How to Homeschool with a Newborn
My three week old is napping, and I probably should be too, but here I am trying to get some thoughts down while my brain is only half way foggy with exhaustion.
As I sit and nurse my baby in the middle of the night, I think about what to share with y’all about homeschooling with a newborn. I have thought of some things that I am really happy that I did and others that I am kicking myself for not doing.
So, if you are getting ready to welcome a little one into your family and are wondering what you should do to prepare for homeschooling with a newborn, keep reading to find encouragement and helpful tips.
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Tips for Homeschooling with a Newborn
First…relax! Honestly, for me this is the hardest part. I worry that my kiddo will not get through all of her learning material and will fall behind. Then, I remind myself that flexibility is one of the reasons I homeschool!
So, leave the stress behind. Realistically, it is impossible to get through homeschooling lessons in the early days of the newborn season. Especially if you are homeschooling preschoolers or kindergarteners who still need a lot of direct teaching. So don’t stress it.
A lot of people solve the issue of falling behind by year-round homeschooling. That way, they can take breaks as they need and jump back in when they are ready.
For us, with my baby being born at the end of October, I plan on doing a little catch up work over our extra-long Christmas break and letting everything else slide. After all, I have a preschooler and a kindergartner, and I am loving watching them learn through play, even as we have slowed down with the curricula that we use.
2. Plan Ahead for Homeschooling with a Newborn
It feels a little silly to plan when you aren’t sure how much you will actually get done, but if you don’t plan, then NOTHING will get done at all. Plan all of your lessons just as you would have normally. Being prepared in advanced will allow you to sneak in lessons here and there after the baby arrives.
(I talk a bit more about that in my homeschooling for beginners post)
You might have a relative or a friend who would be happy to do a project or activity with your kiddo while you snuggle your baby. And if you know what topics or subjects you are covering that week, you will be able to have natural conversations with your kiddos related to that topic as teachable moments present themselves.
As you plan, make sure you put together any craft supplies or printables that you might need for each lesson. If anything is going to get done, you have to have it all ready to go.
I use a crate for hanging folders and have a file for each week of the school year. That makes it really easy for me to organize all the projects, books, and paperwork for each week so I can just pull it out when I need it.
3. Plan to Ditch Your Plans
When you are homeschooling with a newborn, expect to not get everything done. Actually, expect that most of your plans won’t get done. That is OKAY! If you need more assurance, go back to step one again!
It is good to have a plan, but do not stress about everything getting done right away. Your kiddos are learning important life skills of caring for and loving a newborn, and that is way more important.
4. Make “School Bins”
This school year I picked up a couple book bins (similar to these) for my two older kiddos to fill them with some fun educational activities.
Here is what I love to rotate through our “school bins:”
- coloring sheets (I usually print seasonal ones)
- activity books
- sticker books
- balance puzzles
- mini white boards
- wikki sticks
- doodle board
- writing board
- paint by sticker books (a new amazing discovery for me-I am in love)
- a pencil case filled with crayons, coloring pencils, dry erase markers, and a regular pencil (this pencil case always stays in the school bin, even as other activities rotate)
I try to rotate some of the things that go in the bin at the beginning of each month to keep things fresh. Everything that goes into the bin is something that the child can do independently. They must also get their own bin independently.
I didn’t realize how helpful these bins would be after I had my baby girl. It is so nice to say, “Go get your school bin” when the kids need a change of pace.
So, if you want to simplify your life after your baby is born, get some book bins and prep some fun activities that your kiddos can pull out in a pinch!
5. Prepare Sensory Bins in Advance
There are many developmental benefits to sensory play for kiddos, so I love to include sensory bins in our homeschool. But I especially like to use them when homeschooling with a newborn because it also keeps the big kids busy while I tend to the newborn.
You can easily prepare these before baby is born. I like to store them in plastic shoe bins that don’t take much space. That way you can make several to rotate through during those first few weeks.
6. Choose an Open-and-Teach Curricula
If you plan in advance, try to find a curriculum that does not require a lot of prep work.
These are the open-and-teach curricula that we use:
Reading: All About Reading
Why I Love It for Homeschooling With a Newborn:
- It’s all scripted so you don’t really have to spend time planning anything.
- There are some activities that you have to cut out prior to some of the lessons, but any cutting takes less than 5 minutes.
