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How Do I Homeschool With a Baby & Everything Else?


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I have a dd9 and then a 3-month old baby, even though we took off a few months and just re-started Feb. 4th, I'm still not able to do this. Most days I break down crying because I can't keep up with the house, homeschool, the baby, laundry, and I don't remember the last time I cooked us a meal. I have no help locally, no family (except my husband who works long hours) and my friends are too busy to help me out. Today, we ran out of clean dishes, hubby is working late (again), dinner is sandwiches (again), homeschool is going till 8pm (again) and the baby is fussy (again). Help!!!!! :ack2:

 

*We are only doing the essentials right now in homeschooling - we haven't been able to fit in science, art, cursive or music.

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I have a 2 1/2 month old and a second grader. When I planned this year I made sure the majority was stuff she could do on her own (with me checking the work). The stuff we do together sometimes gets bumped to the next day. Luckily, that's only a few things.

 

If what I planned was teacher intensive I would be in huge trouble.

 

Oh, and my home is badly clean. I'm ok with that. ;)

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Let's see. First, your 9 year old can do all of her own laundry start to finish. She also can unload and reload the dishwasher by herself. I would plan to do school during nap times. FLL and WWE and Math during one nap. She can do Handwriting and Spelling by herself. SOTW and Literature during another nap time - 2-3 days a week. Latin/Science the other 2-3 days during the same time. Should take no more than 2-2.5 hours total. General housekeeping can be done with baby hanging out in the sling with you. Do a weekly or bi-weekly meal plan so you have everything planned out for meals ahead of time. Cook double batches and freeze so you have meals in the freezer ready to go if you get into a jam and need a quick meal.

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Have you had a depression screening? I really think you should.

 

Having a second child kicked my butt (adding the next two was much easier!), but I also had some PPD going on. And by "some" I mean "I cried because I had to change a diaper, and then cried because I was such a lousy mother that I didn't even want to do this most elementary of things, and then cried because the baby/toddler was crying."

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9yos can do lots of things, including laundry and dishes.

And be honest, how much learning is ACTUALLY being done this late? Put it away and start again tomorrow.

 

It sounds like you're putting entirely too much stress on yourself. I know homeschooling with infants (and toddlers!) is harder than not, but we've made it through without any superhero strength required.

 

Ask your husband to pick up some paper plates if need be!

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I have a 6 week old, a 3rd grader, and a 1st grader and I'm in the same spot you are. Oh, and a preschooler and toddler that are determined to dismantle the house. I'm living in yoga pants, milk-covered camis and DH's bit flannel button down shirts. We just started back up full homeschool today, up until now it has just been bits and pieces. The kids' rooms look like a Goodwill donation site, I don't even want to know what happened in the kids' bathroom and my kitchen is... yeah we won't talk about that. I feel like everything is whack-a-mole, if I have one area under control then everything else is horrible. DS3 does not nap in a bassinet or anything and is just now starting to give me 20 minutes in the swing.

 

I guess I don't really have any advice for you, just commiseration. It's survival mode right now.

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Leave the house (take the kids with you). Take a walk at the y or the mall. Go to a kids museum or the library. It may feel overwhelming getting out the door but it can really help your perspective and mood. If you need to put off your typical hs curric. right now you can catch up later. Snuggle and read books together. Get some science or history dvd from the library. Rent some audiobooks from the library so the third grader can listen alone to information. Get your 3rd grader some wkbks that can be done independently(Kumon, Math Mammoth). Take time for the family to gel. It will all work out.

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I have a 3 month old too :) and an 8 yr. old son.

 

I agree with the others, the 9 year old can do some chores.... Mine unloads the dishwasher and can pick up things around the house.

 

We put the baby in his bouncer a bit, on the playmat for a bit, and we also have that FP piano kick toy that he likes. I have to be honest and say that my dh doesn't go to work until 2 pm and my mom, who lives with us, was fired back in Jan. so she is here all day. BUT, there have been days when he is in training and on the day shift and my mom has errands to run, job hunting stuff etc. and it's just me and the kids.

 

On those days, ds does independent work while I'm dealing with the baby and we do teacher led stuff while baby sleeps or is content "playing". I can do some chores, like laundry and dinner prep while wearing baby in the MOBY wrap.

 

And sandwiches for dinner is ok and a messy house is ok, eventually, it will get better :)

 

I also agree that you should get evaluated for depression, just in case :)

 

Good luck!!

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I buy paper plates 200 at the time. Right now my dh is in school (including travel time) about 11 hours a day. I also am expecting a new baby, in addition to the three I already have. If you are worried about her schooling, get one of those 3rd grade curriculum books like this one. I found some books at a yard sale I would not normall school with, but I think dd will be okay for a few weeks while I "recover".

