Thursday, January 21, 2016

10 Tips for Homeschooling with a Newborn

Homeschooling with a baby is not for the faint of heart.  I have homeschooled with a baby before, twice actually.  Once when my middle child was a baby, and when I babysat a baby.  I have to say, homeschooling with a newborn baby is much easier than homeschooling an older baby (who is awake more, very active, mobile, and vocal).  I am no expert at homeschooling with or without babies, but I do have a few years under my belt.  Here is what I've gleaned:

  • Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.  I know you've heard that saying before, and it is as true today as it was in years past. I go to bed when the kids go to bed- as early as 8, but as late as 9:30.  I need my rest, especially with a baby waking up to nurse, pass gas, and fill his diaper every few hours.  Other things that wake me are my own bladder or thirst, my husband's work phone (he's on call every few weeks), and early gym alarms. Before the baby arrived, I was up and at 'em by 5am.  After baby, I let him wake me up, which today was at 4:45. Why do I get up so early? Because I have to wake up before my two older children.  If they wake up first, my attitude is shot.  I lose my patience too often, which leads to yelling and saying things I shouldn't.  
  • Start your day with Bible, prayer, and coffee. In fact, I'll add a shower in there too. Yes, shower, Bible, prayer, and coffee.  If I miss any of those, my day is a stinky mess. When a mommy's hormones are wack-o (or a woman's in general), she needs help getting in the right frame of mind.  God's Word changes hearts and minds (as does a good shower, and a nice cup of coffee!)  My prayer for this school year has been for God to give me compassion for these little ones, to be sweet, and gentle.  I am not any of those things. But with God's grace, I can be!  I have seen that prayer work wonders in my life, but only when I make time to talk to Him.
  • Keep it all in perspective.  Homeschool is not about having the best education (although it can be!).  The baby will grow up in the blink of an eye.  Relax. If you don't cover math class today, so what?  You'll have tomorrow, or the summer to memorize those addition facts with fun games.
  • Breathe.  When the baby gets to screaming, and the toddler's diaper leaked all over the sheets twice in one day (true story), just breathe. The laundry can wait. So can the dishes.  But your children won't.  After you breathe, attack the most important thing first.  Then work your way down the list.  And make sure you put your own needs above the chores.  I have a dishwasher to unload and dishes in the sink.  But here I am blogging . . . for me, because my needs matter too.
  • Don't expect too much from yourself.  We like to compare ourselves with others.  Don't.  You do what you can do, and that is all you can do. There is a lot I personally don't do in my homeschool. For instance, I do not do science experiments very often.  I see other moms blogging about amazing science experiments their preschoolers are doing.  That's not me.  And that's okay. 
  • Exercise.  I don't nap during the day.  I don't need to nap.  Why?  Because during nap time I am breaking a sweat!  Exercise is so good for the mind, body, and soul.  Stressed about school? Sweat it out.  Tired? Sweat it out.  You'll feel better, and when Mommy feels good, everyone feels good!   
  • Take a break.  When my preschooler and my newborn nap, guess what?  I'm taking a break. For me, I usually exercise and do a hobby of some sort. The housework will never stop. Your house is a home, not a museum.  And, a spotless home is not necessarily a happy home.  I like my home neat enough to eat off the floor, but messy enough to show that I've put time into my children.  So instead of cleaning during your break (unless that's your hobby), relax!  You deserve it!
  • Wear your baby.  I love my Moby Wrap.  When I need cuddle time during school, I slip baby inside and he snoozes peacefully.  I can do chores with him in there too, although at a snail's pace.  :)
  • Work around baby's schedule.  If you know baby wants a snack at 10am, that's a perfect time to have your child do some table work (worksheets, flashcards).  If you know Junior struggles with their writing and needs your undivided attention, plan for them to write during baby's nap.   
  • Eat healthy.  When Mommy takes care of her body, her mind and body work more efficiently. Eat fruit and vegetables with every meal and for snacks.  Your body needs vitamins (fuel), not junk.  I like to eat tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos with my eggs (breakfast, lunch, or dinner).  I steam enough vegetables to fill half of a plate for lunch (brussel sprouts and carrots are my favorite right now!)  I eat hummus with raw veggies (carrots, celery, or bell peppers are usually in my fridge).  I top bananas with all natural chocolate peanut butter.  And for dinner, Daddy is the chef, and he knows I get mad if he skimps on the broccoli (half a plate, please). We don't eat Doritos, Cheetos, Lays, etc. because we don't buy them.  If you don't buy the junk, you won't eat the junk.  And the junk will have you running on E long before bedtime.  How can you homeschool when you're exhausted?  I know I can't!  Not only will you have long-lasting energy when you eat healthy, but your immune system will be in top shape.  Colds, anyone?  I read an article that says adults contract 4 colds a year, and children contract 8.  I had one over the summer (while pregnant), and a few sneezes throughout the year (and for the past several years) otherwise.  I have no doubt the exercise and good diet kicked those viruses to the curb. My son and husband both had the flu 3 years ago. Me and the baby remained 100% healthy, without the help of Bleach or Lysol.  Staying healthy is so important for homeschooling.  And, if you eat healthy, your waist line will thank you! You'll have that hour-glass figure you've always wanted- although that doesn't have much to do with homeschooling, just an added bonus :) Unless, of course, you homeschool better when you feel gorgeous!  I know I do!
Did you notice most of my advice revolves around caring for YOU?  If you take care of your mind, body, and spirit, homeschooling with a newborn will fall into place!

What about you?  Do you have any tips for homeschooling with a newborn?      

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