Tips for getting through the last month of pregnancy while homeschooling
Sitting here well in to my 9th month of pregnancy with our 5th child, I can honestly say that home educating while pregnant is not something that I anticipated when I first started on this journey, and for a large part, my endless google searching for ideas on how to get through this last month, sanity intact, with a house full of children, has helped very little.
At this point, the most attractive prospects for how to spend my day include; sleeping on the couch, getting foot massages, watching movies while eating vegan chocolate nutella slices, or sleeping in a hammock on the beach while being fed grapes and fanned by whoever (I am not fussy...).
With a large family of little (and big) people who still depend on me, despite my advanced stage of pregnancy, the chances of any of these scenario's happening regularly are pretty slim.
Something like this would be awesome...
If you google 'tips for getting through the last month of pregnancy' you will come across helpful gems of advice such as:
- spend time alone with your husband
- go hiking or on holiday while you can
- take a babymoon
- take time out for the hairdresser, a pedicure, or a retreat
None of which I have found particularly helpful. So if you are in the same boat, and can't imagine being 9 months pregnant, climbing a mountain with an entourage of kiddo's, or taking a holiday while some mythical au pair takes care of the rest of your family, here are some practical tips for getting through the last (read: the hardest, often most exhausting and seemingly neverending) month of pregnancy, while homeschooling.
Consider unschooling - with lots of books
If you aren't unschooling, now is the time when you might like to consider a more relaxed approach for at least a couple of months. I promise you, nobody ever died from not doing set school work. Take your brood to the library and borrow 25 books each, if you like. Get someone to erect an extra bookcase for you, and take the time to borrow a collection of books for yourself. Turn off the TV. Disconnect the internet for a bit. Take a break from social media, if you use it. Declare a homeschool holiday, and create quiet spaces where everyone can immerse themselves in books, or take up quiet, creative projects, and forget about the 'school work' for a little while. There will be plenty of time for that later.
Let older children take on more responsibility
I have lots of friends who have both teenagers and toddlers, or babies. In the non-home educating world, this is pretty rare. In the homeschooling and unschooling world, it is very normal to have children with large age gaps in the same family. Many of my friends are first reluctant to let older children take on any of the responsibility for younger children. It may be one of those 'lone ranger' type things - 'I had our children and they are mine to look after' is something that I have heard more than once! However giving older children and teenagers responsibility for younger siblings is giving them the opportunity to develop one of the most important life skills that they will ever have the chance to to take on - that of looking after someone other than themselves.
Most teenagers are more than capable of providing love, support, education or entertainment to younger siblings, maybe at the art table, or the toy box, while you take a break and make a dent in your book collection. Or if you don't feel like reading and disconnecting the internet, you might want to watch a movie, or have a few hours reading blogs, while an older child entertains the younger children. They will be better for it, and it will give you a chance to rest, so that you have energy for each child later in the day.
Enjoy one-on-one time with your children
Letting older children take on responsibility for younger children, for a small part of the day, will likely mean that you have more energy to spend one-on-one time with your children. For us, I have involved our youngest daughter in creating a birth plan with me (we used cut-out pictures, so she was able to cut them out with me, and paste the icons that she liked on her own 'birth plan' - this was a fantastic learning opportunity, and gave us some much-needed bonding time).
If one-on-one time sounds too exhausting, some popcorn and a family movie day with everyone, is a great alternative.
Start encouraging independent play
Chances are that your younger child/ren are used to you spending a lot of time with them, and this is especially true if you are expecting your second child. And they may not have yet developed skills in independent play.
For us, we have all older teenagers, and one small child. Our youngest has never had the need to develop skills in independent play, so this time has been about setting up play areas for her with toys, art supplies, books and other activities that she can work on for 10 - 15 minute stretches on her own, in preparation for times when she may need to entertain herself while I am breastfeeding or resting with our newborn.
Gradually doing this in the last few months of pregnancy means that it should be smoother sailing in the few more hectic months ahead.
Spend time outdoors and stretch your legs
In weeks 34 and 35 I had horrific braxton-hicks contractions... apparently this is normal after your 2nd or 3rd baby. Every day was like the start of labour, and it hurt to get off the couch and get something to eat, let alone doing anything more vigorous! However, much like a 'watched pot never boils' - sitting all day waiting for a baby to come to full term, is its own special kind of torture! Time slows down to an agonising crawl, in the worst way, and add in the presence of a house full of children, and you have a recipe for serious cabin-fever!
If you are physically able to, get outside in the fresh air as much as possible! Meet up with friends, even if you feel sore and tired and have swollen, puffy feet.
You will not look like this forever
You will not feel like this forever
Even a slow waddle in the park will be better than sitting on the couch, waiting for your watched pot to boil!
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