 

I know it seems overwhelming, but if your dd can help a bit, do the book alone (with only a bit of help), and you read with her and to her it will be okay, I promise! When I had my 6yo dd, dh was in Iraq, we were in Germany, and I was hsing as well. I just had to majorly scale back until we found our place.

 

FWIW, I do have family near who won't/don't help, and my BFF is my dh. (((hugs)))

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I feel like I could have written the op. actually, I'm pretty sure I HAVE written it! My dh is never home, no family around, and a bunch of little kids and chores to juggle.

 

My baby is 8 months old now, and I still don't feel like my old self. But there are a couple things that have made a difference:

 

First, I gave up on cleaning the house the way I used to do it (one "zone" per day--kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.). It just wasn't happening. Now we do what we call "blitz cleaning" on Saturday mornings. We get up on Saturday, turn on some good cleaning music (like Madonna, you know?), start upstairs, and just clean the whole dang house. The kids are right alongside me and dh. We can get everything done in 1 1/2 to 2 hours. And then I just don't have to worry about that during the week. I've been really surprised by how much better I feel--I knew it was stressing me out before, but I had no idea how much until that stress was removed.

 

Second, my dd5 does a lot to help me. She tidies up and wipes down the kids' bathroom every morning. She can unload much of the dishwasher and can actually load everything (except knives). She helps a lot with the baby--even just having someone to hold a newborn can be really helpful. And she does a lot of picking up.

 

I can't say I am really one to offer advice, since I actually think I have suffered a little PPD this time around, but those are the things that have helped me at least a little.

 

If all else fails, just remind yourself that it won't always be this way. It won't always be this way. That's what I repeat to myself on my hardest days. Because you know what? It won't. The baby will get older and you'll adjust and things will get better. They WILL.

 

:hugs:

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(((Hugs))). Do you have a good baby carrier or wrap? Dd was pretty content as long as I was holding her, so we just did school with ds while i was me feeding her, walking around the school area, etc.

 

I agree with the others about the house and having your dd help. Moms should be given a free pass for several months after a baby is born on this one.

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(((hugs)))

 

I hit that wall too. It took me months to figure out that my thyroid was out of whack. Might be a stretch, but next time you have bloodwork, ask them to include a thyroid panel.

 

It will get better. And I will echo what others have said, chores are ok, paper plates are fine and sandwiches for supper are gourmet meals compared to what some people eat!

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I can tell you I am due to have a baby first week in April and I have no idea how I will do this with a newborn in the swings. My oldest just turned11 and is a huge help. I am a pathological planner and have spent the last few months gearing my kids up for baby. This one will make #7... which ultimately makes chaos lol. With such a large family I can tell you what each is capable of doing every day for their daily chores. My 11 year old can cook simple meals, scrub the bathrooms without reminders how, does his own laundry and I pay him 25 cents a load to do anyone elses loads. 9 year old can cook with supervision (it gets a bit hairy sometimes lol) and can clean bathrooms independently and can do his own laundry. I have twin 6 year olds, they each wipe down bathrooms and pick up front room and dining room every day, they also put their own laundry away. My 4 year old empties the dishwasher every day (twice a day)and her 2 year old sister helps her.

 

I have organized my house for ease of kids helping. My dishes are in a tall cupboard with most dishes lower for the kids (hence the 2 year old can put things away and help set the table). The toilets and bathroom sinks get wipes down every day with a good old baby wipe, non toxic to their little hands and heck if its good enough to wipe a babies bum its good enough to wipe my toilet down daily (I do have 4 boys its a daily necessity to have it wiped down).

 

I actually plan on buying a big stack of paper plates for after the baby comes. If thats what we need we will use it. I also plan to carry the baby around ALOT. Aside from the fact that they tend to be happier when held, I will need to protect the poor little guy from my 2 and 4 year olds...lol. Right now I am only homeschooling the older two. The 6 year olds are in kindergarten at public school. I have told the older two that if they cannot keep up on their studies they will have to homeschool through the summer. They will only get 2 weeks off. (Honestly homeschooling through the summer would be a nightmare in our house I just don't tell them that likely it's a vain threat I can never keep up with) I would definately stick to the basics and make sure you get tested for PPD. I had it bad with my second, when a friend finally pulled me aside and told me I needed to talk to a dr I grudgingly did but will NEVER regret it. I got meds and help and was soon dealing with it all so much better. Babies are hard and emotionally and physically draining. Add anything physically or hormonally imbalanced in momma and you are just looking for slow human torture for everyone.

 

Also I have heard of people easing back into homeschool. Like well today lets just get some math done. And tomorrow we will see if we can do math and some history reading... every day or every week add in one more thing and it wont feel so overwhelming.

 

Oh and totally make menu, or ask your dd to. Even if its hotdogs, sandwiches, mac and cheese, whatever it takes to get you through the next few months.

