School + Baby=?????

So you’ve probably been wondering what homeschooling with a tiny baby around is like. No? I guess maybe that was all me, actually….for the past 10 months or so….”OMG; how am I going to do school AND have a baby?!” Because that sounded hard. Truth be told it is, so far, not all that bad. But this is because my baby is still fairly sleepy and can’t go anywhere unless someone takes him there.

Still, I decided to document a day in the life of doing school while having a baby. The pictures all suck because mostly I was holding Abe in one hand and grabbing the camera with the other. Also, I’m a little nervous that my camera is already having some trouble focusing, compared to how it was when I got it. But maybe it’s my imagination. Or cloudiness. Or something.

This is how things went down last Thursday.

Abe woke up at 7:30. Then I stayed in bed with him until 8:30 or so, at which point I finally gave up hope that he was going to fall back asleep and took him downstairs. I told the older kids to have breakfast and be ready to start school. Abe fell back asleep just after 9, and the big kids all started math. While math happens, I eat breakfast and read blogs and check e-mail and whatnot, interrupted frequently by questions about math.

Gus is scratching his nose, not picking it.

It wouldn’t be math time if someone didn’t look like this at some point:

This is what Abe was doing:

That’s the sling wrapped around him, by the way. Not some sort of weird Victorian baby mourning outfit.

9:45–Baby still asleep! yay! Milo and Gus went off to read (Milo’s reading Harriet the Spy right now. Gus is reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School. And Ari’s reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You know–all the classics).

Meanwhile I worked with Ari on language arts-y stuff–vocabulary, grammar, writing, etc.

This is the most me-intensive part of our day. I take turns doing this stuff with one kid while the other kids read, write, work on homework from classes they take, or whatever I can think of for them to do (it’s easy thinking of things for Ari to do, because he does a lot more independently. Milo and Gus are trickier).

Just before 10 the baby started making noises and threatening to wake up, so I turned some music on for him and he settled down. Abe loves music. We have a very musical house right now.

At 10:20 we rotated: I sent Ari off to read, Gus went upstairs to practice his songs and lines from the play he’s doing, and I worked with Milo.

Abe finally woke up at 10:45. I changed him then fed him while I worked with Gus and Ari and Milo worked on writing assignments. Then Milo practiced guitar while Gus wrote a journal entry:

And then Abe was demanding that I stop neglecting him, so we all convened in the den for baby poetry time.

Here is something I have learned about babies: they are kind of boring. They don’t do much. So what else are you going to do but read poetry to them, right?

Milo’s wearing The Beagle’s harness around his head.

See that Robert Penn Warren book? Fun fact: I’m in the acknowledgments section of that book. Because the guy who edited it, John Burt, was one of my professors in grad school, and I helped check the draft for errors–basically having two copies of the poems side by side and marking any place where there was a discrepancy. Which was tedious and oddly soothing.

Then what I wrote for the rest of the time before lunch is this: “blur.”

I wrote a little more, actually. Ari was still working on an essay. I was trying to do a writing assignment with Milo, but I needed to print something out first, only there was photo paper in the printer, and it was just a mess. And of course, this is the part Abe was awake for, which makes things more hectic.

But we made it to lunch time. And ate lunch. And took a long break. And I got Abe down for another nap.

After lunch I seem to have stopped taking pictures. We read about the Salem witch trials, and then the kids did some history reading independently (Gus read a book about the Iroquois, Milo read “Ben and Me” about Benjamin Franklin, and Ari started “The Crucible.”)

And then we went over to my friend Tracy’s house to play….there were many kids and many adults, and the adults took turns holding Abe, so that was lovely.

So, in short, as long as Abe always takes very conveniently timed long naps, we’ll be just fine. And I’m sure he always will because he’s a precious angel-baby who would never do anything wrong.


School + Baby=????? — 14 Comments

  1. This takes me back….I have 5 kids, all homeschooled. 3 of them are ‘grown up’, with 2 still at home and homeschooling. My oldest is due any time now with my 2nd grandbaby! Back when they were all at home and we were dealing with 3 older, school aged kids and 2 younger, not ready for school yet, it was a real feat to be able to ‘get it all done’! But we managed, and look back on it now with lots of fond memories. My connection with our kids is so much stronger than if they had been publicly schooled, and it is so worth the effort and time! Abe is a doll, by the way…at 50, I could still get into having another baby, but have to leave that up to my daughters now! Take care!

  2. I love your accounts of the day and how exciting to be credited in that book 🙂 You left your mark on the world 🙂

    As you know, I only have one to homeschool, so I am always impressed with anyone having more to homeschool at once, let alone with a newborn. Hats off to you.

    • Not that I don’t love my house full of chaos, but I’m also excited about having just one that age to homeschool when Abe is older….I bet you guys have a great time together!

  3. God bless you lady! Holy cow! I was a teacher for many years and what you are doing is fantastic! Bravo to you for your hard work!!! And I love the book Sideways Stories from Wayside School…Fun read! I also like how your name was in the published copy of Robert Penn Warren’s book! That is something that not many can say!!! Have a great weekend!!!

    • Thanks! DH is a high school teacher, and I feel like my job is much easier than a whole classroom full….but then he wouldn’t want to trade places with me, so I guess we each wound up with the right job 🙂

  4. You are most definitely a super mom! I still have a 1 1/2 years before my oldest is school-aged – he would be 3 yrs-old when he starts Junior Kindergarten (too little!). I have toyed with the idea of home-schooling. It was nice to read how you are managing with it. I am in awe of your dedication.

    • I think homeschooling is a lot more overwhelming to contemplate when you have two so little (this is why I’m nearly certain Abe won’t have any little brothers or sisters; I’ve done the baby + toddler thing twice before, and I don’t think I can go back!)…by the time they’re school aged they’re so much more independent, and it’s easier to get some time to yourself, even with them home.

  5. Congrats! Sounds like a very productive day. The hardest time to homeschool is when you have a toddler underfoot. That takes years to improve unfortunately. Well at least with my toddlers. My toddlers seem to have the attention span of a gnat.

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