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View Full Version : New to HS'ing, what do you do with babies while you HS???



Susanna
06-04-2010, 09:48 PM
Hi,
I'm Susanna & I have a 5y.o. son & three infants, one 6 months, and two two months. For all intents and purposes, triplets. At the moment I have a babysitter who takes care of them while I HS my older son but I really would prefer not to pay for this luxury forever. Anyone have any advice?
Thanks,
Susanna
PS. Yeah, I'm trying to get them all on the same schedule but every day at least one resists & that quickly turns into an all out insurrection because one screaming inevitably wakes the other two

jessicalb
06-05-2010, 08:29 AM
I only have one, but if it were me, I'd take a break, and return to HSing with a "unit study on family and baby care". Really, I would throw formal academics out for a long time, and just get in moments of connection and learning where you can for a while. Sing together, read together, color together, do chores together, take care of the littles together, etc. I'd say that a time with three tiny infants in the house is a time for relaxed life learning! :)

camaro
06-05-2010, 10:02 AM
When we had our twins (has it already been five years, Matthew and Michael?) we quickly discovered they were very different from each other and it was almost impossible to put them on a schedule that both would follow. It really turned out that caring for our twins was three times harder than caring for our oldest, Mitchell, who was a very easy baby. I have no trouble saying that it's possible caring for three infants could be five times harder! I'd do precisely as Jessica suggests and throw formal academics out the window for a while. You might be surprised how much learning still gets done in those tiny little moments of peace. :)

Snoopy
06-05-2010, 10:20 AM
Welcome Susanna! It's great to see someone else from FL on the board. Where are you guys located? We're in Central Florida, about 45 minutes from Orlando.

Wow, you have your hands full. Pardon me for being curious, but how do you have a 6 months-old and (2) two-months-old? We have a blended family but our ages range from 8-17.

I haven't had to deal with multiple infants, but I would think that Jessica's advice is very good. Try a very relaxed approach until the babies are a little older, unit studies, lapbooks, reading books when you can catch a quiet moment. Also at that age, I would have Noah use Reader Rabbit's PreK software and various other PreK and K-level computer programs to practice reading and basic math skills. I wouldn't have him on the PC for hours at a time but it was nice for him to do it for 1 hour here and there to give me a break and he enjoyed it a lot.

Good luck!

StartingOver
06-05-2010, 10:34 AM
Goodness !! That's a tough one. I have had a 5 year old with a 3 & 2 year old before, and now a 4 year old with a 2 year old. But with infants..... that is tough.

I would put off school for a bit. I have found that I can entertain an 18 month old for long enough to do some stuff. Two year olds do very well. I think I would utilize some learning software, and take advantage of any free moments you have to focus on some phonics instructions. There are tons of programs for reading such as Starfall, Click N Read, Reading Eggs, Jump Start, Reader Rabbit, & Etc. Other than that I would count, talk about things & read aloud when you get a chance.

One of the things that helps kept my little ones busy so I could work with the older kids for a few mintues, is to have a toys that are only used during "school" time. We have shelves in the kitchen, and baskets hung on the wall, with things like lacing shapes, blocks, math manipulatives, washable crayons - markers - paints, sorting blocks, stacking rings, etc. These are only brought out during times when I want to sit down with one of the children for a focused lessons. I also keep lessons to 5-10 minutes at a time, short and sweet.

Good Luck !

