Homeschool

How to Homeschool When Mom Is Sick

Homeschooling can sometimes be challenging! And when you’re sick, it can be especially hard! But there are ways to continue homeschooling even when you aren’t feeling your best. This article shares some suggestions for how to homeschool when Mom is sick.

sick woman on couch with

Why would you want to homeschool on sick days?

But before I go into how to homeschool on sick days, you may be wondering why you would want to continue homeschooling on days when you don’t feel well. There are some good reasons!

It’s easier to make it through those sick days if the kids are occupied and on a routine. Kids who are bored tend to make more messes, fight more, and be generally harder to deal with. When my kids were younger, I tried my best to continue homeschooling even on days I didn’t feel very well just because it was actually easier for me than taking the day off!

Also, if you live in a state that requires you to complete a certain number of school days each year, you may not be able to take all of your sick days off. So many of us tend to get sick in the early months of the new year when it’s cold and we have to spend a lot of time indoors (where germs multiply and get shared with others!). Depending on how many school days you completed earlier in the school year, you may need to continue with school in order to complete your required school days without being stressed out later!

How can you homeschool when you are sick?

Language Arts:

If you don’t have a sore throat, reading is a great way to spend some snuggle time with your kiddos! If your throat is sore and is making reading difficult, have your children read to you! Even young children can “read” picture books to you while you rest. And young children will probably love the idea of helping you feel better by reading to you!

This is also a good time to have your children work on penmanship. (It will help if you have some penmanship practice ready ahead of time so you don’t have to try to prepare lessons when you’re not feeling well. I used to keep extra work on hand in a special file for occasions like this.) Have them write jokes or funny poems in their best handwriting. And even if you don’t feel like checking/correcting their handwriting that day, you can always make note of things they need to work on later.

They might enjoy writing short stories to read to you and make you laugh. Again, just enjoy letting them write stories and read them to you while you’re sick. Then when you feel better, you can go back over sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, or whatever else you see that needs improvement.

For spelling practice, you might want to allow your children to play games instead of doing more traditional spelling work. If you feel like playing, you could join in the game too. If not, you can rest while your children play.

  • Your children can have some fun practicing spelling words by creating word finds using Puzzlemaker!
  • There are some free online spelling games available on PBS Kids.
  • Here is a set of magnetic letters that comes with a free ebook with learning and spelling game ideas.
  • If you have 4th-6th graders, this Daily Word Ladder workbook is great to keep on hand for sick days!
  • This Match It! Spelling game helps children ages 4 and up learn words with 3 or 4 letters. And it’s self-correcting!
  • Boggle Jr. is a fun game for teaching letter and word recognition and for matching and spelling.

Math:

Math is another subject in which online games, board games, and workbooks can be good practice on days you’re too sick to teach.

  • Times Tales is a fun way to work on math fact memorization–especially if you have children who enjoy hearing stories and might remember their math facts better if they’re associated with stories.
  • There are lots of fun math workbooks available! I suggest ordering several and bringing them out on sick days.
  • Sums in Space is a super cute board game that gets great reviews! It teaches addition and subtraction and is good for kids ages 5 and up.
  • Zingo is a number bingo game for kids ages 4 and up. It also gets great reviews.
  • If you’d like your kiddos to get some extra practice counting and exchanging money, then Money Bags might be the game you need! It is for children ages 7 and up.
  • Or if your children need to practice their time telling skills, this Time Telling Bingo game is a fun way to do that!

Science:

There are lots of great ways to handle science when you’re too sick to teach!

Nextflix has lots of choices for educational science-related documentaries that your children can watch while you rest. Just do a search on instantwatcher.com to find a show to go with whatever topics you’re currently teaching them. Or you can use Google to find the names of some educational shows or documentaries, and then check to see if Netflix or Amazon Prime (or whatever service you use) has those shows.

I like to keep several large DK Publishing books on hand for my children to explore when I need them to do some independent science study. These books are fun, colorful, and will hopefully help keep your kiddos busy for a while–whether they’re littles, middles, or teens. You can find some great ones here! (And here are even more!)

History:

I love studying history with my children! When I’m sick, though, and they need to do their history studies without me, there are several ways they can do it.

One thing they can do is read historical fiction books! If you have kiddos who love to read, this is an excellent option! In fact, you may find that they want to do history all day and skip the other subjects. I personally don’t have a problem with that as long as they’re doing something constructive, and reading historical fiction can truly be a great way to study history and make it interesting and easy to understand.

If you’re going to have your children read historical fiction, check online (or have older students check for themselves) to find public domain (free) historical fiction books. Here is an article that tells how to find public domain books. Many local libraries now have ebooks available too, so take advantage of it if yours does!

And again, you can always let them watch relevant programs on Netflix or one of the other services. Just be double sure to keep an eye on their choices or have some picked out ahead of time. You don’t want them to end up watching something that’s too mature for them!

And once again, DK Publishing has some really good history books available!

If you have DVDs at your house that relate to history, you can even watch those!

One more suggestion is, if your children are working on a timeline, let them spend some extra time working on it. They probably already know what to do and how to do it!

Online Options:

We all know we have to be very careful when we allow our children to spend time online. If you’re sick, though, and have to stay in bed (or on the couch) and can’t do much, you may be able to allow your children some time online while you sit and simply watch educational shows with them or watch while they play educational games. This way, you can still get some rest, but they can still do something educational with your supervision. 

If your children are very young (ages 2 to 6), you may want to consider downloading the Khan Academy Kids app. You can find more information about it here. Khan Academy Kids helps kids enjoy learning by having fun characters guide children through activities and stories. Children can then experience books, activities, animated videos, and creative lessons! And, as they earn rewards, they’ll collect accessories such a bugs, hats, and toys for their favorite in-app characters.

Another option is the Khan Academy website. There you’ll find practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard. You can set up a parent account first, and then your child can get started discovering new information or practicing whatever he/she is already learning. There are lessons and information on topics related to math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. And best of all, it’s free!

Your children may enjoy watching some Ted-Ed videos! Ted-Ed is “an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas.” This site has educational videos on all sorts of topics! Many of the videos were created by educators with the help of animators who were nominated through the Ted-Ed website. I scanned the site to see what it currently has to offer, and I saw animated videos about topics such as: how roller coasters affect your body, a day in the life of an ancient Egyptian doctor, and even history through the eyes of a chicken! There are lots and lots of great topics–both serious and funny–on this site! You should absolutely take a look. (You might just start looking forward to sick days!)

Another site that provides educational value is PBS Kids. This site “uses the full spectrum of media and technology to build knowledge, critical thinking, imagination, and curiosity.” According to information on the site, PBS Kids seeks to involve parents, teachers, caregivers, and communities as learning partners to help children find success in school and in life. I have young nieces and nephews who really enjoy the educational games and activities on this site!

The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re sick is that it’s ok to relax and take it a little easier than usual! But that doesn’t mean you have to lie in bed being stressed because your children are bored or aren’t doing anything educational. Just choose a few of these tips and ideas, and your children’s education can continue even when you’re too sick to do the teaching!

About the author

Wendy

Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, over 27 years ago, and they live in the South with their three children. Hannah, age 23, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 22, was the second homeschool graduate. Mary Grace, age 16, is the remaining homeschool student. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow an herb garden every summer with limited success.

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