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Little House On The Prairie Adventure: Week by Week Life Skills Lessons

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Here are our Lesson Plans For Life Skills

These lessons were made to go along with ‘The Little House On The Prairie‘ written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We are planning to go through the whole series and I am keeping track of the different topics we are learning about here on my blog. We hope you enjoy these as much as we have!

This page contains our lesson plans for a few different areas that I have included with our ‘Life Skills’. You will find lessons on cooking, cleaning, and organization as well as bible memory work, manners, and character training. All of these will go together to help raise our children into the responsible and caring citizens of tomorrow.

On weeks where there are several activities listed just choose a couple that interest you the most to work on.

We will be focusing on OBEDIENCE this unit. If you don’t have the book we used you can go HERE and download a lesson plan guide to use in your home.

Tip: If you want to go to a certain week/chapter or subject simply push the ‘ctrl’ and the ‘F’ button down together and a small bar will pop up. Type in the week number or chapter number you want and it will take you to it.


Week 1: Chapters 1, 2 & 3

1. Following Ma’s Example

Talk about the importance of routines. We will be talking a lot about routines during this unit. Routines are simply a tool that help us to be more successful in our everyday lives. They are a set of steps that we follow on a regular basis to achieve our goals. Routines help everyone to know what is expected of them and when. This can help wi th frustrations that we face in our daily lives.

Ma kept to her routines even though things were very different. One big difference was the way she had to cook meals. This is a good skill to learn whether you like to camp or in the event of an emergency. Answer the questions below:

  • What things mentioned were part of their normal routine?
  • Why do you think Ma kept to these routines?

Watch this video on why routines are so important to kids:

  • Discuss what you have learned.
  • What routines help you the most?
  • What areas do you think you need better routines for?

We like to use the FlyLady app on our phone to keep track of our routines.

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

We are going to talk about straightening up around the house.

These basic steps can be used in any room of the house.

How to straighten up a room:

  • First we need to pickup the items that don’t belong in the area/room. ex: Shoes, clothes, toys, etc.
    • You can use a laundry basket to pick up stray items and to carry them to where they belong.
  • Pick up all the trash in the area.
    • Put the trash where it belongs.
  • Check for spills and other messes.
    • Clean up messes as you find them.
  • Pick up piles and stacks of papers or books.
    • Put everything where it belongs.
  • Carry dirty dishes to the kitchen
    • Put them in the sink or other designated place.
  • Straighten DVDs and bookshelves.
    • Everything should be facing out so it can be read easily.
  • Fold blankets and put them where they belong.
  • Straighten and fluff pillows.
  • Straighten anything else that is out of place.
  • Wipe down anything that needs cleaned.
    • Ask what cleaner should be used.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor.
  • Check the room over before leaving.

Do you know where everything goes? If not, be sure to ask a parent or older sibling to show you where to put everyting.

Watch this quick video and discuss what you learned:

3. Character

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

  • Obedience means to willfully, promptly, and cheerfully do whatever a person of authority (ex: parents, teachers, or God) asks you to do.

Being obedient. This may not seem like a big deal but there could have been some serious consequences had Laura and Mary not obeyed Ma when crossing the river.

  • Why do you think it was so important for Laura and Mary to be obedient?
  • Should you be obedient? Why or why not? Read Ephesians 6:1-4.
  • What are some ways you can practice obedience?

  • Do you have a set of rules for your family?
  • If they aren’t printed then maybe you can ask your mom or dad to help you write them out.
  • Click HERE for an example of Family Rules.
  • Do have trouble being obedient? Did you know that you can ask God for help?
  • Click HERE for a really cute coloring page. Or click HERE for some more pages.

4. Manners

– Read through the first three pages of Emily’s Everyday Manners and discuss the manners shown in the pictures:

  • Helping people to show that they love them.
  • Doing kind things for others.
  • Apologizing
  • Remember that good manners take practice so don’t stop trying!

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

Psalm 8.jpg

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 1: O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.

6. Fun Activities

Cooking On A Stick: Campfire Recipes for Kids

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Class 3 – Cross Hatch, Cracking Eggs, Garlic/Sauteeing (Beginner)
  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

Learn about camping.

Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids’ Guide

And Jacob… lighted upon a certain place, … and he took the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. – Genesis 28:10-11

  • Read a book about camping. Record the Title and Author on your Reading Log.
  • Don’t have a Reading Log? You can print one HERE.
  • You may also want to get a notebook to keep track of all the interesting things you will be learning.
  • Camping can be a very fun experience, if you are prepared.

 

Learn about Herbs.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. – Genesis 1:29

  • You will need a good book about herbs. Record the Title and Author on your Reading Log.
  • Don’t have a Reading Log? You can print one HERE.
  • You may also want to get a notebook to keep track of all the interesting things you will be learning.

A Kid’s Herb Book: For Children of All Ages

  • We will be studying out herbs. A person who seriously studies plants and/or herbs for healing is called a herbalist.
  • Plants are our friends. We need them to survive! Watch this quick video about what plants provide for us:

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Jot down notes in your notebook.
  • Check out this link HERE for an Herbal Encyclopedia.
  • Does it surprise you that there are so many herbs?
  • Bonus points if you find a herbalist in your community.

Week 2: Chapters 4, 5 & 6

1. Following Ma’s Example

Routines are essential for a successful household.

In this section we read about how Ma kept everything running smoothly while they were building the house even when she was hurt. They had a routine for getting moved in and set up as well.

Watch this video to see how one woman moved, built her own cabin, and started her new homesteading life.

  • Discuss what you’ve learned.
  • What steps did she go over?
  • Do you think if others follow her steps that they can homestead too? Why or why not?
  • What does she say about baby steps?
  • She seems very happy, would you like to try this?

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

Emtpying the trashcans.

How to empty a trash can:

  • Collect all the trash from each room and carry it to the kitchen trash can.
  • Remove the full trash bag and dispose of it properly.
  • Clean out the trash can, if needed.
  • Replace the liner/bag.
  • Take the empty wastebaskets back to where they belong.

Do you know where the trash cans are in each room? Do you know where the trash bags are kept? If not, ask a parent to show you.

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

  • Do you remember what obedience means?
  • Do you remember what your family rules are?
  • Have you been praying for God’s help?

Watch this video about Genesis 22:1-18

  • What did God ask Abraham to do?
  • Did Abraham obey God?
  • How many times did God have to ask him?
  • Did Abraham question God?
  • What did God promise Abraham for his obedience?
  • We need to pray that God will help us to obey the first time we are told just like Abraham did.

4. Manners

– Read through the next four pages of Emily’s Everyday Manners and discuss the manners shown in the pictures:

  • Using the magic words:
    • Please
    • Thank you
    • You’re welcome
    • Excuse me
  • Use your manners everyday with family, friends, and everyone you meet.

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 2: Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.

6. Fun Activities

Golden Barrel Bulk Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses Jug (128 fl oz)

Golden Barrel Bulk Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses Jug

The Amish Cook’s Family Favorite Recipes by Lovina Eicher

6. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to new skills.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Class 4 – Spice Blends, Muffins, Whole Fruits (Beginner)

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

Learn about camping.

We have learned that manners are always important. Here is a video about camping etiquette.

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Write down some good camping manners.

Learn about Herbs.

Weeds vs. Herbs

  • Any plant that has medicinal purposes is called a herb. Weeds are usually any plant growing in a place that we don’t want it to grow.
  • All herbs could be seen as weeds but not all weeds are herbs. Do you know the difference?

  • Some herbs are used for medicine. The American Indians learned how to use many plants:

  • Some herbs are used as spices too:

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Jot down notes in your notebook.
  • What herbs or spices do you use in your home?

