Angie’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a newborn, 3, & 7-year-old)

The following is a guest post written by Angie Warren of musings from me.

The spring of 2011 brought my husband and I to the decision that come the fall, we would homeschool our then kindergartner. Having many experienced homeschooling friends and an arsenal of online resources – I felt armed with the best advice and enough ambition to tackle this long-time dream.

Then life threw a curve ball. We were pregnant.

An exciting time, a welcome addition to our family – yet I began to worry about our first year homeschooling with a very pregnant me, and then a new baby. My well-meaning friends advised me that the first year (or so) could be a challenge and it would take a bit for our routine to fall into place. As fall approached, I prepared. Our school corner was set up, my laminator warmed, and a new board full on pinterest. I was ready and nothing could stand in my way.

We started the year out well. The creative part of me was thrilled at all the fun we were able to have while learning, and my vision was falling into place. Our first grader adjusted without issue and the unfortunate situation of an out-of-work husband proved helpful as our three-year-old began to cause all sorts of ruckus.

Another curve ball. Bed rest.

Pre-term labor reared its ugly head and I found myself forced to rest. That very same week my husband was offered a job. While wonderful news, we were thrust into a new chapter of life with challenges all their own. How would I continue at the rate I was going, would we be able to push through the frustrations of our new situation? I wanted so badly to continue homeschooling, but questioned my ability.

So I did what I felt best, and we took a break. The break went on longer than planned and though I felt guilty for not being on top of our previous routine I remembered the wise words I read here on Simple Homeschool long ago–learning happens all day long. I knew our hiatus was temporary and took heart in the knowledge that we were still making the right decision.

Now that our sweet girl has arrived, our days have taken on a totally new tone. Sleep deprived and learning life as a mama of three, I’ve finally come up for air and in her fourth week of life we have begun to find our way. We live our days from feeding to feeding, and I’m thankful for patient and understanding boys as we learn the ropes of life with a new baby again.

A few things I’ve found to be imperative as a new homeschooler with young ones:

1. Be prepared – If I can have even 30 minutes on the weekend to plan for the week ahead I feel 100% better as Monday rolls around.

2. Wear the baby – Whether it’s around the house for school or a day trip, I’m so thankful for our Moby. My hands are free and we’re able to go about our day with a happy and quiet baby.

3. Embrace the mess – Life with baby #3 can be messy. Late nights, little sleep, and more kids than parents – it’s easy to let housework fall to the wayside. I’ve come to accept my goal is ensuring our kids both learn and love each day. If there is extra time after that, it’s anybodies game.

4. Surround myself with support – I’m so thankful for my homeschooling friends. Many an afternoon has been spent in the kitchen of friends, sharing my concerns, and being nothing but encouraged by their wisdom and friendship.

5. Celebrate the small things – It could be that we finished math without a meltdown, or that the baby slept long enough for us to do art. Perhaps that lunch was made and eaten all by noon. The tiny accomplishments are worth celebrating!

A typical day for us can change and I’ve learned the art of being flexible. It now looks something like this:

7-8 Everyone wakes up, mama feeds baby on the couch while we read a chapter book. Then breakfast and we get dressed (though I’ll be honest many a morning school happens in our PJs).

8-9 We start school and get little brother set up with a computer game, show, or toys – usually Legos. Lately Danny and I have begun with our story-writing time. He writes a bit of a story each morning, slowly adding to it. Writing is his least favorite subject so we’ve tried to get creative with what he writes.

Next comes language arts, math, and history. We alternate days between art and technology, he is starting a blog soon, can’t wait to get started with that! Science is his favorite so we save that for last.

10-11 Time for another break, we all sit on the couch while mama feeds the baby and we watch a show together or read more of our book.

If we’ve not finished school by now we would finish up at this point. We’re usually able to get done what we need to in the first block of time, but again, finding ourselves flexible as we embrace our baby sister and her needs.

12 The goal for noon is lunch. Sometimes it happens, other times it’s pushed back a tad.

1-4 Our afternoons are filled with more couch time feeding the baby, household tasks and hopefully outside time – whether in our yard, a park, or visiting friends. Often the boys will play video games or with their toys during this time.

4-5 Dinner prep. Goes without saying this is all based around when mama needs to feed the baby. The goal being that we eat by 6.

6-8 Family time. The boys love daddy-time and will wrestle or play games with him while I work on photos, snuggle the baby, or pick up from dinner. A shower sometime during the day would be nice, but let’s face it, I’m not always so lucky.

8 Bedtime happens somewhere around here and I crash :) Morning comes before I know it!

Are you new to homeschooling this year? Perhaps you are juggling life with a new baby as you embark on this journey. How do you find balance and embrace the chaos?

