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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Homeschooling with a Newborn

I can't believe our new baby is 6 weeks old already! Between taking care of him, teaching the older children, washing clothes, washing dishes, keeping everyone fed and getting back to our outside activities, it seems like time has just flown by.

Here are my tips for homeschooling with a newborn:

1. Bouncy Seat and Sling - I absolutely love holding my babies, but there are times I need two hands to get things done. My babies always seemed to startle when placed in a swing, but I love using the bouncy seat for short periods of time, and my Maya Wrap sling really comes in handy when we're out and I need to keep my hands free.

2. Older Siblings - My oldest two children are 9 and almost 6, and they love holding and entertaining the baby. They thankfully also like helping me with chores, so I have them do things like make their beds, fold and put away their own clothes, clean the playroom/schoolroom, clear the table, unload the dishwasher, take out the trash, etc. We haven't implemented a system of rewards or allowance at this point. Right now, we just focus on working as a team.

3. Quiet Time - Every day, I give myself the gift of one to two hours of quiet time. During the baby's afternoon nap, my 3-year-old and I also nap, and my older two children can either read or draw quietly. This little break gives me something to look forward to if we're having a rough morning, and the boost of energy I need to make it through the evening.

4. Simple Routines - In addition to our daily quiet time, I have simple daily routines that help me stay on top of household tasks. The routines keep me running on autopilot if we've had a rough night, and they also prevent me from being overwhelmed because I know exactly what I need to accomplish in any given day. Flylady's simple system of routines saved us from CHAOS over 6 years ago, and we've been flying ever since. You can learn more about Flylady here.

5. Meal Plan - Before the baby was born, I froze a few of our favorite casseroles and made a 3 month menu. I also ordered a few pre-made mixes from Homemade Gourmet that I can use when we're in a pinch. Once we're out of meals, I plan to go back to using pre-made meal plans that come with recipes and grocery lists. I found the Eat at Home Cooks blog a few months ago, and we've absolutely loved Tiffany's recipes.

Here's the menu I made that we're using for January thru March. (I'm sorry it took me so long to post this.) I made a six week plan, then repeated it for another six weeks. Most of the soups and casseroles were made and frozen during the weeks before Elijah was born, and the other meals are made in the crock pot or are really simple to prepare.

I'm normally a big fan of taking a break from school when you have a new baby in the house, but my oldest is not as far along as I'd like him to be, and I wanted to keep going. Here's a video with tips for Homeschooling with Little Ones.

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Henry Cate said...

It is good to hear things are going well. Younger children give older children so many opportunities for service and growth.

Yvonne Batot said...

Wow, I'm so impressed, homeschooling with a newborn. I find it hard to homeschool with a 2 year old. Hats off to you!

**** April **** said...

I just wanted to say THANK YOU for posting this! I'm due April 26 and really want to finish out the year RIGHT with my son and not HAVE to take a huge break. I've enlisted the help of both MY mom and my MIL for the days when I AM in the hospital. I have created a MUCH lighter work schedule for those couple of weeks following delivery until I can muddle my way through a schedule and since he'll literally be 4 weeks from being totally finished for the year, I didn't want him to have to wait on me to be "done" (not that they're ever "done"). Thanks for the tips! YOu give me hope!

Carletta said...

That's great, April. Just don't be afraid to take a break if you need one or even just move to a 2 or 3 day work load. Congrats and best wishes!

Jennifer said...

I linked to your page through COHS and saw your post on hsing with a newborn. I'm having a c-section next Thursday and fortunately my hs goals are almost met. We use Ambleside Online and we'll finish up Term 2 this Friday. This gives me a chance to take off next week and most of March as needed. Unfortunately, my freezer stocking hasn't gone as planned, but as you've mentioned, the crockpot is my friend. It was nice to read that it can be done. I have 2 currently hsing - an 11 yr old and a 9 yr old with a 5 yr old doing bits and pieces. Can't wait til our newborn is 6 wks old. Thanks again for blogging. It gave me much needed encouragement.

Stack said...

OH Carletta, I'm so far behing on your sorry...I didn't even know baby was born, so congratulations!!! Kisses and Hugs. And I can't wait to tuck in and catch up.