A Day in the Life: Natalie (Our First Day of School…With Nine Kids)

Written by Natalie Klejwa, Contributing Writer

Here we are, minus the baby, gathered around the table for lunch. Praying. It’s something I do a lot. I need to. I’ve got nine kids. I started my 15th year of homeschooling on September 4th, and this is the day I’ve chosen to share with the KOTH readers this month.

The Perfect Plan

So for starters, here’s my hopeful PLAN for our school day:

6:00 Wake up, exercise, Bible study and prayer, shower and dress.

7:00 Fill orders for shipment for our online business. Make breakfast.

8:00 Get kids up, feed them breakfast, clean up, get kids ready for the day.

9:00 School starts

11:00 Make lunch. Eat lunch. Clean up.

12:00 More school.

1:00 Littles go down for nap. Older kids finish studies and work on projects. I work on our home business and/or writing.

4:00 Make dinner

5:00 Eat dinner/clean up/family worship

6:00 Everyone works on projects/plays/etc.

8:30 Get kids ready for bed

9:00 Read to kids

9:30 Get myself ready for bed, read in bed.

10:00 SLEEP!!!

School in a tutu is more fun

Our Reality Show

A good day starts the night before, so I try to get to bed by 10:00, before my second wind hits. I successfully managed to get to bed at the appointed hour and dutifully set my alarm for 6:00. The two year old must have been messing with it again, because it never went off. I woke up at 6:50. Well, that’s not entirely true. I FIRST woke up at 3:30 to my other alarm. His name is David, and he’s 6 months old.

It’s all good though, because I didn’t need to shower. Today is perfume day. Got ready for the day…made sure to put on some make up and dangling earrings because they put me in a good mood, grabbed my coffee, and headed downstairs to throw in a load of laundry and pray. I passed my 18 year old son, Sam, who was already up reading his Bible. He works full time at his own business now that he graduated from both high school and college.  We’re hoping he’ll buy us a home in Beverly Hills next year.

I like to walk and pray out loud…and I’m kind of shy about it, so I have to hide out in the basement. At 7:25 Sam came down to let me know David was awake. I finished praying while nursing.  Went to make hard boiled eggs and toast for breakfast. Only 8 eggs available. Guess we’ll just have toast. I finished my time alone by continuing my study in the book of Revelation using an exposition written by David Chilton. (I’m finally “getting” it!)

I share something cool I just read with Sam, and we enjoy a good conversation. A child gets out of bed “early”…and I send her back upstairs to wait until “wake up time.” This quiet time ends all too soon, and it’s time to get the kids up. They all tumble out of bed, pull their covers up, and get dressed before trooping down the stairs for…toast.

“Give me a swing and a book about Beowulf, and I’m in heaven,” said the 10 year old.  In his mother’s dreams.

While the kids are getting their breakfast and having their own quiet times, I answer a couple of business e-mails and get the day’s packages ready to ship. At 8:45 I read a portion of Leif the Lucky and The Vikings to the 9, 7, and 4 year olds. The baby is in his exersaucer, and the 2 year old “sort of” listens too.

At 9:00 I do math drills with the 9 year old.  Two minutes into the process, she has her first melt down of the day and gets sent downstairs. I do math drills with the 7 year old instead. At 9:25 the baby goes down for a nap, and I do math drills with the 9 year old who is now more cooperative. Then I do reading, spelling, and writing with the 7 year old…and then do it all over again with the 9 year old.  Are we having fun yet?

Will the typing software work this year?

At 10:50 I answer a couple of e-mails…trying to sell some stuff on Craig’s List. Not having much luck. (Junk, anyone?) Filled another order that came in. Baby wakes up...feed and change him. Make lunch.

By noon we are all cleaned up, and Sam takes the little ones out to the back yard for phy-ed. His job is to run them ragged for 30 minutes so they will take a nice, long nap.  While they are occupied outside, I do spelling with the 10, 12 and 16 year old, and then I do our read-alouds with the 10 and 12 year old.

Curriculum: paper, pencil, sippy cup

At 12:30 the littles come dragging into the house, sweaty and red-faced.  They get drinks of water, and we go upstairs, crawl into  bunk beds, and read.  We’re reading through Adam of the Road and Gods Care and Continuation of His Church.  The 2 and 4 year old stay in bed for naps, the 7 and 9 year old get free time, and I do writing and grammar with the 10 and 12 year old.

Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bars

By 1:35 we are done with school, the baby goes down for his nap, and I’m free to work on our soap business.  Today I am finishing up some research to help me formulate a brand new recipe for a conditioning bar.  I get my recipe completed, pour the lye so it can sit and cool off for several hours, and cut two loaves of shampoo bars that were poured the day before.

