Simple Homeschool Routine - Homeschooling With A Newborn

I have often been asked how I homeschool with a baby so today I'll be sharing just that!

I have homeschooled with a newborn a few times now. It is a challenging season, but totally doable. For our family, this is always a season of simplifying and focusing on the essentials. As baby gets older, the challenges are still there- they just change. Lack of sleep is less of an issue, but busy curious baby becomes the biggest distraction you've ever seen. It's ok. It may not seem like it, but these days fly by. 

How do I manage homeschooling 4 children while caring for a newborn? 

That is a simple one word answer. Routine. Seriously, that is it. I'll break down what our routine is, but I can't stress enough how helpful it is to have a solid routine. It can be strict with times, or more of a flow or "Daily Rhythm". Doesn't matter, as long as it works for your family. 

To help establish a routine, we started using our Alexa echo dot to announce reminders of activities. This has helped our household immensely. An alarm clock would also work. Basically, regardless of what I am doing - nursing, changing a bum, drinking coffee... when Alexa announces a reminder the kids know they need to do whatever that is. 

Our current newborn homeschool schedule looks roughly like this:

In the past, we have been very early risers. My husband and I would get up between 4:30 and 5 am and our kids would wake around 6:30. We will get back to that at some point, but right now sleep is a very high priority. Before we established our routine, we let our newborn's sleep schedule dictate when we'd get up. Right now, he is in a pretty solid pattern of nursing at about 8pm, 11pm, 4am, and 8am. So I am not getting up for the day until after I nurse him around 8 am. 
My older children are free to play quietly, read, draw, etc if they wake up earlier than that. At 9am Alexa announces that it is time to start our morning routine. For our family this is getting dressed, making beds, tidying bedrooms, brushing hair/personal hygiene, and outside chores (feeding animals). 

At 9:30 Alexa announces that it is time for breakfast. Sometimes this is a quick cereal breakfast, other times I will make something while the kids are doing their morning routine. Lately my oldest two have also been making easy breakfasts for us all which is incredibly helpful! 

Following breakfast we get our chores out of the way. We used to start with school, but in this season - I need the help keeping the house in order. I don't function well in a chaotic space, so it is crucial that the house stays generally tidy. We don't aim for perfection, and our home isn't magazine picture clean and tidy, but comfortably tidy yes. 

This is what our family chore chart looks like:
I have a whole chore chart post in the works that goes over our system and what we do. Stay tuned!

After chores the kids are free to play or occupy their own time until 11:30 when we start school. If I am busy with the baby, they start independently on what they can until I am available. We use this morning time to complete individual subjects: Math, Language, Reading, Spelling, and Cursive. 

One of my daughters favorite spelling activities is creating a word search for me to complete.

I purchased a set of "Spiral Review Morning Work" for each of my children from Teachers Pay Teachers. This leans towards busywork, but it is helpful for reviewing and staying brushed up on math and language skills. It is also set up to be done independently so it is a great option for any time I am occupied. It isn't something we will always need, but in this season it is extremely helpful. 
We take a break and the kids skateboard. 
We have a large ramp in our backyard and each of the kids have daily goals to accomplish. They are free to play after they meet their goal and I make lunch while they play.
Around 2:30, after lunch and some free time, we finish up any school that didn't get done earlier. This is usually when we are completing our loop of group subjects: Bible, History, Science, Geography, and Art.

At 3:15 (or earlier if we finish lessons before that), the kids go back outside if weather permits. Otherwise they are free to play indoors. I take time to prep dinner and then at 4:00 I go in my office to work. I get a lot of questions about my work - yes I blog and make videos, but this mostly happens on the weekends. I am also a virtual assistant / office manager for a therapist. I handle scheduling, billing/accounting and some HR tasks and this is what I do on weekdays. My husband is off by this time and will take over caring for the kids. I'll break for dinner and then finish up any work after. The kids can have screens after dinner. Daily screens is more than we'd like, but we are using it in this sleep deprived newborn season haha. 
We aim to have bedtime happen around 8pm. I then nurse and start the nighttime routine of sleep/nurse/change/repeat haha. Of course there is plenty of nursing/changing/playing breaks taken throughout the day, I feed and tend to the baby on demand so our schedule kind of flows around that. We've worked hard to help our routine be as independent from me as possible, so things can keep running smoothly even if I am occupied. 

There you have it- that is a day in our life homeschooling with a newborn. Of course not every day runs perfectly like this, but this is our ideal day and what we shoot for. Most days end up pretty close and that works for us!

I'd love to hear what your typical homeschool day looks like. How many children do you teach? How do you handle chores? Do you work and homeschool?

Happy Schooling!

-Cris Clark