classes
  10. gymnastics class
  11. homeschooling
  12. down time/ family time
  13. blogging/ business stuff

As my kids get older, our schedule has become more challenging. And to be honest, most of the time I’m just trying to get through the day with some time for fun and laughter, clean clothes, and everyone fed.

It seems like every time I get used to how we do our “schedule,” something changes to throw me off. My daughter Hannah is a figure skater.

We live 2 1/2 hours from the ice rink.

That means we are in the car an awful lot. She’s been skating for 3 years now. In the beginning we simply left the house around 8 am and got to the rink by noon every Wednesday and she skated about  8 hours before we went home. She had afternoon private lessons with her coach Devon.

Then, last fall, she began having a second private lesson in the early morning on Wednesdays with the owner of the rink, Larry. That meant we started getting up at 3 am on Wednesdays so we could leave the house by 4 am so we could be at the rink by 6:30 am. She would skate for a few hours in the morning, take a break, skate a few hours in the afternoon and finish off with evening classes before we arrived home around 10:30 or 11:00 at night.

Then, in the spring, as testing time was coming up, things changed again. We started spending Wednesday nights in Knoxville so that she could skate on Thursday mornings for extra practice and two extra lessons before we went home at noon. And, in March of this year we added in competitive gymnastics for my daughter Laura. She attends classes at a gymnasium in Knoxville on Wednesday afternoons which means Wednesdays are back and forth between the ice rink and the gym.

This summer we made the decision to add even more to the mix and also joined the skating club in Nashville {which is a five hour drive from our house} but we wanted Hannah to have more options and she had her first testing session a couple of weeks ago there. So, now, we are driving to Nashville once or twice a month so that she can skate there and have lessons with a coach in Nashville.

Hannah wants to be a professional coach when she grows up and so all of this coaching and time on the ice is a big part of her education. If your going to coach figure skating, you really can’t wait until you’re an adult to start learning how!

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Hannah, before her last Freestyle Test.
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Hannah with her coaches, Larry and Devon.

That means that this year, our homschooling is going to look different from in the past. With us staying overnight almost every week in Knoxville, that means that two full days are spent gone from home.

In the past I’ve used a variety of curriculum that the girls and I both loved. This year, I decided to go with an accredited distance learning program for both Hannah and Laura so that we can make sure they stay on track. They can take their books/ computers with them to the ice rink and work over wifi.

Of course, Laura is used to sitting at the ice rink for hours every week while Hannah skates, and we have brought their school books with us on Wednesdays – Hannah would work while taking breaks – but I feel like using a program will keep them from getting behind and having to work harder to stay on track. The girls will work on school work 3 – 4 days a week and use Sunday afternoons to catch up if they need to. Because of our hectic schedule they may need to do extra lessons each day to make up for those days when it’s hard to get it all done. Also, we will probably end up doing a year round home school schedule.

When we’re at the ice rink, I am usually either watching and listening to her private lessons, watching her classes, and taking mental notes about what she needs to work on and improve. When she’s not in a lesson or class, I am typically standing by the wall in the rink, helping/ coaching her based on the feedback I’ve gotten from her coaches. If I take a break, she’s usually right there asking me to come back and help her.

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Hannah, before her last Freestyle Test.

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Our entire family’s schedule has to work around Hannah’s ice skating schedule. Sounds crazy, right? But, if you knew Hannah before she started skating, you could see how figure skating has changed her life, given her confidence, given her something that she feels passionate about, given her something that she works hard for, and given her a purpose/goal. You can’t always choose what your child is going to be most passionate about.

All of my other children were interested in things like music, art, horses, etc. Things that we could easily provide right here in our small town.

But none of those things were for Hannah. We put off enrolling her in skating classes for a full year as she continually asked/ begged for lessons because of the distance. When we finally made that decision to see how she did, there was no question about it. Figure skating was what she was born to do. I just feel bad we waited so long! Compared to other skaters, she started really late. However, it’s amazing what she’s been able to accomplish skating one day a week for the past three years and taking two summers off. We are very proud of her hard work.

