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Homeschooling and my newborn. Oy.

1085 Views 22 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  Tigeresse
How do you do it? I have a 5 and 2 y.o. who need me to read to them. They want to bake, do art projects, and go to the museum or library like we used to. But we now have an 8 week old and she makes it very difficult to do ANY of this! The few times during the day that I'm not holding her, I have to rush around the house cleaning or making meals before she wakes up. So when the kids want me to do something with them, I find myself constantly saying "Not now!" or "Maybe later!"

How do you find balance?????????????
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((HUGS)) Mama. I only have the 5yo and 2yo and still have trouble finding my balance sometimes.
I'll be watching. I was full of confidence when this pregnancy started, but now I'm getting worried.
I just have 2,but I find doing much in the pm when the kids are asleep helped.When dh is home(gone most weeks) I might cook up a storm and freeze the meals.Besides getting the bills paid on time I find that most things can wait if the kids need me.Best wishes!
Oh boy do I understand! DS was born 1-30-06 and DDs are ages 7 and 4. We have great days and not so great days. I'm trying to focus on the great days and not worry too much about the not so great days. DH helps in the evening, so we've been doing some stuff then.

Projects - usually have to be done in fits and starts. We made candles last week and I used one baby free minute to get everything out. Later we actually read the instructions and organized our thoughts about what to do. Later actually melted the wax and poured the mold. I insisted on only one candle at a time.

I don't know - I think it's getting easier for the most part. It has helped me to have a minimum that we get done every day so that I never feel like I blew my dds off all day.

I must admit, if my dds were 5 and 2 rather than 7 and 4 I think this would be even harder!
I thought more about this and wanted to say that it has definately gotten better for us. Each week has been exponentially easier. Also, for some outings I have called in reinforcements - my dad. He is coming this week so that we can attend a children's theater production. I want another adult there so that if/when the baby cries I can leave my dds to see the rest of the show.

Congrats on your baby, I hope you (and me!) can find some time to relax and peace of mind. I have a feeling your dc are thriving!
We're considering having another and I wonder/worry about this. Seems like a sling would be INVALUABLE, esp. if you can start backwearing and have hands free.
My 3rd child is now 8 months old. We took a break for a while (my children are still very young, as my oldest is 4) after my infant was born. She was born in the summer, so I was able to just sit outside with her while the kids played and explored. She also spent TONS of time in her sling, and now on my back in her Ergo. I can do just about everything I could before I had her- I just strap her to me and away we go! I did take about 2 months after her birth to really get all my energy back and be able to manage all of the kids and meet their needs.

That being said, there are times when they have to be patient until I finish XYZ with another sibling. They are usually OK about it and if I start taking too long, they help me finish!

My carriers are invaluable! They are the only way I can get anything done!

Just my $0.02
It will get better. Your baby is still so new. You deserve a "maternity leave." Do you have any helpers who could do some of these things temporarily, a trusted local teen, a relative?
My kiddos are nearly 6, 2, 6 months and I am due in October.

HSing became really difficult 6 months ago when DS was born, but we still find time to do things. I doubt myself on a regular basis, but at 5yo they really aren't missing out on a great deal. In 5 years time, you will barely remember this time. Once things settle in for you, you'll get back into the groove.

new to the homeschooling threads but not new to hsing or babies! We have three are expecting #4 in Nov. My babes are 7,5 and 1 1/2. We have had to really practice patience and learning when learning happens since #3 was born.

I am nervous about how to handle it when#4 gets here though. I guess i don't have any stellar advice, I am hoping you can all impart some to me! Scary enough to have three hmans to care for and educate, much less 4!

I second the carrier advice. My Moby was invaluable with #3 until he got too heavy to lug around everywhere, but as a newborn, he slept in it *a lot* I expect this one will spend a lot of time in it too. We are also investing in a good back carrier.

Like the other moms said, give yourself a break for a while. If you can find one, get a local homeschooled pre-teen or teen to come over once or twice a week and be a mother's helper. I have a girl who comes over on Fridays now (just started last week) and I wish I had started with her months ago. She played soccer our back with ds1, had ds1 and dd racing bikes outside, did a load of dishes, played with dd while I worked with ds1... I can't say enough good things about her.

Definately still go to the museum, playground, library once you feel up to it. Stick the baby in a sling and head out. With ds2 being the third baby, he naps when he needs to wherever we are. It's not like when I just had ds1 and we had a schedule that was around the baby, now we fit the baby stuff in around the big kids.

Originally Posted by be11ydancer
How do you do it?
One step at a time. You take care of you. You let things go without beating yourself up. You realize that your five year old is learning tons by watching how well you cope so.... knowing that, make good decisions on getting enough sleep and eating right and laugh at your own mistakes. Don't make a clean house your priority. You do what you do and you remind yourself, before you know it, life will be easier again. Keep reminding yourself, this is what you wanted, so have fun while they are so small and enjoy every bit of it because it really doesn't last very long.
I made a schedule. Seriously. Its about spending time with my older kids, not about anything else in my life.