Other Uses

  • Not all herbs are eaten. There are many ways that herbs can be used. Check out this website HERE for more information.
  • Write down some of the other ways that herbs can be used.
  • In our home we use a lot of essential oils. Do you know what essential oils are?

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Jot down notes in your notebook.
  • Research some herbs that may have been useful in treating Ma’s sprained ankle.

Week 3: Chapters 7, 8 & 9

1. Following Ma’s Example

House Cleaning Routine

Ma kept a neat and tidy home. They may not have had the nicest home, and we know from the story that they had dirt floors for a while, but it was always ‘pleasant’. Do you think that Ma had a cleaning routine? Do you remember her routine from the previous book we read?

Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday

This is an example of a routine. Do you have a cleaning routine?

We have a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly routine that we use here. This is something that did take a little bit of work to put together and we are constantly tweaking it to fit our life.

Our daily cleaning routine includes things like making the beds, washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom and laundry. We also make sure to sweep the floors, wipe the table and counters as well as to pick up our shoes and put away the toys throughout the day. This helps to keep our house neat and tidy.

We also have routines for things that need to get completed once or twice a week, once a month, and once a year. Our routines help keep everything running smoothly and help us to remember things that need done.

Here’s another video about routines:

  • What routines do you have set in place to keep your home pleasant?
  • Who is responsible for what?
  • What things could you add to your cleaning routine?

FlyLady also has some great ideas to help you set up a cleaning routine that works for you and your family as well as other routines. She also has a ton of great tools on Amazon to help keep your house tidy and organized. We love to pair her tools with natural cleaners from Grove Collaborators.

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

This week we are going to practice sweeping. Sweeping is probably one of the most frequently performed tasks. It needs to be done before mopping.

How to Sweep a floor:

  • You need to get your broom and dustpan.
  • Move things that can be moved like trash cans, rugs, etc. before sweeping.
  • Start sweeping in one corner and work your way around the room.
  • Sweep the dirt into piles.
    • Check the piles for important things like coins and valuables.
  • Sweep the piles into the dustpan.
  • Empty the dustpan into the trashcan.
  • Check the floor again for anything missed.
  • Put back anything you moved to start with.
  • Put the broom and dustpan back where you got them from.

Check out this video to see how to properly sweep a floor:

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

  • Have you been praying for God’s help with being obedient?
  • How have you done so far?
  • Have you remembered to thank God for helping you?

Watch these videos about Moses:

  • What did God ask Moses to do?
  • Did Moses obey like Abraham? Why or why not?
  • Did Moses want to obey? Did he obey?
  • What happened because Moses obeyed God?
  • We need to pray for obedient hearts that don’t argue back.
  • Pray for help to obey even when you don’t want to obey.

‘Obedience is not always pleasant, but it is still very necessary. Obedience always brings a blessing.’

4.Manners

– Read through the next four pages of Emily’s Everyday Manners and discuss the manners shown in the pictures:

  • Some manners get used a lot
  • Some only get used once or twice
  • Some are used only on special occasions

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 3: When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.

6. Fun Activities

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Class 5 – Dry Beans, Rice (Beginner)

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

Learn about camping.

  • Research about campfire safety.

  • Write down these terms and what they mean:
    • Tinder: Dry twigs, pine needles, pine cones and other flammable material that is not very thick
    • Kindling: Small branches and materials for burning
    • Fuel: Can range from branches or logs for keeping your fire burning
    • Firebreak: a barrier of cleared ground to prevent the spread of the fire

Learn about Herbs.

  • Did you know that herbs have stories written about them? These stories are called herbal lore.

Goldenrod was mentioned in this section. Here is a quick video on its uses:

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Be sure to jot down some notes.

Week 4: Chapters 10, 11 & 12

1. Following Ma’s Example

Throughout this book we have seen that Ma has routines for many areas of her life. The family has morning routines where they get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and clean up. Each person knows what they need to help with. It is important that each person do what is expected of them to keep things running smoothly.

Our morning routines include getting up, getting dresses, fixing our hair, putting on our glasses if we wear glasses, eating breakfast and brushing our teeth. These and parts of our cleaning routine get completed EVERY morning before we being our schoolwork. When we make sure we get up and get ready for the day we can be prepared for anything that might happen.

Watch this video about some morning routines:

  • Do you remember the steps in the routine?
  • Do you have a morning routine?
  • How does yours compare to this one?
  • Write down a good morning routine to help you get your day started right.

Here’s a little video for younger kids:

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

Dust mopping may not be something you do in your home but it can be an easy way to keep your floors looking nice.

How to Dust Mop:

  • Gather your supplies:
    • dust mop
    • spray cleaner
    • dust pan
    • broom
  • Move anything that needs moved to make the process easier and quicker.
  • Spray the dust mop with cleaner.
    • Be careful not to spray yourself or anyone else.
  • Start mopping the floor in one corner and working your way around.
  • Push any dirt into a pile.
  • Sweep up the dirt.
  • Empty the dustpan into the trash can.
  • Check for missed spots.
  • Move the items back that you moved before you started.
  • Take the dust mop outside and shake it out.
  • Put away your supplies.

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

  • Have you been obedient? Cheerful? Willing? Prompt?
  • What areas do you need to work on?

Watch this video about Jesus:

  • Did Jesus obey God?
  • Did he do something wrong?
  • What did he say when his parents wanted him to come back home with them?
  • Did he talk back to them? (It is important to NEVER talk back even if someone thinks you are doing something wrong but you aren’t. God knows your heart and will take care of the situation.)
  • What was the reward of Jesus’ obedience? Read Luke 24:52

4.Manners

– Read through the next four pages of Emily’s Everyday Manners and discuss the manners shown in the pictures:

  • Practice good table manners whether you are at home or eating out
  • Use the right utensils for food
  • Make a list of good table manners to use at your home.
  • Check out this fun activity: Table Setting Paper Craft
  • Or check out this Table Manners Game.

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 4: What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.

6. Fun Activities

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on:Class 6 – Pouring, Flipping, Eggs (Beginner)

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

Learn about camping.

  • Start planning out a camping trip.
  • Plan what supplies you will need.
  • Add to your plan as you learn more through this lesson.
  • Write them down in your book.

  • What else would you add to these suggestions?
  • Make a checklist for your trip.

Check out these camping hacks:

Learn about Herbs.

Herbal Lore

Not all herbs are safe to eat. Just like the snakes that the girls encountered some plants are poisonous and some can cause skin irritations. ALWAYS GET PERMISSION BEFORE EATING ANYTHING NEW.

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Jot down notes in your notebook.
  • Research some herbs that might be useful in treating a sunburn.

Week 5: Chapters 13, 14 & 15

1. Following Ma’s Example

Routines, like manners, can be used anywhere and everywhere even when we go outside.

The family was all sick during this section of the book. Do you think they kept up with their routines while they were sick? They seemed like they were all too sick to care about routines.

What happens when your mom and dad get sick? Does everyone know the daily routine well enough to keep the house running smoothly?

What do you think are some ideas for a good outside routine? Here are some ideas that could be incorporated into your routine:

  • Put on shoes
  • Put away shoes, jackets
  • Put on Bug Spray
  • Put on Sunscreen
  • Put on a hat, if needed
  • Cleaning up inside toys
  • Ask permission to go outside
  • Cleaning up outside toys
  • Put on outerwear, depending on the weather
  • Washing hands

Can you think of anything else?

  • Add your own ideas to this list.
  • Put the tasks in order from what you should start with.
  • How could this routine have helped keep the family from getting sick?

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

We are going to learn how to mop. Mopping can be done a couple of ways. Some people prefer to use a mop and bucket of soapy water, others like myself like to use a steam mop, and some people use disposable mops like Swiffers.

However you mop if up to you but you need to make sure it is done properly. Sometimes we need to hand scrub areas of the floor too and we will learn about that next week.

