Homeschooling with a Newborn

sleepingWhen my husband went back to work, we officially had 8 days to go to satisfy our state required 180 days of school.  However, I really wanted to complete all of our current curriculum and have closure to our school year –which was equal to 4 weeks worth of lessons.

I had already worked hard on getting all of the lesson planning finished and materials gathered as much as possible before the baby arrived.  It was sort of like planning for a maternity leave – only there was no substitute to call!  (Okay, daddy did sub a few times while he was off and we team taught for a little bit before he returned to work.  He did an excellent job =)  )

Now, it is just me, attempting to complete our school year with five little ones – a 2nd grader, Kindergartner, preschooler, toddler, and 2 1/2 week old infant.

So far, my goal has been to ease into school, taking two days (just mornings basically) to complete what we use to accomplish all in one day (usually all morning and some time in the afternoon).  This means that it will be taking us twice as long, 40 days to get through 20 days of actual school!  If we happen to occasionally get a full day in,  I will consider it to be a great feat!  Breaking the days up and stretching them out seems overwhelming, but it is making school with a newborn manageable.  That is what counts.  My kids don’t deserve to have a crazed mommy pulling her hair out each day!

With a newborn in tow, God is having me revisit a word I don’t often like – flexibility.  Taking two days per school day is a start.   However, I have to be flexible, not only about how much we accomplish each day and when we may actual complete this school year, but I also have to be flexible with our normal routines – when we school during the day and how we accomplish typical learning tasks.  Here are a few examples…

-taking advantage of doing hands on projects while our newborn takes a good nap
-having kids read to me or complete some work with mom as I hold a calm or semi-sleeping baby
-focusing on trying to have kids do their independent work from their workboxes as I nurse or try to console a crying, fussy baby
-asking the oldest two children to take turns playing and reading with our toddler (Since our 2 year old is use to being the baby, she seems to be experiencing greater difficulty than the other children with the adjustment to being a big sister- and having less one on one time with me.)
-being willing to read aloud stories and history as I’m nursing
-allowing time for older siblings to be around their new brother.  This might take the form of them doing their schoolwork nearby or just talking, holding, and bonding with him.

homeschooling with newborn

Also, I’ve determined that if a day is extremely trying now and then, I want to be able to throw out the academics, turn on the music (my kids love to sing and dance), play games, go outside, get out the paints, have a tea party, etc.  Yes, we will still get to the ‘school’ stuff, but we are a family first and life with a newborn is demanding – an adjustment for everyone in the home =)

As  our newborn is able to stay awake longer, we will also have to incorporate the use of our infant swing, use the play-mat and bouncy seat more, institute pack in play time, etc.  Babies grow and change quickly and we’ll have to be willing to adapt right along with our new little guy!  God has placed him in our family and I am so thankful for this opportunity to be bent and stretched.

For more thoughts on homeschooling with a newborn, you may wish to read this blog entry posted by another homeschooling mom of 6.

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  1. You have such a good attitude and grasp on slowly getting back into homeschooling with a newborn. Congrats on your new baby! I love this article as well and I thought I would share:

  2. Praying for you and yours! You are such a blessing! Try and get some rest when you can!

  3. Thank you so much for this. I just found out I am expecting our fourth (Next year we will have a 1st grader, PreK and a 2 1/2 year old) and I am due in February – right in the middle of the school year. Many people who do not share my conviction to homeschool are already telling me I should “just put the kids in public school” and not expect so much out of myself. I heartily disagree, but am in all honesty, a little scared about what next year will really look like for us (we are also moving – next weekend – to a new city, six hours away from where we have always lived and away from our current network of family and homeschool support), and how much I should take on. I know that I can adjust our schedule, start earlier in the summer, work through Christmas break and “double up” a little before the baby comes in order to have a break but still get in our required days and finish our curriculum when we get back into the swing of things, but reading how you did it is a wonderful, tangible encouragement to me as I look forward to this amazing little (unexpected) blessing in our lives. Thank you again!

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