Babies - How do you home school with them in the picture?

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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Babies - How do you homeschool with them in the picture?

Unread post by Fly2Peace »

Kim Schroter wrote:We started our school year yesterday and we're doing a combination of K and Adventures. I think I'll be able to find a groove for that, but can someone please give me some ideas on how you handle your infants in the mix of it all? We've homeschooled our 7 yr. old for the past 3 years and our home was relatively quiet as my preschooler was doing puzzles, play doh, etc. nearby.

Well, now I'm doing both curriculums and that is going fine, but the baby is really throwing me for a loop! I'm trying to speak over crying and it distracts the one I'm working with. My 8 month old is not a crier either! She has been the most content baby since birth until Monday morning when we started school!?!

ANY "homeschooling with a baby around" advice out there?
First, let me say, I have done it on a limited basis... like I was doing K with a newborn (which translates into a 1 year old at 1st grade). I have also worked from home with one baby, then a pre-schooler and a baby, and some of the things that worked for that might also apply.

- Of course, make the most of nap times.
- Hold the baby, rock and do read alouds, if possible.
- Include them in any activities that you can. For instance if you are making letters in pudding, put some on the high chair trayand let the little one join in.
- Assign times for the older children to "play or do school" with the youngers, so that you can have some one on one time with the "free" child.
- Can you set up a play pen in the school room?
- Or get some (OK, I shouldn't even say this, but, here goes) baby friendly videos...

- Maybe find a homeschooling teenager that you can borrow once a week for a couple of hours. Possibly you have some skill that you can trade (flower arranging, cake decorating, computer programming, digital photography).

- Or, maybe there is an older person in your church that would entertain the baby for you a certain amount of time, if you would mow their lawn (or have dh do it).

- Speaking of dh, would he be willing to do the Bible time, or read alouds in the evening? Have Grandparents close by? Would they help out some?

One other thought, what has changed that the baby is crying more? Has the routine changed dramatically with school starting? Are you holding them less, or less focused on them? If so, you may need to do a "weaning" or a consistent cut. You can decide which method fits you and your child. Is there a physical reason for the crying that just happened to coincide with the start of school, such as cutting teeth?

And always remember, the children are all learning all the time. Learning how to take care of the baby, how to care for a family, prepare meals, clean house, shopping skills, and so much more. I am not saying the learning to read and such aren't important, but those other skills are also important, so don't discredit them.

Fly2Peace (versus flying to pieces)

Unread post by cbollin »

Let me get all sentimental and think back. It was my pre MFW days… so I had a 7 year old 1st grader, a 3.5 y.o with severe language delays, and the infant.

- Practically, I think I remember wearing her in a sling style carrier.
- Trying to do stuff during nap time.
- I kept lessons very short and never tried to be done all at one time.
- The infant was either in the sling, napping or sitting in the high chair playing with mashed potatoes or Cheerios. Or she’d sit on the kitchen floor and play with a toy or two.
- We did a lot of lessons in the fenced-in backyard. Youngest in the swing, middle digging in the mud and oldest, I don't remember what she did. Someone was always in the sandbox too.

Some people assign time for other children to play with infant. Didn’t work in my family. The middle child couldn’t really play with the infant because the middle child was too young for that. The oldest couldn't try to play with her, because she was the one in school time.

Hope my trip down memory lane can help a bit.
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Unread post by VanessaS »

Hi Kim - I feel for ya! my 5 are 9, 7, 4 1/2, 3 1/2, & 2 months. I agree with what everyone has suggested so far. Just know that some days, you'll have to take a deep breath, and sigh and say, "It's ok if we don't get everything done today." This will especially happen if there's illness in the family . . . and it's the teacher!!!!

Here's a few resources for you to look at and gain wisdom from:
1. Preschoolers and Peace web site

2. Diane Hopkins from Love To Learn has been homeschooling 7 children for 18 years. She wrote a wonderful article called "The Babay IS the Lesson" and you can find it online.

Hope these are helpful for you!!

