‘I Can’t Do Any Homeschooling When Sick !

What happens when you just can’t do any homeschooling because you’re sick? When getting out of bed, putting a load of washing on, and making sure dinner is on the table is all you can accomplish. What if even that is too much? What happens when this becomes your new normal day? What should you do? Is it time to give up homeschooling?

In my homeschool community lately I have heard of quite a few situations where mothers are unable to get any homeschool done. One mum had a heart attack, another mother’s husband and son were involved in a serious car accident and another mum’s baby died. Other mother’s I know have had to fight cancer and have chemotherapy; some suffer daily with chronic illness and pain. In each of these situations a solution for their inability to homeschool was not in the foreseeable future.

These mums are heroes. They want to make sure their children are still getting the best and they continue to pour out much of themselves, often pushing themselves beyond their own limits. This ‘soldiering on’ mentality eventually fails and the wheels fall off the homeschool wagon: it’s time to face reality and make a few decisions about what direction a child’s home education needs to take.

Coping Strategies For Homeschooling When Sick

It’s been six weeks for me since the wheels fell off my wagon and I was diagnosed with a serious illness. It took me a while to work out what was wrong and accept  I just needed to rest and get better. Although I’m still in the midst of this trial, I’ve learnt a few lessons observing my children and I’ve gleaned wisdom from others who have been there done that. Now I am starting to improve somewhat I’d like to share some coping strategies for homeschooling when sick:

  • Eliminate The Unnecessary – I’m amazed how I’ve been able to cut my workload down by more than half. Many things I used to do are being done by my husband and kids – they even do grocery shopping – and many things have just remained undone. I’ve had to put things on hold. I assess as I go and just do what I can. I’ve been saying no to a lot of things.
  • Encourage Independent Work – I’m only homeschooling two now and they are 12 and 15. They have been able to continue on with most of their work without me. I don’t let them get away with the excuse that I can’t help them. I help a little here and there. They are expected to do what they can.

We use workboxes and they have been a saving grace. If your kids are really little, allowing them to work around you in bed, or on the couch, can still work. If they can’t do much independent work then you can probably cut yourself some slack and allow some natural learning. This is a short term solution that will need to be reassessed but for now it can work.

Sally Borrick has some great ideas for preparing a homeschooling substitute teacher box.

To help you out here are 101 sick day activities for homeschooling when sick.

  • Keep A Routine – Do your best to keep the kids going with a routine. Try to keep up with their activities within reason; even if it requires organising a lift to some events. My children’s external lessons are important for my kids.
  • Rest – allocate rest into your day. Make sure it is on the agenda. I’m giving myself permission to watch movies, read books and sleep a lot.
  • Food – eating well is a key to health and for me that has been a vegan diet for 5 weeks. Are there any changes you need to make in your diet?
  • Get Help With The Housework – I am a dying swan and I have made it quite clear to my immediate family that I’m struggling but still my teenagers have needed a push to pick up the slack. If I only had little children I’d be looking for a cleaner and trying to enlist some more help. My husband has been wonderful and I have to remind myself to keep thanking him.
  • Watch Your Tongue – in an effort to make everyone understand my illness and get help I’ve given detailed explanations to my family on many of my aches and pains. It took a while for them to get the message but now that they have I need to stop the constant references to my sickness and be a little cheerier and listen to them. “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:2
  • Spiritual Guidance – I should have put this first but I’ll be honest and confess that whilst I’ve sent up many arrow prayers my Bible reading and devotions have been sadly lacking. On my days when I do prioritise this area my days are better.

The lessons that I have learnt over the last few weeks may be ones that will help you if you are also sick for an extended period. However for some, you may need to take more drastic measures, you may even need to consider school – I know one mum who sent her children to school while she recovered from breast cancer and had chemotherapy. One thing I do know is that you need help during this time.

Please make sure you seek out some wise council to help guide you through this journey and find some hope and help for your new normal.
God Bless!

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