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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Homeschooling while Sick - 5 Sanity Savers

I've homeschooled while sick, while pregnant and while recovering from childbirth. As of last week I can add "while recovering from oral surgery" to that list. Unfortunately, life doesn't stop so we can teach our children. Here are 5 ways to homeschool when just the thought of getting out of bed seems overwhelming.

1. Stick to the basics - reading, writing and arithmetic - and save those complicated science and history projects for another time. Read to your child and listen to your child read aloud. Have your child write in a journal to build writing skills, and use flash cards, worksheets or computer games to keep math skills sharp. A simple program like this one will keep your child fluent in the the 3 Rs in as little as 30 minutes to an hour per day. If that still seems like more than you can handle, just read to your child daily.

2. Use audio books and educational videos as supplemental teaching tools. You can find free, downloadable audio books at LibriVox. Here are some additional free homeschooling resources.

3. Stock your shelves with quiet activities that your children can use independently. Puzzles, coloring books, drawing books, legos, k'nex, playdoh, modeling clay, sticker books and board games are inexpensive activities that can keep your children occupied while you supervise from the couch. Some homeschoolers keep a supply of "emergency kits" that contain books and a related project for days when life interrupts school. Usborne Kid Kits are ready made emergency kits that contain a book and educational activity for a variety of interests and age ranges.

4. Institute a daily quiet time. At our house, my younger children nap for 1-2 hours while my oldest child reads or plays quietly. My rule for quiet time is, "If you disturb mom for any reason, you have to go take a nap!"

5. Don't be afraid to call it a day, a week or even a month. The beauty of homeschooling is that you are not tied to a school schedule. If you have to spend a month or two away from any activity that resembles "school", you can play catch up later by doubling up assignments or extending your school year into the summer.

If you are unable to teach for an extended time period, consider using a self-teaching program like the Robinson Curriculum, or a computer based program like Switched on Schoolhouse or Time4Learning. ACE Paces and Alpha Omega Lifepacs are self-teaching workbooks that your children can use independently. A Beka and Bob Jones University Press both have DVD programs that allow your children to learn from outside teachers while remaining in your home.

Keep your house running smoothly during challenging times by stocking your freezer with pre-made meals, using mixes from companies like Homemade Gourmet, using paper products to reduce clean up time, and teaching your children to help with simple chores like folding laundry and preparing breakfast.

Don't be afraid to rely on help from friends, family members and other homeschoolers. When you feel up to it, place an extra meal in your freezer that you can take to others who are facing tough times.
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Brenda said...

Why did I never think to make emergency kits? I always had emergency lesson plans when I was a teacher!

Guess I figured one day off wouldn't kill them, but how much better to have something they can do? (Plus, it might not always be just one day!) Thanks for these ideas!

tks mommy said...

So many helpful tips! Thanks so much!

Faith said...

It's a little easier with teenagers. I write out the lesson plans a day or week in advance, and they follow the plan. If, however, I can't write the plan, as happened recently due to my brother's death and my involvement with funeral arrangements, I just gave each child a literary classic (ex: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) and told them to read.

Carole said...

Good suggestions for a mom with a runny nose and headache. :) Thanks!