Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. Not everyone is designed or meant to homeschool. But for those God has called to do it, he has provided every ounce of strength, wisdom and insight you will ever need for whatever you may face. That includes homeschooling with a new baby.
On a good day, when everything goes well, and before we had to deal with 3-hour feeds, naps, cranky-baby times and being distracted by such a cute little monkey-face full of bubbles and giggles, we RARELY got everything checked off our lists. And that’s ok! Because the MAIN THING is that we’re learning together, spending time together, helping each other and growing in many ways.
So, how DO you homeschool with a new baby? You start with a LOT of prayer, and a LOT of grace – for your kids and yourself. Give yourself a break! You’re not going to accomplish (yet) what you were able to accomplish before hand.
1. Modify your schedule
Take out a few subjects for a few weeks (or months!) until you feel that you can handle them easily again. Drop school altogether for a little while – we took the whole month of December off when Miss E was born to just enjoy her, spending time together and preparing for the celebration of Christ’s birth. It was a fantastic decision, though we were definitely ready to get back to the books by the time January rolled around.
2. MAKE a schedule!
I am a big advocate for creating the homeschool schedule. However, I haven’t done one since, oh, last October? And I didn’t realize how much more stress and confusion it was adding to our day – not to mention making us a lot less productive.
A couple weeks ago I sat down and created our schedule for the remainder of March. Monday morning rolled around, and besides a bunch of reminders to the boys to not annoy each other and stay focused (yeah right :D) we BLEW through the whole thing in no time! I was shocked, thinking maybe I had missed something?! But no, it was just simply that I spent a lot less time trying to figure out what was next, tracking down books, giving instructions, pulling kids back in. So as much as you possibly can, make a schedule! It doesn’t have to be complicated – a few things jotted down on a piece of paper will work. Just do it, it WILL help you stay focused!
3. One-Room Schoolhouse
Something I really love about homeschooling is the ability to have the one-room schoolhouse teaching moments – where everyone is together learning, no matter what their ages.
We’ve got 8, 6, 4 and 3 1/2 months going on over here – so they’re close enough that I can already combine a lot of their activities. If you’re struggling and juggling, try combining more things together to teach.
4. Multi-task and Delegate
Multi-tasking is NOT always productive. And sometimes it can be very stressful if you’re combining the wrong activities together. However, there ARE some ways that you can multi-task in homeschooling.
If the baby’s down for a rest in the swing/crib/baby carrier, tackle those dishes and give a spelling test or go over some math drills.
If you’re in the middle of reading aloud and need to feed the baby, get one of the kids to hold the book and keep on reading! Bonus: baby gets to hear even more of mama’s voice and will already know all about the history of England before he/she is 2 ;0). Or if you’re just not going to make it through one more chapter without closing your eyes and trailing your words off into nothing (please tell me I’m not alone?!), hit the couch for a snooze and put on an audio book for the kids to listen to.
If a diaper change has turned into the need for a bath, turn the reigns over to an older child for a bit. The Boy is only 8, but he’s very able and willing to supervise and help his younger siblings with some simple schoolwork.
Growing up homeschooled, I was VERY independent in my own work by the time I was 8. I can already see that happening with The Boy and even Jay at 6, so I know that I have a bit more freedom to work with Keekers or just take the time I need with Miss E, until they need help or teaching. They ARE capable! You may need to train them a bit and remind them to keep focused (I need someone to remind ME to stay focused most days!), but you will be amazed to see just how much they are able to teach themselves and how well they still learn.
In all, give yourself and your children grace. A new baby is a big adjustment, not just for you, but for everyone in the family! And as the great joy of being a new parent mingles with the frazzled nerves of sleepless nights and baby/schedule bouncing, pray for wisdom in what you should be focusing on in your school days and do your best!
There have been a lot of babies born lately! Check out how some other moms handle homeschooling with a new baby!
Simple Homeschool – How to Homeschool With a Baby or Toddler (& Enjoy It!)
Spell Outloud – Homeschooling with a Newborn
Christy Halsell (One Fun Mom) – Tips for New Moms
Raising Arrows – Toddlers, Babies and Your Homeschool
What tips can you share for managing your homeschool with a new baby?
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