How Can I Homeschool With a New Baby?

By Crystal Ladwig, Ph. D.
Mother homeschooling daughter while sitting at desk with laptop

You made the decision to homeschool, went to the conferences, bought the curricula, and figured out how to make it work for your family. You even found a local co-op to help provide that much-needed adult interaction and support for your family. Now that you have it all figured out (yeah, right), you have a new baby on the way. It’s a joyous event, and you’re thrilled. But if you’re like many homeschooling parents, you may be wondering how you can keep homeschooling your older kids when you have a new baby at home. Before we go any further, pause and take a deep breath as you remember that you can do this.

Involve your older kids

One of the best things about homeschooling is how we incorporate learning within everyday activities. That’s true during this time, too. Your older kids learn by watching you taking on additional responsibilities and experiencing new ways of learning. Involving your older kids in the care of the new baby and in their own educational planning helps them to see the baby as a new member of the family rather than someone who may be taking something away from them. Teach your older kids to help you care for a new baby. Even little ones can help bathe the baby, get diaper changing supplies, or entertain the baby when you’re busy. Older kids may take on greater responsibility for caring for the baby or other siblings. They may even help to homeschool younger siblings. What a great way to reinforce skills they’ve already learned while also giving back to the family.

Plan ahead

This is a good time to reflect on your homeschooling strategies and adjust where needed to help kids learn independence. Prepare children to complete their assignments with less of your time needed. Plan ahead so that they have content that they can do independently like self-paced curricula, streaming content, virtual content or apps that read aloud. As you schedule your days, incorporate the baby’s schedule into the homeschool schedule (e.g., do reading lessons while the baby is napping). Avoid schedule conflicts that will only stress you out. You won’t be able to do a science experiment easily when it’s time to nurse the baby!

Adjust instruction

When the new baby comes home, life will certainly change. Allow your family time to adjust to those changes within your homeschool too. You may focus on only core subjects during the transition time. You may use more audiobooks, visit the library, or engage in homeschool-friendly activities for your older children (e.g., local libraries, Santa Fe College, city tennis programs and other homeschool classes).

Give yourself a break!

Perhaps this is the most important step. When a new baby comes home, you’ll be tired, emotional, overjoyed and stressed. Yes, it’s good stress, but it’s stress, nonetheless. Allow yourself to take breaks, even when beginning to homeschool with a new baby at home, for short periods to refresh and rejuvenate. You’re worth it!

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