Monday, September 13, 2010
Schooling with Baby
One of the first questions people asked when they found out we were expecting was "so, will Princess Doc go to school now?"
Answer: NO! Look what she would miss out on!
And honestly, don't people know how busy you are with a newborn? Why would I want to spend time cutting lunches, hauling everyone off to drop her at school, rushing in for school events and assemblies, getting in on the P&F action, picking her up from school - not to mention any extracurricular activities...I am just to BUSY gazing at this...
But seriously folks, schooling with baby on board does give an added dimension to our homeschool. These are some ways we adapted.
We took June off. One of the benefits of homeschooling is you can plan your school holidays whenever you like so we started ours a few weeks before Laughing Boy made an appearance and didn't plan to go back until the month after. It means that we haven't had any other "short" breaks through the year and we will go right through until December now, but it suited us.
We make to-do lists. I have bought a financial year diary for Princess Doc. Each night I write her a short To-Do list and a little love note. She really likes this and it means that if she reaches a point where she needs help and I am busy, she can just move on to the next thing and we will get back to it later. I have also found that with a baby + toddlers, our days are rarely liner anymore. Having a list of goals I can refer to means that things don't get missed out just because we don't get to them at our "usual" time of day. I also add things that aren't strictly "school work" like cleaning rooms, outside chores, special games or activities etc. The line between "school" and "life" is very blurred in our home. This does have the added benefit of Princess Doc knowing when she is done for the day and her time has become her own.
Laughing Boy is by our side most of the time. If we are reading books, he is too. If we are cooking in the kitchen, so is he! This has always been the way with babies in our home, but is even more so with this one. He quite often sleeps in his rocker, in the Ergo or on a blanket. The bassinet is on wheels and is relocated through the house as needed.
Life skills take a larger part in our schooling at the moment. I have scrapped part of our plans for a cooking/writing project. Princess Doc (who adores cooking) is in the process of writing a cook book full of simple recipes she has learned to cook. Nearly every morning she is cooking the family porridge. In doing this she has learned about ratios as we adjusted the recipe to suit our family size and appetite, measurement, kitchen hygiene and many other things. Creating the cook book has included perfecting her writing skills, created a deeper understanding of the "procedure" text type (recipes, directions etc.) and a few spelling words that are very useful. This project dovetails with our current life situation very well and is a practical way to combine school and life.
Time and school is more flexible. We start school work for the week on Sunday most weeks. This way if we need to go into town for the day or if we just have a rotten day, we don't have to play "catch up" later. We always take Saturday "off" as Sabbath. School may start before breakfast, or may not start until after lunch. It may be finished by mid morning or we may be doing a few bits and pieces after the other kids are in bed. We go for the less stress option that day. When we have more children doing more structured schooling, this will not be as easy to do, but now it works perfectly. A wise woman once said "Do what works while it works. When it stops working, do something else" I think she was on to something there!
The keys to babies and schooling in our home have proven to be: FLEXIBILITY, love, FLEXIBILITY, cuddles, FLEXIBILITY, cutting ourselves some slack and a little more FLEXIBILITY!
And really, it's so worth it!
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