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Morning sickness stinks.

Let’s just get that out there first thing.

It should be called all day sickness.

And for some reason, it’s usually worse than you remember it being the last time.  I don’t know if that’s because it IS worse than last time.  Or because we have some kind of ingrained coping mechanism that wipes out our memories in order to ensure survival of the species.

You are physically and emotionally drained. 

What you’re going through makes it possible to bring a precious life into the world.  It will be more than worth it.  But right now all you can think about (aside from the impending vomit) are the things you aren’t getting done.

You’re worried about your husband as he works long hours and does his best to pick up the slack.  You’re worried about your kids and all the things you have to say no to because you “can’t even.” The laundry is piling up, the sink is full, and your garbage can is overflowing.

Never mind that you are using all your energy to create a life inside your own body.  You just feel worthless, hopeless, and helpless.  You can’t even lift your head off the couch.  Just walking past the refrigerator into the next room makes you throw up your toenails. (Heaven forbid the refrigerator is actually open…or someone is using the microwave…or breathing too close to your face…)

How in the world are you going to homeschool your kids?

Quite frankly, you aren’t. 

Well, you are.  Just not the way you’re used to.  It’s going to look different this year.

But that’s O.K.  Trust me.  Everyone will get through it.  And within a year (or two), you’ll wonder what you were so worried about.  It all evens out in the end.  In the grand scheme of things, several months of ultra-relaxed schooling are not going to scar your kids for life.  They really aren’t.

Not only that, I’m no expert, but it may even be GOOD for your kids to experience your struggles up close and personal.  Book learning is not the only kind of learning needed to grow a well-rounded and successful human being.

In the meantime, though, let me reiterate…It stinks.

Not helping here.  OK.  Where are the helpful hints?  Tip number one, two words:

 

1. Audio Books

In our homeschool we do lots of reading aloud.  But lying as still as possible to keep from vomiting, with your head down on the couch, and your toddler crawling all over you?  Yeah.  Not conducive to reading aloud.  Audio books are a life saver in this situation.

Push play, and let it go.

The kids can color, build legos or blocks, stare out a window, whatever. You can have older kids write or draw something inspired by the book you’re listening to, or not. Even when it seems like they aren’t paying attention, kids get more out of hearing books read aloud than you’d think.

If you don’t have a collection of audio books at the ready, Audible is a good place to start.  They often have fantastic deals on high quality recordings.  If your budget is tight, you can use the library.  If you “can’t even” there are some great places to find audio books online.

We have used Librivox, Lit2Go, Story Nory, and Internet Archive.

Hint: One of our favorite readers on Librivox is Mark Smith.

 

2. YouTube

Ask your kids to grab the laptop and snuggle up to you (but not too close!).  You are all going to get a lot of learning done right there on the comfort of your own couch.

I am completely convinced that you can learn almost anything on YouTube.  There are tutorials on everything from knitting to car care.  You are bound to find something that will inspire your kids to action.  Littles can dance around to Mozart.  Bigger kids can learn to play a musical instrument or watch a science experiment demonstration.

You can read more about how we use YouTube in our homeschool here.

 

3. Netflix

There is nothing wrong with a little more couch school here.  Settle in and pull up some quality educational programming.  I’ve used things like Magic School Bus and Leap Frog for the little ones.  My older kids enjoy nature documentaries or other science based programs.  Sometimes there are interesting history documentaries, but my kids poop out on those after a certain length of time.

You could spend 30 to 45 min. on something educational and then switch it up.  Let the kids have a movie party.  You can even watch a movie based on a book you’ve read recently and compare and contrast.  Or just let them pick something for fun.  Why not?

tablet and smart phone

4. Paper Plates and Cups

Don’t aim to save a few dollars by avoiding disposable dishes and silverware.  Fill that garbage can up.   And now is not the time to be worrying about your family’s carbon footprint.   Embrace the paper products mamma.  It’s so worth it.

Usually you end up avoiding the dishes because they make you gag and heave.  Not good.  Then they pile up in the sink and your pregnant nose can smell them from outside the front door.  Also not good.

Try to minimize dishes as much as possible.

How does this help with homeschooling you ask?  Well, it’s one less thing on your plate (or one less plate—he he).  It’s one less thing to worry about.  One less thing that induces vomiting and leaves you weak and lifeless.

