Homeschooling When Moms Sick (no substitute)

9:00 PM

The cold weather seems to want to stay and so does the season of sickness. My son was sent home from school with an awesome bug that kept him home for a week. Then of course I got to experience the awesomeness. While my son was able to return to school my daughter was home to deal with a sick mama.

Did you know that public school teachers have up to 10 days of sick leave each school year. They get to go home and rest while recuperating from a sickness knowing their students have a qualified substitute teaching them. However, a Homeschooling parent generally does not have a substitute to take over when they become ill. So what is the homeschooling mama to do?

One of the best things I love about Homeschooling is the flexibility. Public schools must complete 180 days in a year. Homeschooling is 365 days. Therefore, if a few days are relaxed learning days everything is still fine. A homeschool day can easily change with unexpected circumstances such as when the teacher (usually mom) becomes sick and with preparation, the day can go on with minimal interruption.

Prepare For Sick Days
Preparation is necessary! One never knows when a fierce little germ will weaken them leaving them couch dependent. These are the days that the children also seem to need more activities than normal.

I have a Sick Box which has been a lifesaver more than I wish to count. The Sick Box includes the basic cold, fever, and allergy medicines. I also include Kleenex, hand sanitizer, lip balm, Vicks Rub, eye dryness solution and Lysol Wipes. The Sick Box keeps everything I may need in one place for a quicker recovery.

For the classroom, I create a “Substitute Binder”(I laugh at how ironic this is because I am teacher and substitute) at the beginning of the school year that I add to as I find or create new projects. The folder includes a section for each child with the following pages:
  • A list of age appropriate quiet activities 
  • A list of education sites for each subject and login information
  • A list of coloring pages sites
  • A list of video sites and login information
Quiet Activities

Quiet activities are my favorite gems. I create Busy Boxes for my kids to explore, as a “break” from learning however, what they do not realize is they are still learning through play. The Busy Boxes hold multiple small items that cover the days’ worth of learning. I like using plastic shoeboxes with lids so the kids can investigate the contents, which peaks their interest before opening the box.

For my toddler I have a Fine Motor Skills Busy Box that includes:
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Beads of different textures and sizes
  • Tongs
  • Wooden Animals
This Busy Box is designed to work on building small hand muscles, hand eye coordination, color recognition, pincer grasp, animal recognition, texture exposure, imagination play, independent play with the added bonus of a mesmerized child for hours while a sick mom is resting.

Educational Sites
Educational sites are great free resources for homeschoolers. My favorite history geared site is by the National Park Service where kids can become a Junior Web Ranger. The kids customize their own Ranger Station and begin learning fun historical facts about our National Parks while earning badges. Once levels are completed, parents can print completion certificates.

For healthier days, kids can earn real badges and certificates by visiting National Parks and returning completed question booklets to the Ranger’s stations. Visit National Junior Ranger Program for downloadable booklets to complete at home and find a list of the different National Parks that participate in the Junior Ranger Program.

Turtle Diary is a free interactive game site for preschoolers to 5th grade. The site covers all subjects, with craft printables and science projects.
Nickjr allows preschoolers play games, go on adventures, and create crafts with their favorite characters. There is a family section with health tips, vacation ideas, recipes, how-to videos, and more.
Starfall is great for young children learning their ABC's or starting to read and work on baby sign language.

Coloring Pages
What better way for kids to relax and learn than while coloring. I personally enjoy winding down from a hard day by curling up on the couch with a blanket and coloring pages. Themed coloring pages are easily found by searching for “free coloring pages” or searching for a specific theme like “winter coloring pages” "counting coloring pages". In addition, many homeschooling digital savvy moms offer free printables on their webpages.The bonus of a coloring pages is it can follow the curriculum, be used as an award, something quiet to do or as a family activity.

Educational Videos
When nothing else is keeping the attention of restless children, turn on the television for some unrealized learning. This tool is a life saver when the teacher is not feeling her full peppy self. Netflix is our go to streaming place. We have a profile setup just for the kids that has many educational videos readily available.

Our Top 10 Videos include:
  • Sid The Science Kid- promotes exploration, discovery and science through comedy and music.
  • Little Einsteins- interactively teaches about art and music to toddlers.
  • Wild Kratts- involves two brothers who imagine real “what if’s” about wildlife then take the kids on animated adventures.
  • Veggie Tales- humorously teaches children about moral values.
  • Super Why- solves problems through the power of reading.
  • Magic School Bus- travels through the human body teaching about its functions.
  • Octonauts- is a group of helpful animals that teach about undersea life and working together.
  • Leap Frog Series- teaches about friendships, community and life lessons.
  • Jack Hanna’s Into the wild- is a child friendly teaching of wild animals.
  • Busy Beavers on Youtube- teaches toddlers the basics while entertaining them with music.
I know this post is packed with links and ideas that may seem overwhelming to use when sick. However if they are put into place as part of your curriculum then there is no worries, A sick day can be as uneventful as any other homeschooling day. You may not be able to have a substitute but having these gems on hand will allow the sick you to relax someto begin the healing process.

What ways do you prepare for homeschool sick days. Let me know in the comments.

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  1. I can understand how difficult it must be to have to continue learning your children when you are unwell but you have some great resources linked here. #TheListLinky

    1. Thank you! I love to share my resources in hopes they help other homeschoolers

  2. It sounds like you have it all under control! Well done you.

    1. Thank you! I have read A LOT of other homeschooling mom's blogs and found that organization of everything is the only way to keep things running smoothly when unexpected situations arrise.

  3. I love the idea of buzy boxes I may have to pinch that one! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    1. I LOVE busy boxes! They are a life saver and you can use basically anything in them.

  4. Hey! (foot stomp) I was homeschooled and I never got to play with a Busy-Box! I'm gonna have to call my "old teacher"...and say, "Mom!"...oh, I mean "Mrs.D!? What gives, Lady... where were all the cool Busy-Boxes when I was in school?" To which I'm sure she'll reply, "No internet, Sara." (which makes me cringe because, man- I don't feel that old!) And then she'll say, "You also started homeschooling when you were in 6th grade." Oh. So...yeah, unless they were filled with fruit stripe gum, and garbage-pal kids, I probably wouldn't have appreciated their genius. Anyway- You are sharing some awesome tips, Lady!

    1. Silly me! I didn't link my info...pshaw. I need a team.

  5. Aww you poor thing....No Busy Box as a kid. I will have to make you one! I loved the Zebra gum especially with the tattoos or should I say toung-toos! My mom hated the Garbage-Pal kid cards. I had them all!!! AAHH the simplicity of childhood!