 

Christina

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Wow, that was a lot of replies that I didn't expect, thank you all so much for the advice, *hugs* and support! DD9 does the following chores right now: helps with the baby whenever I need her, empties the dishwasher daily, empties the trash through the house, toilets, keeps room clean, picks up through the house and puts away her laundry. I suppose she could do more but she barely has any playtime during the week because our day is so long with all the interruptions with the baby and I feel guilty making her do anymore.

 

The baby sleeps 12 hours at night from 1030pm till 1030am and my dd9 sleeps 10 hours and wakes up and does her bible and reading, math fact cards and Latin flash cards. I have had insomnia since I was a child and still suffer from it. They have tried medications and all that has ever helped me was melatonin, but we found out that it was messing with my hormones all the past few years and when I stopped it, I finally was able to get pregnant. I'm afraid to take it again, so I have sleep issues. I lay down after I put the baby down, around 11-ish and it takes me till about 1 or later to finally fall asleep. I found that reading really helps me get drowsy after a while. I wake through the night and have trouble going back to sleep - somehow I manage to get about 7-8 hours of broken sleep. I wake up before the baby and get coffee and then he starts to wake up and I change/feed him.

 

The baby is still eating about every 2 hours during the day, sometimes he can go almost 3 but on the formula he is on, it is so broken down he gets hungry sooner. He takes 3 naps a day - one around 1230pm, 330pm and then 730pm, however they only last about 20-30m, with the last nap lasting the longest anywhere from 1-1 1/2 hours. He starts his night feeding at 930pm and drinks till a bit after 10pm, he likes to eat extra before bed, maybe that is what helps him sleep so long.

 

So it is very hard to do things during his naps during the day because they are so short and by the evening nap, I'm exhausted but still try and clean, read books to dd, baths, etc.

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Hello from a reformed insomniac. Having had severe PPD after my second child and not the first, I would urge you to get screened. No harm can come of looking into it and much harm can come from neglecting to check for it if you do have it.

 

If you don't use a baby sling now, getting one to try could be transformational to your day. Getting out of the house for a little bit, even a walk to the park and back only, helps everyone. Even if you can't have a strict schedule, try to establish a loose one and stick to it. Lower your standards for housework. See if you can get a mother's helper to come in and fold the laundry- some tweens/teens might be able to do it in trade for something you can do for them (say tutoring) if money is an issue. I hired a 12 year old boy to come over and play with my older son when he was a 4 year old when I needed to spend most of Saturday reading for professional school and I worked during the week. I was there the whole time, and came out to check in and feed them lunch etc. It was great and did not cost a lot, he was happy with a little money, help programming from my husband, free food and a recommendation for babysitting when he was older. :) He was just a kid I met at church who seemed like he would get along with my son. Also, lower your standards and pick your priorities. Right now, if mothering and homeschooling means sandwich and salad dinners on paper plates, enjoy those meals with gusto. I can't imagine your husband minds anything that makes it easier for you to get through this rougher stage.

 

Insomnia is generally best treated with lifestyle changes, diet, treatment for depression/anxiety if it is co-morbid with the insomnia, and self care, not sleeping medications. I would start by thinking about how you get ready for bed and create a ritual around it. What are you doing to set up sleep for yourself? Much like a 3 year old relies on a bedtime pattern, adults can teach themselves to fall asleep with a ritual. Bearing in mind that we are all different, what helped me the most was to have an uncluttered bedroom with comfortable bedding, a little pattern for getting ready for bed, drinking some tea and having a radio to play calming music. Also important was a rough consistency to my bedtime. I still get some nights of essentially NO sleep, but they are much less frequent (and usually tied to my periods) and I am much better rested day in and day out than I was. While this sounds absurd with a newborn, finding a way to fall asleep was the only way I stayed alive after my second son was born. Even getting woken up was better on SOME sleep than NO sleep. It's worth the time and perhaps money you will spend shifting things around in your bedroom. If I woke up and saw anything that stressed me out- a mess, a pile of laundry etc I could not get back to sleep. Even if my house gets a bit messy, my bedroom is sacred. Nothing gets put there that doesn't belong there and there are NO electronic screens in there, even my cell phone.

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(((Hugs))). Do you have a good baby carrier or wrap? Dd was pretty content as long as I was holding her, so we just did school with ds while i was me feeding her, walking around the school area, etc.

 

I do have a Snugli but he only likes it when I'm walking outside. I tried to wear it in the house but he tries to wiggle out of it and screams till I take him out. I wonder if a wrap would be better? He is a big baby, tall that is, he is about 27 inches already and somewhere around 14 pounds.

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My kids loved the wraps because it holds them upright- if you can access one, or just have a long strip of fabric to try it out with, give it a shot!