Vanessa in IA
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Unread post by Mom2MnS »

Hi Kim :)
I am homeschooling my 4.5 dd in MFWK and have a 7 mo ds.

We are using a very flexible school schedule - doing several 20-30 minute blocks throughout the day and evening. It works well for my dd - and the baby, as he can usually play on a blanket near us for some of them :)

This will have us doing school on and off all day, but my dd loves it! That's how we did preschool last year. Also, this allows dh to be a part of things some when he can in the evenings.

May God bless you as you continue :)

Vanessa - thanks for posting the article "The Baby IS the Lesson" - I enjoyed it so much :)
WLIC, Quinne
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Unread post by Tina »

Hi Kim: Don't know if I will add anything that the other teacher moms here haven't already said well, I just wanted to encourage you as you go thru this particular stage with the 8 mo. old...............boy does it fly by, and as Crystal started down her "memory lane" it makes me remember that we only get these times once! They will be gone before you know it! I always found that our "school" is more than just the education we are giving them, its the life lessons that go along with it that we learn the most from. Enjoy the ride. I would suggest for the little one:
--playing nearby
--a jolly jumper or swing
--exer-saucer to play in
--educational videos and veggie tales come in handy (Wiggles, veggies, signing time are all regulars here--well, maybe not at 8 mo...maybe later)
--take advantage of nap time.
Tina, homeschooling mother of Laura (1996), Jacob (1998) and Tucker (2003) In MO
"One of the greatest blessings of heaven is the appreciation of heaven on earth. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."--JIM ELLIOT
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Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

{{hugs}} This too shall pass!

I didn't have time to read all the posts - dh just got up and it's time for our morning coffee date! But here's some quick ideas for what I've done in the past....

- I wore my dc in a sling - did read alouds, etc. while I had them in a sling nursing.
- I used baby swings, exersaucers, bouncers, the high chair, etc.
- my youngest loved the soothing Baby Einstien videos which always gave me 20-30 mins of uninterrupted time.
- We schooled a lot during nap times. My littles always did about 1-1.5 hour morning naps and then 2+ hour afternoon naps.
- Saving some read aloud or other project for evening when little one went down was a nice change and then dh could get in on it too.

Basically - I'm thinking the 8 mo is getting fussy this week bec they notice a change in routine and you might be a little uptight over starting up a new year (I get that way anyway). Just relax - remember what works this week might not work next week - be flexible - take it easy - it will all work out and your other dc will learn.
Wife to dh for 13 years
Mom to ds (19) Sophmore at USC; dd(11) Level 7 USAG gymnast; ds(9) Green belt in Karate; ds (4)Still waiting for a pet buffalo or lion
Using RTR
Kim Schroter
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Unread post by Kim Schroter »

Thank you so much for your gentle and kind words of encouragement! How I'd love to be in a room with all of you for a cup of tea, hugs, and tears!

Vanessa, those articles you shared really helped me. I need to refuel with scriptures daily... it's amazing how I'll tend to let that slide and then go after my dh for what I need from the Lord.

On top of the newness of the baby this year, we started Monday all with colds. What was I thinking!? I was on a mission to start AUG. 21st no matter what. How silly of me. Anyway, thanks for all of these wonderful suggestions.... I'm enlisting many of them today.

Thanks for letting me share my struggles and for your support.
I love you guys,
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Need encouragement!

Unread post by TammyB »

NCJessieRN wrote:This year I am doing MFW 1st and K with my son and daughter. I also have a 13 month old and just had our fourth 11 days ago!

I'm feeling so overwhelmed and can't imagine adding school back in. I'm feeling so guilty taking time off from doing school with the older two. Since we've had Moses (#4) we have not left the house and the oldest I'm sure are stir crazy! I find I have little patience. I see other moms on here who have more children than I do. The kids were in preschool and TK before this year and yesterday they both said "I miss my old school!" I wanted to burst into tears! (Could be my hormones) But, I felt like such a failure! Anyways, sorry for all the rambling but just looking for some support:-) Thanks to everyone on the board! I love this place!
Please know that what you are going through right now is not your new normal. Newborns demand all of your time, but gradually things will lighten up. It is probably not possible, but I wish you could put all thoughts of school to the side right now. Your kids have years of schooling ahead of them but only this short time to enjoy this precious new baby.

