Homeschooling with a newborn can be challenging. Try Chelsea’s tips for continuing to educate older siblings while keeping your day manageable.
At the end of September, my family welcomed our second child into the world. This change was a significant one for our 7-year-old son – and my husband and me! I was worried about how we would adjust.
Slowly but surely, we are figuring things out and getting back into the swing of things. One of the most challenging things for our family to navigate through this transitional time has been our schooling.
We’ve always been a pretty laid-back family in terms of our schooling style. Still, we make a point of providing our son with the resources he needs to thrive and grow. Right now for us, this means:
- Frequent trips to the library
- Read-aloud bedtime stories
- Lengthy discussions and family internet research sessions about interesting topics that come up in our day-to-day life
- Keeping a simple journal.
- Fun math workbooks
However, even with a super laid-back approach such as this, keeping up and making sure our son receives the stimulation he needs has been quite the challenge since the baby arrived.
Fortunately, we have figured out a few tricks that have made things considerably more manageable. I highly recommend putting these tips to use when adding a new member to your family, or in any season during which time is scarce and stress levels are high.
Tips for Homeschooling with a Newborn
Give Yourself a Break
First and foremost, you must give yourself a break. The first step to giving yourself a break is accepting the fact that you probably won’t be getting a lot of schoolwork done in the first couple of weeks after the baby arrives.
Some people may have a hard time with this, thinking their child will fall behind. However, you will likely be able to jump right back on track once you’re up for doing schoolwork again. And, you’ll be surprised how much the kids continue learning during this break, even with no formal schooling.
Besides, the beauty of homeschooling is the ability to take breaks when it suits you. You can call this postpartum period your “spring break,” or you can work further into the summer if you need to.
Try these tips to ensure you get the break you need and get back into the swing of homeschooling with a newborn a little more smoothly:
- Cook and freeze meals ahead of time, eliminating the need to cook dinner
- Stock the fridge with quick, easy, and healthy snack foods that the kids can get themselves
- Have a family cleaning day and take advantage of any nesting urges, deep cleaning as much as you can before the birth so you can relax in a clean house afterward
- Ask friends and family for help with housework or hire a postpartum doula to help out with the transition.
Take Advantage of Media
Even if you aren’t getting a lot of formal school work done during those first two or three weeks after the baby is born, you can still provide your older kids some educational resources. You might even find that a bit of “edutainment” is precisely what your family needs to keep the kids entertained while you care for the little one.
Therefore, I recommend a trip to the library, and some time spent scouring the internet and your video streaming services before your new bundle of joy arrives.
Stock up on:
- Books – You’ll want to have lots of reading material on hand. Make sure you choose books that interest your kids and which they can read by themselves. If your kids don’t read yet, enjoyable picture books are also great to have.
- Podcasts — We love Brains On!, Tumble, and Wow in the World.
- Audiobooks — These can take the place of family read-alouds for a while. My family has loved the Harry Potter Series, anything by Roald Dahl, and we are currently working on the series called The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.
- Documentaries — Netflix has tons of excellent documentaries. Find several of them on topics that interest your kids and add them to your watch list. You might be surprised that even younger children can enjoy an engaging documentary on the right subject.
Use Feeding Sessions
Even with lots of educational media to entertain your kids, you will, of course, still want to spend time with them. This is where nursing (or bottle feeding) sessions come in handy.
Since you’ll be sitting still feeding the little one, take advantage of that time by doing a bit of schooling with the big kids. Because babies eat so often, you’ll be able to get in quite a bit of quality time this way.
What kind of homeschooling can you do while feeding an infant? Well, you could make use of one of those audiobooks, podcasts, or documentaries by listening or watching as a family and discussing afterward. As Baby gets older and feeding becomes second nature, you can sit next to your kid and help them through worksheets or textbooks.
I love the idea of turning feeding times into mini-lesson times rather than using nap times. This way, nap times are free for more focused or hands-on activities – or grabbing a quick shower!
Of course, there is also the option of finding people to help out with the bigger kids. For instance, if your older children need to get to extracurriculars or co-op, ask a friend who will also be attending to take them.
Grandparents, uncles, aunts, and family friends might be willing to take your homeschooled students to the museum, zoo, or other educational outings. You might even be lucky enough to have somebody willing to give the kids lessons in something they excel at, such as sewing, cooking, or fishing.
Think outside the box and ask around. You might be surprised how many people are willing to jump in and help, and sometimes a helping hand can make an enormous difference.
Homeschooling with a newborn can be overwhelming, but give yourself a bit of grace and use these tips as your family adapts. Take things one step at a time. You’ve got this!
Have you homeschooled after the birth of a baby? What tips would you add?