I always hesitate to share our exact family schedule when asked (which is surprisingly often on Instagram), because just because our schedule works for us does NOT mean it will definitely work for you. Sometimes I think people see our family and think we’re “perfect” or somehow are doing things “better” than the way they do it, and they want to know exactly what we do so they can do the same. Besides the fact that we are definitely not perfect, you shouldn’t change your entire lifestyle just to fit someone else’s mold. I’m going to share a general rhythm of our weekdays (when my husband is at work), but I’m not sharing it so you can use it as your own — I’m sharing it as one example (out of many) of how you can feel out a schedule that works for your family.
When I was thinking about what we do all day, I realized that our days tend to be divided into 2-3 hour chunks of time. This wasn’t intentional on my part, although that corresponds beautifully with the ideal 3-hour work cycle found in Montessori schools. It just seems to be a pattern that we have fallen into — and when we find something that works, we stick with it!
Our first chunk of time begins when we wake up in the morning and lasts about 2 hours. During that time, I take a shower while the girls get dressed. Then we all go downstairs for breakfast. The girls get their own breakfasts while I unload adult dishes from the dishwasher and make my coffee. We have several different breakfast choices available that they can get all by themselves — there’s a drawer that contains applesauce and various types of breakfast bars, yogurt and fruit in the fridge, some bags in the freezer with waffles and pancakes in them that are ready to be put into the toaster, and a cereal dispenser accessible via helper tower. WE ARE NOT A COOK A WELL-ROUNDED BREAKFAST KIND OF FAMILY. You might be. We’re not.
After we’ve all eaten, the girls unload their dishes from the dishwasher and put their dishes from breakfast in it. Then we head upstairs to brush teeth and finish getting ready for the day.
Our morning chunk of time lasts about 3 hours, but what we do during that time varies from day to day. MOST days, we do homeschool preschool during that time — we have a brief circle time, then do individual lessons before the girls are free to choose what work they’d like to do for the rest of the work cycle. While the girls are working, I observe them or prep new works and materials.
About once every couple of weeks, this homeschool preschool chunk will be spent at a local museum.
Some days, we have other plans during the morning chunk. On those days, we might go to swim class, or do laundry, or run errands.
During our next chunk of time, we have lunch and quiet time. We eat together, then we each go to our separate spaces for quiet time. Nora spends time playing with stuffed animals or drawing in her room, Lila reads or draws in the guest room, and I work in my office. Our quiet time usually lasts about 2 hours — occasionally, Nora falls asleep during this time. This is when I do things like write blog posts, respond to emails, schedule consultations, and prep materials for homeschool preschool.
After quiet time, our afternoon chunk (about 2.5-3 hours) is usually spent outside in our yard. The girls run around playing elaborate games they’ve made up, climb on our climbing dome, play in the playhouse, scoop and pour in the sand table, or run through the sprinkler.
If we had to go somewhere during our morning chunk, this is when we’ll do homeschool preschool — but when the weather is nice, this will be a shorter period of time in the classroom so we still have time to get outside.
Our next chunk of time includes dinner and wind-down time before bed, and it lasts between 2 and 3 hours again. Daddy comes home from work right when this time is beginning. The girls occasionally help me prepare dinner, but most of the time they’re too busy playing outside to want to help. If the weather’s nice, we try to eat outside on the patio. After dinner, the girls take baths or showers (they each enjoy both, so they decide for themselves which they’d like each day), then we play quietly inside until bedtime. This is the time we usually have piano lessons, build with blocks, read, or occasionally watch a show together. When the girls are busy by themselves, I try to use this time to do some cleaning around the house.
We recently started a new bedtime routine now that the girls are getting older, and it seems to be working for us. My 3-year-old begins getting ready for bed first, then she gets tucked in by 7:30pm. My 5-year-old is allowed to stay up reading until 8pm, then she sneaks into their shared bedroom.
And that’s our family rhythm as a Montessori homeschooling family! Weekends are for family time, special errands, big projects, etc.
If you’d like to find out more about how we do Montessori homeschool preschool, check our my e-course HERE.