10 ways to teach when you're sick!

Ugh! I can't remember the last time a cold kicked my butt this badly.  I know it's "just a cold" since I pretty much only have that stuffy head feeling but it's just pounding and hanging in there and ultimately wearing me out!

My kids have been sweetly taking care of me and one another.  They're helping each other with breakfast, with toys and with the computer, trying to leave me to rest and tiptoeing around me so they don't make my headache worse.  It's really so adorably sweet to see.
We may have to take a bit more time to finish off our Australia unit before diving into Russia and the Olympics (I'm realizing we may not get to them before the Olympics even start), but that's OK and part of the beauty of homeschooling.
 Our schedule is so incredibly flexible that I don't have to stress out about it.  As long as the kids are happy with what we're doing and what we're learning then everything it just fine.  Part of the reason why I homeschool year round is so that we can give into these fits and spurts of learning, I don't have to worry about down time when we're schooling fairly regularly throughout the year.  Sure, I feel bad that the older boys haven't done their timed math facts in a few days and I hate it that Evan hasn't read to anyone in as many days but we'll pick up next week where we left off and everyone will be that much more gung ho to start again. 

I did have a lot of ideas of projects and things that the boys could have done without me these past few days (I just decided at the last minute to give them free reign of the days instead).  If you homeschool and flounder over what to do when you're feeling under the weather try a few of these ideas:

1.  review sheets-- any kind of worksheet that reviews past concepts learned would be great for them to work on independently while  under the weather.  In our case  Evan's would include anything with adding dice, dot to dots and alphabet letters.  For the older boys that would include their cursive books, math sheets on adding and subtracting (1, 2, or 3 digit numbers), multiplication facts up to the 6 times tables, etc.  It's a great, easy, way for them to work on writing and math skills on their own. 

2.  "Playing" with school supplies-- My boys love when I pull out our pattern blocks, fraction tiles, mini scales, magnifying glasses and other "school" supplies.  When I don't give them a guideline for using these tools they find new uses for them and relate to them in ways that are uniquely their own.  Learning is happening on it's own and they're working on math and science concepts.

3.  Watching movies or TV shows-- educational ones like Magic School Bus, Mythbusters, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Liberty's Kids, Drive Thru History, etc. are great for those days when I'm not up to teaching and we could have used them on a day like today.  If you have a really good internet connection there are tons of free sites to listen to kids books being read aloud, full length episodes of many of the kids shows are available too (I know I have a lot of them on my Pinterest boards but I can't think of any off the top of my head-- sorry!)

4.  Allowing video games-- again educational ones like Stack the States, Chess, Word Monkey, etc.   I have a whole 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of paper with all the educational computer, Kindle, and DS games listed that they are allowed to play during the school day.  I could have enforced that rule today to ensure that they were continuing to learn.  We have tons of games that build math and reading skills as well as games like Stack the States or the Oregon trail that work on social studies, history and geography too. 

5.  Puzzles-- a great way to get kids problem solving and using their brain when you're under the weather!  We have everything from simple kids wooden puzzles to more complex adult- like jigsaw puzzles.  If I asked them they'd happily pull some from the shelf and get to work.

6.  Board Games or card games-- there are a few that they could play on their own but I'm not feeling so miserable I couldn't participate in a few QUIET board games. They enjoy playing memory, war and flip 10 and could play on their own.  We enjoy the Scrambled States of America Game, Sorry sliders, Yahtzee, etc.

Playing Flip 10 using Uno cards
7.  Lego Sets-- They love their Lego sets and I'm sure if I made them turn off the TV and other assorted screens today that they'd end up turning to their Lego sets and they'd be building away.

8.  Blocks/ Toys-- we have lots of creative toys that the boys could play quietly on their own or together.  My boys are particularly found of Structure, Jovo, and Clicks blocks, Gears-- we have a huge variety of toys that encourage free building, problem solving and various hands on math concepts. 

9.  Simple Art projects-- My boys are old enough that they can clean up after themselves when playing with very simple art supplies-- they could use their color by number books or hidden animal books with their markers, they could pull out the play- doh bin and assorted toys to go with it, they could work with watercolors, brushes and paper, they could draw, sculpt, mold and color. 

10.  Read independently-- my older boys could read to themselves or read stories out loud to their younger brother for reading practice.  They probably wouldn't willing choose to read independently but if I asked them to please practice on their own they would.



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