A cookie dough scoop makes perfect, mess-free meatballs

At 3:00 I get some potatoes ready for baking.  These were grown with Goliath in mind, and they take for. e. ver. to bake.  Baby’s up again, so I feed him and then get the meatballs ready for dinner while he watches.  After cleaning up the kitchen, I answer more e-mails and plan out the rest of the week’s responsibilities regarding my blog and our business.

Dinner’s on at 5:00.  We eat, enjoy a loud discussion rotund with opinions, work on our memory verse, sing Amazing Grace amidst insane silliness, and pray for God’s mercy on our crazy family.  After dinner chores are completed, Joe makes chocolate malts.  Huge Bummer. They taste horrible.  We figure out it is the generic chocolate syrup from Walmart and throw our malts down the drain.  Good thing there are still some Popsicles left.

At 6:30 I feed the baby and watch the 4, 7 and 9  year old do a ballerina show.  Time to finish up that batch of new conditioner bars, so while the kids go on a bike ride with Dad, I make my soap, clean up the kitchen (does the kitchen cleaning never end?), and get ready for bed myself.  I’m not feeling well.

8:00 the kids come home, have a snack and get ready for bed.  I read to them, tuck them in…and then crash.  I’ve got a fever of 100!

So there you have it.  The first day of school went pretty smoothly.  The second day of school?

We won’t go there.

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About Natalie Klejwa

Natalie is wife to Joe and home educating mother to nine children ages 2-20. When she isn't teaching children, changing diapers, or cleaning the kitchen, she administrates the Visionary Womanhood blog and runs their family's cottage business, Apple Valley Natural Soap. Her latest book project is Three Decades of Fertility.

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Comments

  1. Hi Natalie. Wow! You have a full day with all those kiddos. :) I saw you mentioned when the kitchen gets cleaned, but what about all the other chores. For us I count that as part of our school work because we live with in laws so everything has to stay very clean and tidy. I only have 3 at home now so o can’t imagine with 9. Just curious. :)

    • All the kids have jurisdictions that they need to keep clean daily. We do a quick “Clean Your Jurisdiction” after each meal. They all have after meal clean up chores too. One clears the table, another wipes it, another wipes the floor, etc. On Saturdays we do a whole house clean up where all floors/surfaces/bathrooms etc. are cleaned thoroughly. We do deep cleans throughout the year on the first Saturday of each month. Everyone has a deep clean job once per month…and that way everything gets rotated through. : )

  2. Do you mind me asking the recipe for the meatballs(or did I miss it)? They look super yummy! Thanks for the encouragement for life with my four “arrows”! :)

    • Not at all! It’s pretty basic…1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground turkey (the turkey keeps them moist…I’ve found that ground beef alone is dry and hard…and turkey alone falls apart. Half and half is just perfect!) Throw in a couple eggs, bread crumbs, seasonings of choice and lots of Celtic sea salt (recently learned how good this is for us!) Moosh together, scoop onto baking dish, bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then throw in a deeper baking dish. We mix up 4 packets of brown gravy, pour them over the meatballs, and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes until they are hot. The gravy is not so healthy, but I’ll bet there are healthy alternatives out there. I’m the renegade on this writing team, I’m afraid. Enjoy!

  3. I am so thankful for this series! I am so inspired!

  4. I really enjoyed this and was encouraged to find another with a nearly identical schedule to mine, though I have four students to wrangle, not nine. It’s funny that I had a fever the first two days of our first week this year, too. No symptoms other than extreme tiredness and an achey body. Thanks for writing.

  5. Hello! How fun to see something on Pinterest and link over to this! I am also a homeschooling, blogging, shop owner momma of nine. I see myself in your day….except when I read yours I wonder how on earth you do all of that. Then I realize, “Hey! That’s me.” LOL!

    It’s so nice to find you here. Thanks for sharing your crazy wonderful day. Lisa~

  6. Oh, my!! your day sounds like mine except we don’t do so much structured learning but we do all the running around. And yes, sometimes it feels like all I do is clean the kitchen or fix meals. Sometimes I want to close the kitchen door and throw away the key (we have an open floor plan – there is no kitchen door to the kitchen!! ARgh!) :)

  7. I am so tired after reading this, LOL. Love the tight schedule and routine with your kids. You are teaching them well. I find it crazy with just my only, LOL. Great idea wit the scooper for the meatballs, I will have to try hat.

  8. Love your honesty and attempt at organization. Sounds a lot like my days.

  9. I have to say that while I enjoyed the entire post, I was most thrilled to read your take on Chilton! I know it was a small part of your day, and I’m glad you decided to include that in your post.

  10. Mrs. Mom of 6 says:

    Wow, let me catch MY breath! lol…

    This is a glimpse of what I will be doing (very similar anyway)… When my eldest son is 18, I will also have: 15y girl, 14 yo girl, 12 yo girl, 10yo boy and an 8 yo ( gender unknown at the moment).

