Keep Them Learning When You’re Sick

Keep them learning when you're sick

Dear Homeschooler,

AAAACHOOOOO! I’ve been sick this last week, but like most homeschooling parents, I don’t want learning opportunities to pass by just because I can’t continue on with a typical school day’s workload.

What adjustments can I make so that today’s not a throw-away day?


Independent Work

Put any and all work that is done independently in a pile or file box. Students can sit down and spend up to an hour quietly working on school work. Some work might include…

  • Handwriting or Copywork activities
  • Writing a rough draft for a short story
  • Math worksheets
  • Phonics worksheets
  • Independent Reading


Online Classwork and Educational Electronic Games and Apps

My son has some class work he does online, including math, French, and typing. He is fairly independent with it. Other educational games can be found online that can keep your student occupied and learning at the same time. Of course, there are tons of educational apps for tablets and phones.

Documentaries and Educational Shows

This is a great time to reinforce those history and science lessons with videos. Find videos on Netflix or YouTube on the topics you are learning. Younger students may watch Magic School Bus, Wild Kratts, or Chloe and the Nerve. My kids watch full documentaries on animals, biomes, and certain history programs. This week we watched a recreation of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen. Sometimes I just let my students watch, and sometimes they have to show what they’ve learned by writing 3 sentences or drawing 3 pictures.


Audio Books

Audio books are a sick parent’s best friend. The kids will get the benefits of being read aloud to and the ill parent gets a rest or an hour or two. This week I had checked out an audio book collection of Roald Dahl stories, which was perfect. If you don’t have the time to prepare (like any of us really can plan for sickness…), you can have instant access to electronic audiobooks through iTunes or Audiobooks. YouTube is a great source for free audiobooks. Need a suggestion? We love the animal books by Thornton Burgess.

While listening to the story, students can keep their hands busy by playing with play doh or Legos or coloring. Older students can do word searches, cross stitch, or knit. I made my second grader draw a comic of the story he was listening to.


Fun Box

Make a fun box with quiet activities that can be done with the smallest amount of ruckus and supervision. Activities may include the following:

  • Mazes
  • Dot-to-dots
  • Coloring books
  • Sensory items like squishy balls, textiles, etc.
  • Drawing books, such as Ed Emberley.
  • Activity books
  • Search and Find Books
  • Puzzles


Two Or More

If you have more than one student, then quiet interactions may be appropriate. Be sure to choose ones that can be played without much help or a referee. Some ideas may include…

  • Card games like Uno, Go Fish, etc.
  • Board games like Candyland, Monopoly, etc.
  • Older students can read books to younger ones.


Remember to take care of yourself. A healthy parent is a good teacher. You can get back to those textbooks tomorrow.

Till Next Time,



  1. Yes! The job of a homeschool mom never ends, even when we are sick. Thankfully mine are past the toddler, need to be watched at all times stage and can work more independently. Our go to is educational movies. I can curl up on the couch and snooze while they sit near me (but not too close) and get some learning in.

  2. I hope you’re feeling better! Thankfully I am rarely sick (of course, now I will be just because I said that LOL). When I am sick, though, Netflix has become one of my best friends. We can usually find something educational for the youngers to watch. The older ones are all fairly self-sufficient now, so they can just keep on trucking.

  3. Feel better soon! Always good to have some backup plans for when mom is under the weather.

  4. Hope you’re feeling better real soon.

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