How does homeschool continue when mom’s sick? This past week, I’ve had a nasty cold. I don’t get sick very often, praise the Lord! But when I do get a cold, it tends to last a little longer and affect my breathing a little more because I have asthma. My asthma is nearly non-existent when I’m healthy, but it just gets a lot worse when I have a cold. So for whatever reasons, I’ve been struggling this week!
So how in the world can we homeschool when Mom’s sick?
Of course, all of the mom stuff still needs to happen. Dishes must be done. Laundry must be done. Even work commitments must get done. But how does homeschooling get done when Mom’s sick? Here are my tips for when mom’s sick from over 10 years of homeschooling through all types of pregnancies, surgeries, and illnesses.
Give yourself grace.
This might seem obvious, but it’s really the most important tip I could give you. It’s the one that supersedes all others. When you’re the Mom and you’re sick, you have to recognize that not everything is going to get done in the same way that it usually does.
As an ENFJ, Enneagram 3, first born, type A kind of person, this is the absolute hardest for me. I have a really hard time letting go of my to-do lists (read more about that here). Even in the worst of times, a coping mechanism for me is to keep up with everything that needs done. But when I coughing up a storm and sleeping more than usual, things are going to slip. And that’s ok. I’m preaching that to myself as much as to anyone. So when you are trying to homeschool when Mom’s sick, give yourself grace. Everything else flows from that starting point.
Look at the bare necessities.
Take a clue from our friends Baloo and Mowgli from “The Jungle Book,” and focus on the bare necessities of what needs to get done when Mom’s sick. When you are doing homeschool when mom’s sick, focus on those key subjects like math and reading, and maybe let the rest go for the week.
I am a very academics focused homeschooling mom. I don’t let subjects slide very easily. But when Mom is sick, or when anyone in the family is sick really, it’s time to focus on what’s really important. If you can’t quite get to the art lesson today, that’s okay. If the kids don’t get their piano practicing done, everything will be fine. Look for those bare necessities, and forget the rest.
Give your older kids a chance to shine.
I am blessed with amazing children. They are the result of years of time, love, effort, and intention by two highly involved parents. But they also just came out of the womb being super awesome. When I’m sick, all of my kids jump in to help. They cook meals, they do the laundry, they tidy the house. It’s amazing to see them shine when they are needed.
When you are trying to homeschool when mom’s sick, let the older kids teach the younger kids a thing or two. Some of the sweetest times in my 10+ years of homeschooling has come when an older child helped a younger child. Not only does this benefit the younger child, but it gives the older one a chance to review skills and practice patience. It’s no fun when Mom’s sick, but it does give others a chance to be needed and helpful.
Use technology to homeschool when Mom’s sick.
There are endless numbers of resources available to homeschooling families today. With just a click of a button, we can be touring the Great Wall of China or looking through the Amazon rainforest. When Mom’s sick, it’s a perfect time to look into those YouTube videos you’ve been wanting to try or that audiobook you’ve wanted to listen to together.
I never want my kids to be online all the time, but I also don’t fear technology. Just like so many things, there’s a time and a place for it. And when Mom’s sick, that’s a perfect time and place to snuggle and watch an educational, or even semi-educational movie. Use the time when you are sick to focus on things you wouldn’t normally have time for, and get some extra snuggles in during the process.
Believe in yourself.
One of the most wonderful things about homeschooling is the flexibility. Even if you are part of a hybrid homeschool program like we are, we still have a great deal of flexibility with our schedule. And if you are part of any community of fellow homeschoolers, you will find support when you’re sick right around the corner. I’ve only been struggling with a cold this week, but I’ve also homeschooled through several pregnancies, back surgery, and serious illnesses.
If you are going through a season where you are plagued by chronic illness or a serious issue, enlist the help of those around you. And most importantly, believe in yourself. You chose to homeschool for a reason. And just because you are sick, that doesn’t mean that reason has disappeared. You will get through this time, and you will be in a different season before long. Believe in yourself and be kind to yourself. You’re worth it.