How to Mop:

  • Floors need to be swept well before mopping.
  • Move anything that can be moved to make mopping easier.
  • You need to find your mop and whatever supplies you will need.
  • For steam mops you usually only need to fill the tank with water.
    • Ask for a parent’s help.
  • For Swiffer type mops, you just need the mop and disposable pad.
  • For mops and buckets you need:
    • a mop
    • a bucket filled halfway with hot water and cleaner added to it.
    • each time you put the mop in the bucket you will need to wring it out well before putting it on the floor.
  • Begin mopping in one corner of the area and work your way around.
  • Pay attention to areas that may be extra dirty.
  • Check to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
  • When finished you need to pour out the dirty water, if a mop and bucket was used. We usually pour it in the toilet when we use this method.
  • Rinse out the bucket.
  • Clean out your mop, throw away any disposable pads, or put the washable pads in the hamper.
  • Put away your tools.
  • Replace anything you moved before you started mopping.

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

Watch this video about obeying your parents:

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • How can you apply this to your life?
  • Be sure to keep praying for God’s help to be obedient even when it is hard.

4. Manners

– Read through the next four pages of Emily’s Everyday Manners and discuss the manners shown in the pictures:

  • Good manners are important when you go to school
  • Good manners help you make friends and get along with others
  • Good manners help you keep friends too.
  • Good manners are important whether you are the host, or the guest.

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 5: For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.

6. Fun Activities

  • Watch this video about cowboy cooking:

  • Plan and make an Indian meal using what you learned this week.

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Class 7 – Salads, Tortillas, Chickpea Wraps (Beginner)

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

  • Try it now without the teaching:

Learn about camping.

  • Learn how to set up a tent.
  • Practice doing this with a helper and by yourself.

Watch this video:

  • Remember that all tents are different so you will need to know how to set up your own tent.

Learn about Herbs.

As we are learning plants are so much more than what they seem. They each hold a special gift and some of them can be very beneficial to us.

Lemon Balm: The Pleasant Fever Breaking Herb

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Be sure to jot down some notes.
  • Would this have been useful when the family was sick? Why or why not?

Week 6: Chapters 16, 17 & 18

1. Following Pa’s Example

In this section the family is talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pa went out hunting and found some turkeys. He knew where they would be when the holidays came up so he was thinking ahead and preparing for the holidays in advance.

These events could also benefit from a yearly routine. In our home we keep a Holiday & Party Binder. This helps us prepare for holiday events and party events that we may have coming up.

Every time we host a party we jot down notes and follow the routine we have written down. There are notes telling us how far in advance we need to order things to make sure we get the items we need. This helps to keep everything going smoothly and easily. It also helps us to enjoy the party when the day comes and to spend time with our family and friends while making great memories.

Does your family have a routine for handling holidays?

  • Make a list of things that you normally do for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • Jot down some things that you would like to do but never have time for.
  • Work with a parent to decide when and what you need to work on to get prepared for the big day.
  • Think about things that may need done around the house before the holiday as well like:
    • cleaning
    • decorating
    • yard work

Flylady has a Cruising Through The Holidays section that can help if you need ideas.

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

Sometimes you may not have a mop or the floor may just need a good cleaning that can only be done by hand scrubbing. This would be using what we might hear as ‘elbow grease’.

How to hand scrub a floor:

  • Sweep the floor well before hand scrubbing.
  • Move anything that can be moved to make the job easier.
  • Gather your supplies:
    • bucket
    • hot water
    • cleaner
    • scrub sponge or scrub brush
    • gloves, optional
    • old towels
  • Measure the cleaner into the bucket.
  • Add hot water until half full.
  • Start in one corner and begin scrubbing in a circular motion, working your way around the room going towards the door.
  • Rinse out your scrubber as needed.
  • You may want to use an old towel to wipe up extra water.
  • Check the floor for any missed spots.
  • Empty the bucket.
  • Rinse the bucket and scrubbers.
  • Put away your supplies.
  • When the floor is dry you can put back any items you moved before you started.

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

Watch this video to learn about Philippians 2:5-11.

  • What do you think this scripture means?
  • If Jesus humbled himself we should too. verse 7
  • Verse 8 says he humbled himself and became obedient. It is humbling to be obedient but Jesus wants us to be humble.
  • Do you know what the opposite of humble is? Pride
  • How was Jesus rewarded for his obedience? He was exalted and honored.
  • Ask God to help you be obedient and humble like Jesus was.

4. Manners

-Finish reading Emily’s Everyday Manners and discuss the manners shown in the pictures.

  • There are different manners for different places.
  • What you say can make others feel good.
  • Always be:
    • Respectful
    • Considerate
    • Honest
    • Courteous

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 6: Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.

6. Fun Activities

  • Help plan a holiday meal and make a grocery list to go with it.
  • Show someone how you are good neighbor by doing something nice for them.
  • Make your own marshmallows from p. 27 of A Kid’s Herb Book: For Children of All Ages.

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Class 8 – Rolls, Browning Beef, Cheese Sauce/Steaming (Beginner)

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

  • Try it now without the teaching:

Learn about camping.

  • There are different types of fires. Learn a little about each of these and write what you learned in your notebook.
    • Log Cabin Fire
    • Teepee Fire
    • Upside Down Fire
    • Lean To Fire
    • Star Fire

  • Here is another type of fire:

Learn about Herbs.

Fennel: The Food-Herb that heals

Here’s a video about Fennel Seeds:

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Be sure to jot down some notes.
  • Research some herbs that you might use when cooking a holiday meal.

Week 7: Chapters 19, 20 & 21

1. Just like the settlers the Indians also had routines for their lives.

  • Name some of the things they may have had routines for.
  • Some routines are flexible while others need to be completed in a step by step order.
  • Watch this video on how they tanned the hides:

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Name three things they may have used the hides for.
  • Write out a Sequencing Worksheet for the tanning routine.
  • What would happen if someone did the steps out of order or forgot a step?

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

Dusting is a necessary chore as dust can build up quickly around the house. I always loved it when my Mom-mom let me help dust. I was always so very careful with all of the knick knacks she had because I didn’t want to break anything.

Below we will also learn about wiping up smudges which can be done at the same time as dusting.

How to dust:

  • Gather your supplies:
    • Duster, mitt, cloth, or other tool
    • Dusting spray
  • Spray the dusting tool with spray.
    • Be careful not to spray yourself or someone else
  • Dust each item carefully but thoroughly.
  • Items you can dust:
    • coffee table
    • end tables
    • lamps
    • booshelf
    • TV
    • Window sills
    • pictures
    • other items as directed by your parents.
  • Check the room to see if you missed anything.
  • Put away your supplies.

Smudges happen a lot in our home. It seems like no sooner do we clean them up then I see even more here and there. We go through the house about once a week, after we dust, and wipe down the furniture, light switches, and door knobs. This helps to keep everything looking nice and clean.

How to wipe smudges

  • Gather the items needed:
  • Spray a small amount of cleaner on your rag.
  • Gently but thoroughly clean items with smudges:
    • telephones
    • TVs
    • remotes
    • light switches
    • knick knacks
    • doorknobs
    • handles
    • mirrors
    • other shiny surfaces
  • Check to see if you missed any spots.
  • Move from one item to the next.
  • Put away the supplies when you are finished.

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

  • Review what we have learned.
  • Have there been times over the past week when it was hard to obey but Jesus helped you?
  • Have you been remembering to pray?

Watch this video about someone who disobeyed God:

  • What did Samuel tell Saul that God wanted him to do?
  • Did Saul obey?
  • Did his disobedience make God happy?
  • Did Saul repent?
  • What happened to Saul because he disobeyed?
  • God wants us to obey Him. He also wants children to obey their parents.
  • Pray for God’s help to obey.

4.Manners

Continue to practice your good manners everywhere you go.

