Monday, January 31, 2011
Homeschooling While Pregnant or With a Newborn
This week's Blog Cruise Topic is Homeschooling While Pregnant or With A Newborn. I guess you could say I have a little bit of experience with this (although not as much as some.) I actually started my first year of Homeschooling in 2005 when my 4th child was only 3 weeks old and we were in the middle of a move that left us living in one location and daddy living in another (but that's another story.) Since then I have had another newborn in the Spring of 2007, 2009, and our next little bundle is due in about 5 weeks! Much of my Homeschooling experience so far has been either pregnant or with a newborn!
Keeping it simple is my biggest and best piece of advice for those who are pregnant or just have had a baby. When I am feeling really bad in the beginning with morning (really all day) sickness or after a baby is born we do just the basics. Instead of doing a lot of hands on projects, unit studies, or field trips we rely on a lot of "book learning" during these time periods. We will use a textbook for Science and History and read through the sections together and do the questions out loud. We read out loud a lot! We will choose a chapter book that is interesting to the children and read a little bit of it every day. Math will pretty much stay the same but I might add in some extra computer time with educational Math or Reading time when I don't have as much time to spend on these subjects. Our Bible curriculum may get set aside and instead we will just read a section out of our Storybook Bible and answer the questions together. Art just doesn't happen during these time periods. That is OK because we make up for it at other times. Even though I may not do an Art project with all of the children together, I do make sure we have plenty of supplies on hand so if they are feeling like creating something special they can go and do it on their own.
I schedule our "breaks" around the time the baby is going to be born and take 1-2 weeks off of school. My last 2 children (and the one that's due in March) have been born close to Easter. Instead of us taking Spring Break when the public schools do, we work up until the baby is born and take our vacation after. The amount of time we take off really depends on how quickly I am feeling back to normal and how much sleep the baby lets me get :).
One other thing I find that is helpful when Homeschooling with a newborn is to try to have a full freezer before the baby is born. It can be a little overwhelming to think of all the things you have to do with a newborn, plus taking care of your family, and having to feed them too. I find that if I have a good supply of easy to make meals or can cook up several meals and freeze them before the baby is born, it takes some of the stress off when the baby arrives.
Much of our Homeschooling is done with the baby right there with us. Newborns spend most of their time eating and sleeping and it is pretty easy to read to the older children with a newborn (and a toddler or two) curled up right with you. That's a great thing about homeschooling it's family friendly and includes everyone!
One other piece of advice I have is you do not have to be Super Woman! Take a day off if you are tired from being up with a newborn all night. Leave the laundry for another day. If it's nice outside and you are having cabin fever, load up the kids and take a "field trip" to your local park. Declare a quiet time every afternoon where your children have to find something quiet to do for an hour so you can take a catnap. Homeschooling can be as flexible as you need it to be so don't forget to take plenty of time to enjoy those newborn snuggles!