Homeschool 101: Homeschooling with a new baby

A new baby while homeschooling?

Having a new baby is usually a welcomed and highly anticipated moment! It’s exciting to think about precious fingers and toes, sweet little smiles and adorable clothes. Friends and family are ready to celebrate with you, most of the time. The addition of another child is typically a joyful moment. But when you homeschool, there can be some challenges to manage.

Growing your family while homeschooling adds an extra dimension to an already busy lifestyle. How do you handle the fatigue, nausea and extra appointments on top of managing your children’s education? And what about when the baby comes? Pausing to feed and change a newborn every few hours will definitely interrupt your day.

Do you need to stop homeschooling when you’re pregnant?

Many parents worry that having a new baby will mean needing to stop homeschooling. While a new little one may be a welcome addition, the extra work and loss of sleep can feel too overwhelming to even consider keeping up with the plans and challenges of homeschooling. But a new baby doesn’t automatically mean homeschooling is excluded.

Homeschooling while pregnant and with a new baby is doable!

I’ve homeschooled my oldest daughter through 4 new babies, back-to-back. It was definitely busy, constantly interrupted, but completely doable. In fact, homeschooling made my life easier, logistically speaking. (For one, there was no wrapping up babies to get a young child on a school bus every morning!)

There are benefits to homeschooling while having a baby.

The benefits of homeschooling, even .. or especially! .. when growing your family, are obvious when you consider them. You have complete control over your schedule, meaning that you can do school work, chores and activities around your new baby. And you can even delay the start of school if you like, until you feel comfortable with your newborn!

You also have the help of your older children. Even a 3 year old can fetch a toy, diaper or blanket, and older ones can entertain or soothe fussy babies for a few minutes while you attend to the oven. You get to enjoy a new sibling as a family, and grow those bonds even deeper, right from the beginning, because your older children can interact with their younger sibling continually.

What you can do to get ready:

There are things you can do during your pregnancy and afterwards to make homeschooling not only possible but easier on you.

  1. Delay the start or end early.

    If your baby is due in July, August or September, consider delaying the start of formal academics until after Christmas, and relax your homeschool for a few months. If your baby is due in April, May or June, perhaps you’ll start earlier and end earlier. Give yourself the time to adjust and enjoy!

  2. Reduce the hands-on work.

    Crafts and experiments are not only more time consuming to prepare for, but clean-up intensive. Maybe those can wait for a bit, or you can find an alternative (a digital dissection rather than a real one, or a video tour instead of a diorama?)

  3. Outsource your learning.

    Maybe sign the kids up for a weekly dance class instead of studying Art at home, or try a robotics group instead of math class. Book clubs work amazing for literature studies! There’s co-ops, courses at the library, afterschool homework groups, reading buddy programs at nursing homes or animal shelters, plus tons of other options. Check out your local homeschool and community resources, and outsource their learning. You get some of the benefits of putting them in school — without actually putting them in school.

  4. Online options?

    There are tons of digital, online and video-based curriculums available. From free to subscription based, to full-purchase, there might be a solution for your family. Check out Coursera, Khan Academy, Time4Learning, SchoolhouseTeachers.com, Switched on Schoolhouse or Abeka Academy Online for just a few of the choices available.

  5. Prep for school well in advance.

    Purchase your curriculum early, and plan out your year, long before baby arrives. Perhaps try a list of assignments or lessons rather than dated lesson plans, to allow for those days where you just aren’t up to it.

New babies are educational.

Having a new baby doesn’t have to mean the end of your homeschool. A new baby is a very educational experience! It’s also an amazing, yet overwhelming life change, so give yourself time, don’t overdo it, and give yourself grace. Often we can frustrate ourselves when expectations don’t meet reality. Babies are wonderful, but also hard work. Enjoy it, and don’t worry about your kids’ learning. They will surprise you.

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