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.

A Day in the Life with a Newborn +4

Warning:  This post was written by a sleep deprived mother of 5.  Proceed at your own risk of encountering incoherent thoughts and run-on sentences.

Day one of being home alone with all five precious kiddos brought this…

the good

  • Our oldest got all of her work with mom and independent schoolwork completed.  (amidst cries from her youngest sibling)
  • Our preschooler didn’t argue about going to his room for ‘rest’ time. (It was amazing!) He played contentedly for a long time – building with blocks, constructing with Super Structs, and playing with his cars and trains.
  • I think I experienced a couple of 5 minute naps in the late afternoon, in between each time the newborn’s pacifier came out.
  • I was able to sneak a leftover chocolate frosted cupcake without any of the kids noticing.  (Any mother can see the importance of this, right?)

the bad

  • I left the school/playroom to attend to our newest little one.  I returned 5-10 minutes later only to find toys strewn all over the floor –See Exhibit A, below. (At least they were educational games and they were learning – Yes?  No?  Okay, this may just be wishful thinking. It is more likely that the toddler just dumped them out.)


  • While I was reading aloud to the older children and holding our newborn (who was refusing to nap anywhere other than in Mommy’s arms), our toddler got into the pantry, took out some cereal, and was proceeding to locate a bowl for it.  I told her no and I removed the cereal box from her hand.  She then threw the bowl and began to run away from me, throwing toys, a book, anything she could get her little hands on. (Ahh, the joy of having a dearly loved, spunky, red headed two year old…)

and the just plain ugly.

Through groggy eyes and an unguarded tongue, mommy’s impatience made appearances off and on throughout the day.

Be completely humble and gentle.
Be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

(Yes, even when I’m tired… Ouch.)

In addition, we are also seeing much more of this

laundry(in lingering piles)

and this


(Yes, that says AM. It could start with a 1,2, or 3.  We’ve seen them all!)

which, of course, means a lot less sleep!

But…. it is soooo worth it for this little blessing!
new little one

(In a blink of an eye, this stage will pass quickly.)

So, guard your heart and mind, mama.  Stay in the Word.  Pray for daily, hourly, and minute by minute doses of wisdom, grace, and strength.  Consider His faithfulness.

I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)

Bonding With Baby

DSC_0923 (2)
My precious little one, I’m a little busy right now…

-caressing your smooth sweet baby skin,
-smelling your newborn baby hair,
-holding onto your two little feet and long skinny toes,
-looking in awe at your two small hands and tiny fingers grasping onto mine,
-watching you stretch and uncurl your long skinny legs,
-running my fingers through the ends of your fine baby hair,
-tracing the outside edge of your perfectly formed ears,
-feeling you lean against me, knowing you feel loved and safe, as you lay your head on my shoulder and rest your arm on my neck,
-marveling at God’s Hand in the creation of you.

For you created my inmost being.
       You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
       Your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.

(Psalm 139:13-16)

I’m thanking God for you, little one.

2010 Indoor Winter Olympics

Group Flags

Our children raved about our family’s 2008 Summer Olympics so much that before the 2010 Winter Olympics even began, they were asking what we were going to do to celebrate and compete at home.  I have to admit that the winter sports were much more challenging to try to recreate in order to have some fun learning experiences for the kids.  I searched online, combined ideas from various sites, and finally came up with a plan.   So, without further adieu, come follow our Olympians as they compete at the 2010 Indoor Winter Olympics!

Opening Ceremonies
Our Opening Ceremonies were not grand by any means, but it built excitement that would lead up to the Olympic events for the day.

  • We located Vancouver, British Columbia on our globe (as well as the other countries for which we had flags).
  • Each child represented their chosen country. We attached mini flags to our shirts and to our winter hats to indicate which country we represented.
  • We reviewed and discussed Colossians 3:23–24.
  • The children made Olympic Rings from tissue paper.
    Tissue Paper FlagToddler Flag
  • To get more familiar with the winter sports involved in the Olympics, we viewed photos of real events and watched a few short video clips from the official Olympic site.
  • Next, they played Winter Olympics Bingo.

Our Olympic Events

Figure Skating
The Olympians ‘skated’ in their sock feet, attempting to spin and twirl on one foot, jumping and landing on one foot, and of course, performing the free skate.

Ice Cube Bobsled Race

Yes, we had to bundle up…After all, it’s cold on the track!

Olympic Ring Toss
The Olympians attempted to throw diving rings onto a full bottle of pop.


Cross Country Skiing


Snowball Throwing
Snowball Throw1
Snowball Throw3
Should he have been disqualified for stepping over the line?

Sight Word Ice Hockey
Sight Word Hockey
This was a cute idea from Making Learning Fun.  You could also do addition or subtraction facts!

Additional Activities
For added fun, we brought some snow inside to discover ways to melt it.  Each child received an ice cube as well and tried to be the first one to make it disappear.  They tried adding salt to it, pouring warm water over it, rubbing it between their hands, and even tapping it.

The kids also did a Roll and count activity, Olympic word searches (1) (2), and watched as their ‘ice’ hockey player and figure skater glided across the counter.

Roll and Count

Closing Ceremony
Instead of simply passing out gold medals to all of the Olympians, I had them work extra hard to earn their gold.  To their surprise, they were given bowls filled with ice treasures!  The Olympians, at first, experienced a bit of a dilemma, but then they began to enjoy the challenge as they dug, picked, scraped, brushed, pounded, and poured hot water over the ice in order to get to their medals!

Medal Ice Treasures1 Medal Ice Treasures2 Medal Ice Treasures4 Medal Ice Treasures3

At the very end of the day, we even enjoyed a surprise Olympic sized cookie!  Congratulations to all of our Olympians.  They showed great sportsmanship and cheered each other on.

Closing Ceremony Cookie Olympic Table

Closing Ceremonies
What a fun, but exhausting day, celebrating the winter Olympics –INDOORS!

A Non-Complaining Spirit

Oh, how I wish that could be said of me!

Instead, God is allowing me to see this much needed trait through the sweet, sweet spirit  of our oldest child.  She has been experiencing quite a few off and on headaches since June, with an almost constant headache for the past two months.  Has she complained and moaned about how bad her head hurts?  No.  She continues with her schoolwork and play, rarely mentioning her pain.  However, if we ask her how dd1_smileher head is feeling, she says, “It hurts.”  “How long has it been hurting?”  “All day,” she says and then returns to what she was doing.  We just recently had an MRI done and it was discovered that she has “Severe Left Sphenoid Sinusitis” infection.  She is now on antibiotics and they are hopeful that by the end of the third week, her headaches will subside.  I am pleased to say that she has handled herself so well as she has had to visit doctors, have blood work taken, and then had the MRI done.

I truly think she is well on her way to hiding Philippians 2:14 into her heart and mind.   ”Do everything without complaining and arguing.”

Maybe I could learn a few things from this sweet child that God has blessed us with.  Thank You, Lord.

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