 

I am in a similar situation of being far from family with a husband who works long hours. I am only doing 1st grade though, so that makes it a bit easier. I cut corners in the following ways- I bought the audio CDs for SOTW- all I have to do is push play. I photocopy the maps and coloring pages in bulk- ten chapters or so at a time- so that I don't need to be doing this constantly. My son is able to do his handwriting independantly, so I just prepare the copywork in bulk (usually on the weekend when DH is here) and then give him a page per day.

 

You are using a teacher intensive spelling program- maybe switch it out or set it aside for a bit? Same with math- Math mammoth is supposedly less teacher intensive and not too expensive.

 

Finally, as much as I used to love "quiet time" when baby napped and big kids played in their rooms, I finally had to realize that we needed to get math and reading lessons done during that time. I HATE giving up MY nap, but I had to do it. When your baby starts taking more regular and longer naps, you can move the most intensive subjects to nap time.

 

It gets both easier and harder as baby gets older!

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You're doing WAY too much school work, sister! I have a 9.5 year gap in my kids, so I've btdt. My dd listened to audiobooks, did Snap Circuits, did 3D puzzles from Timberdoodle, watched science videos someone from the boards sent me. Your dd is *9*. Have you heard Pudewa's talk about spending a summer on a boat stuck doing nothing but READ ALOUDS and how valuable that was?

 

I would do math each day, yes, and write a dab of something each day (like from a list of writing prompts). But other than that, truly, take 3-6 months or whatever it takes to get your sanity back and do just enriched environment learning. Audiobooks, SOTW on audio, puzzles, videos, kits from Hobby Lobby. Have fun with it. You're fine, and she's going to be fine.

 

And get paper plates.

 

BTW, you realize instead of doing paper school work, this would be a really fine time to teach that dd of yours to COOK? Stop doing so much book work and take time to teach her how to LIVE! At that age my dd could roast chicken, make a salad, and cook a pot of wild rice. That's dinner. She could bake potatoes for lunch. You're trying to do too much and not teaching her to do for herself. You have a baby. Time to let the older one grow up. Less bookwork and more DOING. You sit in a chair and show her what to do. Give her a lettuce knife to start with, then move up to a small paring knife. It's OK to do this. Homeschooling has the word HOME in it. It's not PAPERschooling! Teach HER to cook and to clean and let her start doing some of this for you.

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Try this for spelling. www.spellingcity.com. She can play games to learn her words. www.fun4thebrain will help her practice her math facts. My dd is working through the Khan academy right now. They start from very basic math and go right up. Read books together while feeding the baby. Have her practice summarizing the pertinent facts of the read alouds. Ask her about the main characters, the problems they faced and how the problems were solved. Discuss science concepts and watch documentaries together. Most of her work can be done orally at this age. Which means you can do it while holding a baby and changing diapers.

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BTW, you realize instead of doing paper school work, this would be a really fine time to teach that dd of yours to COOK? Stop doing so much book work and take time to teach her how to LIVE! At that age my dd could roast chicken, make a salad, and cook a pot of wild rice. That's dinner. She could bake potatoes for lunch. You're trying to do too much and not teaching her to do for herself. You have a baby. Time to let the older one grow up. Less bookwork and more DOING. You sit in a chair and show her what to do. Give her a lettuce knife to start with, then move up to a small paring knife. It's OK to do this. Homeschooling has the word HOME in it. It's not PAPERschooling! Teach HER to cook and to clean and let her start doing some of this for you.

 

 

I didn't think a 9 year old could do what you mentioned and some others have mentioned that theirs does. It could be because my mom never let us in the kitchen when she was cooking because we were a bother and so, I never learned to cook until I got married. I wasn't sure what age my daughter could start cooking but I sure didn't think it was 9 lol. I will probably go ahead and teach her to do some things then and try and not feel guilty that she is "working" instead of playing. All through school, she can't wait till its done so she can go play and to make her do extra work on top of that - how do you not feel guilty? Other than knowing they need those skills, when is it too much for a child? Thanks for all the help again everyone!! :grouphug:

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We have five kids and the oldest isn't even 9 yet, my husband is frequently away for months at a time. What has helped the most is getting paper plates/bowls/plastic flatware to use daily and packing things that are laying out making a mess. The house is still messy sometimes but it's much easier to keep up with things when there are fewer things to keep up with. Just from the kid's rooms we bagged up a dozen garbage bags of toys, clothes, and books. The rooms stay much cleaner. Paper plates helps in the kitchen and lining pans with foil makes cleanup easier. What about making extra meals on the weekends and freezing them in disposable pans? I don't cook much during the week since it's so much easier to just grab something from the freezer and heat it up. Maybe find someone to watch your older child for a weekend day so you and your husband can spend the day cleaning to give yourself a fresh start?

 

I'm not sure I would trust a nine year old to do all their own laundry but they could defiantly carry it to the laundry room and put it away when it's done. Maybe offer an allowance for help with chores?

