Homeschooling with a Newborn

You know the stereotype about homeschool families having a ton of kids? Well, it’s a stereotype because it’s very often true. This means that at some point, you will be faced with the task of homeschooling with a newborn in the house. Scary, right? It certainly can be, but with some good planning, a little help, and lots and lots of baskets, you can successfully run your homeschool, even with a cute little distraction. Read on to find out how!

Prepare in Advance

One of the few perks of pregnancy, is that it typically won’t be a surprise when the baby arrives. That means you have plenty of time to prepare for homeschooling with your newborn. This planning will be key to simplifying your life over the coming months.

For me, life slows waaaaay down towards the end of my pregnancies. It’s tough to keep up with things around the house, let alone keep up with regular homeschool lessons. Don’t feel bad if homeschool needs to pause for a few weeks. Don’t overdo it before your baby comes, and take a few weeks to heal and recover after baby is born.

Homeschool doesn’t have to be on a strict schedule. Let your family adapt to a big change for everyone.

However, once you’re ready to resume, it’s important to have a plan ready and put some tools in place to simplify things.

Make Homeschool Baskets

Baskets. Are. The. Best. Thing. Ever.

If you read this blog regularly you will come to realize that I love baskets, because they are the best thing ever! I will accept absolutely no argument on this point.

Baby Basket
Coloring and Play-Doh Baskets
Book and Toy Baskets

I don’t have a basket problem, you have a not enough baskets problem!

My husband makes fun of me over my use of baskets, but I think he’s just jealous.

Anyway, prepare baskets that you can have nearby your favorite chair or glider so your homeschool resources are close at hand. When homeschooling with a newborn, you want to minimize the amount you have to get up and find things. Here are some items you may want to consider putting in your baskets:

  • Workbooks/Worksheets
  • Manipulatives (like the useful ones in The Home Learning Kit)
  • Books you are reading as a family
  • Unit study materials (discussed more below)

You could also make baskets for each subject you’re working on and pull them out as needed.

Plan the Structure and Topics You Want to Cover

Structuring Your Lessons

Having your newborn is most likely going to force a change in the way you do things. Your homeschool probably mixes one-on-one time with group work and family time, and the balance of how you do things will be thrown off with the baby. You may have less time for one-on-one, so consider how you can teach lessons to the rest of your kids as a group.

I have an article that talks about using group lessons when homeschooling multiple ages.

Thematic units are also a great way to bundle lessons together for multiple subjects and age groups around a common topic.

What are the Most Important Topics?

Reading and Math. It can be so easy for kids to regress in Reading and Math because so many principles build on one another. While taking a break to recover and enjoy that newborn cuteness is perfectly fine, try to get your older kiddos back into Reading and Math ASAP, even if it’s the only things you can do for a while.

The good news, is both of these subjects can usually be kept up with simple practice:

  • Read a book together and talk about the themes, characters, settings, vocabulary words, etc. Some of my reading printables can be useful for this.
  • Do spelling tests
  • Give your children grammar worksheets
  • Practice multiplication tables
  • Study math flash cards

If you have the time and energy to add more subjects, Social Studies (History, Geography, Government), a foreign language, and Art could be easy to resume.

The most difficult subject to pick back up may be Science, especially if you do lots of hands-on experiments.

Homeschool Around the Newborn’s Schedule

This is a no-brainer for you. There’s no putting a newborn on a schedule outside of waking her up to feed her every couple hours. If you’re unlucky like me, your little one tends to get rambunctious at night, leading to some slow mornings. Take your baby’s habits into account.

If your baby keeps you up all night, don’t worry about hitting the books hard, early in the morning. Do something easy like reading together or even give your older kids the morning off. I promise, they won’t complain.

Make the Best of Naptime

Naptime, glorious naptime!

I believe you essentially have two options when your baby is taking a nap:

  1. Get your one-on-one homeschool time in with the older kids
  2. Nap time/quiet time for everyone

One-on-one time is going to be your chance to focus on more difficult topics and individual challenges your kids might be facing. It’s also a good time for you to spend some quality time with your child and remind them that you love them, even with your family’s new addition.

There’s also a good chance you’re exhausted from trying to be the super mom all the time, not to mention recovering from childbirth. Nap time for the baby is a good time to have naps or quiet time for your other kids and for you to rest.

You know the saying, “When the baby sleeps, you sleep.”

Get Help from Your Older Kids

When you’re homeschooling with a newborn, it’s easy to fall behind on everything: lessons, sweeping, dishes, laundry, etc. If you have children old enough to help, put them to work and have them take some stress off of you.

If you have a middle schooler, they can probably help your younger ones with things like spelling, reading, or arithmetic. You can also train your kids to do things like unload the dishwasher, fold towels, sweep, or dust.

Take the time to teach your children what they can do to help. It’s a load off your mind and something that they can take pride in.

Wrapping Up

Homeschooling with a newborn may seem like a daunting challenge, but if you plan ahead it can be done very successfully. Just remember that it won’t go perfectly. That’s okay! Embrace this wonderful experience with your family that will help you all grow together. Enjoy your time with your new baby, because it’s gone in the blink of an eye.

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I’d love to hear your stories about homeschooling with a newborn. Feel free to share with me on social media!

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