Well, Sweet Friends—cold and flu season is having a party over at my house. I’m currently drowning in a sea of Kleenex…Besides me, five of my six kids have also succumbed to this yuck. And if a houseful of sick people doesn’t derail homeschool plans, I just don’t know what does. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when dealing with homeschool sick days—but that doesn’t help anyone feel better! Here’s some ideas to give you peace as you carve out time to get well!
The Beauty of Homeschooling
It’s helpful to remember one benefit of homeschooling is that you don’t have to send your sweet little people off to school feeling like crud. I think the rule in my area is, “No school if you’ve had a fever over 99 degrees within 24 hours.” Well—my kids don’t have to be running a temperature to be miserable! Coughing, snotty, tired messes…that is what sick kids look like. It may or may not include a temperature.
I know there’s enormous pressure to send kids to school so they don’t get behind…Well, Homeschool Momma, this is the perfect time to count your blessings and be thankful this is a non-issue for you!
And while we know our kids can’t get behind just because we put school on the back burner for a week (or two)—we start to feel behind. Our lesson plans implode. We are not where we wanted to be…We wanted to be ahead in math. Now, it feels like we’re 5 lessons behind. We wanted to be done with this history unit—a week ago. Now, it feels like we need to rush through and squeeze 6 lessons into 2 days.
But stop right there. You are not behind! You may feel behind—but you are right where you need to be. You are taking care of your precious kids, and you’re taking care yourself.
Thankfully, when this nasty bug crashed my house last week, I had already stocked up on cold and flu meds. (All you fans of elderberry—I’m already struggling to find it in my local stores!)
So if you haven’t already—take a moment to inventory your medicine. Go out and grab the basics while you don’t need them! You’ll thank yourself later for being prepared!
Get This Book
I love how God covers everything—with perfect timing and down to the smallest detail in our lives.
Just as we were all getting sick, I happened to have (FINALLY) checked out the book, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace, by Sarah Mackenzie from my library. Sweet friends, this book has been such a blessing to me, as I’ve literally been forced into rest these past two weeks!
Even after 15 years of homeschooling—I still need reminders. This is exactly what God knew my heart needed to hear right now. He knew I would start to feel behind, anxious, and stressed with a houseful of sick people…this book spoke truth into my heart.
I just ordered the book so I can have my own copy (and mark it all up with notes and tabs). I cannot recommend it highly enough to all homeschool moms!
Tips for Homeschooling Sick Days
We all still need practical ideas for surviving homeschool sick days…Here’s what I do:
- Read-aloud (If I’m able—I actually lost my voice for a couple days last week.). Lesson learned: I need to keep some audiobooks on hand!
- Have workbook pages available for review. I use Explode the Code books, so as my little guy was feeling up for it, I would have him work on a few pages. Our Handwriting Without Tears workbook was also nice for a simple, quiet activity—which didn’t require a lot of energy or mind power. My son also loves working on math fact pages. So instead of doing full math lessons, I ripped some fact sheets out of his workbook so he could keep practicing his basic facts. (Here’s a great place to make free and simple math worksheets online!)
- Get out the art supplies—let your kiddos draw and paint.
- Coloring pages—I try to keep a few coloring books around for times like these. But—supercoloring.com also has tons of coloring pages to print for free (ranging from dinosaurs to princesses—something for all your kiddos). My kids LOVE it when I cut out the characters they colored—instant “paper dolls.”
- Screen time—we definitely clock in some time with our favorite shows and movies. Some are educational like Wild Kratts (many of the seasons are included with Amazon Prime), but I also let them pick other favorites that might not be such educational superstars! We are aiming for comfort and rest—and sometimes Lego Batman or Star Wars is just what the doctor ordered!
- iPad—there are some really great apps out there (deserving of an entirely different post)—but you can bet we put our iPad to good during homeschool sick days!
- Let them play and get outside as they feel up to it! Fresh air can do wonders for everyone’s frame of mind after being stuck inside sick! We did a small nature collection around our yard—nothing fancy or planned, but the kids loved collecting new fall treasures.
(Here’s my post with all my favorite pre-school toys—having good toys on hand really helps keep kids busy and learning, even when you’ve got a sick household!)
- REST—especially you, Momma! The housework can wait! Give everyone some mandatory, “Quiet Time.” My girls will bring a few toys up to their beds and may or may not fall asleep, but I definitely take the opportunity to catch a nap!
Don’t Play Catch Up
There is a huge temptation to play catch up and rush through the lessons that didn’t get done while you and/or your kids were sick. This is what most of us learned from our days in public school—our teacher would send home stacks of worksheets for us to forge through over the weekend. There would be papers and tests to quickly finish during recess when we got back to school–the goal was to catch-up quickly.
But remember—you are home educating! We don’t live with the same time constraints as a classroom. We don’t want to give our kids the impression that we are doing all this to check off the boxes.
Instead, when life can resume to “normal,” at your house, pick up where you left off. You may need to start off slow. Focus on the most important subjects: math, reading, and writing. Everything will fall back into place—I promise!
You’ve got this!
Be well, Sweet Friends! And as always, give yourself lots of grace!