Day Seven, Part Two: Twenty Days Toward Becoming A More Mindful Mother


I wanted to have a picture of this beautiful rhythm written out on a gorgeous wet on wet watercolor painting to share with you today.


Hmm.  Well, that didn’t happen (at least not yet).    Let me share with you my secret: I have planned, written, scratched out and re-planned my own rhythm for fall schooling at least six times now.   It didn’t seem as if it had enough time and space in it, and I felt it was so difficult to attain a balance the main lesson needs (and extra lessons! Extra lessons? ) that my grades children need along with the outside time I think they need, along with the needs of a toddler. Does this sound familiar to anyone?


One of my other challenges for my fun-loving and active children is that we will be moving to a new house in the fall that sits on a greenway – one of those paved paths that goes on for miles through nature preserve. Our subdivision, in fact, will be over fifty percent green space and have another nature preserve right in it. This is so exciting and wonderful but leads again to that question of balance:  how do we balance the joy of being outside, taking in nature, and movement along with that idea of “getting something done?”


It can feel frustrating to try to craft a rhythm to encompass all of these things.  Every family has constraints and priorities and you absolutely cannot do it all.  You have to pick and choose!   Yet, despite all the challenges,  I feel so fortunate that I can take the lead in this.  I can really take the time to make something that is not perfect but is serviceable, and something that will help us enjoy our time together (which a rhythm really affords you as a family!)


Space and time are the great concepts in making a rhythm that works for your family.  The smaller your children are, the more space and time there should be. 


So, let’s get out a piece of paper and let’s start planning:

  • Are  you up before your children?  If you can’t be up before your children because you co-sleep, what is the earliest time you could have everyone up and be sane?
  • What can you do for yourself in the morning before the day gets going?  Pray?  Read the Bible or text from your religion?  Do yoga or stretch? 
  • What do you do now?  Breakfast?  Who helps?  Who cleans up?
  • What now?  Do you make beds, and get dressed?  Do you get everyone to the bathroom and get them dressed?  Remember, the smaller the children, the more time this takes.  Time and space.
  • When everyone is dressed, what happens now?  Do you go outside every day? Or do you start some kind of work in your home that the children can help you with?


I think you get the idea….start small, go through your day, through your “ideal” day and plan plenty of time and space into it…If you have small children, your day will be diapering and the potty, preparing food, cleaning up, outside time in nature…these things are the fabric of daily life, of the sacred ordinary.  Why try to short change or rush through this?


And practice your rhythm for at least 40 days.  When you get ready, write your rhythm on a beautiful piece of watercolor paper and hang it up (now there is a good use for those old paintings!).    If you get off track during the day, look at your piece of paper and jump back in.   Don’t get discouraged.   If you have a whole day off, jump in again the next day.  If you get off for a whole week, jump back in the next week.  Just do it, and keep moving! 


So, I will just end this post by sharing my “rhythm in progress” with you all for a fifth grader, second grader and two and a half year old for Mondays through Thursdays, with Friday being a co-op and errand day. 


8:15 – Outside play/walk greenway, especially for the DOG.  LOL

9:00 or so  “All”  -Opening verse,  prayer, seasonal songs and singing, circle for toddler with older children helping, poetry recitation, mental math (have snack tray out)

9:30   Main Lesson Fifth Grader (Second grader has things to do, like help to get snack ready and help with her brother or she can sit at the table)

10: 40  Saints and Tea –  Biography of a Saint or Missionary or Read Aloud

11:00 Main Lesson Second Grader (oldest child has things to do, like help get lunch ready!)

12:00  Finish preparing lunch,  eat lunch and clean up 

12:30  Nap/Quiet Time

1:30– 2:00  – Extra Lesson – will vary depending upon block.  Envision my fifth grader having some extra lesson time M, T, W and my second grader having an extra lesson period on Thursdays

2:00-2:45   Mondays – Handwork, Tuesdays – Handwork or Crafts/Festival preparation, Wednesdays and Thursdays – Religion   — 2:45 – Ending Verse, End of School


I urge you to get out some paper and play with the idea of what your day would look like. 


