Tuesday, February 23

Homeschooling When They're Sick

I can handle interruptions – phone calls, emails that need a response, last minute errands. We rearrange things, double-up on work, let projects slide or cut things out.

I can handle vacations – we can choose to take some things with us, or leave it all home.

If the youngest is our interruption because he’s just being ornery I know to give him a nap. If I’m feeling sick I can still direct their efforts. But when the kids are sick I struggle a bit.

Sickness is a strange interruption when you school at home. I keep finding myself comparing our experience to other students’ experience. “What would a public school mom do?” runs through my head. If my children were enrolled somewhere and they came down with a sore throat and a bit of a cough, they’d be staying home… potentially for days. This is not because they are incapable of thinking through ideas but because they are contagious. They stay home for the benefit of the other children rather than for their own benefit. And then have all the make up work on top of it.

However, my children don’t have to go anywhere to learn and their germs are already shared among their “classmates.” So, I struggle with the voices that want to call me “bad mom” when I still persuade them to get some things done.

Granted, if they are feverish and lethargic I don’t assign them anything but rest. But those minor symptoms, that don’t cloud their vision or give them aches, don’t have to get in the way of us making the best use of our time. At least not completely.

I find myself striking a bargain with “the voices.” I watch the kids for signs of coherency and then I direct them toward getting the big stuff done (our read aloud, math, our unit study thought and something language-y) and let the other stuff slide. Even if they are well enough to play with their hot wheels tracks for two hours after breakfast, even if they are well enough to wrestle I still ease up. I’m not certain it’s the best way to handle sick days. I want the kids to know that I care and that I’m not ignoring their discomfort but I also want my lesson plans to speak to me in the morning.

Do you give yourself permission to take the day off? Do you have a hybrid day? Do you log on to the internet learning sites? What do you do when your kids are mildly sick?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. We keep going unless they are REALLY sick. Heck, even Grace does school when she's in the hospital -which makes me seem like a bad mom, but others don't realize that learning happens all the time. You can learn when you are sick too and you can like it, depending on what it is you're learning.

    If the kids were throwing up, I'd make the schoolwork watching videos, that way they don't have to worry about getting paper nasty.

    If they were tired and couldn't watch something I might make them listen to an audiobook.

  3. We use Weaver too:) I sometimes make the kids do the important stuff. Today I am struggling with what, if anythingto do, they seem soo congested, and I know how I feel when I get a cold...


For two years I have had comments turned off as a discipline to write for myself. I'm seeing the other side. I just ask that you comment with grace.