We all have those days sometimes; a child gets sick, a pet emergency happens, or you just need a mental health day. And honestly, it’s going to happen this school year too. That’s why you need a back-up plan.
Keep these five ideas in mind for days when your regular homeschool routine goes out the window. Learning can still happen – it just looks different from what you had planned.
Your Homeschool Back-Up Plan
When you’re struggling with a homeschooling work-from-home sick day or even just a day when nothing seems to go as planned, it’s all too easy to get frustrated. That’s why it’s important to plan for these days.
Just because “life happens” doesn’t mean the school day has to be a total waste. Plenty of learning can still take place; it will just look different than your usual well-planned daily homeschool routine.
(Note: don’t forget that the best defense is a good offense. What do I mean by this? Do everything in your power to avoid preventable disruptions to your homeschool routine. For example, follow a simple self-care routine for you as a mom.
Plan ahead with easy freezer meals and healthy meal plans to keep your children healthy. And if you are a work-from-home homeschool mom, set boundaries with your work and homeschool times to avoid overwhelm and overwork.
#1. Netflix or Amazon Prime for Homeschool
There are plenty of educational shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Get your kids cuddled up to watch a few science or history documentaries such as Wild Kratts or The Magic School Bus. You might even be able to find a movie set in a time period your family has been studying in history.
#2 Use a Unit Study
Use a unit study as part of your homeschool back-up plan.
This is a great way to keep your kids occupied and switch things up if you aren’t feeling well – or if you’re unavailable and someone else is watching the kids.
Either put together a unit study that could be done in a day or over the course of a week.
Gather the books and make a list of websites, hands-on activities and/or videos to includes. Put everything needed to complete the unit in a bag or container. Then when something comes up, your children can dive into a unit study together.
If you’re not familiar with creating unit studies or don’t have time to prepare one, here are a few links to check out:
- Free Printables and Unit Studies About Famous Explorers
- Free Printables and Unit Studies About Giraffes
- Printables and Unit Studies About Horses
- Free Printables and Unit Studies About Electricity
- Free Geography Unit Studies
With so many free unit study resources available online, having a few as part of your back-up0 plan makes sense!
#3 Stick to Homeschool Basics
We have certain subjects that we call “The Basics.” In our home, that means Bible study, math, and independent reading.
When life gets overwhelming because of illness or other circumstances, focus on the basics. What would your family consider the basics? Stick with those until things get “back to normal” and you can introduce the “extras” once again.
#3. Independent Learning
Children are so unique. Of our seven children, each has varied interests and talents.
So why not take the opportunity to let them explore their passions? Let your children research and study a topic that interests them. They might even be able to find a one-time class on Outschool to participate in.
Sometimes the best back-up plan is to simply let your children create.
If everyone is feeling under the weather, it might be a great day to spend building with LEGO, or making crafts. Crack open a new package of play-dough or modeling clay.
#5. Read for Pleasure
In today’s screen-heavy electronic world, fewer children spend time reading print books.
So why not encourage reading for pleasure as part of your homeschool back-up plan?
Keep it really simple. Let everyone grab a good book and curl up to read for a good part of the day. If you’re feeling well, you could read aloud to everyone, or if you have a sore throat listen to an audiobook as a family.
Don’t Worry About It, Mama!
One of the blessings of homeschooling is flexibility. So you missed a “homeschool day.” You’ll catch up – but keep in mind that you are the one who sets the goals and schedules.
Maybe you’ll choose to double up on school work to catch up, for a couple of days, or assign work on the weekend. Or maybe you’ll recognize that your family needs a break, and choose to extend your school year by a few weeks instead. It’s entirely up to you.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can develop a back-up plan, so you’ll be prepared for the next time “life happens.”
Sarita Harbour is a busy mom/step-mom, and grandmother blessed with seven kids ranging from age 32 down to seven. She lives off the grid with her family in a lakefront chalet in the beautiful wilderness of Canada’s far north. She spends her days teaching, writing, and learning the ropes of homesteading off the grid. Visit her site, Off Grid Life, for free printables and resources on homesteading, homeschooling, and self-reliance for the whole family.