Many blessings,  happy planning


7 thoughts on “Day Seven, Part Two: Twenty Days Toward Becoming A More Mindful Mother

  1. We are also surrounded by nature. I try to do as much as I can outside. It works well for us; I can tell an entire story while my toddler is busy in the sand and can join us in circle when he wants. We eat many meals and tea outside. We also work on art outside at times, with the results often quite stunning.

    • Meme, yes! We eat outside a lot and do school outside a lot as well, although I will say I find as my oldest gets older she focuses better sitting at a desk inside at least part of the time…But you bring up a great point, and certainly one of the advantages of homeschooling is the ability to take it all outside. I have a double sided chalkboard on wheels just for that purpose!
      Blessings, thank you for reading,

  2. Hi Carrie.
    this seems so wonderful & so far away from where we are.
    I have only one child; Eli will be 31/2 next month & your posts about getting sleep & meals into a rhythm have been our focus, largely thwarted, these days by Eli’s daily 3-5 hour naps……..he’s still asleep now ( it’s almost 6:30pm) & I don’t know how to get him to wake up. Each time I manage to get him to awaken, he falls back to sleep, now he’s conked out on the couch as I write this…..
    Every day we’re up at 6-7am, usually 6:30, but naps are crazy all over the place Most days I can get him up from nap by 5pm, but still that’s late, & this late wake up throws the rest of the day/evening rhythm into disarray, as you can imagine.
    I had been assuming that he needs this extra sleep & thought it might have been a phase that would pass with the season, as has occurred in the past, (brief tho it has been) but this time it began in spring & at 90 degrees today, it feels like we’re in summer now;)
    How do you get all your kids up & moving?
    Thank you for any thought on this,

    • Kristin,
      A three to five hour nap for a three and a half year old seems excessive to me personally. (Others may disagree). Most three year olds that I know that are still napping go down for a nap about 12 or 1 at the latest and sleep about an hour to an hour and a half. I would wake him up and carry him right outside. I live in the hot deep South, so pretty much once we are up from a nap we are getting swimsuits on and off to a source of water! I think sunshine is the key to waking up, and a snack!

      Take the lead; it is okay – but again, that is just how I would handle it and you may feel differently. Take what resonates with you. I like an earlier bedtime, and some families like their children to take long naps and be up later because that suits their lifestyle better (although it doesn’t sound like your little guy is exactly sleeping in!!)

      Many blessings,

  3. Hi Carrie- I am just curious about what your toddler does during the times you are occupied with lessons… my 3 year old boy is not one for playing with toys by himself, and more often gets into mischief when I am preoccupied with the girls. Also i was wondering when you get your housework done? Thanks, Emily

    • HI Emily,
      WEll, that is partially why I often divide my older girls into separate main lessons – so one can play with their little brother. We often homeschool outside, I live in a climate where that is possible all except a few months of the school year. We also take a lot of breaks to move and do fun things. He likes to do what we are doing – if I am drawing on the board, he has chalk and a little board, etc. We do have special toys for school so sometimes we will build him a fort, a train track, etc.

      Housework I have a strict schedule, I do housework around the meal times, before school even starts (I am up early). The children have things to do as well. My house is generally uncluttered because I don’t like clutter, which makes it easier to clean. I have lots and lots of back posts on housecleaning and homeschooling if you put it in the search engine in which i detail many of my exact cleaning routines. Flylady was a beginning inspiration for me, so you may also want to check that website out.


  4. I have to admit that I am dreading ‘proper’ planning for September, with a baby due on the 17th June (and reminding me that they could come any day now, now that any time spent on my feet brings a flurry of aches and pains!) and my next youngest due to start Grade 1, a daughter starting Grade 3, an almost 18 year old teen to motivate who will be starting 6th form (and at present takes a lot of shifting to get him up and out in the mornings, plus long distance pep talks to my almost 16 year old who wants to move back (he is currently living with his father), but will have to board some 2 hours away to attend the 6th form place he’s gained at an excellent engineering academy (massively proud of him!) I’m going to have very full days and I am rather wondering how tired I’m going to be a few month old baby!

    I have a feeling that it’ll be a rather ‘loose’ start to the academic year!

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