Pregnancy can make the most energetic go-getter feel like napping all the time. Especially during the first trimester, when extreme fatigue and morning sickness are common, getting out of bed in the morning can seem like a huge accomplishment. Lots of working mothers have trouble keeping up with the most basic aspects of their job during this early stage of pregnancy. Homeschooling older children is no different.
How do you cope with homeschooling through pregnancy?
Of course, every homeschooling family has different reasons for educating their children at home, just like academic approaches vary hugely. Every homeschooling family has got to love the tremendous amount of flexibility their educational decisions bring, though — and families with a baby on the way can certainly cash in on that flexibility. I personally don’t believe in “taking it easy” or going back to educational basics when personal circumstances make homeschooling more difficult (that seems like a slippery slope!), but there are plenty of families who do just that. Every child gets holidays from school, and there is no reason homeschoolers should follow the traditional public school calendar.
There are still lots of things you can do to make homeschooling easier on your pregnant, tired and probably moody self without sacrificing the quality of your child’s education. Those pregnant mothers who feel terrible during the mornings or who want to take a nap in the middle of the day can probably rearrange their kids’ school schedule to make that happen. Read classics in bed, or have your child read them to you. There are educational games and activities on the computer for all ages, and the same goes for videos. Some curricula are not very teacher intensive (some, like the math program Teaching Textbooks even have video instructions that take all the teaching out!), and a virtual academy is another potential option for many homeschooling families.
Cutting corners in non-essential areas of your life is probably inevitable when you are a pregnant working mother, and homeschooling is just like any other career in that regard. Hiring a cleaning professional or simply accepting your house will be messy for a few months is a great way to take some work off your hands without affecting your homeschool. Cook simple, quick meals, or have your partner do that, order groceries online, and take any other step that makes the mundane tasks of life easier. There is nothing wrong with asking friends or relatives for help if you feel the need, either.
Finally, there’s one simple move that can really help homeschooling families in any situation. No matter what the ages of your children, instituting quiet time in the middle of the day for a few hours can be wonderful. Young kids can nap or play, and older kids can read books or craft. Those who have many kids or who are homeschooling with a newborn can even have different blocks of quiet time for different kids — that way, the parent can work with one child while the other is enjoying an independent activity. Starting up quiet time during pregnancy will get your kids used to the concept and will give you some much needed rest.
Olivia is a homeschooling mom of two. She blogs about how to get pregnant, a fit and healthy gestation, and parenting at Trying To Conceive