online learning during pandemic weekday quarantine schedule
Family

Our Weekday Quarantine Schedule

We are following a loose weekday quarantine schedule during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why? Since we are staying home can’t we cut loose when it comes to schedules and routines?

The urge is there. Trust me.

However, our household seems to function a little better with a bit of structure. Plus, things still have to get done while we are staying home. Handy Husband has to “go” to work. The kids have to “go” to online school. Blog posts need to be published.

Oh, and we all need to stay sane. Minor detail.

Here’s a glimpse into our weekday quarantine schedule.


6 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.: DON’T BUG MAMA HOURS

My kids generally wake up around 6 a.m. One child naturally wakes up around that time and oh, so generously wakes up the other child.

Quarantine hasn’t changed that.

As long as the kids get their own breakfast (cereal or toast), clean up their breakfast mess, brush their teeth, get dressed, make their bed, and don’t start bugging me before I’m fully caffeinated, then they can have screen time at this unreasonable hour of the day.

Handy Husband is also an early riser. He starts his work-from-home day around 7 a.m.

I’m awake, but don’t usually roll out of bed until whenever Handy Husband tells me the coffee is ready, which is usually around 7 a.m. He’s sweet that way to make me coffee…or he also needs caffeine to get his day going. I’m choosing to go with sweet.


8:30 a.m.: TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT OUR DAY

I’m fully dressed, more or less caffeinated, and I’m giving the kids countdown warnings to the start of school. This is also known as the “you’d better hope you’ve finished everything you were supposed to do by 9 a.m.” part of our day.

It’s pretty incredible how much one child can accomplish between 8:56 a.m. and 8:59 a.m.

I use this time to throw in a load of laundry, start the dishwasher, and do any other general tidying that needs to occur. If there’s a blog post that day, I aim to post it on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest during this time too.


9 a.m.: FULL VOLUME LOCKDOWN

Online school starts at 9 a.m. The kids each receive a video announcement from their principals. The middle school principal likes to incorporate funny antics into his videos (e.g. pretending to fall off the treadmill) and the elementary principal likes to play songs and share inspirational quotes. Both principals lead the kids in the pledge of allegiance.

weekday quarantine schedule online learning

I spend most of my morning jumping between the kids to make sure everyone stays on task, answer questions, and most of all, to manage the volume in our house.

Have you ever noticed that even when kids think they are being quiet, they aren’t? When you have multiple family members who all might be on a conference or video call at the same time, it gets tricky. Throw in one child who has online band practice (drums!) and the house quickly dissolves into mayhem.

If we had a talking parrot the phrase it would have learned to say during quarantine is “Shh! I’m on a call.”

Normally, I’d use the mornings to write or conduct blog administration. That’s when I’m most productive from a writing standpoint. I still try to do that, but with all the distractions it has become a choppy, inefficient process. It’s a miracle actual words get published on the blog right now.


11 a.m.: I THOUGHT WE’D NEVER MAKE IT TO LUNCH

Yes, we eat lunch early here. I’d like to tell you this is because of the quarantine, but really, we just eat early. You can’t convince me this is a bad thing. I have my priorities!

My son does have to be back on video chat for math class at noon, so this is his opportunity to eat.

Handy Husband usually makes a second (or third) pot of coffee during this time of day. Don’t judge. Desperate times call for extra caffeine and our Ninja Coffee Maker is definitely our favorite appliance right now.

One thing we did not stock up on before the stay-at-home order was coffee filters. I spent a fair amount of time pondering how I could MacGyver more, but thankfully it didn’t come to that. Restocking at the grocery store FOR THE WIN!

colonial farmhouse kitchen mini makeover weekday quarantine schedule


12 – 4 p.m.: ONE AFTERNOON IS A HUNDRED YEARS

The kids have school activities between 12 and 3 p.m. Their schedule changes daily based on what specials (science, art, music, etc.) are scheduled by the school that day. There’s quite a bit of downtime in this afternoon schedule, so don’t think the academic rigor is off the charts right now.

By 4 p.m., the kids need to have also completed their daily chore list. Prior to quarantine, I had not formalized daily chores, only weekend chores. It took one day of online school before I realized they had WAY TOO MUCH time on their hands.

Before you think this means our house is spic and span, let me reassure it is not. Even if the kids were scrubbing every available surface every day, it would still not be clean. Have you seen how well a 9-year-old cleans?

The kids do have an “ask mom what she needs” chore. I learned this trick from a friend. It gives me the freedom to pick and choose a helpful chore around the house each day.

Their non-cleaning related “chores” include going outside for at least 30 minutes, doing a 10-minute exercise video, and connecting with at least one friend or family member each day.

We can spend time analyzing why I have to force my children to be active outside, but it would be too depressing. Let’s save that for another day.

The connecting with friends part of the day has involved additional screen time (video chats, text messages, etc.), but it is more than worth it in this scenario.

I use the afternoon to continue to ride herd on the school situation. My assistance is often requested with 4th grade math even though I am apparently bad at 4th grade math. Go figure.

I also work on house projects, play outside with the kids (lots of games of catch), and take a daily walk. I do ask anyone if they want to come with me on my walk, but so far, I have no takers. I’m secretly not sad about this as I value any alone time I can get these days.

stone bridge over a creek new jersey weekday quarantine schedule

The other day I told my son I’d be back from my walk in 40 minutes. Remember, the house is full of people right now. When I returned home this conversation happened:

Son: Mom! You were gone a lot longer than you said.