No one brings home a newborn and is superhuman supermom. In fact, there are other cultures in the world where the new mom is on bedrest for a long time after the birth while others care for her family. :)

who was unable to do much school with her kids when she had a little one but whose said older kids not only survived but are happy, thriving, amazing children :)

Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by cbollin »

(((hugs)))) yes, It's the hormones. It's ok. (((hugs)))

The kids just miss something from the other place. If they were in the school, they'd be telling that teacher they miss being home and want to play with Moses.

The last time I had a newborn, the middle child had just been dx'ed with speech/language issues and being evaluated for autism (she wasn't), and oldest was only 6.5 years old and learning to read. I was so hormonal and sad and confused. School for oldest was a lot of Reading Rainbow episodes and maybe put some music CD's to hear some phonics songs, and asking the oldest to try to unload the clothes dryer while standing on a chair (it was a stackable washer/dryer).

It's ok. None of us are supermoms when a newborn is 11 days old. Remember all of those people from church or co-op who said "if you need anything, just let me know?" Well, now is the time to pick up the phone and say "I need sleep and the kids are stir crazy, will you take Oldest and Next to the park with you for an hour or so?" "Hey Susie, can you just come over and bring some food for us. I can't believe how tired I am. It wasn't like this the first three times." "Hey Mary! I'd love enough more than to take you up on your offer to help. Now is good. an hour from now is good too. I want a shower all by myself. Can you play with the kids or read them a book or pick up a book from the library for me? or take me to the park? or help me push the grocery cart? I can't push it with 4 kids. help?!"

but, it's only been 11 days since baby was born. If I got out too much before the baby was 28-30 days old, then it was a sure recipe to have exhaustion and plugged milk ducts that required medicine. Been there, did that 3 times! I learned by 3rd kid to just buy the cabbage leaves since I was too driven to slow down. sigh.

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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by RB »

When I read your post I had this moment of being transported back to "those days" with newborns and small ones, when getting a shower in seeming like climbing Mt Everest. Sending you prayers and hugs and a verse that ministered to me when my 3rd was born: "You hem me in, behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." Psalm 139:5,6 For some reason this image of God hemming me in when I felt like life was unraveling was extremely comforting to me during a difficult time.

I am a worrier by nature. I remember having a barely 3 year old, a 1 1/2 year old and a newborn (and a husband working 100+ hours/week at that time) and just knowing that I couldn't meet everyone's needs. My oldest was wanting to do crafts and I couldn't make that happen. Once meals from friends stopped we lived on hot dogs and chicken nuggets for a while. My older 2 watched quite a bit of TV for awhile (definitely exceeding our 1/2 hour per day limit). As I look back I have only one regret...that I worried so much and had such high expectations of myself. If I had just cheerfully put on PBS kids while nursing the baby and giggled with them at whatever came on, we would have all been happier.

A few thoughts for you to take or leave:
*Give yourself a month or two before even attempting any school (and don't feel guilty...your kids are young and will not get behind)
*Ask your hubby to bring home a stack of kids books-on-tape from the library
*if your oldest can read a little, ask him to read to #2 and #3
*Math pattern, educational and independant
*Give "assignments" like making a book (with stapled white paper), practicing and performing a puppet show, acting out a story...
*An alternative to TV: audio stories on the computer (Adventures in Odyssey, Paws and Tales, etc.)
*When the weather gets nice, lots of free-time outside
*Keep remining yourself that this phase will pass. In a certain number of weeks or months you will be well-rested, baby will be much less work, routines will fall back in place, the house will be clean and school will be progressing smoothly. It's a season.
*On the topic of housecleaning, hire someone to clean twice a month if your budget allows. We were able to do this for a year and it really helped. If not, could a friend help? If not, ignore the dirt!!!
*Keep your bible nearby when you nurse the a verse or two to yourself or aloud to the children.
*Remember that "He gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11

