We’re heading into that time of year when colds are rampant and the flu is a frequent guest. For publicly schooled children, this usually means missing a day of education, but in the homeschool household, you can still proceed with your lesson plans. Of course, if your child is very ill, you’ll just tuck them into bed and let them rest, but if their symptoms are mild, there are plenty of things you can do, not only to entertain them, but to teach them as well.
1. Do they feel up to reading? Find them some interesting books to read. Either read to them or have them read on their own, and then ask them questions about the content matter. The book doesn’t have to be “educational,” so to speak, but you can find moral lessons or logic questions to be answered in nearly every story.
2. You can put in an educational video or DVD. Netflix and Blockbuster both have a great assortment of educational films available, as does your local library. Some of our favorites are “School House Rock,” “The Magic School Bus,” and “Word World.” Older children will enjoy “Liberty’s Kids.”
3. Some children would be interested to know more about the illness they have and what is being done to fight it. You can go on the Internet and research the illness, as well as the body’s natural defenses against it. Encourage your child to draw pictures of the germs attacking their body, and of their white blood cells, fighting off the germs.
4. You can also use this situation to teach basic first aid and nursing skills to your other children. Tell them things they can do to help their sick brother or sister feel better. If they are fetching a cool cloth, explain what a fever is, and how a cold cloth can help keep the fever down. Also discuss the need to wash their hands frequently to keep the illness from spreading.
Being sick is miserable; that’s no secret. But with a little creative thinking, you can turn it into a great educational opportunity for your children, and one that will teach them empathy, as well.