You can maintain a successful homeschool even during pregnancy.
Headaches, fatigue, backache … oh, the common symptoms of pregnancy. Or could they be the symptoms of the homeschooling mom? Perhaps both? Imagine dealing with pregnancy — a pregnancy filled with complications — and homeschooling too. Then lo and behold, you have a baby to contend with while homeschooling older children. Many of us have been there, but then there are those who are there right now, or are thinking about being there. What should you do? Is it hard? Is it easy? How stressful will it be?
I talked to three homeschooling moms and I asked them about their situations and how they handled them.
Cindy has four children and just gave birth in February. She has only been homeschooling the oldest since January 2011.This is full of many complications. She has been trying to get herself organized and get her son “unschooled,” which has been very difficult for her. She gets tired very easily, as I’m sure all moms can relate to, and doesn’t feel up to the task of homeschooling. At times she is ready to pack James up and send him back to school. She doesn’t, though, because she knows he needs and deserves only the best education.
Her advice is to do what you can do on the days you feel good, avoid overdoing it and let your kids know how you’re feeling. Be honest with them, because they can help. Most kids are old enough to help with the everyday tasks needed to run a household.
Stephanie has homeschooled her daughters Shelby (12) and Rebecca (8) all their lives. She gave birth to her third daughter, Lilianne, in June. Her pregnancy was filled with many difficulties. She had gestational diabetes, along with all the other symptoms that go along with being pregnant. She had to monitor her numbers while also having to log her older children’s schoolwork. Her secret was to get a rhythm down and get her blood sugar under control. Once she did that, she was finally able She told me it was challenging when she had to log her numbers while also having to log her older children’s schoolwork. Her secret was to get a rhythm down and get her blood sugar under control. Once she did that, she was finally able to concentrate again on the joy of pregnancy and homeschooling.
While she was pregnant, her girls watched educational television and listened to books on CD. This was something they could do in the car on the way to the many doctor’s appointments. They also did coloring pages. I also remember her telling me that they did much of their schoolwork in the bedroom with her while she rested. Also, getting her husband involved with the schooling helped immensely. He would take over once he got home from work. When the baby came, and their whole routine was in shambles again, they learned to do much of their work while Lilianne napped. But as we all know, babies sometimes tend to have their own schedule. So on the days when Lilianne was awake, the work would take a little longer. As long as the work got done, Stephanie tried not to stress too much.
Her advice to all pregnant moms and new moms is to take a deep breath. Things don’t have to get done on certain days, as long as they get done. And last, but not least, don’t sweat the small stuff. As long as they are learning something — anything — you are doing your job.
Laurie has four kids — Jennifer (12), Barbara Ann (10), Emily (6) and Will (20 months). She has homeschooled them all their lives. Like Stephanie, she had gestational diabetes when her fourth child was born. She also suffered from morning sickness all the time — morning, noon and night.
Since she now has to homeschool with a toddler running about, it makes for a challenging day. She manages to occupy Will with plenty of toys, and the girls help quite a bit. She has a very interesting way of getting the girls involved. Two of the girls take turns playing with Will and reading to him while the others do their work, then they switch off.
Her advice to moms is to be patient — with your kids and yourself. Nothing will ever work out the way you plan, so you just have to go with the flow.
I really enjoyed talking to these three moms and understanding their experiences. I have been there too, but my oldest was still in kindergarten when my third was born. His schoolwork was still pretty simple, and with his attention span, school didn’t last long. I did many of the same things these moms suggested, such as working during the baby’s morning nap or while he was nursing.
So if you’re about to have another child, or thinking about it, you might be wondering how you’ll manage pregnancy and homeschooling … and then, a new baby! I invite you to take the advice of these experienced moms and be relaxed in knowing that your homeschool can be just as successful. It can be filled with the same joy and excitement as the arrival of the child you’re carrying.
By Melinda Winn, Cape Coral, District 11. Melinda has always homeschooled her three boys, ages 10, 8, and 4. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.