Felicity has been pretty consistent with her napping (she hd a 6 week period there for a while that she was all over the place and that sucked and I didnt get anything done and felt terrible about my mommying). But during her first nap, I homeschool (about an hour and a half with 6 yr old), and second nap we do craft time and they each get a half hour of mommy playtime all to themselves.

If baby wakes during homeschooling, I usually hold her and we go on, but I start with the two subjects that require the most attention from me (math and spelling/grammar/phonics), and we can usually get those done while she naps. I can dandle her on my knee, sling and dance, or whatever for the other stuff we do. If she wakes during craft time or mommy playtime, well, she wakes. The kids are disappointed that they have to share me with the baby, but thems the breaks, you know?

I read to them while I nurse, oldest holding book and turning pages.

It is starting to get easier at 6 months, baby can play some now, and it will get hard again once she gets mobile and drops a nap. I expect 6 months to 18 months to be even harder than 0-6 months, but who knows.

I am mentally and emotionally exhausted just trying to homeschool and play with my kids, much less do laundry and cook and clean. I am trying to find a homeschooled teen to come and be a mother's helper twice a week, and I am finding some materials for homeschool that I can do more as independent stuff on days when its just too hard... like History of the World has a CD with all the stories on it, and the Classical Conversations curriculum we use has history cards and sentences and science and math stuff on CD with songs. That helps too!
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We are considering have a third, and my thought about getting through those first two years is this - BABYSITTER. My kids go to a university daycare center twice a week, so I am thinking that I will hire some of the students who work there to help me out on a regular basis (maybe even sometimes when I'm at home).
Invest in a good wrap. Wear your little one while you are doing stuff with the older ones. I still use my Mei Tei so I can take my 7 year old places that are way too inappropriate for my ADHD 5 year old.
find another mama in the same boat! i'm serious... each time i had one of my kids, the older ones would start playing more and more with a friend's kid(s), both at the friend's house and at mine. you help the other mama, she helps you...

pretty soon all the kids are running in a herd and you can't tell them apart!

it's OK to ask your community for help... and be sure to be there when one of them needs you.

The last time I had a newborn, I remember nursing the baby while doing stuff with the older kids.

Need to read a book? Sit on the couch with the kids and nurse the baby!
Older child has a question about his math book? Make sure that the baby's latched on the LEFT side so I have my right hand free to work out an example problem.

I'll also add that scheduling has been really helpful to me in the past- not scheduling the baby, but scheduling time for the older kids (and doing the best I can with the baby so that I can stick to the schedule as best as I can). It's so easy to put everything on the back burner and deal with the baby first- and the baby SHOULD come first.... but, if you can figure out how to multitask and take of baby AND the older kids at the same time, it will be a benefit to your family.

Finding a good baby carrier is also a HUGE help. My last baby lived in the sling for the first few months of her life, and it made it much easier for me.
I only have a 6 year old plus baby at home so my hands aren't as full as yours but...

Sling. Sling. Moby Wrap. Sling. Moby Wrap. Ergo. Sling.

That's how I got anything done in the first 6 months. And, I had to shift my expectations WAY down. Laundry took forever, dishes forever +1 day, etc. Gradually, as ds got older and started sitting up, my time w/o him increased.

Of course, in order for dd and I to get a sewing project done the other day, I let ds play in the dog water.
It worked...just one new outfit needed at the end.

Be patient with yourself. 8 week olds require SO much time. It will change, all too fast.
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I don't think homeschooling needs to be difficult with a new baby in the picture ... it just has to change focus and character and pace, and this change just becomes part of the older kids' learning experiences. For us a new baby helped the kids learn patience, empathy, baby care, initiative and independence. They learned to get out paints or playdoh themselves and clean up afterwards, for example. They learned to make sandwiches, mix up juice, bake simple snacks. They learned to fold laundry, hold a baby safely and "keep an eye on her". They elder siblings learned the skills of reining in and redirecting their younger, less responsible siblings without conflict. They learned patience and adaptability when we needed to cut something short or take a break to attend to the baby's needs. They learned that any time I was breastfeeding was time I was available to talk or read aloud or help them with other sedentary activities.

Some things just didn't happen for 3-6 months. There were no brilliant and creative science explorations or complex and messy art projects. Field trips had to change character. I wasn't there constantly strewing their paths with interesting things, setting up activities, being an energetic facilitator of their academic-type learning.

But what they learned instead, though less tangible, was in many ways more valuable.

My kids were 2 & 4 years old when number 3 was born, and 4, 6 and 9 when number 4 was born. It is true that that time was not easy for me, and I had flashes of the sorts of worries and frustration you're expressing. But overall, and in retrospect, I can see that the changes that occured as a result of having a baby in the house were very positive experiences for them.

In schools there is a program called "Roots of Empathy" that is attempting to give schoolchildren some of these benefits by having them interact regularly with a baby and mom. It's a terrific program that is showing great results in the social and emotional development of the school kids involved, but it pales beside what my kids and yours get courtesy of their youngest sibling. So hey, don't worry that you're not giving your older kids more of the schoolish stuff you'd like -- because schools are out there worrying that they're not giving kids enough of the baby/family stuff that your kids are immersed in!

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