When the teacher gets sick in a traditional institution the teacher stays home and the school brings in a substitute for teaching for the duration of the illness. When you are a home educator and you get sick there isn’t a substitute teacher to step in and save the day. This means that you should have a contingency plan in place for those moments when the flu takes you down. I thought I would share my contingency plan for those who are interested in how to homeschool through illness. If I have something like a cold or a sinus infection I will continue to homeschool as normal. I may choose to have the kids do more independent reading but I am able to stick to my agenda for the day. If I come down with the flu or something else that leaves me unable to lift my head from the pillow than I fall back on my contingency plan. How this plan looks depends on how sick I am, where we are in our studies, and how much time off I have to work with.
Sometimes you just know whether you are dealing with a 24-hour bug or if it is something that is going to take you down for a few days. If I have a 24-hour bug we will just take the day off and we will use Sunday to catch up and get back on track. If I know that I am going to be down for a few days then I will make a decision based on of where we are in our lessons and how much available time we have to work with.
If the kids are in the middle of something and I feel like a break will derail them I will put together independent activities that they can do with little oversight. For instance, when were working on our Ancient Egyptian studies I came down with pneumonia and I was very sick. I printed off fun coloring sheets, word searches and I found several documentaries that they could watch. This allowed them to stay on track while mom recuperated. Usually, if I am sick during the middle of our school year this is the option that I will employ.
We school year round which means that I have about six weeks of time off that I can use for things like illness, family vacations or mental health days. If we haven’t used a lot of these days up then I can use them like sick days and shuffle our lesson plans to accommodate the time off. I only use this option though if we are working on a review and I know that a week off won’t interfere with their studies. Now a week off may sound like a free pass for the kids but even on weeks off, they have to do independent reading and writing.
If you are one of those lucky individuals who never gets sick it is still a good idea to have a contingency plan in place.Life happens and we never know when an illness or injury is going to interfere with our homeschool. Your plan may look different from mine but having a plan in place can prevent your kids from falling behind. A backup plan will also reduce the stress of trying to figure out what to do when you’re already sick and tired.
Do you have a backup plan in place? If so how do you manage illness in your homeschool?