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I can totally understand how you are feeling! I have been going up and down that same roller coaster! (I have 11, 9, 7, 2 and 5mos) I think that the first thing is that you will have good days and bad days. Try not to let the bad days drown you! I have a REALLY hard time letting go, fearing that I will get behind, etc. However, I think if I was in your shoes I would try setting a time limit for yourself that you will slow down. For example, after a terrible January, I decided to ease off of the nonessentials for February. So, no foreign languages, art & music only if we have time. Honestly, I probably should have let science and history go too and just focused on language studies (writing, grammar, handwriting, reading) and math. Figure out what is essential for you and just focus on that for a time. Set a time limit for your day, regardless of what baby's schedule is. My school right now is 9am-3pm, no exceptions. We have one hour for lunch and one hour of rest time scheduled into that time. I was like you, doing school past dinnertime (and dh works late and long hours also) and that's not a good situation for anyone. The kids need time for their stuff, and I need time to just be mom!

At the same time, I'm trying not to rush through things--I think it's better that they learn something well and we take a week to do it than to try to have them teach themselves and end up not learning it or doing it wrong!

 

I'm told that this will fade, but it is HARD. I'm reading through these posts and getting some ideas myself! As others have said, I also have the kids doing a lot of household jobs and I think that my house is actually relatively clean. I'm trying to keep to a schedule where they do the cleaning weekly and I do each thing once a month so it's really cleaned at least one time.

 

Hang in there!

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I have a dd9 and then a 3-month old baby, even though we took off a few months and just re-started Feb. 4th, I'm still not able to do this. Most days I break down crying because I can't keep up with the house, homeschool, the baby, laundry, and I don't remember the last time I cooked us a meal. I have no help locally, no family (except my husband who works long hours) and my friends are too busy to help me out. Today, we ran out of clean dishes, hubby is working late (again), dinner is sandwiches (again), homeschool is going till 8pm (again) and the baby is fussy (again). Help!!!!! :ack2:

 

 

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: Oh honey, you're expecting an awful lot of yourself.

 

In addition to the excellent advice you've gotten here, please remember that three months is one of the most difficult ages when it comes to getting things done because the little ones are so awake and alert to their world, but they can't sit up to play yet.

 

Some more ideas (forgive me if I repeat!):

 

  • A sling or baby wrap can be a lifesaver.

  • Set up your schedule for short teacher-intensive times with independent work in between.

  • Sandwiches (again) are fine for dinner if everyone is getting fed. Anyone who wants to complain can make dinner themselves. And others are absolutely right, a 9 y.o. can prepare a simple meal. :) Do you have a crockpot? Crockpot meals are super easy for kids.

  • This may seem counter-intuitive, but if you're struggling with sleep, an afternoon rest might help. Give your 9 y.o. some quiet activities to do in her room while baby is napping, and lie down on the couch to close your eyes and rest for an hour.

  • Go for a walk every day together. Exercise helps with sleep, and the fresh air will do everyone good. I give up our daily exercise time occasionally because it seems to take up so much time, but I go back to it because we all work better and focus more easily if we get some exercise. As a matter of fact, everyone is a little sluggish here, so in a few moments, I am going to holler "Shoes!" and get the boys moving in the sunshine. Twenty minutes of walking followed by a focused half hour before lunch is way better than 50 minutes of sluggish distracted kids (and sluggish distracted me).

 

In our house the priorities are making sure we're balanced and healthy physically and mentally, then schoolwork. The schoolwork tends to fall into place if we're taking care of ourselves.

 

More :grouphug: . Hang in there.

 

Cat

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Oh yeah a 9 year old can cook a ton. Just nothing too intensive. No frying, or anything that needs to be kept a close eye on. Which probably shouldnt even be on the menu right now cause you probably cannot devote that kind of time either. I would say she could cook simpler things, and you can buy simpler meals at the store for a bit til things get easier. IE she can cook noodles you can toss in the premade can of spaghetti sauce or alfredo sauce, or just melt some cheese on top. I think the nice thing about kids helping with cooking is that they generally love to do it. My kids LOVE to cook. It also helps with measuring and lots of math discussions. (At least in my house where everything needs to be doubled or tripled). Plus it is something you can stand in the kitchen and direct. So your hands could be busy holding the baby, while telling her what to do. Bonding time and learning what could be better. You could also give her choices on how to help. Not that I think kids need to do everything in the home but they need to contribute as part of the family. So leave choices like, "Hey do you want to hold the baby or clean up the dinner dishes?" Tell her you are having a hard time too. Just be frank and say that you are sturggling getting used to figuring out how to get everything done. Just say point blank, "I need your help sweety" then make a list of things that need to be done and see if she has any ideas on how you could do it or how she could help.