It helps.

 

5. Crock Pot

In a perfect world, I would have a freezer full of elaborate and delicious grab and go crockpot meals.  Bonus points if the kids will actually eat them.  I never end up being that person no matter how good my intentions are.

The next best thing would be to look for simple “dump” recipes that you can just put everything in at once and be done.  Look for recipes like soups, meat to fill tortillas or make sandwiches with, and stuff to put over rice or noodles.

The other fantastic thing about a crockpot is it’s highly portable.

You know what that means, right? 

It means you can move it somewhere it’s less likely to stink up your air!  Another room with the door closed and a window open.  Maybe even your back porch.

 

6. Online Games

Don’t sigh at me over my multiple screen time options.  I know you would rather gift your child with one on one time and highly personalized hands on learning.  But today is not that day.  You do what you have to do.

There are all kinds of high quality learning games and lessons online.  For free even.  Some sites that we have used are Starfall, Teach Your Monster to Read,  Fun4theBrain, ABCya, Sheppard Software.  If you have older more self-directed kids, Khan Academy and Easy Peasy all in one homeschool are great resources.

 

7. Convenience Food

Everything is falling apart and your kids (and you) are on the verge of a hangry melt down.  You just can’t bring yourself to face the kitchen, and the crockpot never got plugged in.  Now is the time for microwavable food and grab and go snack combinations.

Have things that your kids can grab independently of you during those times when you’re out of the game.  Peanut butter toast, cold cereal, fruit and yogurt, cheese and crackers, veggies and dip.  Have your kids whip up some prepackaged chicken nuggets, corndogs, or burritos.  It’s not a perfect picture of health, but neither is starving to death or taking breaks to throw up while you try to cook real food.

Just sayin’.

toddler eating a bowl of cheerios

8. Workbooks

This is pretty self-explanatory.  Games, field trips, library days, and hands on projects may be preferable.  But self-guided workbooks can help keep crucial skill practice going for subjects like math and grammar. A couple we like are Math Mammoth and Easy Grammar.

There are also places online to download free skills worksheets.  Education.com, and SchoolExpress are two sources I have used in the past.

 

9. Naps

Naps.  Mostly for you.  But it won’t hurt if your kids get a little extra shut-eye and give you some quiet while they’re at it.  It seems like it would be counterproductive and give you even less time to “get it all done.”  But now is not the time to strive for perfect balance.

The best time to sneak in a little rest is during some of that screen time learning or while an audio book is playing.  Sometimes that doesn’t work and you can feel yourself getting maxed out.  If that’s the case, bribe them with treats and a movie, secure the child gate, and offer your oldest kid babysitting money to hold down the fort while you sneak upstairs for an hour.

 

10. Zip Fizz

So I’m not a doctor. And Zip Fizz is an energy drink with caffeine in it which may not be a preferred remedy during pregnancy.  But this is one of the only thing that helped to take the edge off my horrible morning sickness during my last two pregnancies.

When I was really sick with baby number four, a friend told me that her doctor had recommended trying zip fizz for morning sickness.  I was completely skeptical but willing to try almost anything.  It didn’t get rid of it and it didn’t always work, but when it did it was a miracle.

I didn’t drink it full strength.  I watered it way down and sipped it over the course of an afternoon to ward off the slump.  (Please for the love do not chug.  It isn’t pretty.)  There’s something about the combination of the caffeine and the vitamins in that drink that really made a difference.  Just drinking caffeinated soda did not do the same thing.

 

11. Stay Home

If you feel like you’re running yourself ragged and doing too much, you probably are.  It’s OK to pare down on the extracurricular activities during this season.  Listen to your body and do the best you can to stay home for the rest that you need.  No buts.  Just do it.

pregnant woman

12. Get Help (if you can)

I often found myself wishing there was a Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee who could just swoop in and take over everything.  I had no such luck.  But I probably could have called on friends and neighbors more often than I did.

If you don’t have any friends or family living close by, have a serious meeting with your husband and kids to go over simple things that could make your life easier.  Even just giving each kid one extra responsibility can make a world of difference in your load.

 

What are some of your tips and tricks for homeschooling through morning sickness?

Keep calm and homeschool on.

Let’s do this thing!

Photos from Unsplash

Heather Tinker