Comments

  1. This is our first official year. (as in my oldest should be in K and so people ask him about school now and he says he homeschools} We had 4 babies in less than 4 years {my oldest was not quite 4 when the youngest was born} so I feel like I am just now coming up for air! I also am not naturally organized or like to stick to a routine, especially one that someone else has decided for me so, although I purchased curriculum materials at the beginning of this year, they were abandoned just a few months later. In order for us all to focus more on habit training and myself to focus on my personal development (spiritual, physical, and as a homemaker} we have relaxed a great deal with school. Math is learned through everyday things – counting and dividing candy between siblings, cooking and baking, shopping. Science is informal nature study and visits to the zoo or discovery museum. Handwriting is practiced when we have something to communicate or a list to make. Phonics and reading practice occur during our daily (or sometimes not} read aloud time or when they are studying their many Pokemon handbooks. Life may look much different in a year or two but for now this works and it keeps me from feeling like I have failed when I {once again} do not stick to the schedule and fall “behind” in the curriculum. This is how I manage the chaos.
    Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds’s latest post: An Open Hearted Letter To Moms of Young Children & The RAOK Birthday Challenge

  2. This looks like what my life will look like in about 3-4 years. Right now I have a 3 y.o. daughter and a newborn boy, we’re hoping to homeschool – just getting started with the oldest :)
    Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz’s latest post: Boob Nursing Wear Stella Dress Review

  3. Good for you, Angie, on adapting to homeschooling life with young kids so well! My kids are all big now, but I wish I’d known about Moby wraps when I had babies. I can’t even count how many things I learned to do one armed as I carried babies around — dishes, folding laundry, etc. Your boys are getting the very best basis for learning: lots of love and lots of stories. Just keep focusing on those most important things, and everything else will just fall into place.
    Jen @ anothergranolamom’s latest post: Kids in the Kitchen: Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

  4. This sounds so familiar, Angie! Except transform that newborn into a 20-month-old. :)

  5. love the peek into your day! so far on our journey i have found organization and flexibility to be key.

  6. It looks like you are doing a terrific job juggling everyone’s needs and being realistic about what can be achieved in a day. After all their brains are still developing and can only cope with so much! During our first year of homeschooling we had a non sleeping and very interfering toddler, a house move, a house build and all the mayhem along with it, then two months into year 2 we moved again into our house! It can feel crazy but I’m grateful to have the madness out of the way early on so that now we can settle into a rhythm and I’m not panicking too much about what we are missing. Now we are more settled we are loving our schooling : )
    Emmalina’s latest post: Homeschool 2012

  7. I needed this post! I am thinking of homeschooling starting when my son is in First grade (he is in a wonderful Montessori for prek right now and will do K there next year) and worry about the challenge of having a third baby (we are still undecided at the moment). I love the honesty of this post and that you took that much needed break. I am a planner and the go with the flow can be hard for me. This is why I question whether we should have a third child and homeschool. It was always our plan to have three children but that was before homeschooling was in the cards. I know plenty of homescholing mamas have loads of kids but I don’t think I am able to handle more than 3….2 is tough at times. Is it fair to my other two children to have another baby if I decide to homeschool?? Then I think of the gift that having another sibling is….I now cherish both of mine. Oh so many questions….I guess time will tell :)

  8. Angie, I am SOOOO glad you shared this! My family is in a very similar position and I’ve found myself questioning how to get enough done with a 7yo, 3yo & 4 week old :) Your post is very encouraging! Thank you for taking the time & being willing to share the details of your days :)

  9. Angie, I love this! I love how honest + real you are. I love that you mention shows and video games ~ it makes me feel good to know we’re not the only ones who sometimes have those as part of our routine : ) I love that you start your day snuggled on the couch, reading to your boys and nursing your babe. I love that you’re flexible and take it one day at a time. SO great to see you writing here! Congrats! xo

  10. I like your comment about celebrating the small things…that’s something I can definitely be more intentional about.
    Steph’s latest post: We Have A Choice

  11. Loved this post. We are in a similar place, except with 6, 4, 2 and having a hard pregnancy, and sometimes we all need the reminder to be flexible, to celebrate the small moments, and to appreciate that we are on THIS journey instead of another.
    Ivory’s latest post: Still standing. Well, sitting. Laying down mostly.

