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Five Tips for Homeschooling with a New Baby

Homeschooling with a new baby? This season will pass! Here are some tips to help you homeschool with a baby in tow.

At some point in many homeschool moms teaching careers, they will welcome a new bundle of joy. Babies are a blessing and should be treated as such, but to many moms, they are also overwhelming. Especially when they appear in the middle of a school year:). Unbelievably though, school CAN be done with an infant. It just takes a little work to find your groove. Here are five tips for homeschooling with a new baby.

Take Time Off

Don’t plan on getting out of the hospital on Friday and starting back to school on Monday. This will NOT go well. Plan to take at least 2 weeks off from school. You can take more if you’d like, but do not take less than that.

Use a curriculum that is fairly independent

Now is not the time to dive into unit studies or hands-on projects that require a lot of work from you. Find a curriculum that your child can use on the computer, buy workbooks for certain subjects, check out lots of books from the library. Find a way for your children to get school done, without needing loads of help from mom.

Only focus on the main subjects

If you have younger kids that cannot work well independently focus solely on language arts and math. This will minimize your work, and still allow you to get school done. Do this for as long as you need. If you are worried about getting the other subjects in check out library books and read while you feed your baby, find educational TV shows on Netflix, or check those out from your library too.

Eat simple meals

If you can freeze meals ahead of time in preparation for the first few weeks after the baby is born. Stock up on meals that you can dump into your crock-pot with little to no preparation.

Take care of yourself and your baby

Remember that school can wait. Use your baby as a character lesson in patience and love. Take care of the needs of your infant and you. Don’t let yourself to stress about school. Children learn every day, there is no need to feel “behind” or stress about lessons. Enjoy the time with your family, and your baby.

Anytime a family welcomes a new baby there will be a time of adjustment. Don’t see the baby as an interruption to your homeschool schedule. Instead, learn to relax and go with the flow. There may be days the baby needs to be held all day, that’s okay! You will never get this time back. Before you know it that cuddly infant will be a toddler running around wreaking havoc! So, enjoy this time when it is tiny and eager to be loved! The newborn phase will go by before you know it, and believe me when I say that school will still be there later!


Author Bio: Misty Bailey is the blogger behind Joy in the Journey and the podcaster behind Joyfully Homeschooling.  Her goal in this online space is to encourage and inspire you on your homeschool journey by providing practical tips for real life homeschooling. Through real stories, real struggles, and real life, Misty encourages her blog readers and podcast listeners to embrace imperfection and strive for a more joyful homeschool.

Homeschooling with a new baby? This season will pass! Here are some tips to help you homeschool with a baby in tow.

 

The Best Homeschool Storage Solutions for your Family

Looking for homeschool storage solutions in the new year? We have some creative ideas that can help whip your homeschool space into a more organized area for your family. 

Homeschool can mean a lot of papers, and a lot of supplies. Depending on the requirements on your state, even having detailed records of your child’s homeschool education is required. This means that you are likely going to need a few storage hacks in order to keep your children’s entire education and all your other homeschool supplies in order! Here are the best homeschool storage solutions for your family.

Creative bins for long-term storage

It’s important to have sturdy bins for the long-term storage items that you can’t get rid of in your homeschool classroom. This might include your child’s records by grade as well as the curriculum you need to reuse for another child. Find bins that are going to hold up well as these will likely be stored for many years. You also want to make sure to be as detailed as possible when labeling these bins. Since these are intended for longterm storage, you in 10 or so years needs to be able to know what’s in the bins.

A place for everything and everything in its place

If you don’t want pom poms and worksheets to take over your homeschool classroom, you need to find a place for everything and make sure you put everything where it goes. Group items that are similar together and make it easy to find the things you need by keeping them together. When you are done with an activity, put things away as soon as you are done so that way your homeschool classroom never gets out of hand.

Keep an organization system for “active” papers

A letter sorter is a great way to organize papers that need to be graded or to hold papers that need to go back to your kids. Find a way to organize these papers so that they don’t get lost, and you can easily get to them when you’re ready. You also want to keep a file bin or even a letter sorter for your lesson plans to make sure they are ready to grab when you need them.

Don’t be afraid to subcategorize

When you are storing things in bins or baskets, don’t be afraid to subcategorize those items. You can add divider tabs to paper bins and smaller bins within baskets to keep things separate if they have to be stored together. This can work really well for curriculum bins and records as well.