Print out a list of Important Manners HERE. Post it somewhere you can see everyday.

 

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 7: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.

6. Fun Activities

  • Help plan a holiday meal and make a grocery list to go with it.
  • Show someone how you are good neighbor by doing something nice for them.
  • We read the word ‘bootjack’ in this section. Do you know what a bootjack is?

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Bonus Lesson: Potato Salad

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

  • Try it now without the teaching:

Learn about camping.

  • Learn how to build a campfire and give it a try, with your parent’s permission.
  • You will need to gather your own tinder.
  • Build and light your fire with supervision. NEVER light a fire without an adult present!
  • Extra Points for building two or more different types of fires.

Here’s a video to get you started:

Learn about Herbs.

Mullein: The Ear and Lung Herb

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Be sure to jot down some notes.
  • Research some herbs that the Indians may have used in their cooking.

Week 8: Chapters 22, 23 & 24

1. Following Ma’s Example

During this section we read about how the family’s bed time routine got disrupted. This affected everyone in many ways. Can remember a few things Laura mentioned? What happened to Pa at the table?

Bedtime routines are important for everyone so they can get enough rest. When you are well rested it can help you have a more productive day.

Watch this video on Bedtime Routines:

  • These kids are young but they know their routine. Do you have a bedtime routine?
  • What are the steps in their routine?
  • What are the steps in your routine?

Look at the chart below and find your recommended bedtime:

School’s Facebook post about kids’ ideal bedtimes draws cheers, jeers

  • What is your suggested bedtime?
  • What time do you normally go to bed?
  • What time do you normally wake up?
  • What changes should you make in your bedtime to make sure you are getting enough sleep?

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

When we sweep and mop we always pick up any throw rugs that we have on the floor. One child is usually responsible for picking them up, taking then outside, and shaking them out. We will usually leave them hanging on the porch railing for a bit to air out as well.

How to shake out a rug:

  • Carefully roll up the rugs that need to be shaken out.
  • Take the rugs outside
  • Shake them well and either hang them over the rail or lay them somewhere safe for a moment.
  • Sweep the floor and mop, if needed.
  • Bring the rugs back in and put in place.

This is a pretty simple task to do just make sure that you don’t get any dirt in your eyes, or anyone else’s, when you are shaking the rugs.

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

  • The 5th commandment tells us to Honor Thy Father and Mother:

4. Manners

Watch this video about the importance of manners:

  • What did you think about it?
  • What bad manners did you see?
  • What good manners did you see?

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 8: The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.

6. Fun Activities

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Healthy Snacks

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

Learn about camping.

  • Research about purifying water to drink.
  • Practice boiling water on a campfire.

Here’s a video to get you started:

Learn about Herbs.

Chamomile: The Calm Child Herb

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Be sure to jot down some notes.
  • Check out this post HERE for a great handmade gift idea!

Week 9: Chapters 25 & 26

1. Following Ma’s Example

Make a sample routine

Do you have trouble getting things done on time? Why not make a routine to help with your problems?

Use the questions below to help you get started.

  • What do you need a routine for?
  • What do you need to get completed?
  • When do you need to do this?
  • How often do you need to do these tasks?
  • Is there anything else you can think of that would help you be prepared?
  • Show your sample routine to a parent.
  • Bonus points if you can start using your routine consistently.

Watch this video for some sample routines for kids:

Sometimes keeping our routines visible can help us to remember what we need to do and help us to be more responsible. Watch this video below for an example that you might want to try in your home:

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

Vacuuming is something we don’t do a lot of and I’m sure that Laura and her family didn’t either. However in order to keep our homes nice and neat we do need to know how to vacuum properly.

When we do vacuum we only move the large furniture once or twice a year to get behind it. Other than that we just clean around and under everything as we go.

How to Vacuum:

  • Get the vacuum.
  • Check to see if the bag/canister needs replaced/cleaned
  • Straighten the room like we learned in Week 1
  • Plug in the vacuum
  • Turn on the vacuum
  • Begin to vacuum in one corner and work your way around the room.
  • Work the vacuum back and forth, slow and steady.
  • Move small items as needed
  • Check the room for any missed spots.
  • Turn off the vacuum.
  • Unplug the vacuum.
  • Wind up the cord
  • Check to see if the bag/canister needs replaced/cleaned
  • Put the vacuum back in its place.

Some vacuums have special attachments for furniture and such. You may need to ask your mom or dad to show you how to use these attachments so you can help clean the couches and other items in your home.

There are also smaller hand held vacuums that can be used to clean up smaller messes. These can also be very handy when cleaning out a vehicle. If you have one of these ask your mom or dad to show you how to work it. Just remember that a vacuum is not a toy!

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

  • Review what you have learned.
  • When your parents ask you to do something and how to do it, is it OK to do it a different way as long as you get it done?

Watch the videos below:

  • Who disobeyed God? How?
  • Did his disobedience affect others? We never know who we may hurt with our disobedience.
  • We need to remember to pray to be obedient so that we don’t hurt others.

4. Manners

5. Memory Verse

We will be memorizing Psalm 8 during this unit study. Print it HERE.

  • Work on memorizing a verse during the week for a special prize.
    • Verse 9:  O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
  • Older kids can copy the memory verse down in their notebook.
  • Work on saying everything you have memorized.

6. Fun Activities

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Healthy Breakfast

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

Learn about camping.

  • Practice cooking on a campfire.

  • Here is a tip for cleaning up after cooking:

Learn about Herbs.

Garlic: The Cold and Flu Spice

  • Discuss what you learned.
  • Be sure to jot down some notes.
  • Name your three favorite dishes that have Garlic as an ingredient.

Week 10: Finishing Up

1. Following Ma’s Example

In this unit we have learned why routines are so important. Below are some of the reason:

  • Routines help us to be more responsible
  • Routines help us to be more successful
  • Routines help us to be more productive
  • Routines help us to be more efficient

They can also help prevent a lot of frustration and stress from not being prepared for things that happen in our lives.

  • Have you been able to use your routine from last week?
  • How has it helped you?
  • What do you need to change?

Keep up the good work and find more ways to use routines to help make your life easier.

2. Ways to help around the house like Laura

One chore that my littler kids love to help with is watering the plants. You need to check with your parents before doing this as some plants don’t need as much water as others do.

How to water the plants.

  • Get the watering can.
  • Fill the can halfway with cold water.
  • Slowly tip the spout of the can into the pot and water as needed.
    • Don’t over water the plant or it will make a mess.
  • Look at the plant and remove any dead leaves or foliage.
  • Rotate the plant a little bit so it can get even sunlight
  • Move around the room and water each plant that needs watered.
  • Throw dead leaves in the trash can.
  • Pour unused water into the sink.
  • Return the watering can to its place.

3. Character

MemorizeChildren, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

We will be studying obedience during this unit. What is obedience?

Watch this video about Jonah:

  • Can anyone hide from God?
  • The men on the ship didn’t know that Jonah had been disobedient to God until he told them just as your parents don’t always know right away when you have been disobedient. God always knows.
  • How did Jonah’s disobedience affect the others?
  • What happened when Jonah repented?
  • What did Jonah do when God told him what to do the next time?
  • We need to pray for grace to be obedient.

4. Manners

Watch this video about manners:

5. Memory Verse

We should have memorized Psalm 8 during this unit study.

  • Work on saying everything you have memorized.

6. Fun Activities

7. Bonus Skills — Choose one or two to work on

Practice these until you finish this unit study and then we will move on to another new skill.

Kids Cook Real Food 

  • Work on: Review and practice any skills you need to improve on.

  • Help to prepare a meal using your new skills.

Skill Trek:

  • Work on at least one task a week.
  • Practice your new skill this week.

Memorize the books of the Bible:

Learn about camping.