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I didn't think a 9 year old could do what you mentioned and some others have mentioned that theirs does. It could be because my mom never let us in the kitchen when she was cooking because we were a bother and so, I never learned to cook until I got married. I wasn't sure what age my daughter could start cooking but I sure didn't think it was 9 lol. I will probably go ahead and teach her to do some things then and try and not feel guilty that she is "working" instead of playing. All through school, she can't wait till its done so she can go play and to make her do extra work on top of that - how do you not feel guilty? Other than knowing they need those skills, when is it too much for a child? Thanks for all the help again everyone!! :grouphug:

 

At this age work and play overlap for kids. Their work IS their play. That's why they have play kitchens, play tools, etc. They WANT to grow up. We sort of have this protectionist, prolonged view of childhood and adolescence thing that has developed in our country. There's nothing wrong with work, and it's good and normal.

 

So yes, let her work. Trim that school work till it can get done in 3-4 hours a day. That's the MAX that is necessary and developmentally appropriate for that age. If it's going till 8 pm at night, cool. That means you ate dinner at 4 pm and started your school work at 5pm. Don't get into this trap of trying to do so much that it drags out all day!

 

Yes, we did switch over to things that could be done independently. It's normal for that age, so doing that is NOT a copout. She's ready for that transition. It doesn't mean everything, but it does mean giving her a checklist and giving her materials that she can sometimes do without you or that have a portion she can do without you. They WANT to grow up and work and be independent.

 

Yes, we did safe cooking at that age. Metal pans won't break if she drops it, or you put it in the oven for her. If she puts it in the oven while the oven is *cold*, she won't get burnt. Then you come over and turn the oven on. A lettuce knife won't hurt her. It's $2-3 at Walmart. Then you get a small pack of almost dull paring knives. Our Kroger usually has them like 4/$1. They'll cut celery, radishes, cucumber. So you buy veges and teach her to make salad! You buy chicken legs and show her how to spread them in a pan, pour on bbq sauce, and bake. Go simple.

 

Today my kids made the granola bars here. http://allrecipes.co...granola-bars/ I don't think they're especially good, but maybe our oats were too thick? Anyways, you dump everything in a bowl, stir, and pat in a pan. Your dd can do that. Don't hold her back from this stuff! Pull a rocking chair in the kitchen and you supervise while she works. You can do this. :)

 

I've always felt like cleaning was of kind of secondary importance, after eating and books. Maybe that means it's tertiary? Or else books and food are on the same level, lol. Anyways, my only advice from that is to remember a lived-in house is going to look lived-in. ;) One time one of my precious nephews came over and commented that my house looks like his does during the summer. He goes to school, hehe. A lived in house is going to look lived-in. Don't be afraid of that. :)

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Just sending you :grouphug: . As you can see by my sig, I know where you are.

 

8yo does not "cook" per se, but she can do simple cutting up apples, making snacks for all of us, getting drinks, and I ask her and the 4yo to do a good deal of picking up so I can have some visual order.

 

8yo is also a "little Mommy in the making," so she hops to when asked to anything involving helping with the baby (singing to and rocking baby, burping baby, helping me set up with pillows to nurse---she'd raise the baby for us if we'd let her. ;-). But, I wouldn't have her work with the stove yet (other than asking her to turn something off) and I'm not sure she could do a crockpot meal. She also seems too short to load the dishwasher, lol, but she does unload it everyday (with much moaning and groaning).

 

It is not a regular chore of hers, but she and the 4yo will take the laundry to the laundry room and 8yo will sort and fold when asked to. Just start including her in your tasks, then let her go with some of them while you walk off but are nearby.

 

Best wishes and love on your new little one! "The baby IS the lesson!"

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I no longer have a newborn, but I certainly remember those days. As others have suggested, make sure your 9 year old does math and reads a couple of hours daily, and otherwise let her education consist of audiobooks, crafts, playtime and participating in family life. My oldest two were 11 & 9 when our 'baby' was born. We did what I just listed for six months before getting back to full-scale school. Everyone is just fine. In fact, they're better than fine. Both in school now, the older two are excelling and they have such a close bond with DD4 because they were there every minute of her early life. That counts for a lot. Relax, take care of yourself, enjoy the baby, and have fun with your older daughter. The house and meals don't matter in the big picture.

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I just wanted to also say- things will be better in the spring! All of my babies are winter babies, and those months in the dark and stuck inside were so hard. When going outside doesn't involve 30 minutes of getting jackets, coats, boots, hats, gloves... (and then someone has to pee and someone else is ready to be nursed... again...lol), life will be so much easier, and sunshine does so much for the spirit.

 

Don't feel guilty about asking your DD to help out. If she balks, then Little House on the Prarie might be a good read-aloud! Children have been helping out their parents since the dawn of time. It is only very recently that children have had so much free time. Do ensure that she HAS free time, but don't hesitate to have her help- and try not to make it a "chore"- make learning to cook a special mommy-daughter bonding time. Show her your appreciation when she prepares her first whole meal- start to finish- by herself (and it can be totally easy, like pigs in a blanket and a bag of salad!)

