How do you homeschool with a baby?
You just do it.
I know that sounds overly simplistic, but it’s the best explanation I can give. People talk about how to keep your house clean or get the dishes done or be more productive at work. In the end, it really comes down to just doing it.
The first week, my parents were here and largely managed the toddler. The second week, Bryan worked from home and handled stray contingencies like toddler poop and homeschool community day. Both of these weeks, the girls did not do math which knocks an hour off their day. The third week, we had no homeschool community, so we took vacation and I planned out lessons for the next six weeks for Hannah and streamlined Emma’s planning sheet to make it easier to fill out after her seminar day.
Until this past week, we were back to full school with math and mom tutoring the Essentials class and taking everyone to our homeschool community day all by myself. How did it go?
Overall things went well. School got done. We made it everywhere mostly on time. Everyone got fed everyday. We did some cleaning up everyday. We held the baby. We read stories. Children played outside. We had dessert. People got clean. The furnace inspection happened.
Things could have gone better. We could have gotten school done earlier. Perhaps, the laundry could have gotten folded more often. Sometimes, we had grumpy attitudes. Mom could have better insured that all children were dressed for the weather.
But overall, we were successful, and beyond just doing it, here are a few reasons why I think we didn’t go under:
I’ve been trying to prioritize my rest. I’m generally terrible at this, but as I’m getting older, I’m maybe getting a little wiser. If I’m not getting around 7 total hours of sleep, I’m going to be crabby. No one wants a crabby mom. Better to wake up Bryan for help or let baby sleep on a sister or something to ensure that I can function because people need me around here.
Along with that, I’m taking all the help people will offer. Someone asked, “Do you need a meal?” I have freezer meals in the freezer, but I replied, “We would never turn down a meal,” because that is one less thing that I have to think about. Also, I’ve realized as I get older that if someone wants to help and you refuse them, it’s kind of a jerky thing to do. This includes help from in house family members. Do you want me to change the baby, Mom? Yes, please.
I’m managing my expectations. If the house is getting messy, I’m trying to determine what we can do right then or soon to help fix it. Five minute pick ups for the kids with candy rewards when they make their goal are working wonders. Should I bribe my children? It’s working, so yes. When I’m limited to what I can do with a baby in the carrier when I’m not feeding him, I’ll take what I can get.
We’re trying to incorporate the fun. Things slow down. I said no to at least three field trips in October and several other activities, but this gives us more time during the day and at dinner to play and sing silly songs or just to appreciate the humor involved with toddlers and babies.
Finally, I’m slowly working on getting a regular schedule for baby so that now, he’s only really getting up once a night which, although the nights are still short, helps quite a bit. And he’s getting older which means that he’s getting better at playing and staying entertained for short time periods so that I can get a few things done.
Now, throwing Christmas preparations in with this has been a little tricky, but we’re getting there all the same.
What questions do you have about homeschooling with babies and toddlers?