Wednesday, December 16, 2015

3 tips for homeschooling while pregnant

A few weeks ago, in response to my traditional "sorry I've sucked at blogging but first trimester" post, a reader asked me to talk about how I manage to homeschool with all that ridiculousness going on.  So let's talk.

First I have to say that I was not someone-hospitalize-me-quick sick.  I also wasn't mild-stomach-irritation-but-could-still-go-on-10k-daily-runs sick.  There's a middle ground in there where I found myself and where I think many of you might find yourselves someday, and that's where I'm coming from here: a fairly standardly incapacitated first trimester

3. Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan.

You know how we know not the day nor the hour that Jesus will arrive so we should probably not be stealing something or reaming out the poor dude at Quiznos because that would just be embarrassing?  That's how I feel about pregnancy during this season of life.  Once I'm not postpartum anymore, I pretty much kick my butt into outrunning-a-train mode and try to do as many pregnancy unfriendly house projects and as much homeschool planning as I can.

This year I set aside all my free time during the entire month of August and wrote up a week by week outline of what the elementary kids could work on.  My big kids got course descriptions and all their books and a sit-down-go-over-we-understand-what-the-expectations-are chat.  I'm not guaranteeing a trouble free life if you just plan it down to the last detail (we all know how hilarious our plans for the future can be to The Big Man anyway).  I'm just saying that if you bake your five loaves and catch your two fish and then hand them over with faith, God will help your kids learn what they need to learn.  But you gotta do the baking and the catching.  He can do a lot with a little, but not much with nothing.

2. Let go of your vision.

In my perfect, imaginary life that doesn't exist, my house is always clean and beautifully seasonally decorated, I get ample exercise, three healthy, homemade meals are on the table at the same time every day, my kids' schooling is taken care of at the "right" time on the normal days and everyone is happy as a lark.  The unfortunate truth is that a life like this requires six perfectly functioning brain lanes and the first trimester of pregnancy takes up a solid three lanes, minimum.  Each toddler you have takes up an entire lane.  So.  I had only one functional brain lane for several weeks, so I had to pick ONE thing to focus on.  But I couldn't just pick one, because life. So I picked two and did them each imperfectly: feeding people and schooling people.

There was always food in the house, but a lot of it they made and served themselves.  Things that can be "cooked" in the toaster are awesome and things that can be eaten cold are equally awesome.  They eat a lot of those things during the first trimester.  And school is...well, school is imperfect too.  Use the schedules and plans that have made up in advance and just try and do something.  Something.  A little math.  Reading.  Watch educational videos and programs.  Play on schoolish websites.   And don't be afraid to ask your husband for help, even if it means your kids "do" school in the evenings or on weekends!  That's what I mean about things being not-normal.  If no one has done school work during the day, it's not cruel and unusual punishment to do some after dinner or on Saturdays.  Maybe they're not used to it, but that doesn't mean it's not possible, you know?  It's just a brain shift that might make itself necessary.

1. Pray.  Praaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.  I honestly don't know how people survive pregnancy and newborns and toddlers.  I mean I've DONE it and I still don't really understand it.  It. Is. Crazy.  And all I can think is that it really must be God's will that these things happen so He fills in all the thousands of gaps that make us certain that we are going to fail.  So that is my prayer.  "Lord, if it is your will that these things continue, that I have more babies, that I homeschool the already-born ones, that we proceed with life the way we are right now, then you gotta get in here and make it happen.  I'm trusting in you because I don't know how I'm even going to get through the next hour, okay?  Okay.  Thanks.  Love you."  So I pray and it works out and I'm not really sure how it works out except that God must think it's a pretty good idea, so here we are.

Got any sweet first trimester homeschooling tips?  Toss 'em in the comments if you do.  I'm sure many mamas will thank you.

p.s. The giveaway from Blessed Beans Boutique ends tonight at 10 p.m. EST.  Hurry!

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13 comments :

  1. I have to remind myself that a couple months of PB&J, carrot sticks and applesauce are not going to stunt my kids growth. If I can grow a person on not much more than bread and orange juice, they'll be fine too.