 

Hang in there!!!

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*We are only doing the essentials right now in homeschooling - we haven't been able to fit in science, art, cursive or music.

 

 

Seriously, the essentials are enough. Personally, I would scale back to just math and reading and spelling. (And if your daughter doesn't struggle with spelling you can skip that too for now.) I would also homeschool through the summer. The only way I was able to homeschool successfully with babies and toddlers was to school year-round. That allowed me to take time off when needed and/or have shorter days without worrying about my children falling behind. I also had to homeschool in a way that my children could be as independent as possible. I did not use teacher intensive curricula. Right now I don't have a baby but I do have an 18 month old and I also watch my 2yo granddaughter. We mostly use CLE which has been a lifesaver. My just turned 10yo and my 12yo are totally independent when it comes to school. All I do is check their work and help if there is something they don't understand.

 

Susan in TX

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I have four kids...ages 3 up through 7th grade. A couple of years ago, I was babysitting my neighbor's little boy who was the same age as my youngest at the time so we had 2 one year olds running around here (along with my 4 YO DD) at the same time that I was homeschooling only my oldest for 5th grade. He did a lot of his work on his own, coming to me anytime he had a question. He has always struggled with math so we did math together during naps everyday. When we were done going over math, I would load the dishwasher and start some laundry, make sure I had something pulled out for dinner that would be easy.

 

In the late afternoon, I would go pick up my second grader from the local PS, we'd work on his homework together, and then I would have my oldest sons help me clean up. They'd pick up trash, clothes, and toys. I'd run the vacuum. Other days, I would hand them the spray bottle and some paper towels and they would wash the windows and dust. They have always helped me get things done around here. It is the only way to keep up with it all. And BTW, my house is far from perfect. You should see it right now actually...but that's another post...

 

Things are a little easier around here now that the youngest is almost 4 and they're all being homeschooled. I also chose things that I feel like they can do on their own a lot, help each other out with (reading SOTW together for example), or will require very little prep time from me. I just don't have time for prep work. Initially we were trying to do TOG yr 2 and I was drowning in prep work. I had to switch what we were doing. Maybe the same would help you?

 

As for the baby, I would put the baby in a wrap and wear him/her the bulk of the day. Then you can keep on with what needs done while holding the baby. :) Good luck! It will get better!

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What about making extra meals on the weekends and freezing them in disposable pans?

 

Maybe find someone to watch your older child for a weekend day so you and your husband can spend the day cleaning to give yourself a fresh start?

 

 

I'm really grateful for all the replies and suggestions!! :hurray: Things have been going better the past few days, though still stressful. There are some ways I changed how things are done around here, since I can't change the fact that hubby works over a lot and I can't stop the baby from crying lol. :laugh:

 

To answer the quoted part above from 'airforcefamily' - I used to do freezer cooking for 3 months before I had the baby, though that isn't possible now, I do think finding the time to cook some extra and freezing it would help a lot! I cooked a huge pot of pinto beans today along with 8 cups of rice and told the family it is beans/rice weekend and everyone was surprisingly excited - being that it isn't sandwiches (again) or fast food....they are happy. I will try and cook double everytime I can cook.

 

I also used to do a once-a-week cleaning and would get the entire house clean in 3-hours, doing what I call cardio-cleaning. I haven't had the energy to do that while I was recovering from my c-section, but I finally feel ready to try now whenever hubby can take the baby......I will clean like crazy! :leaving: I did manage to clean the house this week by doing a little each day but I really just want to try the once-a-week and have it over and done with.

 

With homeschool we changed a few things around and still trying to plan that out this weekend so this week will be more organized with more independent work for her. She is also doing more chores and wants to tell everyone on here "thanks a lot" LOL! :cursing: No, really, she was at first upset that she had to do more but she understood and just does it now. I taught her how to make rice today and she was jumping up and down so excited that she can cook rice now and I was jumping along with her when I realized that I don't ever need to cook it again if I don't want to! :cool:

 

Thanks again for all the help, I'm slowly feeling that I can do this!! :grouphug:

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Many, many hugs to the OP.

 

First, buy a big pile of paper plates. It's not the end of the world to live off of paper for as long as it takes. I have friends who work part time and their youngest child is 7. Paper plates are part of their daily survival plan.

 

Second, just survive on the housework. We just do dishes and laundry around here. Vacuuming occurs when we get to it. My kitchen floor hasn't been properly mopped for 3 years. I just spot clean it with a rag when something drops on it.

 

Third, the best advice I got when pregnant was to just "Know that you will fall behind for a year. Get over it." Even now, our toddler is 2yo, and there are days that she just needs to nurse and nurse. I try to set dd6 up with independent work before I go nurse the baby, but that has its limits. I don't begrudge the toddler this because I know she needs me in this way. Older dd6 will be fine.