- Any of the prep-work (the cutting that I mentioned above) can be done before baby is born and the activities be put in a page protector so you can just grab them as needed.
If you are interested, check out some other reasons why I love this reading program in this post.
Math: Bob Jones University
Why I Love it for Homeschooling With a Newborn:
- It is scripted, which makes it easy to just grab and teach.
- It is a spiral curriculum, which means that it is constantly reviewing previously taught concepts, so if a lesson gets interrupted by a crying baby, I know that the concept will be repeated again and again.
- Each lesson has a review section, which makes it is easy to shorten the lessons if necessary. If I know that my daughter has mastered whatever is in the review, we can skip that part if we are short on time.
- I do find it helpful to glance at the lesson the day before to make sure that I pull out whatever manipulatives or props that we may need, but it’s also pretty easy to improvise if you didn’t get a chance to gather the supplies.
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears
Why I Love it for Homeschooling With a Newborn:
- It’s easy to sit next to my daughter and watch her practice while I nurse the baby.
- Not much teaching and definitely no planning involved. I just monitor that the letters are formed correctly.
7. Use a Carrier
It’s hard to teach your kiddo when you have to constantly stop to get a fussy baby. And if you have to hold the fussy baby, then you can’t use your hands to teach. So, I use a carrier that helps the baby stay calm and lets me use my hands at the same time!
I have three different carriers that I use with my babes:
- The ring sling: this one is really easy and quick to get the baby in and out of. I use it when I need to get the baby on fast.
- The Baby K’Tan: it has a similar concept as the Moby Wrap, but without having to figure out how to tie it. It is already put together for you and is really comfy when you have it on.
- Ergobaby carrier: I use this once the baby is a little bigger and I need some extra back support. If you want to use this carrier with an infant, you can buy one of these infant inserts and use this carrier from the start.
8. Have Books on Hand
Pull out or check out tons of books for your kids before the baby arrives. Nursing my baby while reading to the big kids is one of my favorite things these days. And really, reading to your kiddos is one of the best things you can do for their learning.
Also, it’s really easy for grandparents or friends to read to the kiddos when they come over to help. Get books that go along with whatever topics you are covering that month.
Some libraries have the option to place a hold on books and delay that hold until a certain day. If your library does this, you can place books on hold for the coming months and your kiddo will have a constant flow of “new” books coming in.
9. Utilize Technology When Homeschooling with A Newborn
We normally don’t let the kiddos have a lot of screen time, but post-baby is a great time to utilize all the great things that technology has to offer.
There are many games, podcasts, videos, songs, virtual field trips, interactive maps, and so much more that will help your kiddo learn or practice whatever skills you are working on.
10. Prepare Your Child to Help
Another thing that will make homeschooling with a newborn easier is to prepare your older kiddos to help.
Here are some things that you can teach them:
- Show your kiddo where the pencil sharpener is so they can bring it to you along with their pencil when it needs to be sharpened.
- Point out what books you use for each subject so they can bring you the materials you need while you are feeding the baby.
- Teach them how to get out and clean up their sensory bins.
- Teach them how to get out and put away their “school bins.”
Some kiddos are natural helpers and are eager to do any task you ask them to accomplish. These kiddos might pick up on these things without you having to teach them.
Other kids might need a bit more direction, but I promise it will be worth it once you are trying to get some school work in with a newborn.
11. Be Flexible
Sometimes I have an all or nothing mentality. When it comes to homeschooling with a newborn, I have had to let that mindset go.
Squeeze in calendar time when you have a minute even if you didn’t plan on homeschooling at that time. Or switch up the order of the subjects if it goes with the flow of your day better. Maybe go ahead and get that reading lesson in even if you won’t have time to anything else.
Homeschooling With a Newborn Your Way
In the same way that all families homeschool differently, all homeschool families will look different in the post-partum period. And that is OKAY.
I have heard moms say that they took two months off of homeschooling after a newborn, and I have heard other moms say that they want to get back into a routine as soon as possible.
Do not compare yourself to anyone. Do what you know is right for your family and kiddos.
Homeschooling With a Newborn
You got this, momma! Take time to enjoy your sweet babe. You can always catch up on homeschooling, but you can never get back the moments of snuggling your sweet newborn or helping your older kiddo adjust to the new addition.
Do you have any other tips for homeschooling with a newborn? If so, let me know in the comments! I would love to hear about what has worked for you and your family.