May God carry you through this season,
dd 15 dd 14 ds 12 ds 1
Adventures and 1st ('07/08), ECC and K ('08/09), CtG ('10-'11), RtR ('11-12), Expl-1850 ('12-'13)
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by SandKsmama »

Awww, Jessie, I wish you were just a little bit closer - and we could commiserate in real life! I have 3 kiddos as well, and just had OUR 4th 8 days ago...I SO get it. My kids are older than yours, which makes a *huge* difference, I know, in how hard it is to get out and about and back in a routine, but even still, my guys are stir crazy and really need *some* kind of routine back, but how in the world do you do that when you are spending ALL your time nursing and changing diapers?? :-)

The blessing for you in that yours are all pretty little is that they are *little* will not hurt to put off K/1st for a while yet. You all have to learn how to be a family of 6, and IMO, trying to do school and deal with a newborn and 3 other little kiddos, and postpartum hormones (oh yeah, those are so fun! Ayiyi...right there with ya on that one!) is just too much. Give yourself some grace, and some time. It'll come.

OH, and please, please, please, ask for help! Your homeschool group? Church? Family around? I've had a few friends offer to take my older kids even for just a few hours to play and give me a break - this is a HUGE blessing. Don't be afraid to ask...most of the time I've found people will not offer, but if you ask, they will jump at the chance to help in some way.

(((Jessie)))) I know how ya feel, darlin!
Amanda, Wife to a great guy since '99, SAHM to 4 fabulous kids! DD(7/96), DS(1/01), DD(8/03), and baby DS (3/09)!
Used MFW K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Ex1850, and currently using 1850-Modern!
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by ManyXsBlessed »

I just wanted to let you know that I'm in the same boat ;) I don't even think I've ever posted on this forum, I just read it, lol

Anyhow, I just wanted to send sympathetic hugs and let you know that I am going to pray for you. This is a season and it will pass. This is what I tell myself. Just enjoy your time. There is lots of time to do school :)
Mom to 3 boys (12, 10, and 7) and a baby girl
MFW EX-1850, Winter Promise LA, Apologia Gen, Teaching Textbooks, and A Beka
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by nagada »

I am not any where near your shoes but I wanted to send great big {{{hugs}}}. It will get better. Especially if this is God's plan for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is your comfort and *STRENGTH* every day!

SAHM to 2 boys
Working through K with DS1 while DS2 runs underfoot!
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by KellyinPA »


My youngest (twins) will be 8 in July but I remember their early infancy like yesterday. Your post helped it to come roaring back :) I remember just wanting things to go back to "normal" whatever that was. I wanted to be able to make my older kids lunch without hearing two babies cry, I wanted to be able to take a shower without carrying two infant seats along into the bathroom with me. And I was exhausted, mentally and physically exhausted. I look back now and know, without a doubt, that I was sleep deprived. All that to say, it's okay. Really, it is. It will get better. Take your time, enjoy that sweet new one. Try not to worry too much about "school", for now the baby IS the lesson :)

Agreeing with what the others have already said, now is the time to call on your friends, family and church family for help. Most people want to help, they just don't know what to do. I confess now to being proud and not wanting to ask for help, after all these were babies #5 and #6, I should be able and I wanted to be able to do it "all by myself". If I could do it all over again, I would most certainly be making some phone calls, or ask your husband if he will for you.

Try to rest when you can, eat and drink, take care of yourself. And please post again with an update, I'd love to hear how you are doing.
MFW K, 1st, ADV
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by NCJessieRN »

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It helps to know I'm not alone and others have been in my shoes and survived! It's a great reminder to myself. This is a season and to enjoy the moment! All of my children will be okay! We are blessed to have friends bringing us meals every other day for the next month! My husband is always willing to help with cleaning, laundry, groceries etc! Thanks for making me see it is OKAY for a mom of 4 to ask for help! I know our friends would take the older ones for a few hours and I need to just ask! Thanks RB for the other ideas as to what to do during the day! I feel so much better! I'm sure there will be days that I will need to re read all the replies over and over! Thanks to everyone! One quick note: We have our own business and my husband has to travel for an installation for the next 2wks (he will be home on the wkends). This is the longest we've been apart and need prayer during this time if you think about it! Thanks again for all the advice, encouragement and love!
Jessica Noy
Elijah 10
Abrianna 9
Joseph 5
Moses 4
Hosanna 1
Shepherd 4/2013
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by BHelf »