  12. Wow! This is very timely for me, as I have a 7 year old, a 3 year old and 7 week old twins! My momma just left me today to fend for myself and I am still trying to get in some sort of “school” each day. The twins make it so hard though. Thanks for the encouragement :)

  13. This id so helpful just to hear another version…i also have 8, 4, & 6 month old.

  14. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I needed to read this! I’m brand new to homeschooling with my 7 yr old, 5 yr old, 2 yr old and 1 yr old. I’m exhausted and frustrated that we just never seem to get much done! I know how you feel and thank you for the encouragement.
    Jessica Wilhelmsen’s latest post: The Best Show on T.V.-Downton Abbey

  15. Angie,
    What do you (or plan to) use for a reading curriculum? I have a new 4 year old who is very bright and interested. I am familiar from my teaching years with 100 Easy Lessons and Sam books but would love ANY ideas! Thank you and thank you for sharing a day in your life! It is a lifeline to read other mom’s day!
    best!
    kristin

  16. I love, love, love this whole Life in the Day series, but this one in particular because I have a 4 yo, 2 yo, and a 9 month old and I’ve been thinking about homeschooling my son next year, but am nervous about doing it all (and not messing up something!). Thanks for sharing!

  17. I needed this post. I am going to print this and place it on my fridge! This is my life right now!

  18. This is another great example of how one family does it — thank you!

    Jaime, is this where we post a link to our own “Day in a Homeschool Life?” If so, here’s the one I wrote at your prompting — we have a 4.5yo girl, 3yo boy, and almost 2yo boy:

    http://learningjourneyjournal.blogspot.com/2012/02/day-in-our-home-education-life.html

    Thank you!
    Glory’s latest post: A Day in our Home Education Life

  19. Hi there!
    I think we live parallel lives! I was reading your blog posting and realized it sounded very familiar! I have an 8 year old, 4 year old and a newborn, and have also found it challenging to adjust to homeschooling with a newborn. I’m also a photographer, so we share that as well!
    Thanks for posting!
    Elizabeth Buck’s latest post: Back in the saddle again….

  20. This is so encouraging…to know that *with flexibility*, homeschooling with a newborn can be done. We are hoping for a third baby right around the time we would start homeschooling my daughter for kindergarten (in about a year-and-a-half). So helpful, thank you!

  21. Angie- I just had to tell you that your baby girl is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t get over that head full of hair!!
    Jennifer Campbell’s latest post: Madeleine’s Video

  22. We are in our 8th year of homeschooling almost 13 year old twins. I wish I had learned to let go of the housework and enjoy my kids a long time ago. Good for you! You won’t regret it. BTW my house is a mess these days and I am totally OK with it.

  23. This post brings back lots of memories although you have a much better attitude than I did. The messy house really bothered me (and my husband) but we lived through it. The love of learning is really more important.

    Now the kids are 20, 18, 16 and 10 and life is a lot different. I always tell young moms that soon they will be able to say, “Hey kids, I’m going to the grocery store!” and they will all say, “OK, mom, see you later!” Really…. it WILL happen :)
    Heidi’s latest post: Wright Brothers Museum

  24. Thank you so much for sharing! Your story sounds similar to mine in that we planned to homeschool and then got pregnant. Our baby was very sick when born and we had to move hours away from home to have him treated at the best hospital, and that shook things up a LOT, but we are getting in a groove now! And we too have many school days in pajamas!
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site’s latest post: How Weaning from Breastfeeding May Affect Your Baby’s Sleep

  25. Tiffany C. says:

    Thank you for sharing, our situations are similar, I have a 7, 5, 3, 3 and new born. I love that you reminded me to wear my baby! I keep getting stuck sitting and rocking until she falls asleep and seeing what I can get done until she wakes up again. It much easier if I just bring her with me and keep my hands free! Thank you for the reminder.

  26. Thanks for this! I’m looking to reorganize our days (i.e., stop watching so much tv) and your DITL description really helped inspire me :)
    CC Jen’s latest post: CC – Week 24

  27. We’re starting our next year in a similar place. It will be our second year and I just had a baby so we’ll be 5, 3 and newborn. :) Exciting times. I’ve learned one thing worth sharing; it’s that the 3 year old retains as much as my 5 and it’s worth having him participate in whatever way he enjoys (usually off and on with a side activity available).

    I hope this next year will be a peaceful one, and I love your suggestions on how to easily flow from moment to moment, baby in hand. :) Thanks!
    Lana Wilkens’s latest post: Behind the Artist

  28. Thanks for sharing, I have a 9,4,21 month old and am pregnant. I also do in home childcare for a 5 y old, 2 year old and a 6 month old. So everyday I have 9y, 5y,4y,2y,21 month old and a 6 month old I do most of our schooling between 12 & 2, somedays it sure feels like we don’t get much accomplished but others it feels like we learned so much! I just have to learn to let things go.

  29. Ah. Sounds a lot like our day. Except, with a 10 month old. We try to pack all our desk work into baby’s morning nap. Seems to work well now. I’m guessing we’ll move to afternoon school when she drops her morning nap ;) (First year homeschooling, preschooler and kindergartner.)

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