Here’s a video from her April 2016 competition:

Meal planning is going to be really important for me this year. About the time we started spending a lot more time at the ice rink, I stopped cooking large meals that took a lot of time to prepare. I also stopped baking homemade bread every week. Every one misses my homemade bread!

The thing about living a busy, full life is that sometimes you have to make choices about what is going to work for the current season in your life. As much as I loved cooking and baking from scratch, continually putting that pressure on myself just didn’t make sense. One day I realized that something had to give, and one of the things I decided I could give myself a break on was food.

I still feed my family healthy meals. And I do still cook nicer meals when I have time. But I had fallen into the trap of everything we ate needed to be super healthy and homemade from scratch or else I was a failure as a wife and mother.

I’ve given myself the freedom to not beat myself up over not being able to always prepare amazing meals. It’s still important to me that we eat healthy, but not everything has to be from scratch. And meal planning helps me plan for a variety of meals for the week so that we have good food that’s easy to prepare.

I also used to always pack meals for us to take to the ice rink in order to save money. When we started leaving the house at 4 am only to arrive home 14 or 16 hours later, I stopped. I do bring my favorite KIND bars for us to snack on sometimes in the early morning. Sometimes some yogurt. But sometimes we’ll stop at Bojangles for an egg and cheese biscuit. Yum!

For lunches at the ice rink, we typically get Chinese takeout from across the street or I’ll run in Kroger and get hot soup, french bread, and butter. Sometimes we go to Earth Fare next door and grab a healthy meal from the deli. Sometimes we get cheese and green chili tamales or a frozen meal from Trader Joe’s. Yum! 

Either way, our lunches are fresh, healthy, and delicious. We’re lucky to be able to sit at a table and eat together at the rink!

For supper, if we’re spending the night, I usually get something from Kroger – always fresh fruit – and we’ll choose from healthy Lean Cuisine frozen dinners or a frozen pizza or something else that is simple to prepare and I’ll go back to Hannah’s coach’s house to cook. When we spend the night we usually eat Cheerios for breakfast and grab some fast food like a salad from Wendy’s on our way back home at noon.

At home during the week, I have my go-to meals  that are easy to prepare and taste good. Mealtimes don’t have to take forever to prepare to be memorable. Sitting together to eat as a family is important no matter what you’re eating!

Laundry is a killer for me. The last few months my laundry schedule has gone something like: Wash two loads a week, three if I’m lucky and make sure we have exactly enough underwear, socks, clothes, etc. to get us through the next few days. I always do a quick load on Tuesday night because we have to pack and have clean clothes with us for Wednesday and Thursday. So my goal {today, in fact} is to go through our laundry, get caught up and give most of it away. Obviously, we don’t need 80% of what we own.

related video: My Current Struggle with Routines {last fall, haha – not much has changed}

Tuesday mornings are always super busy with music lessons. Last school year we had gymnastics and choir practice on Tuesday afternoons and evenings, so Tuesdays were really, really, busy. This year I’m not sure yet if we’ll have gymnastics on Tuesdays and it looks like our community choir director may be taking the year off. We’ll miss singing in the choir, but with everything else going on, it’s probably a blessing!

Emily has karate lessons on Monday and Wednesdays. Since I’m gone on Wednesdays, her brother {or my husband} usually takes her to karate on that night and I try to always make it to watch her class on Mondays. Emily is also taking classes at the local community college and thankfully this semester all of her classes are online so we aren’t trying to juggle her class schedule since she doesn’t have a car of her own yet.

On Sabbath, after church, we usually do something as a family like take a hike in the mountains, go on a picnic, visit the wild horses, go to the lake, go for a walk, etc. And often, on Sunday’s we have all of the family over for a meal. If I’m going to cook something more involved, Sunday is the day! Family time is very important to me and since a lot of our family members live in town, we usually get together a couple times a week.

