Help For the Harried Homeschool Mom: Tips for Homeschooling

by Melissa D. Jaramillo

This piece focuses on tips for homeschooling with infants and toddlers.

Another day begins. The "alarm bell," otherwise known as that newborn infant (which you must have thought was a bright idea ten months ago) jerks you out of that not-so-sound sleep. In a daze, you stumble to the rocker and begin to feed the baby. As he eats, your thoughts wander (not that rare of an occurrence now is it?) You know all that MUST be accomplished today but cringe as thoughts of yesterday creep in.

"It couldn't have been that bad?" you try to convince yourself. Ahhh, but it was! Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The baby wouldn't nurse more than 5 minutes at a time, which meant that he was nursing every 5 minutes! Someone stopped up the toilet. Someone else flushed. The toddler decided that she would "help" by getting the container of Kool-Aid mix out. The whole container is opened and dumped on the couch. The kindergartner in his valid try to protect "Miss Innocent" attempts to hide the evidence. He grabs a wet rag to wipe it off. Need you even ask? Of course it was cherry! You needed to turn in a progress report and could not locate the necessary test results. Your child that yesterday knew how to do long division suddenly looked at you as if you were speaking a foreign language. Speaking of which, you realize that Spanish curriculum you ordered (and paid for!) still has not arrived. *Sigh* And that was all before 9 a.m. You shudder, not wishing to relive the rest of the day.

"Today is going to be different!" you vow. You are organized! You are psyched! You have a list! You are crazy or about to be if you don't give yourself a chance to adjust.

Bringing in a new member of the family requires (yes, requires) that you make adjustments in all aspects of your life. This goes for laundry, meal planning, errands, and yes, homeschooling. Without becoming a bit flexible, the more you try to force yourself and your family into your "regular" routine, the more behind, upset, harried, and just plain frustrated you will become. I know -- I've been there/done that 5+ times now.

Here are some ideas that make things a bit more bearable (ha -- or should I say that make me less of a bear! ):