Me: Really? How long was I gone?

Son: (in his most accusatory voice) 44 minutes!

I will say, it is much easier to be quarantined home with kids that are somewhat self-sufficient. Handy Husband and I ran a business from home when the kids were babies and toddlers. It is hard to only be able to work during nap times. I have taken calls while nursing an infant. Awkward! If that’s you right now, I feel your struggles!


4 p.m. – 5 p.m.: PHEW. 

The kids can play Minecraft or catch up on what their favorite YouTubers have posted at 4 p.m. In normal times, this is when they’d be rolling off the school bus and would typically get an hour of screen time.

I usually take this hour to do some blog work, read the news, etc. We don’t have a tv, so if I want to know what’s going on in the world, I have to actively seek out the news. Lately, for the sake of my mental health, I’m better off with a less is more approach.

Handy Husband is still working during this time. We have no idea what he does, but we are pretty sure if he stopped doing it 118 million people would notice. NO PRESSURE, Handy Husband. No pressure.


5 p.m. – 6 p.m.: WINNER WINNER, WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

Without fail, someone always asks for cereal right as I’m starting to make dinner.

Then someone is always devastated when I say, “Absolutely NO cereal. Have a carrot.”

For the most part, I’ve been able to stock up on all the normal things we’d eat for dinner. I almost always put music on while I’m cooking. I like quite a few different genres. My main condition is that I can sing along to it. To keep things interesting during quarantine, we’re trying out all the free offers from the various music services: Pandora, Amazon Music, Spotify.

We’re living wild, folks. Living wild.

berry balsamic vinaigrette weekday quarantine schedule

Besides helping clean up the dinner dishes, the kids have one final chore to help with after dinner. One of them has to sweep and the other has to wipe down counters and the table.

Can you guess what I secretly do after the kids not so thoroughly sweep and wipe down counters?


6 p.m. – 8 p.m.: ACTIVITY ROULETTE

The after dinner hour(s) is where I’ve noticed the most flex in our schedule since being quarantined. The kids don’t have homework during online school and they aren’t participating in sports or other activities, so we have more time to fill now opportunities for family togetherness.

This is the time of day when the board games and musical instruments come out. If the weather is nice we might go for a family walk or bike ride. I know quarantine is starting to wear on my kids because normally they’d complain about these family walks.

weekday quarantine schedule minecraft board game


8 p.m.: EVERYONE RETREAT

At 8 p.m., everyone needs to retreat to their rooms for some much needed social distancing.

It might sound like we’ve each been doing our own thing all day long, but that’s not exactly the case. We each have our own responsibilities, but we are tripping over each other to get them done.

We all use this time mainly for reading, but other things get thrown in here too. My daughter sometimes chooses to work on writing her book instead of reading. I usually do one last check on social media during this time. Handy Husband either reads the latest news stories  or watches how-to woodworking videos on YouTube.


8:30 – 9 p.m.: LIGHTS OUT FOR KIDS

We’ve kept the kids on their normal sleep schedule during the quarantine. It just seems to make sense. Our 9-year-old goes to bed at 8:30 p.m. Our 12-year-old goes to bed around 9 p.m.

Lately, I alternate between nights of amazing sleep and nights of insomnia where I wake up at 1 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep for 3 hours.

Handy Husband never has trouble sleeping. It’s annoying, I know.


That’s how our weekday quarantine schedule looks. It’s not super exciting.

Aside from the fact that everyone is home for school and work, it is pretty similar to our regular weekday routine. I think we all take a bit of comfort in this sort of normalcy. Plus, we need to define certain portions of our day just to maintain a sense of balance.

If you’ve been a longtime reader, then you’ll know that we have moved several times for job opportunities. My kids have already lived in four states and two countries and one of them is still in elementary school.

When our lives are completely turned upside down with change or, in this case, a pandemic, I try to balance the uncertainty with familiar and consistent routines at home. The world may feel chaotic or scary, but inside the four walls of our home, our kids can find comfort and security in the familiarity of our routines, values, and traditions. At least, that’s my hope!

Our weekends look much the same as our weekdays now. We just have more time for games, house projects, reading, Minecraft, etc. Lazy weekends make me happy and I’m definitely getting my fill of those!

Handy Husband and I talk a lot about the human toll of the Covid-19 pandemic. An increasing number of his coworkers have become infected with Covid-19 and a few of his coworkers have already died. I know we haven’t fully wrapped our minds around the gravity of this situation, but as of the time I’m writing this the human toll feels grim.

There are so many unknowns as to how this pandemic will ultimately affect our family, our friends, our community, and the world. That’s why I’m leaning heavily into our family time.

When we have the normal reaction of feeling stir crazy and cooped up while we observe the stay-at-home order, I try to remember that this time with all of us at home is special. We’ve been blessed so far in that Handy Husband still has a job and all of us are healthy.

We have our moments of anxiety and frustration, but we have far more moments that I will hold dear to my heart forever.


How are you doing? Maybe some of these posts will be a much needed distraction in your day.

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2 Comments

  • sandy smith

    Thank you for sharing your life as it is today. I think you are so right in keeping a daily schedule that fits your family. It sounds like you have it figured out. Someday when your kids have kids of there own they will be able to share this time of there life and how you tried to keep things as routine as possible. I do pray that this time will bring families togeher and they will realize what is important. It is always a treat to read your blogs because you usually have some good information to share.

    Keep on your routine and schedule. Most of all keep healthy. I’m glad Jeff can work at home. He is more protected from the virus there.

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