Homeschooling Sick Days...Don't Panic!
Homeschool sick days don’t have to derail your entire week, month… year! But for me, a little panic started to sink in when my daughter woke the other day feeling under the weather. What if we fall behind? Can I squeeze a lesson in while she is resting on the couch? What about my other kid?
We are just emerging from a few days of everyone passing around a change of seasons cold. I am in love with the cooler weather we are finally feeling. But the inevitable adjustment our bodies have to make threw me for a loop!
As I forced myself to just take some time off, I realized something. Sick days as a homeschooler are kind of awesome! Now, of course, I didn’t enjoy the fact that my sweet girl was feeling crummy. And there were some not-so-fun moments, too! But here are 4 things I have learned to love about homeschool sick days:
#1 A Chance to Relax
When I was teaching public school, sick days were the worst! When a student was sick it meant finding ways to catch them up (which usually meant spending my planning or lunch time tutoring). When I was sick it meant ensuring that my substitute plans were sufficient and up to date and finding a reliable substitute (who was willing to teach middle school special education!). When I returned to school it meant dealing with the aftermath of misbehavior, a schedule that was now out-of-whack, and developing a plan to get back on track!
But as a homeschooler I get to treat sick days as exactly what they are: a day or two of rest to allow our bodies to heal! It was so nice to simply cuddle up on the couch with Little Love and watch a movie (or 2…or, never mind how many we watched!)
#2 A Time to Hear How Its All Going
While we were taking the day off relaxing, watching movies and reading, I got to slow down and ask a lot of questions! “What books are we reading that you are really enjoying?” “What do you think of your new co-op classes?” “What sorts of things would you like to learn about next?”
Now, I don’t save these questions solely for times when we are sick, but it provided us with some great moments to reflect. And gave me the chance to listen, as I did not have any “plans” to stick to or any goals for the day at all!
#3 Sometimes Learning Happens Anyway!
I usually have my plans sitting in a basket in our homeschool room so that I can reference them throughout the day. I highlight activities as we complete them. This helps me to stay focused and feel motivated, and helps me with record keeping.
When Little Love woke up with a sore throat and runny nose, I made a decision to put my plans at the bottom of the basket so that I would not feel the pressure of all we were not accomplishing. When I looked back at my plans after our sick days had passed, I realized that there were a lot of activities I could still highlight!
We had done calendar time each day, since Littlest Love usually asks to do this at least twice a day! (My sick one participated as she wanted to from the couch.) We had read A LOT of books! Some that let me check off Science and History as well. We had sung songs, listened to composers from the 100 Women Composers series we are following, and watched several educational shows!
What I love the most about this time was the realization that learning has been built into our lives! And it happens whether my plans are out or not.
#4 No Threat of Truancy Hanging Over My Head!
Truancy where I live is considered 3 consecutive unlawful absences, or 5 total unlawful absences. A lawful absence due to illness must be verified by a doctor within 2 days of returning to school. To me, the thought of having to take my young child to the doctor every time they have a sore throat just to get a doctor’s note sounds expensive! I also dread the idea of having to force a child who does not feel well to endure a 6+ hour long day at school.
Don’t get me wrong, there certainly does need to be a system in place for making sure students are in school if public school is where they are receiving their education. I am just so grateful that we are in the position to homeschool because it takes the pressure off! If my kid is sick, they can rest. No doctor’s note is needed. If we need to make up a day on the weekend, or do a little extra here and there to catch up, that is no problem! No make up work piling up, no school secretary calling to check on us, no fighting a sick child and forcing them onto that school bus in the morning!
Homeschool Sick Days: What are your go-to's?
While we’re on the subject, I would love some screen-free ideas for our sick days. Our natural default when sick is to watch way too much TV! But we also enjoyed reading, coloring, sitting on the front porch to get some fresh air, and making toothpick-raisin houses!
What are some of your ideas? Please comment below.