Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Day in the Life: Homeschooling with the Flu

Last week, my 4-year-old came down with a sudden fever, chills, aches, and exhaustion. She had fever on and off for the next 5 days, and is still dealing with a lot of congestion. Then, four days ago, her 5-year-old sister came down with the same thing. Her fever was even worse, so we went to the doctor yesterday and sure enough, she has the flu (which means little sister probably had it first). When my girls get so sick, it's nice to be a homeschooling family because I know they're not going to be playing catch-up later in school. They can have as much rest as they need.

Unless we're all deathly ill, we don't abandon learning completely. Honestly, we can't abandon learning completely. Not only do we try to fill our children's environment with books, games, toys, and videos that cultivate learning, but we NEED some dedicated learning time in our day to keep ourselves sane.

Here's what our day looked like with two kids that are recovering from the flu:

*Oh, and anytime I think learning is taking place will be in bold.*


My 5-year-old is standing beside my bed, crying, and saying that she had a bad dream. She feels a little warm, so I get her some Tylenol and tuck her back into bed. She falls back asleep pretty quickly, and I lay in bed awake. I know my husband's alarm will be going off at 5:00am, so I feel like it's pointless to go back to sleep. When his alarm goes off, I get out of bed and go make our morning coffee. We have our coffee together before he leaves for work, and I spend the next hour and a half reading.


Both girls get up and immediately ask for breakfast and tv. I make them some waffles (straight from the box in the freezer... just keeping it real) and they watch tv until 8:15am.


I watch the news, and my oldest comes over the couch and pulls out her Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. She flips through the pages on evolution and early plants and animals. After half an hour of looking through the book, she asks me if I'll read a few pages about early town life in Europe.  She is disgusted to learn that people threw waste out of their windows into the street, and she decides that's enough learning for now. Haha. I manage to get her to sit for a couple more pages about the Hebrews leaving Egypt (to go along with where we are in Story of the World), but she's quickly ready to move on to something else.


The girls have been playing together for a while, and I made sure to get a shower while things were calm. While I was in the shower, I left their calendar notebooks on the table (printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler) just in case they might be tempted to work on them. Turns out, the oldest did her pages, but the youngest was too busy playing. My sister calls on FaceTime and I spend a few minutes chatting with her. Then, I tell the girls that it's time to do some school. I find them huddled around their iPad, watching a Brain Pop movie about Yo Yo Ma. I suggest we listen to some of his songs while doing school, so we find an iTunes station for him.

I have my eldest sit at the dining room table to work on two pages in Explode the Code while I sit on the couch with her little sister to do a lesson from "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." When both girls are done with their lesson, we cuddle up together on the couch and watch a Brain Pop Jr. video about the "setting" in stories and take the easy quiz afterwards. 


It's time for lunch! After I get the girls settled at the table, I grab a whiteboard, marker, and First Language Lessons. The easiest time to do these short lessons is during lunch when I have all most of their attention. We do two lessons, one focused on narration (retelling a story they just heard) and one on Proper Nouns. 

Since I have the whiteboard handy, this easily flows into some phonics/sight-word practice for my youngest. We've been working on "short a," "m," "s," and "t" sounds in "Teach Your Child to Read" so I start writing some "short a" words on the board for her to try sounding out. Then, it becomes a sort of game as her sister whispers animals words to me, I write them, and she tries to read them. I love how easy it to to make learning fun for the girls.


It's quiet time. (Thank goodness!) The girls head to their room with their iPad and I give them instructions to play only games or Brain Pop videos. I don't want them spending the whole time watching shows.... I turn on the Olympics while I work on this blog post, emails, and... let's be honest... some pinning on Pinterest. ;)


Both girls have wandered into the living room by now and are watching the Olympics with me. I can tell they are getting both tired and bored, so when the Olympics go off, I turn on an episode - on Netflix - from Scholastic books about "The Scrambled States" (the book that goes along with one of our favorite games), followed by an episode of "Beakman's World." 


I feel like the day is starting to run together. My girls aren't quite themselves, and I think we're all getting a little stir-crazy. They are starting to bicker back and forth and run through the house. We've hardly gotten out of the house the past week and half due to illness and cold. I try to let them play for a while and sort out disagreements themselves, but it's not going very well....


I give up and ask the girls if they'd like to do some yoga. If we can't go running around outside (it's getting colder and colder thanks to some snow on the way), the least we can do is move around for a few minutes inside. I hook up my iPad to the tv and find our favorite YouTube channel, "Cosmic Kids Yoga." This saves my sanity for another 20 minutes.

After yoga, I'm surprised to see the girls settle in on the couch with some easy reader books. My oldest is finally becoming a more confident reader, and I've noticed her reading on her own more and more. She even seems excited to be reading to her sister, and I'm thrilled.


Time to start cooking some supper. My husband isn't going to be home until late tonight, so I'm fixing something quick and easy for just us girls. While I'm trying to get supper on the table, the girls are going CRAZY. Fighting, running through the house... I just can't take anymore and I tell them to go to their room until dinner is ready. *sigh*

A half-hour later and dinner is on the table. I'm running ragged, and I'm happy that when dinner is over, the girls pull out some workbooks and have a seat back at the table. My oldest starts doing pages from her BrainQuest workbook about money, and then starts on multiplication (*jawdrop*). My youngest is coloring letter pages, and then starts looking through "Goodnight Gorilla" and "reading" it to herself. 

Five years old and understanding multiplication! She did NOT get this skill from me....

It's time for a bath and the beginning of our bedtime routine (yay!). The girls play in the bath for a while, and then they get out and do their evening chores - brushing teeth, getting on pajamas, combing their hair, and going to the potty.


The girls are starting to bicker again, so I send them to their room for some quiet reading time. I'll go in when I'm ready to read some of our "Magic Tree House" book before bed. We usually try to have the girls in bed, with the light out, around 8:00pm. I'm feeling so run down and tired that bedtime might even be a little early tonight.

After I get them tucked in, I'll watch a couple of shows on Hulu and then read for a while in bed before passing out.

Our days have been thrown out of whack from illness and cold weather, and I can't wait to get a little bit of our routine back. And hopefully, I will be able to dodge the flu... grown-ups have better immune systems, right? ...Right??


  1. I just want you to know how encouraging you are to me! I am so very much a follower, not a leader, and being able to catch glimpses like this really help me as I begin to homeschool my own girls. Thank you so much for opening your home up on here! Off to go find Brain Pop on our iPad... :)

    1. Thanks for the sweet comment, Sara! There are all sorts of different homeschooling styles out there, and I know that our easy-going approach isn't for everyone. Maybe it will change, but right now, a very laid-back routine suites our family very well. Let me know if there's anything I can help with. I'm still trying to figure out a lot of things too!

  2. I like the way you keep going even through the flu. I hope your family feels better soon. You're doing a fabulous job as a mom. Thanks for sharing your day.

  3. We keep on going - even through the flu - too. There was more sleeping, then playing as usual, but some learning still took place. Oh, and big time wow over your 5 year olds grasp of multiplication. How cool is that?!

    1. Sometimes I wonder if it sounds like I'm pushing my kids to do school during the flu.... but really, when you try to create an atmosphere of learning, it's kinda impossible NOT to learn something during the day - even when you're sick. Know what I mean?