For parents who school at home, whether as a homeschooler, or as a “learning coach” in an online school, it can be tough to teach lessons and make sure the kids are learning when you’re feeling ill. Luckily, there are options for those days when you can barely drag yourself out of bed. 

Depending on the age of your students, they may be able to work on their own with minimal help from you. Middle and high school students who work independently can probably continue their day without interruption. But for a younger student whose work requires more hands-on guidance, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for those days when the parent or learning coach isn’t feeling 100%.

We have compiled some ideas to help you create your own sick day plan:

  • Rearrange your schedule. While it is important to establish a consistent schedule, if you wake up feeling ill, there’s nothing wrong with moving things around a little. Start school later in the day, and if you feel up to it, tackle a few subjects in the afternoon or evening. You can also make up any lessons you missed on the weekend.
  • Create a sick day folder. Include assignments and worksheets that kids can complete with little help. Math drills, review worksheets, coloring or art assignments, and books for independent reading are a good place to start. Lessons that focus primarily on review rather than on new topics are great for days when the learning coach isn’t up to teaching lessons.
  • Prioritize. Some subjects are easier than others to get caught up in if you do fall behind. Other subjects, like math and language arts, should be done every day. Focus on completing just the basics and consider block scheduling any subjects you skipped when you’re feeling better.
  • Watch educational programming. There are tons of science and history documentaries available, many of which are even streaming on Netflix. Find one on a topic you’ve been studying recently and watch it together.
  • Take a virtual field trip.  There are so many amazing virtual trips and live web cams available online that allow you to take your kids on a field trip, from the comfort of your couch. Be sure to visit the Virtual Field Trip board on Pinterest for even more great trips from around the web.
  • Ask for help. Have the non-schooling parent teach a couple of lessons at the end of the day. Or enlist the help of a family member or neighbor, perhaps a grandparent, older sibling, or babysitter who can handle supervising a few lessons.

Homeschool or online school parents: what do you do when you’re sick? Share your tips in the comments!

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