Agreeing with the other poster that right now, the baby is the lesson. Living daily life IS school. Your children will learn invaluable lessons during this time that they would never learn if they were in "regular school" (as my daughter calls it). Praying for you!
Wife to DH for almost 13 years
Mommy to Eileen-9, Merrick-6, Adalynn-5 and Karis--19 months
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

Oh honey, You are right at that point with a new baby when I think I am not going to make it. Once the baby is about 3 weeks old I start to come up for air and by about 6-8 weeks old we are use to having the little dear around. Give yourself time to heal, time to get the baby to sleep a bit better at night and just play when you can with the little ones. Goodness, only 11 days old and you want to go back to school!!! We take longer breaks than that for Christmas, isn't the birth of your new baby worth a few weeks off?

Can anyone come and give you a chance to nap, take the big kids to the park or anything? Can Grandma take them for a few days or something? My husband was still home on paternity leave when dd was 11 days old. (she was 10 lb and we will just say that her entrance into this world was not kind to my body) My oldest was 9 yo and I still needed another grown up there to take care of things. I was not physically capable of taking care of the big kids and the baby.

Your recovery will be all the slower if you try to do too much to soon. You may even feel ok, but all of your insides are trying to put themselves back together and that takes time and rest. This is when TV comes in handy and don't you dare feel badly for using it to get you through this time. ((())) PBS has actually taught my little kids all kinds of things (Sid the science kid is good) I have a friend who had to have surgery to put all of her insides back in the right places because she did not rest enough after having her babies. Put your feet up, enjoy your baby and call those church friends and say "Dh is going out of town for 2 weeks can you take the big kids for an afternoon next week..." You get a break, the kids all have fun and your friends know they are actually helping you, which they want to do btw. I was blessed with two very bossy friends after M was born. They made me rest, made sure food showed up and stressful people stayed away. They took the big kids, cleaned the house and made me stay in bed. It was wonderful! My dear friend (one of the aforementioned bossy ones) who is a Mama of 5 said she doesn't get out of her PJ's for 3 weeks because if you get out of your PJ's people think you are fine. :-)

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by racegirl »

I cut and pasted this article from Please take a minute to read it and know that this short time will go so fast for you and your children. Your baby is only 11 days old and you need to do what you have to to get through the day. Put school on the back burner and just love your kids right now. Take a step back and remind yourself your reasons for homeschooling. Blessings, Lisa
  • The Baby IS The Lesson

    One morning on my daily walk, I was fretting and stewing over what I could possibly do with my one-year-old during school time. I was feeling some despair with a new baby on its way. I couldn't see any end to the disruption of babies in my home school for many years to come. I was praying and scheming at the same time: I could wait until the baby's nap to teach school, I could rotate the children with baby-sitting chore away from our schoolroom, I could get a playpen . . . all solutions that didn't feel right--babies needs their moms!

    As I walked and pondered, suddenly the Lord introduced one sentence to my mind and revolutionized my mindset entirely! "The baby IS the lesson!" I thought I was trying to teach Math, but in reality I had been teaching, day by day, how an adult values the precious gift of children. My children, by watching how I deal with the frustration of a crying baby or keep a toddler happy and busy with some of his "own" pieces while we play a math game, are soaking up "the lesson". Unfortunately, I had occasionally been teaching that the baby interrupts our learning.

