The Baby is the Lesson, by Vera

Then it happened…. I discovered one morning in June that we were, in fact, not done having kids. A new little blessing was on her way. I felt a mixture of terror and excitement, as well as a lot of queasiness.

First trimester… As we started school, I was queasy, exhausted, and generally unmotivated. Some days we did school, and some days were filled with P.E. – outside. Second trimester… I developed hypertension. This meant adding OB visits to my midwife visits, plus I had to have these visits more often as we worked out medication. Each visit took away a day of school. Third trimester… Blood pressure continued to rise, and I ended up on bedrest. School happened roughly three days per week.

So how did we manage? Well, the first thing we did was to stick to the basics. Math, reading, and writing needed to keep going. We used curricula that had a little more independent work. Oldest used Art of Problem Solving Prealgebra, which is written directly to the student. The younger two used CLE Math, also written to the student. My 5th grader and kindergartner were reading well, so I just had them get plenty of library books. My 2nd grader struggled a bit with reading, so he did Rod & Staff Phonics and Reading. It’s mom-intensive but straightforward. These included plenty of writing for him. For history, we went with Mystery of History Ancients, though we only made it about nine weeks in. I didn’t do formal science. Again, library books are great.

In addition to the school side of things, we still had a household to run. These people expect to eat daily and have clean clothes! In this area, the boys really stepped up. They learned to do more for themselves: cook, clean, do laundry, and feed the animals. My husband did some cooking and also decluttered the house to make it easier for the boys to maintain. Our church family brought meals the last month and for about six weeks after the birth.

The results of this highly interrupted school year were: 1) a beautiful and healthy baby girl, 2) math, reading, and writing all progressed very well, and 3) the kids learned important life skills. They love their baby sister and are daily learning what goes into caring for a baby.

Over eight months later, we are well into our new school year. We have added grammar, spelling, and such back in and are consistently doing history and science. We don’t have a read aloud going yet, but it will be back eventually. I have kept CLE Math and started everyone on CLE Language Arts. Science for the now-6th grader is a textbook – Apologia General Science. The younger two are using Creek Edge Press Life Science task cards. We’ve been working quickly through our history book and should finish Ancients next week. Then we head on to the Middle Ages!

While we had what seemed like a slacker year, it turned out fine, and the kids learned more than I ever could have thought possible. I now understand the saying from homeschooling forums: The baby is the lesson. And what a cute little lesson she is!

Vera is a Christian homeschooling mom to 3 boys and a baby girl, and her past life included a degree in Electrical Engineering and a job as a software developer prior to having kids. She started homeschooling January 2010, halfway through her oldest son’s first grade year. She lives in Alabama and has a small farm of horses and goats, aka nature’s lawnmowers. Her days involve wrangling boys, vacuuming German Shepherd hair, sewing, knitting, and computer programming.

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