Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pros and Cons of a Sick Homeschooling Household

We were all sick last week. Ava came down with it first. She was sniffly and slightly feverish. She was achy with a sore throat. She was irritable - for her. This resulted in the children being snippy with each other. They usually get along well and the lack of harmony really grated on my nerves. If the children were in school I would have needed to keep her home. Or send her in and feel guilty and worried about her all day.

Instead we just kept to our usual routine. I leaned a little more on Michael for answers and a little less on Ava. We took more breaks. But overall, school continued. The kids like our school work and they get bored when just left on their own for too long. Ava in particular likes to be with her loved ones and so she didn't complain at all.

Michael was also irritable all week. He didn't seem to get the sore throat or fever, but he did get the runny nose and cough. Again, we just kept to a slightly less cheerful and intense version of the usual routine. The children being irritable was driving me crazy though. I felt like I was intervening in some sort of squabble at least once every 30 minutes and it was killing me. My mood was off and I was atypically grumpy and short tempered. In retrospect, I should have known I was next.

Then it was my turn. If the children felt even a fraction as miserable as I did, I am in awe of how well they had actually been doing all week. I was taking two different types of over the counter pain killers and it still felt like my throat and Eustachian tubes were on fire with every breath. This was keeping me from sleeping. I was running the same low grade fever the children had been running. The details aren't important. Let's just say that if I weren't homeschooling I would have been spending my days in bed.

Instead, I got up and got breakfast into the littles and got through our first two lessons of the day - circle time and math. At that point, instead of transitioning to reading or Scholastic News I let the children have free time and informed them that I was going to read. They could come find me when they were ready to do their reading lesson. Admittedly, that was a bit pitiful, but it worked. The children played independently for almost two hours while I dozed on the sofa. Then Ava came to ask to do her reading lesson. The rest gave me enough energy to get through Ava's reading lesson and lunch. Then it was more free play for the children until Michael came to ask for his reading lesson. At that point in the afternoon I typically read to the children for an hour or we do art, but there was no way my throat was going to participate in an hour of reading aloud so we watched a movie instead.

It wasn't elegant, but it got done. We repeated that same schedule the next day. Even though the entire household was sick, we still managed circle time, word wall activities, math, and reading every day. It wasn't as high energy, efficient, or on schedule, but it still all happened. It was a workable solution. I'm looking forward to being back to full energy and patience this week (I'm still shaking off the cold), but it was nice to see that we can work this homeschooling thing through a household illness.

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