When Mom Needs a Sick Day, Part 2

homeschool Motherhood The Early Years

As someone who struggles with an autoimmune disease, I am in need of a sick day more often than I would like.

Whether it's a chronic illness, health condition, pregnancy or a bad bug that runs through your family, we all need some back-pocket ideas for homeschooling when sickness takes mom out!  

When Mom Needs a Sick Day

When Mom Needs a Sick Day: How I Homeschool

1. "Full-Court-Prep": When I wake up and know I'm going to be sick for the day, the very first thing I do is give my full effort to about 30-40 minutes of prep. I pull out every material and book we need for the day and put it in my bed. I plate out an easy snack and lunch (like sandwiches, etc) and store it within reach in the fridge. The easier the food, the better.

If I am able, I put supper in the crock pot or check for what I can throw in the oven for dinner. Then I also grab all of my medicines, drinks and food I'll need for the day. It's not the most fun to push through that sick feeling, but I know that even a half hour of prep work can make the rest of the day run a lot smoother. 

2. Bedroom Base Camp: I move all of my supplies and our school work to my bed, basically. I consider it my command center for the day. Throughout the day I will hand out assignments, read aloud, rest and recover all from my bed with my kids going in and out. I've found this helps my body physically rest while still moving our day forward.

3. The Main Things: I really try to focus on the main few things we need to get done. Will it hurt to miss a day of certain subjects? Definitely not! Everything else I just let go of. This is hard for me, but it necessary.Boy Helps with Dishes at Kitchen Sink

4. Let Kids Help: I'm honest with my kids about how I am feeling. Since I spent some time prepping, my oldest children are then able to execute lunch, help fetch things and care for their younger siblings if need be. I will ask them to pick up the house at the end of the day or to manage certain tasks and usually they can rise to the challenge (thank you habit training and life skill building!). 

5. Outsource:

  • Audiobooks: The first thing I do on a sick day is see what's on our schedule and what I can find on audio. I look at Librivox, Libby or on Youtube for the books and play it on our tv or Yotoplayer. Usually with a snack, my kids can listen and work for over an hour. 

  • Substitute Folder: If I know my illness is severe or is going to last much longer than a day or two, I will create a folder that includes a very detailed list (with check boxes) for our lessons so that my spouse can easily jump in and know where we left off.

    I include our schedule, our readings with page numbers, and any extra info.  I will include in there coloring pages or worksheets or anything else that would be easy for someone else to administer. You might even have a parent or friend who could help for an afternoon when you're sick and something like this folder would be a huge help. 

  • Screen Time: Living in a world that is so full of educational technology, I would be amiss to not use this tool on a sick day! Sometimes I'll pull a stack of picture books from our shelf and create a youtube playlist of various people reading those books aloud. I might also pull up a documentary or kids video of our artist or composer or any other subject we're studying. Some of our favorite "sick day" shows would be: 

    • Wild Kratts
    • The Magic School Bus
    • Planet Earth
    • Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
    • Tumble Leaf
    • Super Why

6. Don't Stress: I try not to get panicked about falling behind, or to overextend myself. These things are completely contrary to healing and can extend my recovery time. I just try to focus on getting well.

A Note About Chronic Illness:

Sometimes the hardest part of homeschooling through illness, especially chronic illness, is letting go of the ideas we've created in our head for what we thought homeschooling should look like.

If you are someone who struggles with chronic illness it may be time to dream a new homeschool dream. I've had to take a hard look at my own expectations or the dreams that I've had for homeschooling and re-work them to fit the life I actually have.

There is nothing wrong with this and can be so freeing from feelings of inadequacy or guilt. Luckily, I've had a longer stretch recently without any flares, but I know that could change any time. I try to maximize the good days and just adjust on the not-so-good days. 

If You Have Young Children

If your kids are young enough that they are not able to keep themselves busy or help in the way older kids are, I did a post on this awhile back for how I keep my young children busy when I'm sick. It's a whole different ballgame when kids are little. Check out that post for tips, games, and ideas to keep little kids occupied and entertained when you're resting! 

When Mom Needs a Sick Day Part 1

Pregnancy and Homeschooling

For nearly a year or more, pregnancy might affect your homeschooling. Between health challenges, growing and welcoming a new baby into your family, healing and recovering it can be a lot. I think many of these tips will apply to pregnant mothers, especially outsourcing and whittling down your schooling to just basics. 

Pregnant Mom in Hospital Gives a Thumbs Up
I know many mothers who re-arrange their school year to adjust for a long break when baby comes, so consider schooling in different times of the year (like summer, or weekends) to accommodate for baby's arrival. And remember that it's only for a short season and pretty soon you'll be back in the swing of things.
Don't disqualify the life lessons kids are seeing as they watch parents navigate all the challenges and changes that come with a new addition. Many children will live that out in their own adult lives and it's helpful to learn and observe the realities of newborn life!

There is much more to homeschooling than just academics! And there are brighter days ahead!

homeschool 101 graphic

Related Posts

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published