  • Go on a camping trip with your family.
  • Show off the skills you have learned.
    • Practice good camping manners.
    • Set up your tent.
    • Gather, build, and start a campfire.
    • Cook at least one dish on the campfire.
  • Be sure to clean your campsite when you leave.
  • Add or take off items from your checklist.
  • Write a story about your experience.
    • Write an imaginary story if you aren’t really able to go.
  • Draw a picture to go with it.
  • Bonus points for a new hack you may have learned.

Learn about Herbs.

  • Take some time to review the herbs you have learned about.
  • Pick out the one you think is the most interesting and write a report about it.
  • Draw a picture of the plant to go along with your report.
  • Keep your notebook safe because we will need it again soon!
  • Bonus points if you use your herb in a recipe for everyone to try!

**BE SURE TO SAVE A FEW SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK FOR YOUR  

PORTFOLIO!  TAKE PICTURES OF BIG PROJECTS!

 

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Homeschool Organization. Simple. Flexible.

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Just a few years ago I was overwhelmed with the task of record keeping for my large brood. I had one child who needed transcripts and several others in multiple grades with different needs. I was suffering from an informational overload trying to sort it all out and make everything work together without losing my sanity.

Then on October 8th of 2015, with the help of my friend Google, I found the perfect app for our family. It was Homeschool Manager. It sounded so easy and I decided to give it a try.

They had me at the Free 30 day – No Card Required – Trial period which was more than enough time for me to know that this was just what we needed. This one tool IMMEDIATELY brought order to the homeschool chaos we had. (Our Cozi app keeps the rest of our life running smoothly.)

Homeschool Manager completely changed my life and has allowed our homeschool to be the productive and fun learning environment I had envisioned!

Homeschool Manager also gives us the flexibility to adapt and reorder our school year as needed when life throws us an unexpected curve ball or two. We can also easily rearrange our schedule to fit in time for new learning experiences that pop up. We have been able to be more spontaneous and have had the ability to incorporate so many more spur of the moment activities into our homeschool which has allowed our children to have a much more fulfilling and enriching learning experience.

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Kitchen Kleaning Monday Mission: Stove and Spice Storage

If you read yesterday’s post you probably know that I am in the process of cleaning my kitchen. Now it had a fairly thorough cleaning last August before we moved in and I have rearranged a few things here and there but it is still a work in progress. Small house living has its pros and cons and can be quite aggravating when you can’t get to things you need on a regular basis.

Last month I tackled that problem in our bathroom and reorganized it from top to bottom in one day! Now it still needs a thorough cleaning and a bit of work but it is much more user friendly and I have a much better storage area too. You can check out more here.

The kitchen was next on my list as that happens to be the FlyLady Zone right now. (I love this site!) My first mission was to tackle the stove area. This whole project took me 30-45 minutes (in between loads of laundry and helping with schoolwork) to complete. Continue reading Kitchen Kleaning Monday Mission: Stove and Spice Storage

Defeating the Dirty Laundry Monster

I think we’ve all been there at one time or another. Whether it resulted from a vacation, a sickness, or possibly even just laziness. We come face to face with an hideous monstrous pile of dirty laundry and the task seems undefeatable. We put it off or just pick through and pull out a few items that we want to wear. Maybe the kids do the sniff test and decide it smells OK enough to wear again.

How do we handle this ever growing task and make it not seem so daunting? After finding the FlyLady I have started doing a load, sometimes two, a day. At first it seemed like I might never get this monster under control. By establishing my routines and with a little persistence I did eventually tame the beast.

Let’s face it even if you don’t have kids you will still have dirty laundry, unless maybe you live in a nudist camp. Even then I think you would still have some dirty laundry. When you have kids you are definitely gonna have dirty laundry. I mean you will have dirty clothes showing up to be washed that you didn’t even know your kids owned. When you move the couches or the beds you will almost certainly find dirty socks.

When you multiply the kids factor by 7 or 8 you will find that this supercharges the monster and it can quickly grow out of control. You need a plan of attack to get this monster under control and defeat it once and for all.

First you need to decide how you want to sort your clothes. I have a hamper in my bathroom for the whites. There are also separate hampers in the bedrooms for the little boys  the little girls. The older kids and I each have our own hampers in our rooms as well. We don’t really have space in our laundry room so this is what works for us. This may or may not work for your family. You may want to set up a laundry sorting area for lights, darks, and whites.

Next you need to decide on when you are going to wash clothes. Here each person is assigned a different day of the week. Mondays are for the little boys, Tuesdays are for DS14, Wednesdays are for the whites and the sheets, Thursdays are for Momma, and Fridays are for the little girls. The older kids wash on the weekends or whenever the washer and dryer are free. Sometimes, especially when a nasty bug hits, we do have extra loads to wash but for the most part we stick to this schedule.

Again this may not work for your family especially if you don’t have your own washer and dryer. You may not need to wash every day either. If your clothes are out of control you will want to wash at least one load a day until you get it under control. Make sure you dry, fold, and put away every load you wash or the clothes will end up back in the dirty pile before you know it.

While you are folding the clothes go ahead and get rid of things that your kids don’t really like to wear or things that don’t fit. Decide how many outfits they really need. My kids have 10-20 outfits for everyday wear. They also have a couple of nice outfits for church and special occasions. The younger kids have 7-10 play outfits as well. If you feel like you can’t part with that many maybe you can just put some in totes or boxes to swap out when some get a little worn. That way they will always have something ‘new’ or ‘fresh’ in their wardrobe.

Make your kids and other family members responsible for their dirty laundry! You shouldn’t have to fold clothes for anyone over 7 years old. They are more than capable of folding their own clothes. They are also capable of putting their clothes in the hamper, toting them to the washer, and loading/unloading the washer and dryer. Mommas do not need to wear themselves out doing things that others can help with.

Go ahead and teach them to put the clothes in the hampers right-side-out and that will save a lot of time later on. I don’t fix the clothes for them. Even the little boys know that if their clothes are not fixed right Momma will call them in to fix them before I hang them up or fold them.

The kids know that on Wednesdays we change our sheets. Each child has a second set of sheets to put on when they take off the dirty ones. The kids know to take the dirty sheets to the laundry room in the morning and one of the little girls will usually help the little boys to get their sheets off the bed. One of the girls will also gather up the bath rugs and dirty towels that may be hanging in the bathrooms as well as any wash rags lingering around.

I fill the detergent and softeners in the washer before the kids bring the clothes to load. I also place a dryer sheet in the dryer for them. When they load the washer they go ahead and start it. Then when the chime goes off they know to load the clothes into the dryer. No stinky, soured, or mildewed clothes allowed here.

I have shown them how to shake the clothes out before putting them in the dryer to help with the wrinkles. They can then start the dryer. Our laundry room happens to be right off the kitchen so they can leave their school work and swap out the clothes with little interruption and I am always right there to supervise.

When the dryer finishes they will grab a basket and unload them. They will also clean out the lint filter and throw away the lint. (Ok, sometimes they throw the lint at each other but it does eventually get thrown away.) The little boys take the basket to my bedroom, the girls take the basket to their room to work on after lunch, and DS14 leaves the basket in the kitchen.

I fold the little boys clothes, but they help with the whites for now. It is easier to show them how to fold wash rags and towels before we progress to shirts and shorts later on.They can match up their socks though. I hang up outfits for them, one shirt and one bottom per hanger, and then fold the rest of the clothes. They can put away most of their clothes except the ones that need hung up.

The little girls, 8 & 9, are pretty much independent now when it comes to folding and putting away their clothes.For DS14, I hang up his shirts and bottoms separately as he has a lot of trouble with the hangers but he is responsible for folding the rest of the clothes and putting them away. They all complete these tasks fairly well as they know that I will be checking them. I do not expect perfection just progress. The clothes are not going to look neat at first but as long as it looks like they gave it a good try then I’m satisfied.

