Today I am sharing A REAL Look Into The Life Of Our Homeschooling Special Needs Large Family of 9 (7 children 10 and younger). I don’t often share our everyday life because I choose to fully embrace our life as is and focus on our blessings.
Talking about the hardships we face does nothing but make us forget our blessings! However, today I’m going to be real with you.
This is really long and shares all of the regular, mundane details of our life because I couldn’t just write a quick “day in the life of” post without sharing more about our life. I apologize in advance that this is LONG and probably boring.
(This article was originally written in 2015)
A Day In The Life – Homeschooling Special Needs / Large Family
So, here we go into the nitty-gritty.
We try to have a schedule & routine during the week and for our school time, but Abigail’s special/medical needs come before – pretty much – anything else. So, our days end up revolving around Abigail (8 ) and how she is doing. She can be quite unpredictable, while some things about her are always the same. Jubal is 10-months, but developmentally delayed at this point, so is quite like an infant needing a bottle about every 2 hours and demanding to be held often (we are still waiting on test results to determine what is going on with him).
There is no such thing as a set bedtime and wake up time for me. We put all of our “healthy kids” to bed by 8 and they usually sleep through the night (or, at least rarely wake me… although, you better bet that when Abigail & Jubal decide to sleep through the night, then the other kids suddenly wake all night with leg aches or something).
Abigail usually goes to sleep okay by 8pm (with sleep medication). Jubal often doesn’t fall asleep until 10pm or later. I go to sleep anywhere between 10 and midnight. Or like the last few nights, I don’t sleep much at all thanks to Jubal screaming most of the night.
On a typical night, Abigail wakes between 11pm and 3am with a dirty diaper, so I change her diaper and sometimes her entire outfit and bedding. Most of the time, Abigail is then awake the rest of the night.
If she is doing really well, she will go back to sleep until 5-6am. If she doesn’t wake between 11pm and 3am with a dirty diaper, then she is usually awake for the day by 4am.
I wake up and go out into the living room next to Abigail whenever she decides to be up for the day (night?). I doze in and out of sleep on the couch, helping her vomit as needed.
Jubal sometimes wakes in the night, but usually stays asleep til 5-6am (not this week, though). Once the other kids wake up around 7am, I am up for the day.
I would LOVE to go to sleep around 10 every night, sleep through the night until 5 or 6, wake up with Joey, make breakfast and spend time alone with him before waking the kids. Just not going to happen. (Joey usually takes over the nighttime routine with Abigail on Friday and Saturday nights to give me a break AND if both Abigail & Jubal are up all night at the same time, then he usually helps me)
Joey wakes up around 5 and leaves for work around 6am. Between 6 and 8am, I give Abigail her morning meds and unhook her from her overnight feeding (she has a g/j-tube).
Then I change her diaper/clothes and get her in her chair. She is like a 50-pound newborn, so it all takes time. I put her special portable bed on the girls’ top bunk for the day.
Then I change the 3 youngest kids’ diapers and get them dressed (yes, 4 in diapers). I make a bottle for Jubal and feed him.
Meanwhile, Josiah (10) gets the hard-boiled eggs that I made the night before out of the fridge and either gets them all bananas or makes bowls of oatmeal in the microwave. Hadassah (6) often helps him.
I would gladly get them breakfast, but they would be waiting for a while since I need to care for Abigail & Jubal first thing. Occasionally, I do get Abigail and Jubal cared for before the other kids wake up and I will have breakfast waiting for them.
After Jubal has been fed, I make myself a protein shake and clean up the kitchen while the kids do their morning chores.
- Josiah empties the kitchen garbage while Hadassah & Marcus (5) bring in the clean clothes from the dryer. Then Josiah transfers the clothes from the washer to dryer. The kids take every minute they can to play with Legos or read a book in between chores and school. I try to get another load of laundry in the washer, then we sit down for Bible Time in the living room. It is anywhere between 8 and 10am at this point, depending on how much vomiting Abigail has been doing or how much time I’ve wasted browsing Facebook on my phone while sipping my shake.
Sometimes, I throw something in the crockpot before Bible Time, usually chicken when it is “chicken day” – Tuesday or Thursday.
After our Bible Time, I try to read a short book to the kids. Then I start language arts with Josiah.
Hadassah, Marcus, Cyrene (3), and Olympas (almost 2) take out coloring supplies and draw, write, and color at the kitchen table and on the living room floor… or they take out a Preschool Toy to play with. If it is math day for Hadassah & Marcus, then they get their textbooks out and I help them do their pages while working through language arts with Josiah.
We are often interrupted by the toddler eating crayons, the baby crying/needing another bottle, or Abigail needing help to vomit. It can take up to 1 hour to complete Josiah’s language arts lesson. Then he moves on to math independently while I help Hadassah & Marcus finish up their math or start their phonics. We are usually done with language arts, phonics, and math by 12noon. Sometimes Josiah finishes up math in the afternoon.
I give Abigail her noon-time meds, change her diaper, do some stretches with her, etc. Josiah or I get lunch for all of the kids; usually some kind of meat, some kind of bread/carb, veggies, fruits, seaweed, almonds, etc. We eat snack type foods for lunch. I usually eat some cheese and lunch meat.
After lunch, Josiah unloads the dishwasher, then the kids run off to play (or keep an eye on Abigail), while I load the dishwasher and wash the table, etc.