    This year we started two more in school, so now I have a 9 year old in 6th or 8th grade (depending how you count it, he also seems to be smarter than the Saxon Math Answer Key), a 6 year old in first (barely), a 5 year old in Kindergarten, and a 3 year old who wants to “do school”, plus a toddler and being 7 months pregnant. Each day by 3 I feel like i have run a marathon, and I wonder how I will make it till my own bedtime at 9.
    I’m having a hard time getting the days to run smoothly consistently. about every other day is wonderful… LOL, and every opposite day is falling apart at the seams. I’m very excited to hear that you are also able to run a business on the side… and that your schooling is over by 1:30… I am going to shoot for 2 :)

    I hope you will post another day in the life, sometime mid semester! Thanks for letting me be a fly on the wall.

  11. You really know how to make the most out of your time! I really need to get more efficient at doing things. I work full time and have two kids — you work way more than I do, but somehow I can’t manage to get things done, nor get much free time to myself.

  12. Thank you for this post! I really like the info about your son graduating early I have a little over achiever in my home and I could see her doing something like that one day as well.

  13. This was SUCH an encouragement to me! We just started our first week of homeschool ever (as in my oldest is doing kindergarten). It’s a lot of work to manage his school, as well as the rest of our home, and his 2 little sisters. Our dream is to be a large, homeschool family, but when I think about how much work it is to school just one, I think, how will I ever be able to do more? Thank you for being a practical demonstration of this, and for the reminder that we cannot do this in our own strength, and that God provides grace and strength for the moment! May the Lord bless your efforts!

    I also have a question about your oldest…how did you end up with him finishing high school early, and being able to have a degree already? I honestly already think our oldest will end up finishing school early…God has given him an amazing mind and a great thirst for learning. We don’t really want to “send” him to college early though, as we are assuming it will be in his best interest to remain in our home as long as possible. I know it’s a long way off for us, but it would be nice to have ideas in the back of my mind for later!:)

  14. I love this, Natalie! Thanks for sharing both the plan and the reality.

    Your home sounds like a wonderful place to grow up.

  15. I love to read that I am not the only homeschooling momma who makes a schedual to only have life happen and that is more of an idea than set in stone plan. *big smile* Sorry you were not feeling well at the end of the day, and praise the Lord for Dads who are able and willing to have fun time with his family. *big smile* I find such relief when my beloved comes home from working outside the home! And, even in our family of four, there are always dishes and laundry to to. *big smile* It is a royal blessing and I am finding myself more thankful for both chores each day. *smile* Have a lovely new school year. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

  16. You are an inspiration. Thank you. Please hop over and say hi at Green Acres!
    http://greenacresinthecity.blogspot.com/2012/09/free-shipping-at-fluff.html

  17. Natalie, thank you for sharing! What an inspiration you are.

  18. Wow, your amazing. Keep up the great work for the Lord. It’s only by Him do you get the strength to do what you do. Don’t forget hubby time.
    Praying for you and enjoy these years!

  19. How do you manage to exercise, read your bible, pray, and get ready all in an hour? That is impressive!! Thanks for sharing your plan and your day.

  20. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. This sounds so much like my life growing up as the oldest of 5 homeschooled children! What a blessing and joy it was to be a part of such a crazy, hectic family full of love & laughter! I loved every minute of it and I pray that one day as the momma of my own family I will have these perfectly imperfect days filled with God’s grace. Blessings to you, Natalie!

  21. Im so glad I stumbled on this post. You are so amazing to do all of that with a fever! You are incredibly inspirational.

  22. I also am a mommy of nine : ) I call it “organized chaos”. lol Thanks for sharing your day with us! It’s a great idea. Maybe if I decide I no longer need to sleep I’ll do a day in the life of post on my blog ; )

    Shalom,
    Julie

    • I’m also a mom of nine. ‘Organized chaos’ just about covers it! I wish we could sleep in ’til 8. We start milking the cows at 6 am.

      Cathy

  23. Oh Natalie, sweet friend, thank you for the Klegwa reality show!!! So glad I read this before our day got started this morning.

    I’m off to go hang something dangley from my earlobes and see if my day goes as smoothly as yours did.

  24. Hope you feel better soon! You’re doing a great job :)

  25. Natalie, you make what seems like a potentially crazy, hectic life, totally manageable! I suppose it does get easier as the kiddos get bigger and can help out more…mine are still toddlers! And holy cow, your son is a rock star! I hopped over to read about his accomplishments and graduating from college at such a young age! Wowza! You have so much to be grateful for!! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Oh Nikki…life is a lot harder when you only have little ones. You have to do EVERYTHING!!! You’re in the most challenging season of your life! It’s SO worth it though! I told Sam he was a “rock star”…and because he’s really sort of a smart geek-type, we both got a laugh out of that.

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