Homeschooling with a Newborn – Preparing for Baby

Homeschooling with a Newborn Series {Preparing for Baby} | RaisingArrows.net

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!

Posts in the series:
Preparing for Baby
The First Weeks
A New Routine
Helpers – Big & Small
Unexpected Circumstances

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.)

Newborn-friendly Meals

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!

Posts in the series:
Preparing for Baby
The First Weeks
A New Routine
Helpers – Big & Small
Unexpected Circumstances

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19 thoughts on “Homeschooling with a Newborn – Preparing for Baby

  1. Amy, this is a wonderful post, but I sure wish it had been done 3 months ago ;-) My littlest is 7 weeks old and I’m really lucky he has a very mellow personality and that my older kids (the only ones who are homeschooling are 12 and 13…my next one is almost five, so he isn’t in the ranks of the formally schooled yet) are fairly independent. And you aren’t the only one who took of a few weeks at the end. I took 3 weeks before and 2 weeks after. We’ll be going pretty much all summer, but I think that we’ll just switch to year-round from here on out. The ability to take weeks off as needed is just too valuable to stick to a traditional schedule. I’m really looking forward to this series.

  2. My sister-in-law just introduced me to your blog. The timing is perfect! My fifth child is due the middle of September. We have 4 other children all a year apart, ranging from 2-6 years of age This upcoming school year has been looming in the back of my mind as I will try to homeschool our 1st grader and kindergartener with a newborn in tow. Your encouragement and experience are invaluable as we begin our homeschooling adventure! Thank you for being faithful to teach us “younger women”.

  3. Thanks for linking back to some of your older posts. And I thought I had read everything on here. ;) These are really good tips! Living in a small house is a bonus when I have a baby because I make the couch my “headquarters” and I’m only feet away from the dinning room table, which is where they all do school. :D You gotta look at the bright side. : )

  4. I’m like you. I can.not.think. in the final weeks of pregnancy. My brain is gone. My focus is in and out the whole pregnancy as it is and the end is hardest. Two weeks after baby arrives, I’m so happy and clear-headed I’m ready to jump in!

    I keep a nice expandable file with my kids’ worksheets and basic materials. We also keep them occupied a lot with Legos, “How It’s Made” videos, and simple stuff like this where they don’t need my help. Then I might lay down with one at night and practice reading or count as we cook or shop or sit here and there for a short game/lesson. Mostly we aren’t so formal, though!

    My baby (#4) is 3 months old today! I can’t believe it.

  5. Thanks for this post! I was planning on “officially” starting to homeschool my 4 year old this fall (preschool), and now we just found out we’re expecting again! I am nervous about breaking up the routine just a few months after starting. Thanks for this post — great suggestions!

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

  6. Perfect timing Amy! I am due with baby number six in seven weeks and we are making plans for our home and our homeschool.

  7. Thanks Amy is the perfect timing , I am 32 weeks pregnant 9th pregnancy ,7th child ….my situation is a little different we just move to new city one week ago , and are in a company house ,temporary , we don’t know anyone, all our things are in storage . I have being trying to do everything you said , is just hard to do right now, so we are done school until after the baby ,praying we can find a house of our on and move before the baby and school starts in august(we do classical conversations) .and in top of everything having to help the kids with adjusting to the move.

  8. Well, it seems your timing is perfect again! Our little bundle of joy was born last week, and she is precious in every way. However, it is a little different for me as a homeschooling Mama, as we had no time to plan. We offer foster care and we just received a newborn who is addicted to cocaine. She is just too sweet for words, and we are so blessed to be called by God to serve her needs. Problem is, with two toddlers and two teens in the house already, school is sort of put on hold for a week until I get my routine in order.

    I poured over your post for the tips you gave there, and will scour your site for more on how to juggle homeschooling with a newborn……I have a feeding/diaper changing basket, I just need to look at your homeschooling basket.

    Now if you could just write a post on how to help older ones adjust to a fuller house, that would be great!

  9. Thanks for dropping by my blog Amy. I love this series. Even though right now I have an only this is something I’ve been wanting to know for future reference. Great topic!

  10. God bless you for addressing this issue! I am going on #6 and homeschooling my oldest children, boys ages 7 & 8, and have girls ages 4, 2, and 1yr. I’ve gone through a lot trying to keep up! I look forward to ***more*** helpful tips on homeschooling with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. High Five!

  11. I know I’m commenting over here waaaay after this post was published, but I just had to tell you what great and needful advice this is. I just had a conversation today with a young and overwhelmed mama who is trying to homeschool with a sweet newborn.
    Another thing that I wanted to mention is preparing for pregnancy. This year, I really have tried to make provisions for that first trimester in case God blesses us with #7. That is historically my toughest time so I {finally} decided to have things ready to run on auto pilot, much like I do after the baby comes, in those first few weeks of fatigue and morning sickness. Hopefully, it will make things run a little more smoothly if God chooses to bless us again!

    • Yes, those are my worst days as well. I hate to actually plan because I don’t ever want to presume the Lord would bless us again, but it is a wise thing to do even if we were not to ever have another baby!

      • Yes! It’s just another way to say “I’m open, Thy will be done either way”. :) I’ve been trying to prepare my body, too, since my last two were less than a year apart and I had some issues that I feel were probably entirely avoidable if I’d have been stronger prior to them by exercising and eating more intentionally. But even if my womb is closed, I’ll have at least been a better steward with my body, so He’s honored either way!
        By the way, I saw your pics after your weight loss, and you look fantastic! {I was poking around some of your categories last night! }