A homeschool mom’s guide to taking sick days without going crazy!

Here are 5 tips to help make homeschool mom sick days a little more manageable...

I hate getting sick. I always have, but as a mom, this loathing has reached epic proportions. We simply do not have the time to get sick. Ever.  Any mom of young kids knows that life at home can go from order to absolute chaos in what seems like the blink of an eye.

Chaos and noise are not conducive to the recovery process.  That is what raises blood pressure and results in having to get up from the couch far more frequently than an invalid should ever have to rise.

I shared about it on Wednesday, when I wrote about how to preserve read-aloud time when you can’t read-aloud.  This has been a season of living much of my life from the couch.  I typically don’t get sick often, but when I go down, I go down. Trepidation overtook me every time I had to swallow when I had my bout with strep throat this summer. That spike-covered rock was there at the back of my throat each and every time.  My body felt like it had been hit by a Mack truck.  Determination set in as I sought to see if the steps we’ve made to preserve order in times such as this would work.

While my boys can now feed themselves and their sister (hurray!), I’ve seen that this is about the ONLY thing that would happen when I was sick.  The chaos, clutter, increased bickering, and noise resulting from the lack of routine was enough to send this usually relaxed mama into a fit of crazy.  And let me tell you, crazy is also not conducive to speeding up the healing process.

Kids need rhythm and routine. Kids need a mother or a Lord of the Flies scenario ensues. Ok, ok, I maybe getting a bit melodramatic, but sickness has a way of doing that.

I’ve learned the art of least investment for maximal impact.  It’s how to get well without going crazy. Here is what is working for me, as a homeschool mom.  I’d love to hear what you do when you need to take a sick day!

  1. Set expectations in advance.  Obviously if you are still in the toddler phase, this doesn’t work, but as they get older and you have established routines, I think it is important to discuss expectations for those times when mom is sick…  I’ve always seen my kids rise to the occasion when they know what is expected.
  2. Keep a general routine.  There are things that they do each and every day that STILL must be done, even if I’m not there to check on work.  We practice piano. We tidy up. We clean the kitchen when we are done. We throw trash away. When you get something out, you put it away.  They know all these things, but I had found that they magically would forget if I was tuckered out on the couch.
  3. Pare down to the bare bones.  I love the flexibility of homeschooling, but I also like to keep routine going as much as we can.  Now that my kids are getting older and I’ve transferred them to their own lesson plan checklists, I instruct them to do the things that don’t require my direct involvement.
  4. Read-Aloud.  My go-to when we are stressed or need to reconnect as a family is to pile on the couch with a good book.  Read-aloud time saw us through 14 weeks of bedrest and it was how we learned in the first months after my last two babies were born.  I’ve now added it to my sick-day protocol with a twist.
    1. Have them read to you.  I was surprised with how excited they were about this.  I think I’ve been slacking in the “read to Mom” department lately.
    2. Utilize Audio Books!  I love this option so much, I wrote a whole post about it yesterday! You read that one, right? Audiobooks should have a place in every sick mother’s arsenal. We were slated to start Little House on the Prairie this last weekend.  There is no way I could read with my throat practically swollen shut.
  5. Take-out, Baby! I can’t cook from the couch.  So when you are really, really sick, sweet talk your hubby into bringing home dinner.  No prep and no dishes; it’s a perfect way to end a sick day.

Related Posts:
How to Cultivate Read-Aloud Time
Seven Reasons Why You Should Read-Aloud


  1. My goodness, Heather – what a summer you’ve had! You are really a trouper. I hope that everything is back to normal for your family, and that settling into your new Texan home is going well. You inspire me! 🙂

  2. Love these ideas, especially “have them read to you”. That doesn’t always cross my mind as a means for their fluency and my resting (aside from regular reading practice for them).


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