This is a learning process and it does take patience to get these routines and habits developed so don’t give up. You will be teaching them important skills that they will need as adults. (I count this as ‘Life Skills’ in our homeschool.) Trust me I wished so many times that my ex husband would have put his stinky socks in the hamper instead of hiding them under the bed or sticking them in the drawer of his nightstand!

Well, I better finish up this post as I have a 3 year old asking for some turned over cake… aka Pineapple Upside-Down cake.

Note: In the summertime we use the clothesline which is also great practice for fine motor skills and can be a way to teach the kids how to save money, energy, and how to use natural resources. We have even made a mini lesson on this subject and researched various things from the benefits of air drying clothes to how to properly hang out clothes. Make it fun!

Routines

I know, we’ve all heard about how important routines and schedules are. Some of us may have every minute of every hour planned out on a ‘perfect’ schedule while others would rather just have a  ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of routine. I’ve always been kind of in the middle while I can say that at different times of my life I have leaned more towards one side than the other.

How do we find a balance? Well, the answer is not the same for everyone, every family, or every situation. For instance, there are some children who thrive on strict routines and schedules and they don’t like change, I have one of those children. Then there are some families who are extremely busy with things, maybe a home business, and there is no way that they could guarantee that they would be home by 5:00 every day to eat dinner. Then we have work routines where sometimes there are deadlines and things that must be completed in a certain time frame.

I went through a period of time when I was really sick. I went from being a vibrant young wife and mother (who also held down a 40 hours + job) to almost being bedridden. I had a couple of different surgeries, followed by infections  and long recuperation periods. These illnesses triggered an autoimmune response in my body and I have been plagued by chronic pain ever since. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis, DDD, herniated discs, IBS, GRD, hiatal hernia, migraines, and fibromyalgia among a long list of things.

My doctors prescribed a cocktail of medications to help with the problems but those medications caused lots of side effects. I was extremely fatigued, developed seizures, and was constantly having various rashes and other conditions that couldn’t be explained.

During this time my housework really suffered. My house wasn’t a total mess but it did get pretty bad. The more I tried the worse it looked. This caused major problems between my spouse and I. I was trying to keep up with the inside of the house, the outside of house, the garden, the animals, and the kids. I was OVERWHELMED!

Then I found an index card system for housework. They also have a book called Sidetracked Home Executives which I never bought but maybe should have. I immediately jumped in and began to use the system. I tweaked it here and there to make it work for our family. I then developed a similar system for work and it made an amazing difference in my productivity levels.

Unfortunately my spouse wasn’t as thrilled with my new found method. I could never keep our home as ‘show place perfect’ as he felt I should. The marriage fell apart and I moved with my four kids to our current home. This is where I found FlyLady, who has been a life saver to so many people. (You may want to check out the site for yourself.) A lot of the routines I will list below follow along with her basic plans. I again tweaked them to work for our family.

My house is not ‘show place perfect’ nor will it ever be. My house is lived in and it shows. I do get a lot of compliments like, ‘I would never know that you had so many kids here.’.  I’m not quite sure what they expect my house to live in but I am pleased to surprise them.

The outside of my house is a bit of a mess and I am working on that. Many people have stopped as they thought I am running a daycare. I guess I kind of am in a way. Some of the mess is beyond my control as it doesn’t belong to me.

I really believe that everyone should be proud of what the Lord has blessed you with. Be content where He has put you and make the best of it. I pray that you will find some helpful tips and suggestions as you read through the links. (If a link isn’t working I probably haven’t been able to work that on it yet, but keep checking and I will get them up.) Please remember to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines. If something isn’t working then change it and make it work for you. Don’t get discouraged!

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Kids’ Morning Routine 

Daily School Routine

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Weekly Routines

Monthly Routines

Yearly Routines

Laundry Routines

Yearly kids chores by age

Age appropriate chore charts

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FlyHelper | Personal Organizer for Android

Morning Routines

Every morning is a chance to start fresh. I can set the tone for the rest of the household by the way I act in the morning. If I am flustered or in a rush then everyone else will sense my stress and they will react to it. If I am calm and collected it may not entirely rub off on them but it will help me to be able to react to them in a more positive way.

Some of my Morning Routine is dependent upon my Evening Routine, such as making sure the coffee pot is set. It also helps a lot to walk into a clean kitchen first thing in the morning. This last one has been a little bit harder to achieve, especially with teenagers in the house, but I take it one day at a time.

My morning routine has changed a lot over the past few years. I have added things as we added kids and I have taken away things as kids, and a husband, have left. We changed again when we began our homeschooling journey and have been changing it bit by bit to fit everyone’s needs. As my priorities have changed so have my routines.

These are not set in stone they are merely a guideline and a checklist that helps me to keep my household running smoothly. This means less stress and helps keep me from feeling so overwhelmed. It also helps because my children know what to expect and they know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

 

Things change, so do our routines. It is much easier to try to be flexible, as you can see I don’t really have certain times to do most things. I just have them listed in the order I normally do them and I just check them off as I go. Below are a few screen shots from my current morning routine:

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I usually try to get up around 5:30 – 6:00. I spend a little time in prayer and reading my devotionals. I need this little bit of quiet time to help me get through the day ahead. When my kids were smaller this may have occurred while breastfeeding a baby in my rocking chair. Just this morning my 3 year old was with me, throwing pillows and giggling at me, and I think kids do benefit from seeing their parents spending time with God and reading their Bibles.

Afterwards I try to get in about 30 minutes of exercise, sometimes I exercise before my devotionals so I can relax with a cup of coffee after my shower. I try to take a shower every morning, I know sometimes this isn’t possible with littles running around but right now I am blessed to be able to do this. I also try to remember to take my vitamins while I am in the bathroom as Mommas need to stay healthy so they take care of the littles.

I have a quick routine that involves me getting dressed so I am ready for anything that might come along. I also do a quick makeup routine (5 minutes or less) and I will fix my hair. My hair is usually pulled back in a pony tail or clip. I do normally straighten my bangs and will run the straightener through my hair every so often when I have time. (Again 5 minutes or less.)

I am trying to get into the habit of setting out the toothbrushes for the kids before I leave the bathroom too.

Before I head to the kitchen at 7:00 I will make my bed because I can’t expect the kids to make theirs if I don’t set a good example. I also pick up after myself and keep my room, my closet, and bathroom straightened and organized. Lead by example and set a good model for them to follow. They will pick up more things by watching you than you realize right now.

I turn on the kitchen light (and I have also started playing some soft music) and this signals the kids that it is time to get up. They are usually awake and playing quietly in their rooms. It did take a little bit of time to get them accustomed to this routine as they just wanted to get up and run through the house making as much noise as possible. This is also when I turn off the door alarm for my special needs son and he heads to the bathroom and then back to his room to get dressed. (Please note that his room is right next to mine and he will knock on the door if he needs to go to the bathroom or anything. The alarm is more to alert us that he is up and about as he does like to wander sometimes. (See He marches to the beat of his own drum.) I also turn the alarms on the doors to ‘chime’ mode so I can be alerted when anyone opens the door.

Before he heads to the bathroom it is important that I do a quick check in the Living Room as he will pass through there to get to the bathroom. If anything is out of place it can create chaos with him and set us up for a bad day.

My coffee pot is usually already going by the time I wake up (I love my automatic coffee maker). This is more of a reminder in case I have forgotten to set it up the night before or if the power has went out during the night.

I will use the time that the kids are getting dressed to unload the dishwasher. I normally place the items that go in the lower cabinets on the island and DD9 will put them away when she comes into the kitchen, DD8 will put away the silverware and cooking utensils. I put away the items that go in the top cabinets as well as the knives or fragile items.