Susanna
06-07-2010, 09:34 AM
Thank you everyone for replying... I feel like I'm in a groove with the babysitter here. My older son and I go into a different room to do our HS'ing which mainly consists of math u see and hooked on phonics, some (light/fun) science and reading aloud (and have some one on one time too away from the babies, which is important too - I don't want him to feel... replaced with the babies you know?) I keep thinking that if I can get them all on the same schedule and have them all sleeping (reliably) at the same time we can do it then but at the moment that's not happening. None are sleeping thru the night yet either, we're still doing every 3-4 hour feedings all night long, but again I'm working on that! lol
To answer questions:
Camaro- I'm actually (surprisingly) finding that three are about the same as one -but our first was incredibly difficult. He was 2 months preemie, was medically fragile and we were in and out of the hospital the entire first year of his life constantly. He had severe sleep apnea & only slept in 10-20 min intervals for the entire first year (slept thru the night for the first time at 3.5 years) and whenever he was awake he screamed - in hindsight because he was tired and cranky because he wasn't getting quality sleep with the apnea. He also had severe reflux and projectile vomited every meal - I'm sure the discomfort from that caused a lot of the screaming too. Seizures, milestone delays in every area/intense therapy in every area for 3 years, a spinal cord defect - you name it we dealt with it. Now he's an easy and normal 5 y.o. We joke that subconciously he must know that he owes us an easy time now after the hellish first year he put us through!
Snoopy - We're also in Central Fl, specifically in Windermere, an Orlando suburb basically, to the West of downtown. RE: the age gap explanation... Our older son, Giovanni, I gave birth to - he was my 10th pregnancy after 6 years of miscarriages and fertility treatments, born in 2005. I was on bedrest the entire time, took several shots a day and it ended 2 months early in emergency C - we were both lucky to be alive. We (DH and I that is!) started trying again when he was 9 months old (the soonest I could after a C) because we knew it would not be an easy road to have a sibling. 9 more miscarriages, several artificial inseminations, 8 IVF cycles later we finally turned to gestational surrogacy. We ended up with 2 surrogates pregnant at the same time (another long story - not at all how we planned it initially! lol) and the first gave birth to Andrew in Dec 09, the second gave birth to Giuliana and Sofia April 2010, so Andrew is 4 months older than the girls. He is now 6 months old and they are 2 months old. Giovanni is now 5 1/2 and turns 6 in March 2011. So... they are not technically triplets but at 4 months difference and all being infants it's pretty similar to having triplets - one is just on solid food and the other two aren't is the biggest difference at the moment! Sorry if this is TMI, but you asked, hope the explanation wasn't more than you bargained for!! lol :)
Susanna
PS. In hindsight I think I should have posted this in the "issues" and not "how to" area - sorry, I'm a newbie!

Snoopy
06-07-2010, 09:21 PM
Susanna, hey we're practically neighbors! We're in the Clermont area so just about 25-30 min from where you are. I was just at the Winter Garden Village yesterday :)

Thanks so much for explaining the age difference, I was really puzzled and I was nosy. Wow lady, you've had a heck of a road to get to where you are. How strong you must be! Congratulations on all the little ones. I was following a car this afternoon that had a decal on the back window that read "Love, Peace and Triplets".

Are you part of any local hs'ing groups? I think HENCF (http://http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomeEducatorsNetworkofCentralFlorida/) has activities in your neck of the woods (Ocoee-Winter Garden). I'm not part of it but apparently it's pretty active, with kids of all ages. It's an inclusive group so maybe not particularly secular, I'm not sure. Since you're new to homeschooling, it might be a good idea for you to hook up with a local group for local support and ideas.

In the meantime, it's great that you have the babysitter to help with the litle ones so that you and Giovanni can spend time together. With 4 biokids and 2 stepdaughters at home, I always found it hard to give each child enough individual attention so I would organize Mommy Days with just 1 child on the weekends when my husband could watch the other ones. But I only homeschool one of them, as I said.

Talk to you soon :)

Susanna
06-09-2010, 10:21 PM
Hi,
Clermont? WE ARE neighbors! My mom lives in Clermont for half the year actually, in a retirement community there (King's ridge). She just went back North for the winter though. (Originally we're yankees :) )
Don't worry about asking about the age difference, I know I'm going to spend my life explaining that! lol I think it will be easier when they get closer in size, for people I don't know I'll just say "triplets" and let it go at that. Right now it's obvious there is an age gap because Andrew is about 16lbs and the girls are about 9lbs each. I'm already part of HENCF and a few other local groups - just haven't had time to do much with any of them - we just moved (from Dr. Phillips area, local move) plus with 3 infants in the house it's just been crazy. Everything is still in boxes and I can't find anything I actually need - of course I can find the ice cream maker and fondue pot, no problem! I just bought a pinapple at the store simply because I have a pineapple corer in plain sight at the top of a box - somehow it made me feel better to be able to find/use something I needed.
I also haven't done much with HENCF because I can't get out on my own at all - logistically it's impossible - what would I do if my 5 y.o. had to go to the bathroom for example? The triple stroller won't fit in any bathroom, I can't leave babies on their own, I have a travel potty but....it's really for emergencies only. Plus we'd have to run back to the car to use it & by that time it would probably be too late. Or if he was at the park and got too far away - there's no chasing after him across grass with a triple infant carseat stroller... I just can envision too many panic-ridden scenarios at this point and being all alone with all of them out of the house just is not something I'm brave enough to try just yet!

WG village is about 10 min from me!
Susanna

Snoopy
06-09-2010, 11:04 PM
Everything is still in boxes and I can't find anything I actually need - of course I can find the ice cream maker and fondue pot, no problem! I just bought a pinapple at the store simply because I have a pineapple corer in plain sight at the top of a box - somehow it made me feel better to be able to find/use something I needed. LOL, most days I can't find the spreader that I use all the time but I sure can tell you where the icecream maker and fondue pots are - mostly because I never use them so they've been in the same cabinet since we moved here 8 years ago :)

This is so funny that we live so close! I definitely know King's Ridge, I used to live kind of behind it, in Greater Pines, right off Hancock Road. We're in Groveland now, but I'm in Clermont every day since that's where all the shops are.

