As our family has grown, and is about to grow again this coming July, I have found that when you find something that works, stick with it!  I have realized there have been some things that really seem to work and when I try something new I end up going to back to the original thing that worked.  We are creatures of habit, so setting up good systems and habits in running a household can make daily life go a lot smoother.

Here is a list of some things that just seem to work for our family.

  1.  Budgeting. A couple days before the first day of the next month, I print out the Dave Ramsey budget sheet and fill it out. I have set up an excel spreadsheet that mirror the categories on the Dave Ramsey printable and I record the actual amount we spend for each category on the excel sheet.  I keep track of expenses in my planner.  This helps keep us accountable and also helps us plan when we make our next yearly budget. Monthly Budget Form
  2. I rotate the same seven dinners.  This may sound crazy and boring, but it works for our family.  The kids know what to expect and I generally know they like the meals.  This also makes making a grocery list take close to no time.  We have the same breakfast 6 days a week and on Sunday’s I make a big baked pancake.  Lunch is leftovers, sandwiches, or salads.  For snack we have yogurt and fruit; once a week I may make granola or rice pudding, if I have leftover rice.  If we end up getting bored of a dinner or want to try something new, I may switch out one of the meals.  Some meals that never change are Pasta Night, Taco Night, Chicken roaster and sweet potato night, Chili Night, Salmon and Broccoli Salad and Rice night.  I use the two Trim Healthy Mama cookbooks for all my recipes, I don’ even try new cookbooks.
  3. I use the Simply Clean book and checklists for my cleaning tasks ( I tweak it a little).  I have gone back and forth between deep cleaning two days a week or doing a little throughout the week.  I have found that is is better to do a little each day; if I set apart 45 minutes a day,  I can keep my house clean and de-culttered.
  4. I make a schedule and stick to it.  This is our current schedule
    1. 4:30-5:30 Prayer, reading, journaling. Start a load of wash first thing.
    2. 5:30-6:30 School prep and pre-reading, emails, finances, household management (really anything I need a computer for).
    3. 6:30-7:60 All kids up. (They get dressed and started on morning chores.  I have delegated breakfast to my oldest, so I no longer need to do this).  I fold the load of laundry in the dryer, put it away, shower and get dressed, and then put a meal in my crock-pot if there is a crock-pot meal.
    4. 7:30-8:15 Breakfast and Family devotions
    5. 8:15-11:00 Morning Lessons
    6. 11-11:30 Lunch
    7. 11:30-12:30 Kids outside, I do my simply clean tasks, often my 19 month old stays inside with me and follows me around.
    8. 12:30-1:30 Handicrafts or painting, Journals , Piano.  I read a picture book to the littles
    9. 1:30-2:30 Quiet Hour.  Independent reading for my older kids and I may do a read aloud.  The three boys five and under are alone. (The baby naps from 12:30-2:30)
    10. 2:30 Snack, Poetry, and Current Event
    11. 3-5:00 Outdoor Time.  I join the kids from 3:15-4:45.  We may do some outdoor geography or nature study. I come in by 4:45 and start dinner or sit with the littles
    12. 5-5:30/6 Everyone in, clean up for the day, showers and baths
    13. 5:30/6-7 Dinner, Clean-up, Kids get ready for bed
    14. 7-8:00 Family Reading Hour (this happens probably 4 nights a week)
    15. 8:00 Everyone in Bed, including myself and I read till I fall asleep
  5. Stick with a homeschool plan.  This has been the hardest for me, because I really wanted to explore my options.  I have been sold on the Charlotte Mason method, but have tried different curriculum plans as far as how to implement it.  This has been exhausting!! I finally sat down with my husband and we committed to a plan.  For the past few months I have been following Ambleside Online and using it to implement the Charlotte Mason method.  This curriculum plan is available for free online and has been used for over fifteen years.  My husband and I both like where it is going and he is holding me accountable to stick to it as a long term plan.  I also finally found a math program I like, which has been huge!  We also love Hoffman Academy for Piano and my kids are having great success!
  6. Minimize clothing and toys!  This makes a huge difference.  The less stuff you have the more time you have!

I really hope this helps.  I would love to hear what has worked for other families.