Add shelving

You are going to need a place where you can store all of your homeschool supplies. While a closet might sound like a great idea, most closets don’t have the shelving that’s needed for this many bins and boxes. Look for ways you can add shelving to space such as using metal racks, putting in your own shelves, or a closet organization system. These will keep your bins and boxes organized and easy to get to.

While it may take some time to get all of these homeschool supplies organized, it is possible to have an organized homeschool place no matter how many kids you’re homeschooling.

Looking for homeschool storage solutions in the new year? We have some creative ideas that can help whip your homeschool space into a more organized area for your family. 

The Best Winter Field Trip Ideas for Days When it’s Really Cold

Cold days do not mean you can’t take a fun homeschool field trip. Here are some of the best winter field trip ideas for days when it is really cold. 

Unless you live somewhere really warm such as Florida, then you probably know the horrible temperatures that come with the winter season. In some places, it can get below freezing during the winter months! This is not exactly the ideal time to be outside on a field trip for your homeschool classroom! For those winter days when it’s really cold outside, here are the best winter field trip ideas.

Go to the library for story time

Many libraries will have special events to help draw a crowd at your local library. Take a look at the calendar for story time events. They may even bring in special readers for these events!

Enjoy a few snow sports

If you are learning about the winter Olympics in the classroom, what better field trip than a trip to a ski lodge for some lessons! If you live in or near an area that gets snow, this can be a fun winter field trip idea that your kids will love.

Visit a Christmas tree farm

Visiting a Christmas tree farm can be a great way to incorporate the holidays into your field trip! Learn all about the different kinds of trees, the life cycle of a tree, while also visiting a local tree farm in your area.

Visit a museum

Museums are great for cold weather days because they are indoors! Here are some ideas of places to visit that will have indoor attractions:

  • Art gallery or museum
  • State Museum
  • Science museum
  • Planetarium
  • Children’s Museum

These places are a great place to learn and they don’t require being outside!   

Take a virtual field trip

If you are snowed in, that doesn’t mean you can’t go on a field trip! Sites such as Field Trip Zoom allow you to take a virtual field trip without ever leaving your home. Many museums offer online virtual tours of their facilities as well, so don’t let being stuck at home keep you from taking a field trip!

Go see an IMAX movie

IMAX movies are a fun and unique experience, but many IMAX theatres offer educational films about different animals or places that your kids will love! You can even pair a book your reading with a movie that’s about to come out for an even better experience!

Take a cavern or cave tour

Many caverns and caves stay around the same temperature even if it’s freezing outside! This can be a great field trip idea for when you get cabin fever but don’t want to be outside.

Visit an aquarium

While the zoo might be a little too cold during the winter months, most aquariums are indoors! Learn about ocean life and aquatic animals, as well as ocean conservation while at the aquarium.

You don’t have to spend your entire winter inside just because it’s cold. However, sometimes it’s just too cold to be outside all day! These field trip ideas will not only make sure no one gets frostbite but that you can still enjoy field trips even during the winter months. Homeschool field trips are great ways to enjoy socialization, break up the mundane homeschool days, and take time away from the books. If you’d like more field trip ideas to be sure to check out these 100+ field trip ideas for homeschoolers. There are some great ideas if you homeschool in Alabama here, and check out these Atlanta specific trips, and Georgia field trips as well. 

Cold days do not mean you can't take a fun homeschool field trip. Here are some of the best winter field trip ideas for days when it is really cold. 

5 Winter Nature Study Ideas

For many of us, the winter doesn’t lend to a lot of time spent outside. The cold, the wet, the snow is difficult to spend a lot of time in, and it can feel like there really isn’t much nature to study during the dark and dreary winter months.

Even if you’re in a part of the world that will keep you indoors most of the winter, there are ways to soak up all that wintertime nature has to offer! In fact, you may be surprised by just how much there is to do and learn all through the winter.

Continuing with nature study through the winter is an excellent way to beat the winter blues, so here are some ideas for a winter full of nature study fun!

Create a Weather Calendar

Observing the weather and tracking it on a calendar or in a nature journal is perfect for when the weather is simply too harsh and cold to be outside. Have the kids write down what weather they observe, as well as what the meteorologist predicts. Track the sunrise and sunset, taking note of the days getting shorter and then gradually getting longer again. You can track the moon phases, the sunny days versus the cloudy days, how many inches of snow has fallen. There’s plenty of winter weather to track from the comfort of your warm and cozy home.