After this I usually do a quick check on the calendar to see if we have any appointments or anything that needs to be done. This keeps me from forgetting or overlooking things. I will also check my FlyLady tasks for the day. When I finish with the calendar I will start our oil diffuser and the kids usually start piling in the kitchen to take care of their chores. (They don’t really see them or consider them as chores, just part of our normal everyday routine.)

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We love our sweet tea and I always try to have some on hand for when people stop by. I usually make it 2 gallons at a time and I check on it in the morning to see if it needs made or not. I will then start on breakfast.

Breakfast is an important meal and I know how crazy mornings can be when you have littles, or getting ready for buses or work, or just didn’t get enough sleep. For me, I like to fix a hot breakfast when I can and we have a ‘Breakfast Schedule‘ of sorts. Mondays are Cereal or Oatmeal, Tuesdays are French Toast, Wednesdays are Muffins, Thursdays are pancakes, and Fridays are Cereal or Oatmeal. On Saturdays and Sundays I have a rotating schedule that includes waffles, Dutch puffs, coffee cakes, scrambled eggs and grits, monkey bread, and a variety of other treats that may be more time consuming and aren’t feasible for me to attempt during the week.

I also check off as each child comes into the kitchen to make sure everyone is dressed for the day. You never know when something might come up and you have to leave unexpectedly. It is much easier to be prepared for the unexpected than to be running around trying to get everyone together for an unplanned outing.

I will also run back to the bedrooms to check and make sure they are  ‘picked up and while I am in the back of the house I will ‘Swish & Swipe’ the bathroom back there. This normally involves m spraying the mirror, counter, sink, and toilet with cleaner and wiping. I will wipe the light switches and door handles too, but make sure you do this before you wipe the toilet. Then I will put a little bit of cleaner in the toilet and ‘swish’ with the toilet brush. A quick straightening up of the towels and such and I’m done (5 minutes or less.). I do keep some disinfecting wipes under the sink so the kids can take care of quick messes through out the day. Everyone appreciates a clean bathroom when you are hugging the porcelain throne during a bout of the flu.

I will also have someone grab a load of laundry to start according to our laundry routine. Each person has a set day to do their laundry, and I wash sheets and whites on Wednesdays. This helps keep the confusion down, prevents the ‘She took my shirt’ drama, and keeps the laundry from becoming a mountain. Of course, when people are sick we do laundry as needed but normally we stick to our schedule.

The little boys are usually responsible for picking up stray shoes at the front and back doors, as most of the time the shoes belong to them. They will carry the shoes to the bedroom of the owner or place them in a basket by the door.

I will check for outgoing mail which is usually left on the top of my desk. Then I will empty the kitchen trash. When I carry it to the bin I will put the mail in the box and sometimes go ahead and feed the critters as well.

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After breakfast the kids will clear their own dishes and place them into the dishwasher. They then head to my bathroom to brush their teeth. I leave the toothbrushes on the counter and they will start the timer. (This is one similar to what we have but ours is no longer available.) When they have all finished they rinse their toothbrushes and place them back in the holder.

They will then come to the kitchen and DD8 will wipe off the table and benches as well as the counters. DD9 will sweep all of the hard floors and the porch steps. They do this automatically as I said before and they don’t really consider it as a chore. Everyone will then go to the playroom for a few minutes before we start school.

I will ‘Swish & Swipe’ my bathroom and put away their toothbrushes to keep anyone from being tempted to play with them when they visit the bathroom. Normally I empty the trash cans too when I ‘Swish & Swipe’.

When I go to the playroom we will work on our ‘Morning Board’. We have a variety of activities which include morning prayers, pledge of alegiance, graphs/charts, calendar activities, art, math, poetry and we have a ‘Morning Basket’ with books that we read from daily. When we complete this everyone does a ‘quick pick up’ and heads to the kitchen.

They will grab their individual work boxes and take them to the table. DD8 will bring me the laptops and DD9 will bring me the headphones. The boys will begin work in their work books that I put together earlier in the year and the girls will get started on Spelling, Reading, and Copy Work. I used the binder earlier this year and put together Spelling books, Copy Work books, Math books, Activity books etc. for them to work from. This frees me up from constantly needing to print out things or give directions as to what needs to be done.

At one point we did have a visual pocket schedule that hung on the wall to direct the kids as to what needed done but it wasn’t very flexible and was really aggravating to use. It worked well for one or two children but when I had five trying to use it then it became a lot of trouble.

While the kids are working I will make my To-Do list, clear a couple of Hot Spots, check my emails and bank account, and also see what is on the menu for dinner. We will also do a ‘Laundry Check’  to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, in case we forget to do it earlier.

I will set up the laptops for their school work and begin the rotation schedules. Two or three kids will work on the computers, with head sets to help keep it quieter, and the other two or three will work at the table. Sometimes the little boys will head to the play room for a bit.

Once everyone is settled into their work I will begin my cleaning tasks for the day. I will try to complete the FlyLady mission first and then work my way down the list.

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Next I will work on my weekly list of chores. It is pretty much the same basic things as listed on the older routine. I will try to go into more detail on Weekly Routines in a later post. I will also attempt to cross a few things off my To-Do list as I go through the day.

By 9:30 everyone usually needs a little break and we will stop for a quick snack. The kids will go play for a minute and do whatever they need to do before getting back to work.

We will continue to work on our school work and as they finish up they will head to the play room to read, draw, or just play. I will usually start on lunch about 10:30ish. Sometimes lunch is leftovers from the night before and sometimes its just a quick sandwich. When it is time to eat everyone will do a ‘quick pick up’ before they eat.

‘Quick pick up’ is just a term that we came up with when the kids were smaller. I may have heard it or read it somewhere but I don’t remember. The kids all know that it means it is time to pick up everything and put it away where it belongs.

We eat and the kids clear the table, clean up, and head to their rooms for nap time or quiet time. If there is laundry in the dryer it will get folded and put away before they go back for quiet time. I will finish up in the kitchen and start the dishwasher as we usually have a full load by this time. Normally DD9 will fill everyone’s water bottles before she heads back to her room. I also remind myself to drink water as sometimes I forget.

Once the kids are settled I will work on my Monthly Routines which will be more detailed in a later post as well. I know it sounds like a lot but most things are broken down into chunks that take me 15 minutes or less to complete, many of them are much less.

When the house is quiet I will sneak to my room for a  little bit of quiet time and I will read my Bible or work on whatever study of devotional I have out at the moment. This is usually the time I will use to run errands, as DD17 is home, and/or work on projects that need my full concentration. I may also use this time to catch up on making appointments, working on my To-Do list, or take a nap myself.

Please be sure to keep checking back and I will continue to work on the other routine links so you can get a better idea as to how we get it all done here. Just remember that you are the one who knows what your family needs and what will work for you and your family. Try something and if it doesn’t work then don’t be afraid to scratch that idea and try something else.

It has taken me over 20 years to get into a good routine that I feel comfortable with. Life happens and things are always changing. This means we have to be flexible and change too. I have found over the past 5 years that I have had to bend and stretch to make changes because I was being pulled in too many directions. I really had some days where I felt like a complete failure. I wasn’t, I just felt that way. I struggled with that and you may too.

My house doesn’t look like yours and yours may not ever look like mine. What my house looks like today may not be what it looks like 5 years from now. Kids grow, relationships change, and our standards will fluctuate.

Their was a time when I felt like my house had to be perfect or I would lose my husband. I was literally afraid that he would come home and not be able to see the vacuum lines in the carpet or that he would find a sucker wrapper I had missed in one of the kid’s bedrooms. That was no way to live.

Please don’t be held prisoner by unrealistic expectations from yourself or anyone else around you!

