homeschooling with a new baby

While I’m on a roll with homeschooling posts I thought I’d write a few more. This was a phrase I’d put into google because I was getting worried how I was going to homeschool with a new baby in the house. Blog posts would say you won’t be homeschooling, you need to change things, take a break, some made jokes. I had plans for what would happen but some of them went out the window. In reality everything changes when a new baby comes into the house. Your whole life changes, routines go out the window and everyone is adjusting to life with a baby that feeds and sleeps and needs lots of nappy changes and attention. So homeschooling will have to change. Once you accept that then you keep moving forward and doing things but just in a different way. This is how we’ve been doing things for the first 3 months with a new baby……not all at the same time! I’m not going to suggest you try all of these approaches otherwise you’ll be exhausted and burnt out. Just try what works…………

First thing we did was plan a few research assignments for my girl. My big girl is in year 3 and loves making posters and using the internet so she had a few countries to research and made some posters and brochures which ticked a few subject boxes and she had fun doing them.She also researched a few saints and created 1 pagers on them with a drawing.

Take a break and keep working through the holidays. With the older kids it’s easier for them to continue their work if they work independently. My big girl does so she was able to keep on top of her english, maths, religion and history which are all in her books. That was easier. For my little girl we did some colouring, reading books and playing board games and playing with her little brothers.

It can also be a good time to work on problem areas that you are getting stuck on or where you have gaps in your learning. Let’s say you haven’t kept up with geography or history or science experiments. Now is the time to catch up and do a few things with the big kids taking the lead. Teachers pay Teachers have some great units of study that can help a student who is stuck on something. We used a great one on division that including colouring activities and was really fun for my daughter to complete. I just printed it off before I had the baby and she worked through it at her own pace.

Computer time and DVD’s are perfect when you are busy with the baby. My big girl loves watching David Attenborough on apple tv so she watched a few episodes and she was learning about animals and the world. We also had some dvd’s from the library on history which were interesting. Catching up on her online maths work was also completed and the kids love being on the computer. Make sure the computer is in a room where you can see them….otherwise mine switch to youtube and cat  or harry potter memes.

Now might be the time to get some help in. You could always have a university student or tutor come in and help with some subjects if you really can’t fall behind with work or lose your routine. Set the work while you’re pregnant because it will be hard to do when baby is here.

Read, read and read. We have a few baskets around the house full of picture books and the kids can easily grab one and I can read while the baby is feeding. It’s nice to snuggle up and read books together.

Keep up your recording. I have a notebook for each homeschooler and I write in each day what we have done. When the baby arrived home I switched to weekly and would think back over everything we had done and how we met our subjects. If you can keep your notebook next to where you feed then you can be taking notes and keeping your recording up to date without any dramas

If you’re not getting your older children to work independently then now is the time to try it. You should be able to set a child work (for us we started from year 2 when we started homeschooling) and they can complete it and see you if they get stuck. This makes life easier when they get older as they are used to working independently. Now of course if you need to teach a new concept then you need to take the time to sit down and do this but generally older students should be able to work on their book work on their own.

Fill the portfolio. If you’ve fallen behind with keeping your portfolio up to date with work samples and artworks now is the time to get the kids working to fill up the portfolio. As a rule I just add a sample of something we’ve done each week to the portfolio. I’ll flick back and see what we’re missing in terms of subjects and then the next week I’ll do that subject. That way when it comes time for renewal of our home school registration everything is done.

If you’re not keeping a reading log/journal of books read now is the time to start one. We just keep ours in a plastic sleeve in the front of their portfolio and I write in the books we’ve read.

Go to the library. It’s nice just to break up the day and get the kids out of the house.

Use your time while you’re pregnant to print off activities that the kids can complete on crazy days. I keep a folder with plastic sleeves and it has maths, english, religion and other activities all printed up for my youngest so when we are having a bad day or she’s having a bad day we can pull one out and she loves them. Teachers pay teachers is my favourite site.

Educational games are perfect for the younger homeschoolers to learn. Check out the sales section of educational stores and homeschool buy/swap groups as well as eBay. We picked up this little set for $5 and it’s so handy and all the little kids love using it. I had never seen one before but it’s very popular in our house. I have a large plastic tub that is full of games, board games and flashcards so I can pull something out when I feel we need to break things up or do something educational for my little miss.

Do some art and craft. Something easy, nothing too messy but now might be the time for them to use youtube and do some craft projects. A quick trip for supplies or having a tub for art and craft means they can access everything easily. My big girl loves to do pom poms and can sit for hours making them………..and I also find them all over the house too.

And don’t stress. Homeschooling shouldn’t be stressful and the kids will be learning great life skills by helping you care for the baby. They can be baking and helping you with your jobs and learning what it’s like to have a new baby in the house. You can always catch up and you might actually enjoy homeschooling more because you are taking it a bit easier. Don’t beat yourself up and remember that this could be the time that the kids really learn for themselves and learn in an enjoyable way without a strict routine.

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