If you’ve ever homeschooled during pregnancy, then you know that it can feel downright impossible. Struggling through morning sickness, exhaustion, hormonal changes and mood swings is hard enough without the added pressure of your child’s education hanging in the balance.
Halfway through our first year homeschooling, I found out we are expecting baby #3. This pregnancy has been unique for a number of reasons, and homeschooling through the first trimester was a tremendous challenge.
Since I’m feeling a bit more human now (hello, second trimester energy boost!), I thought I’d share these 7 tips to help you through the days when you’re barely functioning:
1. Switch up your schedule
If you are one of the “fortunate” mamas whose morning sickness is just relegated to the mornings, try doing school in the afternoons or evenings. Or, if you need to and you’re able, go ahead and take a week (or two!) off. When my nausea first hit me like a freight train, I declared Spring Break in a hurry.
2. Utilize electronics
While screen time tends to get a bad rap, there are endless ways to use it to your advantage as a homeschooler. From documentaries and historical films on Netflix to the wide selection of educational games and apps available, you’re sure to find relevant content.
There are also online learning options, both free and paid, that can help fill in the gaps when you are too ill to teach. Our family opted for a temporary subscription to the site Time4Learning which features curriculum customization and automated reporting.
3. Audio books can be your best friend
When I was deep in the throes of morning sickness, even trying to focus my eyes on the words in a book made me nauseous. Audio books are a great substitute for your read-aloud time. You can download them from Audible (get the free trial!) or check them out from your local library.
4. Focus on the basics
While there are plenty of amazing enrichment opportunities for your child, now is not the time to try to squeeze them all in. If you are struggling to keep up, it is perfectly fine to stick to the core subjects and put the electives on hold.
5. Cut back on outside activities
Between co-ops, play dates, field trips, volunteer work and countless other socialization opportunities, homeschoolers can feel as though they’re never actually home! Try to reserve your energy by limiting your outings and commitments (a good idea anyway, but especially during pregnancy!)
6. Modify your teaching style
When I reached out to my homeschool support group for advice, most recommended the “unschooling” approach. While I didn’t throw all our structure out the window, I did allow my daughter a bit more autonomy. I was amazed by the different things she learned simply by following her interests. So, while you might not need to change your methods completely, it may help to become a little more eclectic during this season.
7. Give yourself grace
Like so many other challenges in life, this too shall pass. It’s okay that the house isn’t as clean as you’d like or the kids are eating cereal for dinner again. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave the dishes in the sink and go to bed when the kids do. If someone offers to help out, don’t even think twice about accepting. You do not have to “do it all,” Mama!
You’ll find your rhythms again (just in time to adjust to life with a newborn in the mix!). The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to ebb and flow right along with the different seasons of life.