Saturday, February 23, 2008

Homeschooling with a Newborn

So I had my baby in mid-December. People who know that I'm homeschooling, who are not homeschoolers themselves, are asking how it affects homeschooling. I would have to say that I was pretty naive about the impact when I got pregnant. I figured the baby would sleep most of the time and I wouldn't have to change my schedule much. It turns out that this particular baby has decided that he needs to eat most of the time. This has more to do with his size than just being a newborn. Many newborns feed every three to four hours and he needed to eat every TWO hours--for forty minutes. As you can imagine, that is a big chunk of my day (and night).

I gave myself a four-week maternity leave (which coincided nicely with Christmas and New Years) and started feeling really antsy about the lack of big-subject progress (let's just say I feel that reading and math are REALLY important and cursive practice--not so much). I started trying to have the kids do their lessons (Phonics Pathways for Victoria and general reading for Elisabeth, and then Math workbooks for both, and handwriting for Victoria) in the schoolroom whenever I finished feeding the baby. Everytime I needed to nurse the baby though--in a wingchair in my room--the kids would naturally migrate there. Within a week we never used the school room any more and the kids would do their lessons in our bed while I was nursing the baby.

So lets see a typical day:

8 AM Feed the baby

9 AM Feed the kids (cooking required)

10 AM Feed the baby--8 1/2 year old reading independantly, 6 year old reading
Phonics Pathways next to me while I nurse

11 AM Put in some laundry--Kids start on math--mostly workbooks or problems I wrote out specifically for the 8 1/2 year old

11:15 AM Spend time with the kids to explain some new concept

12 PM Feed the baby--8 1/2 year old solving math puzzles I made up, 6 year old working on hadwriting

1 PM Fold laundry that was already in the dryer and move washed clothes to dryer

1:30 PM Feed the kids (if I was really lucky they would make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwich--else cooking required)

2 PM Feed the baby--check e-mail on pocket PC (but can't reply to anything!)

3 PM When is hubby coming home?!?

After a couple of weeks I started to feel that more progress was required in the not-so-big subjects. That means I recruited help. Yes, indeed, for a few weeks I had a co-teacher in my husband on Saturdays. That had to stop when I realized that I have really evolved in my method of gleaning cooperation from the kids. I found that the Saturday work became quite contentious and hubby's patience was strained to the limits after fifteen minutes. It was very stressful for the children and for me to listen.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Baby Daze

Thanks for the well wishes! Now at two months I'm past the zombie-like phase and heading into the phase of feeling like the undead who can still be killed with stakes in the heart. Hurrah!

He's beginning to have feeding that are seperated by more than two hours. By two-hour feedings we're talking eat at 3 AM, be done at 4 AM, eat at 5 AM, be done at 6 AM, eat at 7 AM--and repeat until you can't seem to think straight or remember that you can take something for that wicked headache. Thanks to my totally awesome doc (it is truly doctor's orders that my husband take at least one feeding each night) and my completely wonderful husband (you know who you are), I have actually--drum roll please--slept from 11 PM until 5 AM, or maybe even 6 AM!! At least twice. Yay for me and too bad for hubby (no, really, not sarcasm at all--maybe a little) who gets a baby who hates the bottle and cries for about 2 hours from 1 AM until 3 AM.

I hear the moose calling!