1. Let the baby be the lesson.
Until you heal and feel good enough to get back on your feet, let the baby be the lesson in your homeschool curriculum. Teach older children practical life skills that include how to care for a newborn (feeding, diapering, bathing, etc.), as well as how to do household chores you're unable to perform while recuperating.
2. Homeschool around the newborn's schedule.
The flexibility found in homeschooling can accommodate the demands of a new baby in a variety of ways. Older children can get up early before the baby wakes up and complete one or two subjects before your homeschooling day officially begins. Because babies eat often, use feeding time to read to other children, review lesson assignments, practice spelling words, memorize Bible verses, or listen to older children read aloud. Toddlers and preschool-aged children can enjoy hands-on play time and undivided attention when the baby goes down for naps in the morning or afternoon. Outings in the stroller also provide excellent opportunities to review science facts on nature walks and give older children time to run, exercise, and play.
3. Hold off on field trips.
Let's face it. Just getting through the grocery store with a newborn and the rest of your family is a big enough feat itself. Until a new normal can be established in your family's homeschooling schedule, supplement your children's outside learning activities with Internet resources or quality educational and entertaining DVDs.
4. Have supplies readily available.
When nursing or feeding your baby, have school supplies and supplemental craft activities in an easily accessed location. Coloring books, worksheets, math manipulatives, board games, puzzles, building sets, and other homeschool resources should be within reach to keep your child learning during moments when you are not able to provide one-on-one instruction. You can also incorporate more independent, self-teaching courses into your children's studies like the Switched-On Schoolhouse® and LIFEPAC® student-directed curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications®!
5. Enlist the help of older children.
Incorporate the buddy system into your daily routine. Have older children care for younger ones and even teach a lesson or two in subjects they enjoy. Older children can also help by playing with the baby, preparing and cleaning up after meals, and helping one another for the time being by checking each other's work or quizzing each other.
6. Sling the baby.
Have a fussy baby who cries as soon as you put him down? Don't stress out! One indispensible item for parents of a newborn is a baby sling or backpack. You can nurse in the sling or let the baby sleep in the backpack while keeping your hands free to work on projects with older children. It's also amazing how much homeschooling you can do with just one hand. You can hold your baby and still grade papers, write spelling words on a whiteboard, help a child with an art project, and more!
7. Utilize today's technology.
Portable cribs, playpens, mobiles, baby gyms, bouncy chairs, swings, and even an infant car seat provide a safe place for a content or sleeping baby while homeschooling. Take advantage of these wonderful inventions that make a homeschooling parent's life easier by keeping a baby entertained and comfortable.
8. Ask for help.
Don't try to do too much. Glean assistance from others. Can your spouse correct work or take over some of the lessons you've been doing? Do you have a fellow homeschooling friend who could help? Perhaps now is the time to take advantage of homeschool support groups and activities for older children to fill in learning gaps during this adjustment period.
9. Make the most of naptime.
After the baby goes down for a nap, it's time to get busy! Work on subject areas like math, science, and language arts that require more concentration. Give one-on-one tutoring to each child by teaching new concepts, offering help in problem areas, or answering "how to" questions.
10. Live in the moment.
When a homeschool family welcomes a new baby, everyone must go through a period of adjustment. Rather than seeing the baby as an interruption to your established homeschooling routine, take a deep breath, relax, and just go with the flow. Because you never get these days back, love your baby and enjoy the small amount of time he is so tiny and wonderful. School will always be there, but watching a little newborn and your older kids interact and bond with him will not.
Have more ideas to make homeschooling easier with a newborn? If you're a homeschool parent with a new baby, please share your creative ideas and experiences in the comment field below.