It struck me this morning as I was watching my four kids playing on the floor and going over our plans for the day. There are seasons to homeschooling. For the last 9 months I’ve been home schooling with the baby. And soon I will be homeschooling with a toddler *gasp*
So how do we do it? I think about that often because I honestly I hope that I’m not done having babies. I admit I wouldn’t mind another one or two and our home. It’s probably my favorite stage. I mean there’s things I love about every stage that our children go through as they’re growing up but there’s something about that brand new baby that’s just on like all those other stages. I think it’s the reminder I love simple and innocent and pure life is really meant to be. Baby slow it down. They make us stop.
When it comes to homeschool I admit that I struggle to get it all done. Mostly because I want to do it all. And it isn’t until the last little baby came along that I realized how important it is for me to prioritize things. For me to sit down especially with my oldest son and determine what matters most for him and to him when it comes to studies
We have just started using spiral notebooks in our home school and I am finding it to be such an amazing thing. I was very doubtful I admit when I first came across this idea. It just seemed too easy and too simple to work. And yet as we go to those notebooks each morning and review them before we begin our day I think it helps all of us to see the beginning and the end. It encourages rabbit trails, it inspires a love of learning. There isn’t a question of when we’re done because it’s all right there. In black and white.
With the many sleepless nights but we all know when there’s babies in the house, and with the need for nursing and snuggling it can make it difficult to do lots of formal work. Some days any more than 5 or 10 minutes working with my three older kids is a miracle. When we just haven’t gotten enough sleep or there are teething issues or sickness in our house, that’s when we go to the little library that I have created. It’s inspiring and encouraging and educational too. Although I don’t think my three older kids know how much they’re really learning when I read them.
I think if we want to homeschool our children well we have babies about perhaps the best thing we can do is just slow down. Just simplify everything. It may be that my son who was a reluctant reader spends his afternoon reading to his baby sister. It may be that my little mathematical boy uses his abacus to show his baby sister how to count to 5. And some days it’s just doing those fun things, creating art and stories, putting together puzzles, just enjoying the company of one another.
I don’t think I have ever struggled more in our homeschool then when there has been a baby in the house. But at the same time I think our home school has been so much richer, we have learned so much more because of that baby in the house. So maybe we are in his academic as I would like to be for the time. Perhaps instead of learning Latin and practicing calligraphy we are building with little blocks and reading fairy tales. We are still learning. More importantly we are growing together.
I reflect on this because I know that’s soon my baby will not be a baby anymore. She will be up and moving about. In fact she’s already crawling and standing and taking steps so long as she has something to hold onto. But she’s still my baby.
I remember that time when I thought, it’s impossible. I can’t home school with a baby! But I assure you if you are having this very thought yourself, you can. Just slow down. Enjoy your baby and enjoy your family. Find things that you can all enjoy doing. There are so many ways that we can learn, we have to remember not to let ourselves get stuck.