Homeschooling Through Pregnancy or Chronic Illness

moms of many manage This week the four moms of many are talking about how to homeschool through pregnancy or a chronic illness.

First take a big breath, close your eyes and ears to what the world (and other homeschooling moms or dads) say is important for your child’s education. Now turn to God’s Word and grab hold of His standard.

While I’m absolutely convinced that God will give us everything we need to raise and educate our children for His glory, I’m also relatively sure that He may not give us the strength, endurance or finances to keep up with the homeschooling family down the road.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Keeping in mind that our standard is the Word of God, I think that there are a some practical things that we can do to prepare our children for educational success, especially when you are less capable of spending time teaching and overseeing.

Educate your children year round. – The idea that our children should be learning from August to May and then get a break is (sorry for my bluntness) silly. Learning shouldn’t be relegated to a season.

Humans are always learning, we may not always be learning things that are beneficial, but we are always learning.

As parents we should emphasize beneficial learning all day, every day. Our children’s education may look different during different seasons, but isn’t that the way that God designed all of life? He teaches us different lessons at different times of our lives.

Help your children become avid self-teachers. – For fun our children cook, sew, draw, write poetry, study nature, plant seeds, make bows and arrows, hunt, build forts and read books about history, science and theology, etc. I often think that our children learn much more in their free time than they do during ‘school time’.

The first key to raising children who are avid self-teachers is to eliminate the drivel from their lives. Our children rarely (less than once a week) watch a DVD or play a video game. We don’t own many ‘fluffy’ books and have gotten rid of most of our ‘fluffy’ toys and games. We encourage productive activities and tend to limit activities that are merely entertainment.

A second key to raising children who are avid self-teachers is to give them interesting opportunities to learn. Our children have access to sewing machines, fabric, knitting supplies, cookbooks and food, art supplies, musical instruments, wood carving supplies and wood working equipment, etc.

They have (independently) designed and made dolls and doll clothing, skirts and purses, truffles, soap, chap stick, body lotion, boats, life-sized rafts (that actually carry people across the pond), chairs, trash cans, etc.

They have planned and planted gardens and, with help from some friends, made beautiful bows (with arrows) and fun replicas of rifles.

Matthew, Carter and Colby with the guns and bow that they made

Another thing to consider is introductory classes. I took about 8 weeks of art classes and have been able to continue learning on my own and have been able to teach our children.

A third key to raising children who are avid self-teachers is to ensure that they have adequate free time. If your kids are busy with planned activities, homework and classes from morning till night they won’t have time to learn how to learn independently.

Children who are taught or take a class for everything are more likely to wait for someone to teach them and less likely to discover how do it on their own.

If your children aren’t frequently learning on their own, if they say they are bored or if they are coming to you to ask what they should do next, then perhaps it’s time to encourage them to become more adept at learning and entertaining themselves.

Three year old Nick 'reads' to one year old Isabella

As I began to recover from morning sickness this pregnancy I was amazed at all the children had learned and accomplished while I had been extremely ill.

Stick with the basics. – During the first trimester of each pregnancy I focus on my beginning readers and I try to spend at least some time every day reading aloud to everyone. If nothing else gets done, that’s fine.

Teach your children diligence. – Our children have several subjects that they do every Monday through Friday, whether or not we’re ‘doing school’, whether or not mom or dad tell them to and whether or not we check their work. They reliably (for the most part) do these things on their own (Bible reading, Greek, math and one hour of productive reading).

Dads are teachers too. – During the beginning of this current pregnancy Mark took over all of the children’s ‘schooling’. He told them what he wanted them to accomplish during the day and then checked up on them at night. He’s always been involved in teaching the kids, but for 3 1/2 months it was all him.

If we try to live up to the world’s standards we will surely fail, but if we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and strive to do that which He has given us to do we will, through His power, succeed.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8

You may also be interested in:

What tips do you have for homeschooling during illness?

Also visit the other moms of many to read their thoughts and ideas:
Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe
The Common Room

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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13 Responses to Homeschooling Through Pregnancy or Chronic Illness
  1. Blessed Mama
    April 26, 2012 | 10:23 am

    I am so glad that this topic was covered today! God works in amazing ways!! We homeschool our four children, and while I’m not pregnant, we have been on a school “break” for about a month now. We were preparing for my husbands deployment. So, we had two weeks of family visiting, then my hubby had a week and a half off before he left. We’ve decided to school year round this year so when he returns we can take time off then. Now, he left two days ago. So, having mommy guilt about taking such a break already, I thought “we’ll go ahead and get started back up with school”


  2. Tiffany
    April 26, 2012 | 10:24 am

    Its clear that there is a lot of growth that needs to take place in my home. Thank you for this insightful post.


