Is it just me or are homeschool mums pregnant all the time? I’m kidding! But since I am a mother of 4 it sure feels that way!
So how is it possible to homeschool and recover from birth? The answer is not to push yourself toward unrealistic terms. I am very surprised by the number of mums who do not take ‘time off’ after having a baby, especially those who need it. Now I know as mothers we do not get to take time off. I don’t see why we can’t take time off from homeschooling though after having a baby, especially if we need it. I know with my last baby I needed it and we took about a month off, and I consider ourselves relaxed/unschoolers.
When I had my second child it was right when I was getting into homeschooling. Luckily my daughter was just at the preschool age but when I started homeschooling I had a lot stricter outlook and schedule, luckily that has massively changed. When my third child was born he was a very easy little guy and I remember helping my daughter with a few worksheets the day after I came home from the hospital. My fourth though? Yeah, I took a month off. He was born beginning of December and life was just insane. The transition to three kids was WAY easier than the transition to four.
We homeschool year round. This way we are not on anyone’s schedule-and isn’t that the point of homeschooling? To be on your own schedule and to be in charge of your child’s education. By homeschooling year round though ‘dropping the ball’ or needing to take time off because life happens is ok. My kids don’t really know what ‘grade’ they are in. That is what is special about homeschooling, they learn at their own pace and are allowed to move up ‘grades’ for certain subjects and never have to be ‘held back’. That is why I love year-round relaxed schooling. We can all learn as we need and change and discover together.
What about when you bring a new baby home? For my third, I didn’t feel like I needed to take ‘schooling’ time off but I was only schooling one child at a time and before I had my baby I took the time to set up all lessons for the next three weeks. Everything was easy, accessible, and organized. With my fourth, we had transitioned to a more child-led version of our education and he was born in the midsts of snowstorms, Christmas time, and I was schooling two children as well as trying to entertain a toddler who also wanted to be involved in ‘school time’. It was hard to handle. Like I said, the transition from three to four was a lot harder struggle than two to three. Transitioning to two children was hard but not comparable to four. Maintaining a home with four, one newborn and one toddler and recovering from birth-also an impossible task for me.
Taking time off after we brought a baby home was what was best for our family. We needed time to get into a new groove and relearn our family structure. Adding in a new family member is always an event, it is not an instant adjustment. I believe even the most organized schooler should take some time and everyone should learn about the new family member. Getting to know each family member and creating family connections is what schooling at home is all about. I hope when you have a new baby you take some time, even if you can only spare a week, to adjust and for you all to connect with each other.
For those more structured schoolers; try and make as many lessons available and prepared as possible. The more the better. If you can have a month’s worth of lessons done and planned then you can have older kids assist you, family assist you, your doula can help, and they are all ready for you so you can just go straight to lessons and not have the chance to be overwhelmed. Organization is key when you have a family and it is even more important before you bring a new baby home to make things a little easier. That organization will help more than you think.
Homeschooling mums, know that it is ok to take time off after you have your baby from homeschooling. Being a mum is work and adding homeschooling to that is a whole other venture. You can do this, you are wonderful, you made the right choice for your family, and you know what is best. Know that you have people cheering you and supporting your choice to take time off or push on and do it all. It is a good choice no matter what your choice is. You are awesome!