I haven’t been able to post in a while due to the fact that our family has been hit by one virus after another. And it’s the beginning of the school year! How unfair is that? Well, we have been through one stomach virus and are now working on a week of either the regular flu or the swine flu. We’re not sure which, because the docs here are not testing for it. And although we’ve run fevers and we’ve felt miserable, it hasn’t been bad enough to warrant going to the doctor. But, this makes about 3 weeks of not feeling that great to feeling downright awful. So I thought I would take a few minutes and discuss how we are doing school through all of this. Everyone goes through sickness throughout the school year, so I’m talking about your normal run of the mill, sicknesses. But hopefully, these pointers can help you out too.
1st- If you haven’t already made your school calendar for the year, make one now. From your start date, add in vacation days, holidays, ending date, etc. I always work in extra days just for times like these. For example, in NC we are required to have 180 days of school per year. So, I add an extra week or two to my school year. Instead of 180, I plan on the calendar for 185 – 190 days. That way in case of sickness, I can use those days. And if I don’t use them, then great! My school year will end at 180 days.
2nd – Make a lesson plan. Each week I make a lesson plan for the next week. That way, if I’m sick then my kids can go and look at what they are supposed to be doing. And hopefully get it done, or at least some of it. Also, if you are all sick or your kids are young, then at least you will know where you need to pick up from when you’re all better. Of course, sometimes we’re sick on the day we would be doing our planning. On those days, just do the best you can, pray and leave the rest up to God. That should be the first step in all of our planning anyway. So, pray, plan if possible, then pray some more.
3rd – Do the best you can! That’s all you can do, really. Cover each morning with prayer before you can begin. Cover what you are able to cover. Pick and choose what really has to be done. Do you really have to do that heavy-duty project this week? Do you really have to do an in-depth study this week? Sometimes, less is more, especially when we’re not well. You can always do that project or study another day. Stop teaching when you get tired, or you just can’t focus and leave the rest for the next day. Assign your kids what they can do on their own for the rest of the day if they are old enough.
4th – Don’t feel up to teaching at all. Well, turn on the tv. Yes! I said it! Use the History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, etc. Kids too young for that? What about having your husband or a friend rent some movies. When we were studying the Huns when my kids were little, we watched “Mulan” from Disney. I know it’s not exactly historically correct, but it does get the point across if you discuss it afterward. My youngest daughter, who is now 11, has always remembered who the Huns were and where they came from and what they did because of that movie. You can watch things that you can count for history, literature, art, etc. And you can rest in bed or on the couch and it’s still school because they will learn.
5th – Call in a substitute teacher! Can your husband take on a subject or two? What about a grandparent? Do you have a friend that can help you out? When my kids were little, my mom would sometimes be able to take them. I would send them over with their backpacks containing some of their school things along with the answer keys. Now, I didn’t send everything. Only what was really important for them to do and what I knew wouldn’t be overwhelming for my mom. Now that they’re older, I send what I know they can do independently.
6th – When all else fails, give in! Sometimes, you just have to take the time off. It’s ok. You can always pick up where you left off when you’re feeling better. It can be better for you and the kids to take the time to rest and get better than to try to do school with a very cranky, and sick teacher that can’t focus anyway. We want to give them our best and that may mean not teaching that week. Yes, that may put you behind according to your calendar, but if you build in sick days, it really won’t. If you were working for a company, they would most likely tell you to stay home or send you home and make you take your sick days. Why should it be any different for your school? You will be better off for it, and you may not be sick as long as you would have been since you got your rest.