Saturday, January 3, 2015

Homeschooling & a Newborn ... Why You Can Ditch the Fear!

 I've been asked a lot of questions during my pregnancy, one of which was, "How are you going to manage a new baby ... AND school?"

I didn't know how to answer that question, as I didn't exactly know how we'd manage it until I had actually done it...

Schooling with a new baby can be intimidating! I've doubted my own abilities, fortitude and sanity trying to school 4 children and manage 2 little ones during this season, but in the end I am reminded that this isn't about me and my abilities... it is about doing what we place value in and seeing God's power prove true through our weaknesses.

Why, I believe, we can ditch the fear ...

1. Babies (generally) sleep a lot ... and if they don't, there is lots of time to hold and nurse a baby when you homeschool. Thankfully, homeschooling is fluid, it can be adjusted around baby's needs, perhaps even better than the routines required by traditional school attendance. Homeschool doesn't need to look a particular way... it can be done at any time, any location and in any manner that fits your family and the reality of your circumstances on any given day.

2. A new baby is an important real-life lesson ... they introduce so many skills and great information for students to learn that will directly benefit them later in life!

A Blog Post Inside a Blog Post... Lessons to Learn from a New Baby!
Books About Babies:
Baby Dear - Eloise Wilkin
Babies Don't Eat Pizza - Dianne Danzig

3. A new baby might help you to cut out the "fluff" and help you get back to the essentials. It is always clarifying for me to revisit our main reasons why we chose to homeschool. Questioning how we've potentially gone away from our initial goals and objectives is very healthy. We simplified our schooling down to the "3 R's" for the first month after Whitley joined us. It was amazing to see how this was a very positive thing for us all... even academically for our older children. They made leaps and bounds of improvement in handwriting, and reading.... and we made some amazing headway in math all because we simplified for a period of time!

4. The alternatives to homeschool aren't real appealing...
Getting kids + baby ready early in the morning... after a long night of being up feeding a baby. Irg!
Driving them to/from school during baby's nap times. Yuck!
Helping with homework during baby's fussiest time of day. Boo-hoo!
Having big kids bring home germs and illnesses! Ahhhh!

The above sounds torturous to me... I know everyone is different, but my preference is to just be a homebody and enjoy a season of sabbath and keeping everyone close.

5. Homeschooling with a new baby in the home is an opportunity to practice working independently for a season. Babies and a slightly more distracted Mom/teacher provide just this opportunity. Becoming independent and a self-driven learner is a highly profitable skill to develop in our little learners.

6. Mothering a baby in front of our children allows them to learn about priorities. People come first. Things, activities and accomplishments should always be placed under the needs of people... we display this as we mother and balance teaching simultaneously.

7. Having a new baby as a family allows everyone to practice personal growth qualities ... serving others, selflessness, compassion, diligence and unity. School at home, for us, is about growing as "whole people" not just academically. So the challenges a new baby brings to us and our school also encourage our personal growth. While this is hard, often it is the hardest things in life that make us better, stronger and more equip people (mom and children). Babies sanctify and grow us.

8. If your day falls apart there is still a sweet baby to hold and nurse ... you'll have been successful at one good thing! Yesterday my 7 year old son said, "Whitley makes every one's day better!" He is right. Our days are happier because of her! I am glad that they all get to experience that joy every day.

9. "School" can mean many things. Having a new baby may encourage you to learn about and apply other methods of education to your school at home. You might discover the amazing resources available on Netflix. You might discover how workbooks can be a good addition to your daily routine. You might discover that reading aloud during this season is a sweet reprieve and an enjoyable practice to add to your day. You might learn that taking a daily walk (with baby in sling or buggy) adds a lot of peace and serenity to your outlook and your students habits. Let go of your preconceived ideas of what "school" is and branch out and enjoy learning something new!

10. New babies are part of homeschool too! Just because they aren't "in kindergarten" doesn't mean that you aren't educating them too! Our school at home enjoys teaching our littlest members with weekly lessons from Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready.   We see our little people as students, learners and just as worthy of our time as our bigger learners! They benefit from having brothers and sisters learning around them, and brothers and sisters who are in formal homeschool benefit from learning alongside them!  There is a depth of learning that both acquire because of the other!

~ ~ ~

Babies produce fear, stress and anxiety in homeschooling mamas... we wonder, "How can I give everyone what they need?" But sweetly, I'm learning that babies are often the very thing that gives the most back, that enrich our other learners lives and make them more whole people ... if we allow them the opportunity to participate and function in our days at home!

Homeschool is not about perfection in a functional little system of our making...  but about living life together, as a family, with the new baby God gifted us!

1 comment:

Carlos and Janis said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have an 8-day-old baby and 4 older children (the oldest of which is 7). We haven't started back into the schooling yet, but I have wondered how to get it all done and still make happy memories along the way. You have painted a beautiful, reasonable picture of getting enough done and also getting to enjoy the baby. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!