Oh, you're so, so sick.
I've been there! You have multiple children that need your attention, some kind of mess in your house, dishes exploding in the sink, meals to make, loads of laundry, and all you can do is lay there on the cold tile bathroom floor in between sessions of getting sick. You feel an overwhelming sense of guilt because of well, all of the above. A new baby is such a blessing and gift from the Lord. It can also feel like 9 months is 15 years away, knowing you get sick for the entire 9 months of your pregnancies. Can I share my experience and tips with you? Give Yourself GRACE!!! It's easier said than done, I know. When the guilt weighs on your shoulders because your children have eaten Chickfila for the third day in a row. Oh, and that's only because your husband picked it up on his way home from work. Guilty because all they did during your “homeschool” day was play with Legos.
It’s not only okay, but it will be wonderful on the other side of things.
This experience humbles you.
Though it may feel like climbing Mount Everest, you’ll have a great appreciation when you’re able to do even a load of laundry and hang them to dry. In my experience, I stood on my back deck feeling so grateful that I was able to watch our children’s little clothes flap in the wind. You’ll recognize that it is only through His grace and the strength that He provides, that you were able to accomplish such a task we all take for granted.
He is FAITHFUL and will get you through this season of your life!
Your children are resilient and will learn from life!
So now what?
Okay. So, you decide you’re going to give yourself grace. But what is it exactly that helped me get through these times? What educational activities did we provide them with so we could continue our year of homeschool?
Below I’ve listed some things we did together during my fourth pregnancy:
Our children love to build things and use their imagination. We only did a few of the pre-boxed Lego sets that they created a specific thing but if that’s what your child likes, then purchase a few. Our favorites were the Iron Man Hulk Buster and the Shark set.
2. A Box of Randoms
I walked around my house (when I could) and gathered a bunch of random stuff that I could find in a junk drawer and the garage. One of our children in particular loves to take stuff apart and build other things with them. It was amazing to see what was put together from their imagination. Some of the items that were taken apart (with my supervision, of course) were calculators, old phones, cameras, and other electronics.
Some of the other items I gave to them to create are listed below. Really anything I could find worked. They’ll just enjoy creating.
Cork board hangers
3. Picnics in the Backyard
We like to go on picnics but I couldn’t barely get up, let alone dress everyone so we could get out to a park. A backyard picnic did the trick! I grabbed any “snacky” lunch I could find, threw it all in a bag with some books and headed outside. I had every intention to read to them but most of the time they would thumb through the books and look at them illustrations on their own. All I could do is lay there on the blanket.
This was a total win/win because they were able to get out, run around, and explore while I was able to lay down on the blanket and watch them enjoy exploring God’s creation.
Some of our favorite nature books and activity books that they can look through on their own and have fun doing the activities are as follows:
The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Nature and Science
Nature Anatomy by Julie Rothman
Nature Activity Book from Usborne
Our children enjoy painting. All I did for this was grab out paint, brushes, and a “new” library book we rented from the library. They would pick their favorite illustration in the book and paint it. This was wonderful because they were looking at books, doing art, reading what they could, concentrating, and learning independence, all awhile I sat beside them on the couch.
Another fun thing to do is add in a nature element that goes along with the book. In this lesson they observed the beauty of a coral and painted that as well.
5. Floor Schooling
I just had to lay in bed. Often. During naptime, our oldest would grab a blanket along with his math blocks and do his math work on the floor while I took a nap. Some times he would impress me by doing all of his math but others he just simply played and constructed with the math block, and that was okay! He had fun and we got through.
Note: The math curriculum we use is Math-U-See.
6. Baking and Cooking
No, I’m not recommending getting out the flour and sugar and baking anything from scratch! Nobody has time nor the energy to do all that when breakfast dishes are still in the sink. I mean a simply box of cake that they can read the simple instructions and make cupcakes. Give them a scoop and a muffin pan and they are happy for a while. It is teaching them life skills.
Allow them to crack some eggs and stir it together for breakfast. Sure, they may break some and yoke may drip on the counter, but they’ll love being your helper when they know you’re not feeling well. It gives them such a sense of accomplishment when they’re able to cook something and serve one another. Note: If you have younger ones, allow them to snap the ends off of the green beans or cut bell peppers you plan on cooking for dinner. We use these kids knives so I know they're safe using them.
7. Composer Study
You don’t have to do much here. Pick a composer such as Mozart or Beethoven that you can study during your whole pregnancy. Play the list each day and your children will amaze you. They will learn these pieces very quickly. This will help your child also later on if you plan to enroll them in any sort of musical class or teach them an instrument. Again, there’s not much you need to do for this. Put the music on and have them discuss what they hear.
If your children are ready for it, allow them to pick up an instrument and learn. We got a keyboard and started Hoffman Academy so I didn't need to teach them.
This is a perfect time to work on habits with little ones. Cleaning up after themselves, doing their own dishes after a meal, helping you with the dishes that are piled in the sink, putting their own clothes away, and so on. Since you’ll likely be spending more time at home, use the time to establish good habit training in your home.
9. It’s OKAY to use the TV
I’m a huge advocate for heavily limiting screen time! It’s just not good in my opinion. There are however, times when it can be a huge help and this is absolutely one of those times. I remember waking up in the mornings and my husband already had the kids downstairs with whole grain cereal and apples. I would then proceed by telling him that I just couldn’t. So…I go up, laid down on the couch, and we put on the TV until I felt well enough to stand up.
There’s so much trash on TV. There are a select few things listed below that we allow our children to watch in seasons like this.
Buck Denver: What's in the Bible
Magic School Bus
Peg + Cat
A good copywork curriculum is a wonderful option for instilling a little bit of independence during this time. This requires little to no help "most" of the time if you have a good curriculum for them to use. My favorite is Handwriting Without Tears because it has great graphics and illustration that explain how to create each letter.
For children that are a little further along in with handwriting, All Creatures of Our God and King offers wonderful copywork all created from God's Word.
11. Pajama Days
Most days we were in pajamas. After we did the little bit of schooling we were able to get done, they spent the rest of the time playing in our play room. They loved having free time and gave me a lot of grace. They didn’t know I was pregnant until well into the second trimester however, they knew I was super sick and understood that I needed time to relax and feel better.
Another thing we did for our pajama days were listen to audiobooks and cuddled together on the couch. When I could read, I read the Bible to the kids but other times we listened to the Bible app so we could all listen together.
He will never leave you.
His mercies are new every single day.
He is so kind and provides.
If at the end of your pregnancy, all you were able to do is a tiny bit of math and reading lessons, that’s okay!! Oh, the joys of homeschool! You will make it up and your children will thrive.
You’re doing enough, Mama. He is enough. Lean on Him and He will sustain you.
I pray this post is helpful to any of you that are seeking advice right now.