Sick Days for Home Educators!!

Right now you’re healthy, you’re excited, you’re energized… Motivation is at an all-time HIGH.  But let’s be realistic… there are times when we don’t feel up for homeschooling.  It might be because of a seasonal cold. It might be because we have a series of errands/appointments that fill up the morning. It might be because we’re downright *tired*!!

So what do you do when you feel it coming on? When you know it is going to be a *rough* week? You’re sick or tired or both!

We don’t have a substitute, but you can plan ahead and have some go-to activities that don’t involve you!


So, our Back to Homeschool Challenge for Day 6 is to Plan for (at least) TWO sick Days.

Spend some time in the next day or so planning for some sick days with something unique and engaging for the kids to do.

I’m not talking about planning a field trip; I’m talking about a day where you can stay in your pajamas and keep the kids learning and engaged but (mostly) without you.

Perhaps it will be an educational movie and a STEM activity. This post has 7 Fun STEM Activities for Kids that you could keep in your back pocket for your sick day!

Engineering-Challenge-for-Kids Perhaps combine engineering and art by having them design and build a bridge that is at least two feet long and sturdy enough to hold a large can of tomatoes.

Or, have them do the “egg drop” challenge — design a egg parachute out of materials around the house.

P1160588parachutesOr here’s a whole set of egg-periments in this free packet:


Have a portfolio project ready for them to go (here are examples of the portfolio projects I had the kids do a while back – one is on animals where they had to build a diaorama/habitat, write a short story and other things…. One is on World War II).  These portfolio projects can combine art projects, various writing assignments – story, poem, editorial, letter, diary entry and so forth, and perhaps, a video… on a topic that excites your kids.(Warning – I find that our Portfolio Projects last for 5 to 10 school-days; not a bad thing, but my kids always delve way into the project.)


  • This is the WWII Portfolio Project (free printable)
  • Or you can glance at these two examples and put something together on a theme you know your kids will *REALLY* get into!!

Or perhaps it’s a small packet of math riddles and critical thinking activities followed by a store-bought science kit.

MathCircles-CriticalThinkingActivitiesPerhaps you want to bookmark some educational you-tube videos for a unit you are studying.

The sky’s the limit, but try to brainstorm and have a couple of activities that you can pull out of your back-pocket that keeps the kids engaged and lets you have some precious and time off when it’s needed.

If you’re racking your brains here are a couple of suggestions. When we did our Civil Rights Unit a few years ago we watched a number of movies that the kids really enjoyed (and learned from). Any of these would be great to have on the shelf for a day when you need something engaging, yet educational.:

We watched Disney’s Ruby Bridges (affiliate link) about the little girl who helped integrate her school during her first grade year.

RubyWe also enjoyed the movie, Selma Lord Selma. (affiliate link)

SelmaLast year, I purchased a collection of movies that we watched on the way to LD’s allergy shots (it takes a half-hour each way so we watched these over the course of  the semester).  4-Movies With Soul: Honeydripper / Night John / Sophie and the MoonHanger / Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad (affiliate link) and this would be a fabulous collection to have on hand for elementary students.  We especially loved Race to Freedom, The Underground Railroad.

Race-to-FreedomA couple of other fun educational movies to have on hand are Magic School Bus (affiliate link) (for the younger crowd)… Check on Netflix too.

Magic School BusAnd Liberty Kids (affiliate link) – set during the American Revolution


Maybe you want to stock up on a half-dozen new children’s books for those sick days.  Here are links to some great kids books from a couple of our units:

So, now that you know some of the topics you’re going to study… plan for two days where you can just get the ball rolling without you.

Remember to WRITE THESE IDEAS DOWN! When you’re not feeling well you need a sheet of paper that reminds you exactly what to do.  Remember how exhausted you feel when your head is stuffy and you haven’t slept well in days.  Have a special tub of materials AND written instructions for yourself and for your kids!

Here are links to some of the other posts in our Back to Homeschool Challenge Series:

  • Our first challenge was just to spend a few minutes reflecting on the journey we’re on and being grateful for the opportunities we have as homeschoolers



Are you getting ready for the new Homeschool Year?  These posts might be helpful:

Free Homeschool Planner

Homeschool Planning for Next Year (Free Planning Pages): Homeschool Vision Planner

I shared these free Homeschool Planning Pages that I use as I try to figure out our long-range homeschooling goals.  This post shares share the process I go through as I plan out the next year… I shared the planning pages that I’ve been using the past few years. I like having colorful planning pages to work on. This isn’t really a weekly/monthly planner, but rather a homeschool vision planner. This 30+-page pdf is currently FREE to download! Let me know if it’s helpful! ~Liesl

Free Homeschool Planning Pages (Homeschool Vision Planner)

Free Homeschool Planner

You might also be interested in these FREE Homeschool Curriculum Resource Guides:

If you are looking for more practical homeschooling tips, you might be interested in our Homeschool Planning Series with tips on Creating Your Homeschool Curriculum. We have three (of four) free resource guides available for K-1, Grades 2-3 and Grades 4-5. (The Grade 6-8 Resource Guide is mostly finished. I hope to share that early this next Fall 2017.)


Creating a Homeschool Curriculum: Kindergarten, Grade 1  This FREE 50-page Resource Guide has been created to answer some basic questions: What subjects should I cover? Where do I start? How do I know what to teach.  It offers topics, units and hands-on activity ideas that might appeal to your kids.


Creating a Homeschool Curriculum Grades 2-3  FREE 30-page Resource Guide
This guide is a starting point for choosing the material you might want to cover in your homeschool. What subjects, units and topics should you cover in Grades 2 and 3?  Where do I start?  This resource guide will offer suggestions on what topics and hands-on activities might be engaging for your kids at this age.

creating-a-homeschool-curriculum-grades-2-3-free-resource-guideCreating Your Homeschool Curriculum – Grade 4-5 FREE Resource Guide

Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum Grade 4 - 5

As many of you know, we started a Homeschool Den Chat FB group last January.We take a summer break, but  so I’m not posting at we’ll resume regular posting toward the end of August. This is a closed FB group to share what’s working (and what’s not) in your homeschool. It’s a place to talk about the ups and downs of homeschool life.

• Share what’s working in your homeschool.
• Get inspiration from others!
• Talk about homeschool strategies that work.
• Learn from one another.

Find out more about the Homeschool Den Chat Group here.

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

I’ve chosen not to use pop-up boxes at this point, but you can click here to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! Newsletters will resume in the Fall.

SubscribeHappy Homeschooling! ~Liesl


Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

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