How to Homeschool with a Baby

By Melissa Batai

One reason parents enjoy homeschooling is that they can have more family time.  However, when you add a new baby in to the mix, trying to complete schooling with your older children every day can be challenging.  But it’s important to remember having a new baby is a season; this time won’t last forever.  So enjoy the new baby and adjust to one more child while using creative strategies to get some homeschooling done.

Having said that, don’t feel that you have to rush to start schooling again just a week or two after the baby is born.  Take at least six to eight weeks off.  This gives everyone in the family time to adjust.  Also, hopefully, the baby will be sleeping better at that age than when only a week or two old.  Plus, you won’t struggle to teach while you’re seriously sleep-deprived.  The whole family will likely be happier if you just take this time to enjoy the new baby and let your family adjust.

How to Homeschool with a Baby

There are multiple strategies you can use to homeschool your older children and take care of the new addition.

Wear the Baby

Once you are ready to start schooling again, consider wearing the baby.  Baby will likely be happier snuggled against you, and you will have your hands free to help the other children.  Don’t feel bad if you spend most of your day standing and swaying while wearing the baby.  You can teach this way, and your other children will soon adapt to this new way of schooling. 

Keep an Unconventional Schedule

During this time, flexibility is important.  You may want to keep an unconventional schedule. There are several ways you can do this:

Teach Half Days

Rather than teaching a full day, teach a half day.  Keep in mind, schooling doesn’t have to all be done consecutively.  It’s fine to choose to teach when baby is napping; with newborns and young babies, you can easily find three hours in the day when baby is napping to teach the older kids.  This time may just be broken up throughout the day.

Don’t Follow a Public-School Calendar

There’s no need to feel that you must start school in August and end it in May or June.  As a homeschooler, you have the flexibility to teach during the months you want.  You can teach through the summer, if you’d like, and arrange a few months’ break when baby comes, even if baby comes in November or January.

Have the Older Children Watch the Baby

If you have several children you must homeschool and your oldest child is nine or ten and responsible, you could have the older child entertain the baby while you homeschool the middle children.  This gives the older child time to bond with the baby, and it gives you some uninterrupted time to homeschool the middle children.

Read Books/Listen to Audios

During this busy season, one easier way to homeschool your other children is to read aloud to them or to listen to books on audio.  There’s great value in listening to good books.  Children can increase their vocabulary, learn about history, and learn to relate to others.  Even if you do nothing more than math and read alouds for a few months after baby is born, your children will be learning during this time.

(Audible Plus can be a great way to listen to school books, since many of the classics are available for unlimited free listening in the Plus catalog. Click here for a free trial!)

Tackle the Most Important Subjects

There are some subjects that you can let slide for a few months because they’re easier to catch up on later.  These include subjects like history, geography, and art.  There are other subjects such as English and math that you’ll want to make sure to cover every day.  When you have a new baby in the house, make sure to cover the vital subjects first.  If you have more time in the day, feel free to add in the other, less essential, topics.

Have Educational Viewing on Tough Days

Some days are going to be tough.  You won’t be able to cover all the subjects that you would like.  Some days, you may be so exhausted or baby so fussy that you can’t get any schoolwork done.  That’s okay.  Rather than getting frustrated, have an alternative available like educational programs.  Some good choices include National Geographic documentaries, the Magic School Bus shows, and Liberty Kids.

Final Thoughts

Adding a new baby to the family is an exciting time.  It can also be exhausting.  You can ease the transition by giving yourself and your other children grace.  If you can’t complete your full school load during this time, there will be more time later, when baby has a regular sleep schedule.  

For this season, enjoy the baby, and change your expectations of schooling.  Using these strategies, your children can continue learning, just in a different way than you may be used to.