Study Snow

If you live in an area that has snow, take advantage of it! Make a snow gauge and track how many inches cover the ground. Have you ever used a macro lens on your iPhone before? It’s perfect for getting amazing shots of the details of a snowflake. Or you could study snowflakes under a microscope. Research how snow forms and what conditions are necessary for it to snow. Crafting snowflakes is a fun indoor activity or drawing a winter scene. Sometimes the best learning happens through free play, so bundle up and head outside! Build a quinzee, paint the snow, build a snowman, create a maze through the snow, organize a neighborhood snowball fight. Let the kids’ creativity lead the way!

Make a Wreath

Gather materials to put together a natural wreath. Find some winter berries, conifer sprigs, pinecones, and twigs. Using wire and ribbon, wrap a wreath ring with your nature finds. Add some little extras like bells or burlap. If you aren’t able to find anything outside, head on over to a craft store. There’s plenty to choose from! Another option for a temporary wreath is to make an ice wreath by placing the nature finds in a bundt pan, filling with water, and freezing. Once it is frozen, loosen the ice wreath from the pan by setting it in warm water. Hang on a tree outside and observe how it melts over time!

Star Gaze

With the days being shorter, there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy some stargazing without having to stay up late. Head outside after dinner and search out some constellations. Bring along some hot chocolate! You could even get up before the sun and note the changes in the location of the constellations from the night before. While you’re out, take a walk together. Notice how quiet wintertime is and do some research when you get home to discover why. Or simply enjoy the peaceful winter night.

Read Poetry

There’s something about winter that draws me to poetry! There’s nothing quite like curling up under some blankets together and enjoying poetry by a fire. Here are a handful of poetry books to read:

Winter Poems by Barbara Rogasky

Winter Bees by Joyce Sidman

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

A Bird in Winter by Stepanie Girel

Studying nature in the winter may not be as easy as it is during the warmer months, but it can be just as beneficial and fun! When we take the time to observe and study nature all through the winter, we’ll begin to see what a wonderland it truly is!

Continuing with nature study through the winter is an excellent way to beat the winter blues, so here are some ideas for a winter full of nature study fun!

 

 

 

 

Homeschool Scheduling Made Easy

When it comes to homeschool scheduling remember to find a balance and schedule that works for you.

Finding a schedule that will work in your homeschool is something that most homeschoolers struggle with. Scheduling your day may seem overwhelming when you multiple children, a busy schedule, and are new to the whole idea of homeschooling.

One thing that every homeschooler should understand is that there is NO perfect homeschool schedule. Every families schedule will look different. Why? Because every family is different. What works for me, will not always work for you, what works for your homeschooling friends is not guaranteed to work for you. Here are some tips to help you with homeschool scheduling.

  • First, you will not be “doing school” for 6 hours each day. A typical public school day is 9-3. A public school day includes lunch, bathroom breaks, recess, time standing in line, and many other things that you do not have to incorporate into your school day.
  • Pick a time that you want to start school. This may be 9 am, it may be noon. Consider the schedule of every member of your family when you are setting a time to start school. If you have little ones in the house, you may want to save the “heavy” subjects for when the younger ones are napping.
  • Think of a way to start your school day. It may be the pledge, reviewing the calendar or devotions. Generally, things like this will help you and your kids get into the school rhythm.
  • A general rule of thumb is to start school with the hardest subject first. This will vary depending on your child, but for most, it will be grammar and/or math. You can follow that up with Science or History. These subjects do not have to be every day. You can rotate them out. Some people like to do Science on Tuesday/Thursday and History on Monday/Wednesday. I know some families who study Science one week, then History the next. It is really up to you.
  • Remember to schedule time for fun! Don’t be so strict on “school” that you miss field trips, park play dates, or other activities. These are important to learning. All work and no play is fun for no one, so make time for socialization ;)

When it comes to homeschool scheduling remember to find a balance and schedule that works for you. Once you have one that fits don’t be so strict with it that you are stressed all the time. You must be flexible. When kids are sick, you may not have school or may start late. When you have been in a busy season you may have to tweak your schedule some. This is okay!  The beauty of homeschooling is flexibility. Don’t let a schedule rule you.

When it comes to homeschool scheduling remember to find a balance and schedule that works for you.

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