    And even though I don't homeschool - yes to picking lanes, it usually comes down to "I can do x,y and z and then be sick due to morning sickness, exhaustion and/or dehydration for a week" or I can keep everything at a minimum for a little bit and we'll come out for the better. Aren't we always hearing that simplifying is best anyways? ;)

    ReplyDelete
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  2. This is great!!!! I'm not in the homeschooling phase, but today marks the beginning of Week 14 with Baby #1 in my belly, so I can relate to a lot of this stuff. Haha, there have been so many times in these past several weeks that I've gone, "Just HOW do women work full time jobs or homeschool while pregnant? I'm a stay-at-home writer who is pregnant, and this baby is kicking my behind!" I mean, I didn't get bad morning sickness at all. Mainly nausea throughout the day, tons of fatigue, and a little bit of vomiting here and there. But still, finding the motivation to get anything done (other than binging on Jane Austen youtube adaptations) has been so, so difficult! I'm a big To Do list kind of girl, so I had to learn that my To Do lists were good, but needed to be a fraction of what they were. Instead of having 10 items on my daily list, I started putting 3-5 items on my list, and if I got all those things done, I felt accomplished :) In a biography of Flannery O'Connor which I read several months back, it talked about how her health got so bad, she could only work on writing projects for about 2 hours every day...and she ended up writing so many masterpieces! So, I try to remember that and not get discouraged if I only was able to get things accomplished in a couple hours a day.

    Keeping the perspective that this is just a brief season of life is helpful, too. There will be a day when I'm able to pump out more articles and whatnot, but today is not that day, and that's all right haha.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this. Can I get that prayer printed on a print - thingie??

    ReplyDelete
  4. "a life like this requires six perfectly functioning brain lanes and the first trimester of pregnancy takes up a solid three lanes, minimum. Each toddler you have takes up an entire lane." Ha! This! I'm not currently pregnant with a toddler nor am I currently homeschooling, but my toddler is such a toddler that I need to remind myself of this and prepare myself for when it does happen!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I looooove planning...fortunately I had done the year's planning when I found out I was pregnant with number seven. So just had to keep up with the weekly assignment sheets. Now, I'm trying to plan out the third trimester/postpartum in as much detail as I can. I also know that, once I find out I'm pregnant, I usually have about three weeks before nausea and fatigue kick in....so I cook a ton of food and freeze it. Likewise, I stock the freezer during the last two months of pregnancy. The big thing though, is knowing that pregnancy/the early postpartum months truly are temporary and a new normal will be established before too long (and then I'm pregnant once again, lol). Also....rosaries online are awesome during the first trimester :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. My last pregnancy kicked my buttttttt. I laid on the couch, let my older kids eat chips for dinner and just barely survived while my husband was at work. I was sick up until about 24 weeks. At first I was ashamed that I was so sick, my house was a disaster and my kids were eating so much crappy food ... Like I shouldn't be having another baby if I can't even imagine the ones I have now ... Does that make sense? But eventually I had to let my shame go... It really was out of my control and I did have moments that I didn't feel like death and did fun things with my kids... But you know all over I was a mess and I felt guilty. I still feel that guilt and it's heavy on my mind with the thought of more kids... Especially now that my baby is 9 months old... I love your blog and your honesty. It makes me feel like I can be honest and also, it makes me feel normal ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meant to say " like I shouldn't be having another baby if I can't even *manage* not imagine ;)

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  7. Great post!! I am just emerging from the haE of nausea and fatigue myself. Reading this was like a good ole pat on the back!

    ReplyDelete
  8. HOW I GET A LEGIT LOAN @ 2% INTEREST RATE
    I was not sure of getting a legit loan lender online But when i could not face my Debt any more, my Mother was on hospital bed for surgery that involve huge money and i also needed some money to refinance and get a good home then i have to seeks for Assistance from friends and when there was no hope any more i decide to go online to seek a loan and i find VICTORIA LAWSON Trust Loan Firm (marianlawson@outlook.com) with 2% interest Rate and applied immediately with my details as directed. Within seven Days of my application She wired my loan amount with No hidden charges and i could not take care of my Mother medical bills, Renew my rent bill and pay off my debt. I will advice every loan seeker to contact VICTORIA LAWSON Trust Company with marianlawson@outlook.com For easy and safe transaction.

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  9. this is so good Dwij. And the toddler lanes. Oh my gosh, that explains just a lot of ... life-ing.

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  10. What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say. HD Wallpapers

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