5 things a new baby can teach us about homeschooling

beth3picmoWritten by Beth Watson of Classical Conversations at Home.

For the past six months, I’ve been in new baby heaven. Blissful, love at first sight, sweet smelling, all night cuddles heaven.

While I’ve been operating in a bit of a sleep-deprived fog, I’ve had the chance to relish my new guy and relive the babyhoods of each of my littles.

This time has reminded me of five lessons that can be applied to all my children.

1. Cuddle time is a need.

I’m a type-A, list making, get-er-done type of girl, so sometimes stopping to snuggle seems like time I don’t have. That’s pretty backwards, isn’t it?

Having a baby who regularly cuddles in for a nursing session, has reminded me that slowing down for snuggles is so good.

My theory is that just like my baby, my big littles (heck, my husband too!) have a built-in minimum daily requirement for snuggles — kind of like vitamin C!

That makes getting together on the couch under a blanket and reading a good book, even on the busiest of days, a very good idea for all of us, even me.

I’ve noticed with surprise that my less snuggly ones will also sit close if I make space in my schedule and invite them in.

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2. Eye contact is a big deal.

I’ve found that relationships grow through simple, regular contact, starting with eye contact.

I’ve seen people try to entertain my baby with silly voices, bouncing, and more. But you know what gets the quickest smile from him? Looking him in the eyes and talking with him. That’s it and he’ll just light up!

That simple, I’m-giving-you-all-my-attention type of contact works for my baby and not surprisingly for my big kids too.

3. Sometimes all you need is a nap.

Can I get an amen?

This is true for my baby, for me, for all of us.

Not enough sleep can make a person at any age feel miserable and emotionally unpredictable. When any of us is having a ornery day like that, it calls for nap time.

Homeschooling allows us the freedom to make sleep a priority. When necessary, we’ll push the books aside and get in a good sleep.

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4. Snacks are vitally important.

If my baby is hungry, he cries. If my other children are hungry, well, they don’t exactly cry, but it has a similar feeling to it.

They whine, they lay around, and are generally sluggish. Some of them are too young to recognize this as hunger.

If I’m quick on my feet that day, I usually identify it and call everyone into the kitchen for a snack to refuel.

And finally …

5. Each day matters.

Growth is easily seen in infants, but the growing big kids do is a bit more hidden.

If I’m not looking closely, I can miss the moment when my 9-year-old does his chores without reminder or my 7-year-old writes his name a little neater or my 5-year-old starts reading without sounding out the words.

I want to record these moments, much like the little hand written notes in a calendar I keep to track my baby’s growth.

Because even though it often makes me misty eyed to say goodbye to one stage, I am grateful to say hello to the next things too.

All of this adds up to me allowing more margin in our days to take care of my people.

Sometimes I need to remind myself that my homeschooling goal isn’t to merely check off the boxes in my kids’ education, but to love on and learn alongside these sweet little people I’m blessed to raise.

Have you had a new baby recently? What lessons have you learned that have helped you as a homeschooler?

About Beth Watson

Beth is wife of one, mom to five, child of a gracious God. Traveling, organizing, good books, and pumpkin spice lattes fill her daydreams. Homeschooling was a surprise she is happily embracing and writing about at her blog, Classical Conversations at Home.

Comments

  1. Yes to all five! My newest, the 4th, just turned 7 months, and we’ve all enjoyed leaning back into life. It’s starting to pick up again now, we’re able to do more, and we’re enjoying that too.
    Jennifer A’s latest post: Latin Introduction

  2. Number 8 arrived 4 months ago . . . and I’ve been reminded that a mom who moves slowly and deliberately through the day (me, with a baby) is a sweeter, kinder, more productive mom than the one who dashes pell-mell through an oversized list (me, without a baby). I’m hoping to internalize that lesson forever.
    Anne’s latest post: A Week, Briefly (#23)

  3. Our 5th was born just three weeks ago, and with her arrival has come a major slowing down and stepping back from activities and commitments. This article is a great encouragement, as I often feel pressured to keep up with our full (over-full) lives, but really just want permission to enjoy the quiet still moments of my newborn’s first says, weeks and months.

  4. You just put into words all that I have been experiencing since we had our fourth child 5 months ago. Unfortunately, even though I should know all this, I have really struggled with internalizing and applying it. Thank you! I especially love your last paragraph. It sums up our goal perfectly.
    Rita’s latest post: This Moment – Outside

  5. this article was really encouraging to me. I just had #5 3 months ago and trying to get back into homeschooling has been very frustrating for me as I am setting the bar too high. My to do lists are not getting done and I feel like I am failing. But all those things are good reminders of what my kids actually need right now!

  6. I think I could learn lots from you. Congrats on number 8!
    Remembering to cut back my list to enjoy my babies does make for a sweeter me and a weeter day. Have a nice day!

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