Homeschooling Through Sickness

As many of you now know, we are expecting our fifth this summer.  Yay! 🙂 As amazingly lovely as babies are, pregnancy can be just as strongly terrible for me.  At least in the beginning…and then again a little at the end.  :/  Besides being a physical battle for me to remain upright (I’ll spare you the gory details), it is also often a mental battle for me to remain “in the game.”   Feeling sick and being sick makes me want to give up.  Especially when it’s all day every day for weeks and weeks.  Okay, but enough, about the hardship.  My sickness only comes for about 15 weeks every couple of years when I’m pregnant.  I know there are some wonderfully strong women out there homeschooling and parenting through months upon months and years upon years of sickness or pain.  Believe you me, I have put this in perspective for myself.  But, today, I’m going to share with you how I homeschooled through these hard weeks.  Maybe it will help you today or someday.

Pushing myself just enough to do this was good, because 1) we stayed on schedule (the one I penciled out at the beginning of our school year), 2) we still enjoyed learning together, and 3) it kept me somewhat mentally checked in when in my weakness I just wanted to despair.  I am definitely a type-A person and feeling like I accomplished a little something each day helped me.

Keeping in mind the obvious things, like eat right (at least as much as you can), rest often, and sleep much, I’m going to tell you specific things I did which helped with homeschooling:

#1: Gave myself a break.  I focused almost exclusively on the essentials: reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Extras were completely gone.  Extra CC review was almost non-existent.  And, while it pained me, it was okay.  I knew I was in (what I affectionately call) “survival mode.” 

#2: Taught from the comfort of the couch, usually in pjs, with a blanket and heating pad at the ready.  Thankfully our family room is connected to our school room, so my littles could sit at the table while I sat on the nearby couch.  With a little sitting beside me, I used a small chalkboard on my lap to teach new math concepts.  They would bring me their work to check and we’d go over any missteps.  

#3: Made ridiculous requests of my children.  When it already felt like the room was spinning, having actually spinning/dancing/jigging/bouncing children in the room made things worse.  So, my children learned to speak quietly and move slowly when in the room with me.  In the basement, they could let it all hang out.  It created a pretty funny habit (which has remained) of them slowing down their dance moves when in the room with me.  🙂 

#4: Gave more responsibility to my children.  Besides asking them to bring me things on the regular (like pens, lesson books, etc), I also asked my oldest to read to and tuck in my youngest two at nap time.  My second oldest would join in to read with them and it resulted in some very sweet times of giggles and snuggles for them each afternoon.  

#5: Relied on the habits we’ve been practicing.  Because we have a pretty regular routine here at home, I was able to rely on my guys to keep up what they’ve been practicing.  There was plenty of reminding, but each morning they would straighten their rooms, brush their teeth, take their vitamins and get dressed.  After each meal, they would clean up the kitchen and dining area.  For school, they know the order of each subject we complete and they can access all the materials they need.  Often my bigger guys would help my little girl.  Things were not done to the same standard as when mommy is nearby and watchful, but they were definitely good enough and better than if none of these habits had been formed ahead of time.

It would be wrong for me to neglect mentioning that during these hard weeks, my amazing husband, with help from my selfless mom and mother-in-law, was quite literally doing everything else. Like I said, the one thing I accomplished each day.  🙂 It also helped that winter break was a few of these weeks and we simply took some time off.  How about you? Gone through a prolonged period of sickness or morning sickness during homeschooling? I’d love to hear what worked for you! 


  1. says

    The year I had thyroid cancer (and the subsequent treatment and regulation of my body to the medication that followed) was the year my oldest hit kindergarten. To this day, I’m not sure how we functioned through those months, but he learned how to read using the ordinary parent’s guide to teaching reading, he learned math from daily life, and we practiced handwriting with a workbook. I really don’t remember much from those months, but God brought us through and my oldest learned. (and somehow I managed to care for the 3 other younger ones as well). I definitely learned that it’s ok to rely on others, that those young years are full of learning through life, and that we were glad we chose to homeschool – even in the tough times.

    • says

      the kind of heroics you displayed can only be described through divine strength! as always, thank you for sharing! you are always an encouragement to me, becki, and i’m sure to others! isn’t it marvelous how God provides and reassures us even during hard times? thank you, thank you for sharing!

  2. says

    Awhhh…..congrats! Thank you for this post. We have four little ones too and I know if The Lord blesses us with a fifth that this will come in handy! Proud of you for staying consistent despite how you felt… me hope!

    • says

      thank you, hailey! i think i’m definitely more wimp than strong when i feel badly, so this was a stretch. i’m sure you could do it! 🙂

  3. says

    Congrats! It is a great eye opener when we put out kids to the test per say and they show up and show great character and love. God will bless you as you continue on in your mothering and nurturing of all the littles. We have 6 three I homeschool, 1 baby, and 2 foster kids in public school. Some days we just make it and others, well we don’t talk about those days (just kidding). Keep the course and know you are giving your kids so much more at home.

  4. says

    We’re expecting our fifth this summer too…and homeschooling and doing CC too. It has been such a ride since I started getting sick around Thanksgiving! I had a great week last week and feeling a little back to icky these last few days. We’ve somehow been most productive these past few weeks than we were in the fall but these past few days have brought discouragement as I feel like I’m back to the sickness and I’m struggling to get my head in the game. I’m type A as well and when I struggle with getting motivated I get discouraged! I usually wake up ready to conquer the world and so it gets me down when I’m barely able to move and would rather just put the covers over my head! It will pass, right?!

    • says

      jen, i feel like i could’ve written your comment for you — ditto to it all!! well, except for maybe the part about waking up. 😉 i’m never very good at that. for a type A girl, i sure do love my sleep! i’m in my 17th week & keep thinking i should be feeling better by now. however, as a friend keeps reminding me, this is number 5 and i am older than before. 🙂 i’ll think of you and say a prayer when i’m feeling discouraged! (which pretty much happens at some point daily right now) 🙂


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