Homeschooling for the last three months (since Pearl’s arrival) has been tougher than I expected. For about a week, she napped through the morning and I was able to get through schoolwork with Sunshine and Lily. Then she had a very fussy period, where she refused to nap for very long, and I spent a lot of time bouncing and rocking and trying to keep her from screaming at us. So I reached out to my fellow homeschool moms, looking for tips on homeschooling with a baby. Here are their wise and helpful answers.
Homeschool while Baby Naps
I’ve been keeping our homeschool times to basically whenever the baby naps. That being said, there have been rare times when he’s awake during school “hours.” Since we do school at the kitchen table, I put him in his high chair and keep him close by and feeling included (otherwise he’ll end up pulling at my leg).
If he becomes fussy, I say “recess!” and have the older two go outside while I change, feed, or tend to baby as needed. Most of the time I know my own limits and try to only do school when he’s napping. Even story time is getting to be a challenge with him around; as he gets older he gets more demanding and just wants to suck on the edge of the book… ahhh. It can be a real challenge, for sure. ~ Elise, homeschooling mom of 3 (and homeschool graduate)
Keep the baby in a sling or baby carrier so your hands are free to help the older children. ~ Samantha
Have an Older Sibling Help with Baby
Enlist a sibling to help with the baby while you do school with another one… take turns! ~ Anna, homeschooling mom of 6
I find that an older child is always willing to drop school work and help hold the baby or play with the baby. That being said, the older children do need to get things done as well. Wearing baby in a sling, bouncing baby in the baby chair and the exersaucer have all come in handy. Most importantly, I try to remember that these years go by so fast. I try to breathe, say a prayer and laugh at the chaos. A wise priest told me once to “rejoice in the imperfections of your life.” Love the craziness. Love the children! ~ Jen, homeschooling mom of 5
Pray and Plan Ahead
I have learned to pray first thing in the morning and ask Our Lord and Our Lady for help in practicing the virtue of flexibility and patience. I remind myself the night before, when I’m planning the next day, that things will not always go my way and that I am not alone and to remember Our Lord’s presence.
I try to hit up the core subjects first (like Religion, Math, Phonics/Reading, English Grammar, Spelling and Handwriting) and then if I have time, I do the non-core subjects (Science, Socials Studies, Art/Music/Poetry) as time permits.
I try to stay positive and look back (especially during reporting time) and see that wow, we may have not covered the lesson plans to the T, but we have covered a lot of material just by trying on a daily basis to get some work in. Meal prep (or at least meal ideas) I do the night before, along with whatever else I can so it’s one less thing to do the next day. So yes, meals and homeschool are the two big things, and the other chores as just if time permits or on hold until my husband comes home. ~ Maia, homeschooling mom of 3
Be Creative when Homeschooling with a Baby
Know when you work best together. A happy family is always better than a stressed school time! School can be fun and you don’t always have to be right there. For example, tell the kids, “Take these papers outside and draw things that show you it is spring!” Mommy then curls up on couch, and snoozes with baby in bouncy seat! ~ Emma, homeschooling mom of 4 (and also a homeschool graduate)
Read to the older children (classic literature, history, science, etc) while nursing the baby. ~ Sarah
One great thing I did figure out was that cookbook stands were a great help while nursing. They keep the book steady, and tilted up and I had two hands for baby! 🙂 ~ Emma
Getting outside helps the day go by smoother; baby sleeps better, older kid feels better and mom is energized! ~ Chantelle
Have you done homeschooling with a baby? What has helped you teach your older kids while taking care of the baby?