    How to be a Christlike person is the most valuable lesson a child could ever learn! The lesson is learned moment by moment; watching a parent being patient, handling frustration with kindness, pressing on for the goal in spite of numerous interruptions, valuing each child's needs regardless of inconvenience. That valuable insight--how Mother handles the baby is the real lesson--has dramatically changed how I view my home school. I am teaching foremost my values: godly character, kindness, respect for others, individuality, sacrifice and a host of other Christlike attributes. Teaching them reading, writing, math, etc. is very important to me but my perspective has been altered. "Mimic me, follow me and I will show you the way a Christlike person acts and what he values". That is the message every parent relays to their children whether they are aware of it or not. Children try to copy everything anyway (our mannerisms, our daily activities, etc.). We must be certain that we are providing a correct pattern for them to copy, not only in our daily activities but in our attitude, our tone of voice, and our facial expression. We need to conduct our lives so that we can say "follow me". If our children are to "buy" our values, what a tremendous responsibility we have to make sure we are living our best so the lesson is clear and well learned! What more could you ask for from your homeschool than to produce Christlike people?!

    Teaching your children basically means getting your own personal life in order and striving daily to be the leader for them to follow. Of course, we fall short and they must look to Christ for the perfect being but they need to see daily how one acts, speaks, lives, solves problems. We are acting as a proxy, in a sense, for Christ. Since they can't have his daily role model, then he has given his children parents to be an example, to point the way. Along with lesson preparations, we need to prepare ourselves by asking: is the pattern I live the way Christ would act? Can I say today that I have marked the path for my children to follow? Children learn from seeing their parent's role model. Watching an adult make a simple mistake (such as being too punitive with a child) and go through the process of repenting is 100 times more effective than your devotional lesson on repentance. This means children must be intimately involved with you in your daily life. A few hours a day after school won't do it.

    Children should be involved in the adult's life rather than daily life rotating around the children. Research has shown that children who have grown up to be productive well-adjusted adults are those who have been drawn into the parent's world; their daily activities, work, and interests; rather than having parents who centered their world on the child. When I began home schooling, I never could find the time to do the things I felt were important for my life; such as writing in my journal, corresponding with relatives, studying my scriptures, and more. Somehow, in my busy-ness of trying to teach the kids how to write in their journals, I was neglecting my own journal writing. Thankfully, we now have journal writing time in school daily, and we write letters to relatives together as a family on Sunday. Homeschool life should help parents do the daily necessities, rather than usurp the time needed for them. Home maintenance, chores, food preparation, gardening, food preservation, budgeting, clothing care (mending and sewing), planning family social relationships, caring for small children, record keeping, quilting, wallpapering, etc. are all wonderful life skills that can be done together that enhance a child's education!

    The parent's joyful task is to lead and guide the child into the real world--not set up a contrived pseudo-world to teach skills that the children would easily learn if they spent their time around adults who were striving to live good lives. What constitutes an adult trying to live a "good life"? Being a productive adult would constitute a full-time curriculum! Plant a garden, read good literature, serve the needy, be politically aware, keep a journal, vote for honest men, develop your talents, etc. The exciting part about leading a child into the real world is that they are self-motivated. The moment I sit down to play the piano, all my children want to play and want me to teach them to play something. No sooner than I begin typing on the computer, I have the whole family "needing" to type. My efforts at writing have, humorous to me, stimulated the production of "books" from my youngest children. Modeling is so much more effective than lecturing.

    Studies show that the biggest determining factor for a child's success in reading in school is if they have seen a parent reading in the home on a regular basis. This is especially true for boys if the parent who reads is their father, rather than their mother. Somehow, the example says far more about the value of reading than endless hours in school reading groups.

    In every area, it takes instruction to teach skills to little people. Children need to master the basic academic skills (reading, writing, arithmetic), social manners, music competence, and a host of other abilities and that does take focused concentration and time from mother/teacher to accomplish. It isn't realized just by living in a family. But shared family life practices and contributes to those skills. Having taught my little girl the numbers and the plus, minus and equal signs and how they worked, she jumped right into figuring out how many plates she needed to set the table using her new skills: ("We have 9 and the boys are gone to college so that is minus 3, so we need six").

    When we think of homeschool, sometimes we get tunnel vision, and think "academics", "keeping up to speed" and other worrisome concerns that don't really tell the whole story. Homeschool is the growing and nurturing of fine, upright people. So, how we treat and value the baby really is the lesson.