Sarah’s health is much, much improved this summer. Which means we don’t currently have weekly visits to the doctor and/ or ER or frequent hospital stays on the radar. I’m really, really thankful for that. The end of 2015 and the whole of 2016 has been one of the most emotionally trying, heartbreaking years of my life. I’m just now, beginning to feel like life is getting back to normal. When I shot the video linked above, I had no idea how life was about to change for Sarah, and us as a family.

Something else we’ve added to the weekly rotation is a visit our local wild horses a few times a week. While we have horses of our own and take care of them each week, Laura has longed for her own horse for a long time. Unfortunately, I just can’t afford to take care of another horse right now. I wish – oh, how I wish! – I could fulfill that great desire in her heart.

Wild Horses of Harlan County
Hannah and Laura and the wild horses.
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Laura with one of the wild horses.

We have wild horses that live on top of the mountain here in Harlan County – only about seven miles from our house. She has fallen in love with a sweet little horse and she calls him Romeo {pictured below}. He has a lot of scars and is picked on by the other horses. She loves to take him apples and brush his hair. We gave him a hair cut this week because his mane was matted with burs that we couldn’t get out. And Hannah pulled out a large stick that was stuck in his tail on Tuesday. We’ve promised Laura we will visit the horses at least twice a week.

Our weeks are very full, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are living life fully and I try really hard to live intentionally. My blogging schedule is the same as usual. I blog during the “in between” times of my life. I work in my blogging/ planner business when I am able. Usually, I work about 2 – 3 days a week and sometimes I get really organized and schedule everything out so it’s automatic and don’t work/ blog at all for two weeks at a time. I try to make sure that when I’m at the ice rink, I’m fully present. When I’m at gymnastics, I’m fully present. When I’m with my kids, I’m fully present.

related: You can follow all of our family adventures, ice skating, wild horses, and family moments on Instagram!

Here’s a basic look at this year’s schedule. I don’t expect every day to go exactly as planned. However, at least I have an idea of when things should be done.

You’ll see that my goal is to wake up early six days a week. For my morning devotions, for this season, I’m planning on having devotions with the girls at breakfast time. Sunday’s are busy, but we like to sleep in a little later. Sometimes I’ll take an hour nap on Sabbath afternoon before we head out for a hike or to the lake.

{I’ve blocked out Wednesday and Thursday because we are usually gone those days.}

Our Family Schedule @ AVirtuousWoman.org
Our Family Schedule for Fall 2016

And in all honesty, I don’t follow schedules very well. I like doing things when I feel like doing them. But, I’m trying to make sure that we get certain things done each day, like school work and exercise. I’m not so concerned about the house. I am behind on a lot of things in the house and have been all year since Sarah got sick. I’ve made some decent progress over the last couple of weeks and our Book Study Challenge has helped me in that regard. It’s not too late to join if you want to!

I’m trying to get really organized {it’s a life long journey for me apparently} so that the house runs smoothly with less effort. Now that Sarah’s not as sick, I think I will find more time to get caught up and hopefully stay that way.

What does your schedule look like? How do you deal with a crazy schedule? Maybe you’re blessed with a simple routine from day to day! I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 

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Our Family Schedule Printable @ AVirtuousWoman.org

If you’d like to purchase a 5 page family schedule chart like the one above, click here.

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2 Comments

  1. I couldn't figure out how to put this comment with the planners,but I would like to purchase your planer, but Im really not sure which would be the best for me? I work 3 days but am home as well. Thoughts? LOVE the covers too!!
    1. Hi Kate, I would suggest you buy the Weekly + Monthly planner along with the laminated homemaking insert/ dashboard. I think this would give you the nest of both worlds. :) I just recently moved my shop to Etsy.com so here are the links to the products: Planner: https://www.etsy.com/listing/458341032/2017-purpose-31-weekly-planner Homemaking Insert: https://www.etsy.com/listing/471829829/laminated-homemaking-dashboard-planner

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