Then Josiah vacuums the kitchen floor. If I was able to get a load of laundry going in the morning, then the kids do their laundry chores again. We go through a lot of big towels from Abigail vomiting, so we wash 2+ loads of laundry each day.
Around 1pm I either do some organizing/purging for an hour or so (it takes work to keep our 1000sqft home from feeling cluttered), or I sit down at my laptop in the living room with a cup of coffee, depending on whether Jubal is needing me to give him a bottle right after lunch (my excuse to sit down).
The kids each have an assigned day during the week to pick an educational show to watch from Netflix, so they usually watch it soon after lunch and chores are done. Sometimes (lately) they get into playing with Legos or wood blocks for an hour or two before asking to watch their show. They do their other school subjects (history, science, music, etc.) in the form of DVDs, Audio, or books. After they watch their Netflix show, they listen to an episode of Adventures In Odyssey. The kids read, play, or go outside if it’s nice out for the rest of the afternoon. They have a snack around 3pm.
Around 1-2pm, I hook Abigail up for her afternoon feeding and then I start to work online. I do my writing work (for my blog and the other 3 blogs I currently write for), create & edit graphics & images, check into the Schoolhouse Review Crew forum, write reviews & guest posts (unpaid blog posts), check and reply to emails, etc. I focus on my online work until around 4pm or so (with plenty of diaper-changing, baby-feeding, sibling-refereeing in between).
Usually, by 5pm, I am getting supper made or completed. (It is almost 5pm on Thursday now and I have chicken in the crockpot, but I need to get off of here!) We often aren’t eating til 6-7pm, though. I need to work harder on being off of the computer by 4pm for sure everyday! (If Joey gets home from work early, I put my online work aside to be with him unless I have a deadline to meet asap)
Joey gets home from work around 5pm most days, but sometimes as early as 3pm or as late as 8pm. At 6pm, I give Abigail her evening meds. Around 6:30pm, the big kids pick up their toys while I clean up the kitchen after supper, make 8 hard-boiled eggs (for the kids’ breakfasts and Joey’s lunch the next day) and two homemade bean burritos for Joey’s lunch.
Then the kids floss, brush, and get their pjs on while I get the little kids ready for bed. Joey usually mixes up Abigail’s formula while I’m getting the kids ready for bed. If he gets home late from work, then I try to have that done, so that he doesn’t have to do anything besides eat, shower, and lead Bible Study after working hard all day. He will (obviously) hold Jubal and spend time with the kids if time permits in the evenings.
Usually (hopefully), by 7pm, we are ready for Bible Study. Joey reads a chapter from the Bible every evening and we often discuss it with our kids and let the kids ask questions, etc. The kids usually crowd around Joey and sit as close as possible to him (and on top of him) while he reads… I love watching them (heart swells).
I try to feed Jubal a bottle during Bible Study. Then we say our prayers together and get the “healthy kids” off to bed by 8pm. They are allowed to play quietly with their dim lights on (salt lamps), read, or listen to an audio drama until 9pm or so.
I give Abigail her nighttime meds and get her ready for bed. Either Joey or I will get Abigail’s bed from the girls’ room and put it next to the couch in the living room. I get Abigail settled in for the night and hook her up to her nighttime feeding by 8pm.
8pm starts “mom & dad’s date night”. Jubal is usually awake with us and we usually watch something on the internet, talk, cook/eat, etc. Lately, we have been putting Jubal in the high chair and taking him out into the garage with us while I walk on the treadmill and Joey lifts weights for 30-60 minutes. We had been talking about working out together in the evenings instead of lazing around & eating, and we finally started doing it this week.
Then it is time for Jubal to eat another bottle. Jubal sleeps with us and has a hard time falling asleep (he requires a lot of scooching and cuddling). We try to get to bed between 9 and 10. And, that starts our nighttime routine.
If you’re are still reading this, then thank you!
This is my life and it pretty much repeats itself every day. Our days change only with how Abigail is doing or if we have doctor appointments. Otherwise, we pretty much stick to the same thing.
On Monday we do not do seatwork and I try to get the bathrooms, etc. cleaned, mix up batches of laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, hand soap, and whatever else is needed while the kids have free time (often doing arts and crafts at the kitchen table). Our Monday afternoons are about the same as Tuesday through Friday.
The weekends offer a change of pace with Joey home. On Friday evenings, our “date night” becomes a dinner date at home where we eat together after the kids go to bed (we try to get them in bed earlier on the weekend).
Saturday morning is the kids’ bath time and that takes a couple/few hours for 7 kids. We just relax and hang out together all day and I try to go to the grocery store Saturday afternoons to pick up fresh produce, etc.
Sometimes we all go for a drive. Joey makes a big breakfast on Sunday mornings, we listen to a church sermon online, and then relax and play games with our kids the rest of the day.
We are in a very busy season right now with a lot of little kids, some with special/medical needs that require a lot of thought and care on our part. We are (mostly) content to pour our lives and time into our kids and make the most of our time together.
- Our date nights together every evening are very important to our marriage (and sanity).
- Knowing that we only have a short time to nurture and educate our children before they are all grown up, helps us keep our priorities straight.
- We don’t have the time or energy to focus on activities or events outside of our family right now and we’ve had to adjust and accept that.
- We have our grumpy days & bad attitudes, for sure.
But, overall, we feel tremendously blessed with all that we’ve been given and all that we have together! I love that we work so well together and are a great family team. I appreciate my husband and kids so very much. To God be the glory!