Welcome to the Homeschooling with a Newborn series here on Raising Arrows! I have homeschooled with 6 different newborns in tow, the latest one joining us this past January, so I feel fairly qualified to speak to this issue. I say “fairly” because homeschooling with a newborn is always a brand new adventure since each of your babies is a brand new person!
Preparing For a New Baby as a Homeschooling Mom
For me, those final weeks of pregnancy are not incredibly productive ones. I’m one of those pregnancy mamas who slows down everything at the end. I just can’t keep up. School goes down to a bare minimum, and I take that extra time to prepare for what we’ll be doing after baby is born.
We all know what we need to do to get our house ready for baby, but do we know what we need to do to get our school ready?
Let’s talk about the things you need to consider and prepare for when it comes to homeschooling with a newborn.
What Will School Look Like Before, During, & After Baby?
With Baby #8 (this cute little guy), I decided at 34 weeks to quit schooling until after baby arrived. Some of that decision had to do with it being Christmastime and some of that was just the fact that I knew I couldn’t keep going at full speed.
Some mamas keep going right up to the end, and then choose to take their break AFTER baby is born; however, that’s not me. Two weeks after baby arrives, I’m back at school again, not because I feel I have to, but because I love it that much!
Speaking of “have to”…please, oh please, do not choose what your schooling will look like during these weeks out of GUILT. You are bringing another human being into the world. Take the time you NEED.
If you have older children, you might need to consider if they will continue to work on school work while you are having the baby or if they are able to take a break. It is my firm belief that young children do not need nearly the number of school hours we foist upon them, so I never have them do school when there is a life situation that keeps me from being by their side. Because I birth in a hospital setting, our children stay with grandparents. Rarely do I expect grandparents to orchestrate school for the older children, and it is a pain to pack school books to take with them, so my children, big and little alike, typically get a break from school while Mama is having their newest sibling.
Getting Your Homeschool In Order
As I said above, in a couple of weeks, I’m ready to get back to school, so I like to have a plan in place for what school will look like in those early days and beyond. I bookmark sites on the internet and put into folders, print off papers and put into files, reorder and organize supplies and books, and generally try to make the homeschooling part of my life as easy as possible.
Once baby is here, I typically focus my energies on getting the older kids started back into their work several days or even weeks before I get the little kids back into theirs. This gives us a chance to work through a new routine (more on that in a later post) and gives me a bit more freedom.
It’s okay to rely heavily on workbooks, videos, and audios in those early weeks. Make a list of some easy homeschooling materials you can use while you adjust to a new baby, and start preparing now for what school will look like then.
An Arm’s Reach Away
This is my rule for everything when it comes to a new baby. It is also my homeschooling rule, newborn or not. I refuse to spend my time running all over the house for things I need. When I have a newborn, I keep a Nursing Mama Basket next to my chair. I’ve taken this same concept and created a Homeschooling Mama Basket as well.
When you are homeschooling with a newborn, you truly need everything to be as efficient as possible. Having the things you need most all within arm’s reach makes life so much easier!
One Room Schoolhouse
Do school in one room. In fact, do school in one chair. OK, not everyone in the one chair, but YOU in ONE chair the entire time. You’ve got your Homeschooling Mama Basket for a reason! You do not need a table to homeschool. Really, you don’t.
Choose a room. Choose your spot. Then, gather everyone there and save yourself a ton of energy!
Additionally, do as much as you can corporately. Now is the perfect time to switch to as much group work as you can. This means living books, discussions, unit studies and the like. In fact, you may find you love this type of homeschooling so much, you’ll never go back!
(affiliate plug –> You can learn more about having corporate school time in Kendra Fletcher’s ebook Circle Time.)
If you manage to make up freezer meals or have family and friends bring in meals, fantastic! However, there’s a good chance you’ll run out of meals long before you are ready to jump back into cooking full time. Now is the time to plan some super simple meals that fit seamlessly into your homeschooling day. We’ll talk more about these in tomorrow’s post.
Take Care of Yourself
Nourish your body and brain as you prepare for baby’s arrival. It took me 8 babies to realize I needed to take better care of myself, especially at the end of pregnancy. I’ve been known to subsist on candy bars and soda at the end of pregnancy because I’m tired…tired of being pregnant, tired of being fat (where’s the logic there?), tired of being tired. I wish I could go back and do it all over again with the mindset I have now! What you eat now WILL make a difference in how you feel after!
This series is part of the Summer Hopscotch. Click the link to read more great posts on a myriad of topics from other homeschooling mamas!