Well, whenever you feel brave enough to venture out, Noah and I could meet you guys and help watch the babies so you can use the bathroom if you need to :) It's going to be HOT for the next few months, but once it cools off we could meet at a playground or something. Chapin Station in Ocoee is nice, and so is Speer Park in Oakland (although no potty there).

Melissa541
06-10-2010, 12:01 AM
I was a gestational surrogate. :) My littl surro-doodle is a beautiful 6 year old; it's hard to believe so much time has gone by. Congratulations to you!

I only (!) have three children & they all came separately, but when my third was born school pretty much stopped for us. We were in "survival mode" for quite awhile. My eldest was 6 at the time & followed no formal curriculum. She played games, read books, leaned how to make pb& j for herself the 2 year old & got great at changing diapers. It's only been within the last 6 or 7 months (my baby is 21 months now) that we've gotten back into a real good groove with actual school work. She's a bit behind her public school peers in her math, but I'm not worried about being able to catch up.

I agree with the others. When you're ready to stop shelling out for the sitter, don't feel badly about taking a nice, long break.

Snoopy
06-10-2010, 01:50 AM
I was a gestational surrogate. :) That was really cool of you to have done that, Melissa541! There was a time when I was thinking about offering to do it for some friends of mine who were Canadians working in the US and couldn't get pregnant and would have been the most awesome parents, but around the same time my 1st marriage fell apart so I never mentioned it. Then we lost touch so I don't know if they ever adopted, they were in the process of getting evaluated for that. Anyway, it sounds like you're still in touch with the parents of your surro-doodle. Was it hard at all for you to relinquish the baby to his/her parents after the birth? I always imagined that I would be so grateful not to have to go through the night feedings and the colics, etc, that I would have been quite happy to go back to my own life after that. But your emotions have a way of playing tricks on you, especially during pregnancy.

Melissa541
06-10-2010, 05:15 PM
Y'know, I never had any maternal feelings for Natalie. She was made from her momma & daddy (I do not think I would have felt the same had the egg been mine) & was always theirs. It wasn't at all difficult to see her with her parents; on the contrary, seeing them hold her for the first time was the culmination of the year's work we'd done. Does that make sense? And, I was SO glad to not have to wake up every two hours. :) I did get a puppy shortly after, as I did feel a really strong urge to nurture something small & cuddly.

I'm going to stop myself from hijacking this thread, because I could go ON AND ON about this topic. Seriously, I've made people roll their eyes at how long I could really go on about it. :)

Snoopy
06-10-2010, 09:55 PM
Y'know, I never had any maternal feelings for Natalie. She was made from her momma & daddy (I do not think I would have felt the same had the egg been mine) & was always theirs. It wasn't at all difficult to see her with her parents; on the contrary, seeing them hold her for the first time was the culmination of the year's work we'd done. Does that make sense? Yes, this is how I envisioned I would feel about it back when I was considering it. What a great present you gave those people! And I love that her name is Natalie, albeit spelled the "wrong" way :)

Susanna
06-13-2010, 11:13 PM
Nathalie - I will definitely take you up on that playdate, once it gets cooler...
Melissa - that's exactly the same way our GC's feel. Because it wasn't their eggs used to create the babies (the eggs were mine) they never felt like they were theirs. And I could go on and on about this too - mainly about how people have such negative feelings about it because of what they see in tv and movies & our experiences were so positive for everyone and nothing like what hits the news. I will always be grateful to both of our GC's - they are both two of the kindest, most compassionate, most empathetic women on earth. We continue to have a relationship with them out of choice, not just gratitude - I mean of course we're grateful to them and always will be - but I also like and respect both and both families get along great (kids and husbands included) - why *wouldn't* I want to be friends with women as awesome as they are?! In my heart they are part of our extended family and always will be & we see them both often and chat often too, because we want to, not because we have to.
Hats off to you Melissa for being so kind and compassionate and for helping a couple who didn't have the easy choices most people take for granted.
Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now! Back to HS'ing! :)
Susanna

camaro
06-14-2010, 06:23 PM
This conversation reminds me of something I learned about myself a few years ago. Carla and I were at a stag/stagette party for some friends. I was with Carla talking to another woman who was expecting. Most of the other guys were hanging out getting drunk and talking about drunken brawls. One of them suggested I join them instead of hanging out with the ladies. Ummm...no thanks...I found it a lot more interesting to be talking about pregnancy. Not that I've ever been but I was there when it was happening!