Homeschooling through Sickness

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It’s January – the season of colds and flu. Throughout the year, parents and children contract an illness or a condition and some are more serious than others. Do you homeschool through sickness? The short answer is, it depends.

Cup of tea and muffins

A cup of tea and muffins can restore a bit of energy.

Last year was a bad year for our health. One of our children coughed for six months straight and she needed inhalers to get better. She also fractured her elbow. Personally, I developed adrenal fatigue (or insufficiency) and discovered I cannot tolerate gluten in my diet. Continue reading »

All in all, 2017 was a bad, bad year for health. And yet, we were able to get our school done. We took it slowly with some things like history and science. Even when they were sick, my kids loved reading, so they kept reading and reading to pass the time.

On days when I got a bit more energy, I made them do their math and we also covered Bible. I was never so ill that I could not drive them to their classes outside the home.

Learning never really stops. Even when the kids are running a fever and lie in bed completely weakened by an invisible bacteria, the fact that a parent takes their temperature and administers medication and fluids is a lesson in itself. When they become parents, they will have these memories to fall back on to treat their own children.

One thing I have found useful, although we do not want to abuse it, is educational videos. We have some DVDs from 3ABN called Kids Time. They contain Bible stories for children, as well as healthy recipes kids can make, music, and even science experiments. When I have been too sick to do a devotional with my kids, I let them pop in a Kids Time DVD and they get their daily dose of Bible.

Another thing you could do is let them watch Discovery channel or a similar program. Watching big structures being built or a show like Myth Busters can really help their science vocabulary. One drawback are the commercials. Some commercials are racy. Others advertise beer. Here’s your chance as a parent to point out to your impressionable children that we need to discern what is being advertised and why and how.

When I was at my lowest point with adrenal fatigue, I could barely get Bible, math, and English done. They practiced piano and violin on their own. For the rest, I just crawled around the house taking care of the most basic household chores and that was it.

Sometimes I got discouraged and felt it would never end and we would never catch up with the rest of our work. But as we persevered and I got better, we were able to forge ahead and get back on track. Grit, my friends, wins every time.

When Pollen Stops Learning

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Where we live, flora abounds. We live five minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, an international biosphere. They say there are more species of flowers blooming in the Park than in all of Europe combined. That’s a lot of pollen.

Skype violin lesson

My daughter plays a piece by heart for her violin teacher, via Skype.

We drink plenty of fluids and limit our desserts, to help the immune system fight all the pollen. When we feel a tingling sensation in our throats, we drink even more water and start taking Vitamin C and oregano oil (one drop mixed with a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil). When our eyes start getting itchy and watery, we even take over the counter allergy medicine to keep the symptoms from ruining our quality of life.  Continue reading »

All this to say, we are careful what we put into our bodies. We want to treat our bodies with respect and, by the way, this is part of anatomy and physiology for their age. How do you deal with sickness? How do you prevent it? How do you keep it at bay? If you will, when a homeschooled child gets sick, all the days could count as science. It is a practical, hands-on course in what they should do one day when their child or friend or spouse becomes ill.

We went on with allergy symptoms for about two weeks but there were no signs of infection. Until we had sore throats and a cough that would not go away. So I took them to the doctor. It was a lovely new clinic that opened up five minutes from our home and my daughter exclaimed as we left, “This was the best doctor’s visit I have ever had.”

Skype violin lesson

The teacher allowed them to do a lesson sitting.

There was no wait time – other than my having to fill out three pages on a clipboard. The lady was efficient and sent the prescription to our pharmacy online. We did not even have to carry a piece of paper to them. By the time we got to the pharmacy, the prescription was already in line to be filled out.

I have never had to cancel school for one whole week due to sickness. It was strange, but I think the kids loved it. They listened to Adventures in Odyssey a lot – we have about 45 CD sets. They have heard it all before, but it was about two years ago, so some of the material was a bit over their heads. Now they can experience it all over again from a different perspective.

The only activity I did not cancel was our Skype violin lessons. Our teacher is an internationally renowned concertmaster and it is hard to re-schedule. Besides, the kids were allowed to sit during the lessons and they actually did very well. They just had to take some breaks to blow their noses. But here’s my point: if they have enough energy to sit and program with Scratch, – which they asked to do while they were sick, – they have enough energy to hold the violin up and play a little for their teacher.

Even though I was ill too, I got a lot of things done around the house and I really should not have, to conserve my energy. By the third day, I had no energy but to stay in bed and read. So I read. I finished one book which I have dragged on and on for months, and a couple others which were due back to the library very soon. I hope to start school tomorrow, but we will see.