One of the cons of homeschooling is that when there is sickness in the family, particularly long-term or chronic illness, it can be difficult to keep school on track for everyone else. Of course, there is much to be learned through such life experiences, but it can still be stressful knowing that academics are taking a back seat.
It’s nice when other homeschooling families can come alongside and help in practical ways. Try these ways to help a sick homeschooling family if you know of one who is experiencing sickness or a hospital stay.
1. Take them a meal. When your kids are sick, getting a meal on the table can be even trickier than usual. When you’re sick, it probably means too much take-out. And, if you’re at the hospital with a sick child or spouse, it almost always means take-out or, even worse, cafeteria food. A home-cooked meal probably tops the list of deeply appreciated practical help ideas for a sick homeschooling family.
2. Help with carpooling. For a sick homeschool parent or one who is spending a lot of time at the hospital with a family member, getting everyone else where they need to be can be difficult, if not impossible. An offer to help chauffer kids around can be a lifesaver.
3. Help with school lessons. It can be much easier for one homeschooling family to fold in a few more kids than it can be for a non-homeschooling relative to try to help keep the daily homeschool schedule going. Even if the other family’s kids don’t use the same materials, a family accustomed to the daily routine of homeschooling may be better equipped to make the adjustments than anyone else. You could even give everyone a break from their regular schoolwork in favor of a fun unit study to get everyone involved.
4. Invite the kids on field trips and play dates. We once had some friends who needed to spend a great deal of time in the hospital with a sick child. We picked their other child up for a day at the local children’s museum. He had a blast and the mom was so thankful that he was able to get out and have some fun while she spent some one-on-one time with her sick child.
5. Help with childcare. Even if you can’t help with school or a fun outing, an offer to keep the kids while a sick homeschool parent rests, makes a hospital visit, or even runs some errands will be greatly appreciated.
6. Rally your support group. Sometimes a group can rally together to do something that a single family couldn’t do. Enlist your homeschool group’s help to do meal rotations for a week or two, stock the freezer with meals, or purchase gas cards and gift cards to local restaurants to help during an illness.
7. Help with household chores. Okay, don’t do this if the family has the stomach flu or something equally horrible and contagious, but heading over to the sick family’s house to do a couple loads of laundry, run the vacuum cleaner, or wash some dishes may endear you to your homeschool friend forever.
8. Offer to run errands. Help a sick homeschooling family by returning their library books, picking up stamps, or running to the grocery store.
9. Paperwork. If your state requires filing paperwork for homeschooling, it can be very helpful to offer to do as much of that as you can for a homeschooling family who’s experiencing sickness.
10. Pack a bag. If your friend or her family member’s illness requires long days at the hospital or doctor’s office, pack a travel bag for her. Fill it with snack foods, magazines, pens or pencils, quarters for the vending machine, activity books (word searches, crosswords, or Sudoku), a grown-up coloring book (I love those things!), and some crayons or colored pencils.
Sometimes it’s the simplest gestures that have the biggest impact. If you have a homeschooling friend experiencing extended or chronic illness, try one of these ideas to relieve some stress and offer practical help.
Have you experienced extended illness or a hospital stay while homeschooling? What would you add to this list?
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