tips for homeschooling with a new baby


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  • caedmyn

    Baby #5 is due in early September. My others are 3, 5, 7, and 10, so I’ll have a K’er and one in 2nd and in 5th. The older two probably have dyslexia and ADD/ADHD so their schoolwork is more teacher-intensive than it otherwise would be. I’m currently doing special reading programs with both of them and there’s a good chance they’ll still need these next year (hoping that continuing the reading programs through the summer will get at least one of them to where they don’t need it anymore by fall, but no guarantees). The K’er may have dyslexia also…too early to say for sure but he currently has some problems with phonemic awareness as a 5.5 YO. I feel overwhelmed much of the time already, and I really have no idea how I’m going to manage a baby plus a K’er on top of what we’re currently doing. I also do not handle sleep deprivation well, and all of my babies have woken very frequently for a long, long time. What can I do to survive this next school year and make sure at least some schoolwork gets done, and my kids continue to make some progress with reading?


    I have  no advice, but I’m following this. Our baby # 5 is due this fall and our other children are 10, 8, 6, & very active 3yo! I am concerned about school in the fall, but finishing this school year is more overwhelming. I’ve been trying to keep all-day morning sickness at bay and my elderly father-in-law moved in with us recently.


    I only have a minute right now but wanted to suggest a couple things.  First – don’t do anything formal for the Kindy child.  Read to them, let them color, paint, play dough, puzzle, get outside, build with blocks, cook with you in the kitchen, do chores with you, etc.  Their formal learning can wait a year.  Really.  Let them join in with the big kids to listen to stories or play with materials, but don’t stress over kindergarten.

    Second, streamline and simplify subjects you want to cover for the first half of the school year.  You don’t need to do history and science and literature and composer and artist and poetry and Shakespeare and…. all at the same time.  Choose what needs to be very regular (like math or learning to read practice).  Then choose what to do a few times a week (maybe history and science).  Then decide what other things you want to have happen occasionally.  Maybe September is picture study because you can handle looking at a picture together for 5 minutes one or two times a week.  Then October maybe you choose nature study because you’re running out of nice weather to get outside and be.  November could be poetry study and you read aloud one poem daily for a week at a time (on gratitude or fall perhaps?).  December could be hymn study where you sing and listen to Christmas carols all month.

    Mostly, accept that reading is enough.  Let those who can, read on their own.  Listen to an audio book together (or you read aloud, or do a bit of both)  Look at books with beautiful or interesting or informative pictures.  Even if all you do is math, reading, and having them narrate it will be a wonderful enriching year.

    I promise.

    This year I had baby #9 during the school year.  Every baby has been born during the school year except my oldest.  Really.  And my 4 year old had surgeries 15, 16, and 17 during the school year this year too.  Sometimes life is the lesson.  It’s okay.  They will be that much more prepared for real life because they are living it every day.  ((HUGS))  Enjoy it!  Soak up those baby snuggles when they come.   Laugh a lot.  Rest.  Live.


    Limit clothes to three play outfits and two church outfits. Box everything else up for awhile. Get one basket of toys per kids, and out the rest away.

    I’ve never found schooling with newborns or infants hard. All but my oldest have been born during the school year too. I have 8. Newborns are easy to me, but I know that other moms are different. I schedule my babies, and they sleep early. With full term,non-NICU babies, I still try take six weeks completely off, but we are usually ready to get back sooner than that.

    I just try to make meals and housework easy by eating and wearing the same things all the time.


    I had thought about waiting to start the K’er. My only concern is that he’s writing on his own 2-3 times a week, and forming a lot of letters incorrectly and backwards and upside down. I’m afraid he’ll have a lot of bad letter-forming habits if I wait to teach him how to write the letters.


    Have you ever heard of Peterson Directed Handwriting?  They begin a child with air writing – with chants for the strokes.  Maybe introduce him just to something like that (chants/names for strokes) and make it a game occasionally?  Honestly, I would probably err on the side of waiting because if I try to do just a little I tend to go overboard and do too much at that age.  But that is just me.


    I’d work on preparing now to make things easier later.

    Schooling into the summer, at least some, will help you feel more comfortable with doing less in the fall.   Personally I’d just take the first couple of months with baby completely off of school.

    Do as much as you can to prepare your home so you have less to worry about.  Make lots of freezer meals, make sure fall and winter clothing is ready to go, even if you won’t need it right away, and anything else you can think of.  Make sure your 10yo is ready to be helpful.  If he or she already doesn’t know, teach things like how to start the laundry, make some breakfasts and lunches, how to change diapers, etc.

    For school, find and download audiobooks for things like science and history, line up great documentaries or other videos on netflix or youtube, have playlists of music to use for composer studies, have pictures ready for picture study, bring in outdoor materials or take pictures of items that could be used for nature study.  Have a voice recorder of some sort available for oral narrations.  Choose a few quality online programs that they can work on independently.  The point is to have anything that you can think of to have ready to just grab and go while you nurse a baby or that the older kids can set up themselves while you deal with baby and the other littles. These don’t have to completely replace what you normally would do, but they can fill in when you need them.



    Congratulations!! I just had baby number four and we started back to school after two weeks when my husband went back to work. I could have taken more time off, but I find our days run more smoothly when we school, just because of the routine. My advice for schooling with a baby, or really anything with a baby, is baby wearing. I don’t know how I would get anything done if I didn’t wear my babies! My preference is for a woven wrap, but there are structured carriers, slings, etc.



    I’m also expecting my fifth, due Dec.  my oldest (9) has special needs and my ds (8) can read but is avoiding reading on his own.  My dd (5) tags along and her “math” consists of living math books, working in the kitchen and keeping the egg log for our hens.  My dd (2.5) is very clingy so it will be interesting to see how she handles the changes.

    We’re adding some new-to-us farm animals next month so that will certainly add another component to our lives this winter.

    Tristan, the theme month is an excellent idea!

    Mrs.B, I’m trying to limit clothing and toys but hubby feels like they already don’t have much….they really have too much in my opinion.


    Dyslexia games. com has Funschooling Journals that the author wrote for her children to do mostly independently for six weeks when her youngest was born.  My dd7 loves them.  The child chooses a topic,  gets a stack of books, and uses those to do all subjects except math.  She has a few math journals too. They are flexible and can be used daily or less.

    Card games help us too. For example,  we do math most days, but some days my dd12 plays a Rightstart card game with dd7 for dd7’s math that day.

    DD7 uses Washington Reads card games to practice reading. They can be used with any reading program.  An older sibling can be trained to help the younger with this too.

    On my worst days and for variety we use videos and computer programs, audio books,  etc.


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