The thing that has made me stress the most over the years of doing this has been going from homeschooling just one child to homeschooling two kids at the same time. But, then, we added a baby into the mix, too. How on Earth do you homeschool with a baby in the house?!
Honestly, I ask myself this same question daily. How do we get anything done while my little cruiser is constantly pulling things out of baskets, stealing pencils, and squealing for our attention?
Homeschooling with a baby is an adjustment
Last year was the first year that I homeschooled more than one child. I was also due with our third child just a few weeks into the school year. It took some planning and a lot of letting things just happen to get the job done.
When our third child, a beautiful girl, was born in September, we had already allotted time to have off after birth for me to recover and for everyone to become acquainted as a new family of five. We started school in early August so we’d already be on a roll when baby sister joined us.
When she finally decided to make her entrance (at 41 weeks and 3 days, my longest pregnancy!), and we were finished with our babymoon, we did what I like to call couchschooling. All of the work that we had done on tables previously moved right onto the couch.
With a baby attached to my breast or sleeping in my arms, couchschooling was perfect. It allowed me to tend to her needs as well as get the work that we needed to get done with my big kids. We could easily do our lessons together on the couch, and they could head to a table or the floor to finish anything up.
Oh, I wish our couchschooling could have lasted forever! Our sweet, relaxed school year has morphed into a little bit of chaos, but it’s still beautiful in it’s own way. We now have to have ALL school work up on the table, for fear that baby sister will tear into it or consume their work (Yum, paper). But, it’s all working great.
Just like with any change, adding a baby takes flexibility
You see, just like any other change in life, we just have to go with the flow. Our style is forever changing and evolving, just as our kids are changing and growing. Homeschooling with a (soon to be) toddler in the house is definitely interesting most days, but it’s completely doable. Whether you’re a large family homeschooling and adding in baby #7 (or 8, or 9!), or adding in baby #3 like us, plan for lots of flexibility.
When, and if, she gives me a good nap, I feel like we can take on the world! And when she’s awake, everyone pitches in to keep her happy during school time. We have some small toys that we let her play with just during school time to keep her occupied, and if she’s having an especially cranky day, then we take turns keeping her happy while lessons get accomplished.
The key is flexibility. If we’re having a bad day or if the baby is being crazy, we know our lessons will still be there tomorrow, and no one will be any less off for them having to wait. What I expected to be a stressful year, turned out to be one of my favorite years of homeschooling so far. The sweet cuddles on the couch were the perfect start to homeschooling more than one child and adding another baby into the mix.
Have you homeschooled with a baby in the house? What did you do to adjust? Let me know in my online homeschool community or in the comments below!