    Class never dismissed.
—Diane Hopkins
Mom to five dds:
dd 11: ECC, ILL, WS 3, TT7
dd 10: Profound special needs, in public school
dd 8: ECC, Singapore 1B, PLL
dd 4 and dd 2
Julie in MN
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Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by Julie in MN »

NCJessieRN wrote:They have been doing nothing but playing and watching TV all day. I find I have little patience and have gotten frustrated so easily with them.
Hi Jessica,
I have great admiration for you! I have never handled all that you are able to do in a day!

On the small chance that you are feeling the chaos would be lessened by doing school, I wanted to mention that you could have a "school schedule" without trying to accomplish "curriculum days." When you feel up to it, you could implement a school start time & give the older kids a list of "educational" activities that they could do during "school time." These could be things like ed. videos, independent reading, semi-learning games, chalkboard writing, puzzles, building sets, painting, calling grandma, practice "cooking" bread & butter, measuring & pouring (on a day when your bath towels need to go in the laundry anyways, so you can cover the floor with them), and possibly chores or sibling care. No monster truck mashes allowed.

Maybe (when you feel up to it!) it would break up the day & give just a little focus.

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Need encouragement!

Unread post by jentancalann »

I just wanted to pop in and give you some encouragement and tell you that you are not alone. I had my 5th 12 days ago now, and what is going on in your house is what is happening here as well. The kids mainly play and watch tv all day. But you know what? Its ok to have a break. They play w/ each other more now than when we are having school. I'm watching them build forts (inside and out), and just plain be creative. They are also learning how to help out around the house more.

We are a few weeks behind in ECC, so what I've started doing is taking a subject a day -if I have time- and run through it. Yesterday we did a week's worth of Bible, today, a weeks worth of Geography. This doesn't take that long and it is much less stressful because we feel like we are not really doing school, just reading together. Take some time and let them bond with the baby, read with them when you can, and just enjoy this very hectic, but SHORT, stage of life! The little one is calling, ready to nurse...
Posts: 201
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:27 pm

Scheduling input and schooling with new baby

Unread post by doubleportion »

my3sons wrote:We are only starting week 14 in ECC tomorrow. Baby is due in 9 weeks. I have planned to school until I am 38 weeks, then take 5 weeks off.

Other than giving myself lots of grace, anyone have any tips for adjusting to a new little one while homeschooling 3 others? I am trying not to worry, but I do a bit! I know God will not give me more than I can handle and this baby is so wanted after several losses. I am completely rejoicing in his impending arrival. Just concerned about the day to day!
Granted I don't have as many school age ones as you do, so this is my take for what it is worth.

Our youngest arrived last Nov. We started that school year in July and took off about six weeks or so. My middle guy was two and oldest was doing ADV. We ended up finishing in May and I liked starting in July so much that I did it again this school year.

This year we are into week 24 of ECC right now, having started in the first week of July. I like that we had a month off in the summer and plenty of time in the school year to break when we wanted or needed to and not feel like we had gotten "behind". I will say that I was on full bed-rest for 11 weeks with our middle guy while schooling; and then after each of the boys recovered from medically necessary sections. You just need to remember to give yourself plenty of leeway and let each day come as it may. There were days last year with a newborn that we didn't get science or the crafts done or even hardly any school at all! I would delegate the science to Dh on Saturdays and go back and do a craft if I felt like it later. Dh also started doing the readalouds with dd at bedtime this year and that has been a really special thing for them. It was especially nice for my hard working dh to get to be a part of "schooling". And that was one less thing on my list to do while juggling a 3 yr old and my just now 1 yr old (and before that a 2 yr old and a nursing baby).