See also:

Getting Routines Started 101

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Laundry Routines

 

Our ever changing homeschool routine

Original Blog Post April 15, 2016
I just posted about the beginnings of our homeschooling journey. We have made several changes and continue to make changes as needed to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. When we first started this school year I was a bit overambitious and I was stressed.
I must thank the FlyLady for helping get my routines set up and keeping me motivated! There is also a FB group for anyone who is interested in learning more about this method. With that being said a routine is very important also. At least for our family that is. We have one child who has Down’s Syndrome and ADHD as well as some other issues and another child who has ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder).
Routine is the key to helping everyone stay on track. With a routine they know what is expected and when it is expected. We have tried various charts and methods for posting our routine. It was pretty strict at first but I have relaxed a lot since we first started. We do have a few things posted as a general outline of the day.
I have some visual learners and they really need to see it every day. Then we also have a HUGE calendar that we keep things on also. This has made a tremendous difference with my kids. We did have another schedule board posted in the kitchen. It had our morning chores and morning school activities on it. The kids would move a clothespin down to each activity and they really enjoyed it. The only problem was that occasionally we wouldn’t do something in the order it was on the chart and my one son would get really upset about it. Now its just more of a general ‘To-Do’ list that we need to complete for the morning, afternoon and evening.
I usually get up about 6:00 am and take my quick shower. I will get dressed and fix my hair. Then I head to the kitchen and try to sneak in a little ‘Mommy Time’ before the pitter-patter of little feet. I will fix my coffee and go over my daily schedule on my online calendar. I have been known to forget about a doctor’s appointment or such. I also try to look at the menu and get started on dinner if it is a crockpot meal. (Menus will be another post.) I will usually unload the dishwasher and put away the dishes that go in the top cupboards. I leave the lower cupboard items on the counter for the girls to put up when they get up.
I have been trying to keep the kids in their rooms until 7:00 am to give me a little time but sometimes the little guys find their way to the kitchen before then. I will fix breakfast and usually have it on the table when the kids make it to the kitchen. The basic morning routines for the kids include:
Wake up
Make your bed
Get dressed
Brush your hair
Go potty (I have a few who still need to be reminded of this on a pretty consistent basis.)
Eat breakfast
Brush your teeth
I keep it fairly simple and we do have a small sheet posted with pictures (for those who can’t read yet) and words to help remind them of what needs done.
After breakfast everyone helps with a quick clean up and some chores which vary day by day. We even include these on our school schedule as ‘Life Skills’ as they are learning how to care for a home. While the kids are cleaning up I get the laptops set up for school and get everyone’s work out for the day. (I have a multi-tabbed color coded folder which helps me stay organized. Each child has a different color.)I usually just open up tabs on the laptops with each assignment for the day. When they finish the assignment they leave the tab open until I come around and check.
We then have our ‘Morning Time/Circle Time’, not sure what to call it, where we go over patterns, calendar, counting, money/time, weather, bible, and whatever extra materials I have set out for the day. (Again I have a 3-ring binder with different activities organized by the day. Sometimes we get to them and sometimes we don’t. I used to stress over making sure I covered it all but now I don’t.) We sometimes include a quick workout/dance video or other activity to get the wiggles out. Then we will have a quick snack around 9:30 am. This usually takes us 15-30 minutes.
My 7 & 9 year old will sit at the kitchen island while the boys sit at the kitchen table. When everyone gets settled in to doing their work I will check the bedrooms and make sure the beds are made. (I don’t make their beds for them or do any unfinished chores but will have them go back and do it if needs done.) I also clean the back bathroom and check the second bathroom to make sure the kids have cleaned it. This usually takes 5-10 minutes tops.
I will check on the girls and see if they need help with anything and see if they need help with anything. (My high schooler works independently and she will ask for help when she needs it.) Then I will sit with the boys and we will work with our hands on activities and/or crafts. We will also go through their lessons online and watch a few YouTube videos of their choosing, lately they just want to watch dinosaur videos.
While the little boys watch a short video or two I work with my older son on his reading lessons. On good days he will get finished really quickly and then there are bad days where he says he doesn’t know any of the words. He knows that we won’t go to the next activity until he finishes his reading so I try to keep something he enjoys for last. Sometimes it is ABC mouse or Teach Your Monster to Read and other times it may be a puzzle or game.
Before lunch time we usually have our ‘Independent Work’ completed. This includes reading, language arts, and math. When everyone is finishing up they will begin cleaning up their workspaces. Each child will put their completed work into a color coded folder so Mommy can find it later and decide what to keep for their portfolio. Ideally I like to go through these once a week but right now their folders are overflowing. (This would have driven me nuts a couple of months ago but now I know I will get to it, eventually.)
After cleaning up we will get started on lunch. This is usually around 11:30 am. Sometimes I have lunch boxes prepared with leftovers from the night before or sometimes I just make lunches in the morning and put the boxes in the refrigerator for later. Most days everyone eats lunch together.
While eating lunch I will do some reading with them. (Right now we are reading from Uncle Tom’s Cabin for history.) When they are finished with lunch we have a quick clean up and everyone takes a potty break. I will start the dishwasher and check on my menu if I haven’t already put something in the crockpot for dinner.
Until just this past month everyone would go lie down for ‘Quiet Time’ after lunch. I found that they really didn’t want to finish their work after they got up and it would just drag the afternoon on and on and on. So now after lunch we just go right into our ‘Group Studies’ which are History, Science, Art, Music and PE/Health. Everyone works together on these subjects. We do a lot of lapbooks and sometimes we will look up videos for areas they are interested in. If the work is complicated I will give the little ones coloring pages or another activity to work on while the older ones do their work. This little change has been working much better for us.
After ‘Group Studies’ all of the kids have some ‘Quiet Time’. This is usually over around 2:00 pm. Then they can go outside and play or go to our playroom to play depending on the weather. We just have one rule at ‘Quiet Time’ which is ‘No Feet on the Floor!’. This gives me a chance to work on my grocery list, couponing, or entering grades and checking over our daily schedule to make sure I haven’t missed something.
Once ‘Quiet Time’ is over we will have a quick snack. I will go outside, usually with a kid or two following, and feed the pigs and check for eggs. We will also check the garden and pick any veggies that are ready or anything that we may need for dinner. We come in and wash the goodies we have found.
I will start on dinner between 4:00 – 5:00 pm. This is another thing I changed recently. I ALWAYS had dinner ready by 5:00 pm. That’s another story for another day though. Our family has had some major changes in the past couple of years and I have just had to make adjustments to help us all through it. Life happens and now dinner will be ready sometime between 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Today it was ready by 5:00 pm but that has been a rarity lately. Once 5:30 pm rolls around I will have kids complaining that they are starving and must eat so I try to have it ready close to that time.
After dinner we clean up and do some quick chores. The kids will have some quiet play or reading time and then the kids will take baths and put on PJs. They are usually in bed around 7:30 pm except for the oldest and the youngest. I will sit with the younger ones until they are sleepy and then help them to bed. My oldest will finish up her school work and I will finish up any desk work I have left for the day. I am usually exhausted and in bed by 9:00 pm. Exciting isn’t it?
Now you may notice that we do have chores a couple of times during the day. Our chores only take 5-15 minutes at a time. I have found by having a few ‘quick pickups’ spaced out through the day it keeps us from having a major mess at the end of the day. Even the little ones can help with clean ups. Not every day goes very smooth or ends with a clean house.
With a routine you need to decide what will work for your family. Don’t be too strict about it but it may also be wise not to be too relaxed either. Start simple and as things slowly. Sit down and decide what you would like to accomplish each day/week and decide what the important things are. Assign a general time to have these things completed. I have found that by breaking the day up into smaller chunks of time it really keeps me from being overwhelmed.
Remember that you can change your routine if it isn’t working. With our family what works today may not work tomorrow and may need a complete overhaul to get everyone back on track again. Don’t be afraid of change!
Good luck!