  3. Blessed Mama
    April 26, 2012 | 10:34 am

    Sorry…hit send by mistake…anyhow, we tried to start (mind you, this was yesterday, the day afterDaddy left). And within 10 min. we had someone broken into tears over “what is 2×3?”. Now I know that’s not really what it was over, but the children didn’t quite realize why their emotions were so wacky. I should have known we weren’t ready to begin back yet b/c we got in the car to go somewhere yesterday morning and got half way there and had to come home b/c I realized, I DIDN’T PUT ANY SHOES ON!! LOL. So, as soon as the tears started over math! we put our school work on hold until Mon. Who starts a school week on Wed. anyhow?? Then I sat and tried to purposely think on why we homeschool. And everything you mentioned in this article just gave me the umph needed to keep my sanity about schooling at this point. Lol…thanks!


  4. Ruby
    April 26, 2012 | 12:08 pm

    I’m not in the midst of pregnancy or illness at the moment, but I have been often in the last 13 years. I really appreciate what you’ve shared here. It’s given me a lot of food for thought & helped me to see some areas we need to work on. You’ve presented some ideas that will benefit us in our everyday life, not just in trying circumstances. Thanks!


  5. knit-a-holic mom of 4
    April 26, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    Love love love this post. We have 4 boys and we’re constantly on “break”. I needed a reminder that while not always text booking they are learning.


  6. Lisa Joy
    April 26, 2012 | 7:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I really needed this encouragement! We have had an interesting road. Last year we made the decision to homeschool and pulled our daughter out of public school (she would have been in third grade last year). We also had our “kindergarten age” son and our youngest daughter (who just turned 3). About 2 months into our school year, I found out we were expecting number 4. I had some complications and was on bed rest for 2 months before our son was born right on time the beginning of July. I had heard many times that it takes at least a year to get out of the public school mentality and adjust to home educating, and definitely had that going on also. We definitely had a steep learning curve, but I think one of the best reminders was that “book learning” is only one piece of the puzzle, and all of the time we spent in character training and time spent helping on the farm, helping in the kitchen, etc was at least as important. 🙂 Thanks for this post! 🙂


  7. Melody, Countrified Hicks blog
    April 29, 2012 | 1:25 am

    I suffer from MS and it really acts up in the spring and summer time. I am often wheelchair bound and have difficulty with concentration, confusion, as well as the other physical aspects. I rely on my husband and do the best I can. My children understand and it teaches them compassion and patience. We too homeschool all year long. Life is a lesson.
    God bless!


  8. Carrie
    April 30, 2012 | 8:26 am

    So glad you have put Scripture first and foremost! Above all, I hope to have godly, loving children. Algebra will come. When I was pregnant, I also made sure that they kids had rest time so that I could lay down for at least 30 minutes each afternoon. They could read or play quietly in their rooms. A little bit of “no mom” time was good for all parties involved. On days that I’m sick, I also make sure the older kids have some activities that they can lead the younger ones through.

    You had some great advice! Loved it.


  9. Sarah
    April 30, 2012 | 10:27 am

    Thanks so much for this post! I am 39 weeks pregnant with my 4th and didn’t have bad morning sickness, so was able to do school early on. These last couple of weeks, however, there has been no formal schooling. I decided that I could either do school or get our home ready for a homebirth and the baby, but not both, especially with also pregnancy fatigue and working a day or two a week. So after the fog of the first few weeks, we’ll try to dive back into school this summer.
    It is fun to watch how the girls are still learning so much – my 7 year old loves to read, my five year old loves to help cook and was cutting open the little peaches that dropped from the tree to see the inside, and the three year old has a great time with her sisters. Then they beg to help with the horses and chickens when my husband gets home! That with Bible and other good books will have to be it for a few more weeks!


  10. Jenifer Harrod
    April 30, 2012 | 6:44 pm

    Thanks for this post. I really enjoy reading what you say. Its such an encouragment for me to see that there are others out there trying to raise their children in a similar way. I am going to try to incorporate some of these ideas that I have yet to do.


  11. Jackie
    April 30, 2012 | 7:00 pm

    Enjoyed the post. Am homeschooling 2 tweens and 1 teen with learning differences and both husband and I have health issues that limit us to what we can do. We are older parents (adopted in our mid 40’s)and now, over 10yrs later, are also physically slowing down. Have never seen any thing on parents/grandparents who are getting older and are raising/homeschooling children. Would love to hear from others.


  12. Erika
    April 30, 2012 | 9:55 pm

    I appreciate these little ‘pearls of wisdom’ you always share… especially because they are rooted in scripture.

    I’ve also learned over the years that if I’m not feeling well or over burdened, I’m not a very effective teacher. By backing off our daily routine as needed & by extending our learning to a ‘year-round’ format, our children adapt beautifully to the ebb & flow of real life. And as a result, they’ve become natural learners with hearts open to serving the Lord whatever the day may bring.

    God Bless!


  13. Sonja
    January 15, 2015 | 10:54 pm

    I know this is an older post, but I couldn’t help but relate.

    I want to be constantly pursuing home education, but two weeks left until I’m ready to pop, nothing set up for a homebirth, and in the middle of a major renovation that was supposed to be completed months ago (there were many delays in the beginning), leaves little reserves for yet another project.

    HOWEVER! We continue to learn daily, mostly due to my natural curious girls, and because life doesn’t stop just changes and slows down at different points.

    So thank you for this beautiful article you wrote. It deeply resonated with me and my quest to be a homeschooling mom.


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