 

We rarely do science or other extras. We do read as much as we can, and we do watch a lot of PBS (PBS kids, Nova, and Nature).

 

Fourth, Please find some support for yourself. Do you have a church friend who would come twice a week to fold laundry for you and sweep/mop your floors? Many church communities have boards set up to minister to members in need.

 

Please go for a PPD screening, too. That baby needs you at your best.

 

We've all been there.

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I also used to do a once-a-week cleaning and would get the entire house clean in 3-hours, doing what I call cardio-cleaning. I haven't had the energy to do that while I was recovering from my c-section, but I finally feel ready to try now whenever hubby can take the baby......I will clean like crazy! :leaving: I did manage to clean the house this week by doing a little each day but I really just want to try the once-a-week and have it over and done with.

 

I don't know if this will work for your family.... but I know that I am crazy in the head if my house is upside down. So I've had to find something that works for us, and be realistic as well since the house will look lived in. Once a week I have a whole house cleaning that takes about an hour. I have the six major things (mopping, vacuuming, dusting, take out trash, change sheets, windex glass mirrors & doors) written out and spend ten minutes on each one. Set timer and stop cleaning when it goes off. (If you are already familiar with FLYlady, I am sorry to repeat.) I have asked my husband and children to take one off the list and then you'll be done in even less time. I even take a laundry basket and fill with stuff that's all out of place beforehand (making it easier to run through cleaning like a crazy woman) and then just take 5 min a day to put it all away. Do this while baby is sleeping or while in a baby carrier. (My babies got so used to this they started falling asleep as soon as they were up in carrier and the vacuum turned on! Seriously!) The catch is that you can't get all upset if you didn't get something. Just write that down and get to it when you can. And then just let it go. Just so you know, I'm talking to myself here. Hope this helps with the house cleaning anyway! :)

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I could give a nice long list of advice but instead I am going to make it a short list.

 

Throw meat in a crock pot in the morning. Turn it on before your nap yes, that's right YOUR nap.

Now, cut yourself some slack. The baby is three months. This will not be your life. You have hormones running amuck, the baby isn't on any type of sleep or eat schedule and I would bet your nine year old really hasn't had a need to work independently.

 

Extend yourself the grace you would extend to a friend. Get some sleep, sit down, read aloud for school while cuddling the baby, and prepare some healthy, easy food. (Do all prep like cutting veggies early in the morning.) That's it. That's what your day should look like for a while.

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I do have a Snugli but he only likes it when I'm walking outside. I tried to wear it in the house but he tries to wiggle out of it and screams till I take him out. I wonder if a wrap would be better? He is a big baby, tall that is, he is about 27 inches already and somewhere around 14 pounds.

 

 

I didn't read the thread but narrow crotch holders are known as crotch danglers. They don't support baby and can cause hip dysplasia. Ditch it. Check out the Baby Wearer Forums for GOOD advice.

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I use a Moby forward facing position till they are crawling or probably 7 or so months :)

Also, I focus on cleaning a room or so a day so they all eventually get cleaned each week ;)

Life is crazy with a new baby but I am sure you will get into the swing of things with time. I used a Robinson Curriculum approach at times when I have a hard time getting to do school...pick out books for dc to read on their own till I was able to get back to school like normal.

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I have not read all of the replies, but I would highly recommend a wrap, a mei tai (like a Kozy), or Ergo -- they'll work well for back carrying as well as front.

 

Also, my best tip for homeschooling with a baby is this: don't waste time. If my baby was sleeping (and I wasn't napping myself), I did stuff that was hard to do while he was awake. I didn't do math then. I saved math or read alouds or other easy stuff that didn't require two hands for when the baby was awake in my lap or nursing.

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I didn't read the thread but narrow crotch holders are known as crotch danglers. They don't support baby and can cause hip dysplasia. Ditch it. Check out the Baby Wearer Forums for GOOD advice.

 

 

Thank you for this information, I just researched it a bit and now understand the 'why' behind the different carriers.

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I couldn't live without baby carriers.

 

ETA: Okay I could. But it would suck.

 

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THIS!!!! A good baby carrier saved my life!

 

I always put my babies on my back to clean, and when we go on walks - all the time, really - as it's a must to have my hands free for a toddler. You could probably do this easiest with a mei tai style carrier with a newborn. (I used a wrap for back carries, but I'd had experience.) I second checking the baby wearer forum and ask around to see if there's a babywearing group in your area. Maybe someone will have a carrier you can borrow before you buy something.

 

And it may take a bit for the baby to get used to this. My suggestion is, once baby is in carrier, get moving (walk, vacuum) until baby is settled, and soon the baby will love it. I just wanted to add that since my first child would've preferred I have her in arms all the time, but I didn't give up, and I'm so glad! It's paid off with the rest!!

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