I would just remind you to take it easy and give yourself the time to enjoy your new baby, recover and rest, and let your ds's enjoy their new brother. David's workshop "Occupying preschoolers while teaching older children" is very helpful. It really changed by approach of school for the whole family. And he has a wealth of tips about handling it all. Also, Diane Hopkins has a great article called "the Baby is the Lesson". You can read it at her website ... SgV365B685

I'm sure other moms with more dc will chime in. HTH
Julie in MN
Posts: 2906
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Scheduling input and schooling with new baby

Unread post by Julie in MN »

1. I see no problem in flexing the schedule to meet your family's needs. I do it all the time :)

2. I have no experience teaching with babies (unless helping in the public schools with Reid in a sling counts), but there are some great threads here (look for the ones that start with "Babies"):

Have fun!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:24 pm

Re: Scheduling input and schooling with new baby

Unread post by Mommyto3boys »

Congratulations on your new addition to your family! Your schedule to stop sounds fine to me. After the birth of our dd, we took several weeks off to adjust before starting back up. We often start our new year in July or August (we go on vacation in September). My dc have learned to be flexible with a little one in the house. It is easy to read aloud while the baby eats. While I was getting my baby to sleep, my older dc had stuff they could work on (either independent work from school or book basket or a quiet activity). While the baby nap was a good time to work on the one on one subjects. I found that when the baby became mobile, it was a little harder to school, but rotating the baby with the dc helps. Now my littlest is 2 and it is easier than the toddler stage.


Debbie in NC
Mom to 3ds (10, 8, and 5) and 1 dd (2)
Done MFW Adventures, ECC and K, and CTG
On RTR and K
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:45 am

Re: Scheduling input and schooling with new baby

Unread post by jtcarter14 »

Be flexible if you're not ready to get back to school so soon. I couldn't have done it when my baby was 3 weeks old, but she had colic. I'd rather have a shorter summer than have to do school on no sleep or a colicky baby or hormones or whatever may be going on. :)

Ds (9) Started ECC 10/09
Dd (8) Started ECC 10/09
Dd (born 5/19/09)
Teresa in TX
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:20 pm


Unread post by Teresa in TX »

Mommie25 wrote:I am trying to make a decisions as to what to do for this fall school year..I am expecting baby number 4 in July and I will be teaching both 4th grade, possibly 1st grade and then have a 2year old..and I am just feeling so overwhelmed!.. I have thought possibly about going with Switched on Schoolhouse for my oldest daughter, but it so makes me sad to think about not doing MFW, as I truly love this curriculum!..I just don't want stretch myself thin with a new baby in the house and I want to make sure that my oldest doesn't fall behind..I just don't know what to do..please any advice would be great:)

I have been dealing with this somewhat as well. I'm expecting #5, and have a 9th grader, a 6th grader, a K child and an almost 4yo. My 9th grader doesn't require much time. That probably makes us in the same boat with # of children to educate. As my pregnancy is coming to a close, I'm feeling more courage for the work of it and am seeing a few ways that things can get done.

1st, I just give myself to school each day. In the past, I often cleaned or did laundry, etc. I've stopped that and just do what I can before we start, then we all have a 30-45 minute period of attacking the house cleaning after everything is said and done...I just hope no one comes to visit at, say 1:30 or so. ;)

2nd, I'm planning on having the 6th and 9th graders do some pre-k & K work with the little kids while I feed the baby. You could get your 4th grader to help the 1st grader or have the 1st grader sit beside you and do some work while you're feeding the baby.

3rd, I'm praying about what activities/time-wasters I might have in my life right now. Ask the Lord how to manage your day. I'm thinking going to try going back to a MOTH schedule, at least until I get accustomed to a new baby. I don't live by those schedules, but they help me manage my time well until I get a good hang of things.

I specifically remember having that panicked and overwhelmed feeling when I had my 4th child. At the time, I had a 5th grader, a 2nd grader and a 2yo. School that next year went more smoothly than I could have imagined, and I know it's because I really prayed and sought the Lord about it all and He helped me to manage things more efficiently.
Teresa, Mom of 5: 15yo dd, 12yo ds, 7yo ds, 5yo ds, and 1yo ds

4th year with MFW
MFW 1st w/ 7yo ds
MFW RtR w/ 7th grade ds
MFW World History with 10th grade dd
So far we have used: ECC, 1850-Present, CTG, RtR, High School Ancients and MFW K
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