We have spent the last couple of weeks feeling collectively poorly and miserable. We have had a string of bugs and viruses to fight off: having a larger-than-average family often means that we don’t seem to go very long between one of us being ill, especially at this time of year, and if one of us catches something that we all catch in turn, the period of illness can be quite prolonged!
I suppose that for parents of children in school, when mum is ill there is the advantage that it’s ‘just’ a question of summoning up enough strength to get the children to school and then the day is potentially free and easy to stay in the sick bed (assuming sick-leave from paid employment is an option)…. But to be honest I don’t know how ‘working mothers’ manage it.
I have seldom thought of home educating as an easy option (for many reasons!) and yet, as sorry as I have been tempted to feel for myself during my bout of ‘flu, I actually think that in this case I do have the easier time of it: apart from the postman delivering packages, there’s no real reason why I need to drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn (doubtless though, he thinks I’m a shocking layabout!) and, when things are really bad, there’s no reason for anyone to get out of their pyjamas before midday.
As to what our home education has looked like during these weeks, it’s certainly unlikely that we would be mistaken for a ‘home-school’. But has it been educational? It has been less formal even than this ‘un-schooler’ would have liked but, on balance, I think I can say ‘yes’. We haven’t missed a single day.
We can almost always manage some read-alouds: we’re currently enjoying L. Frank Baum’s original “The Wizard of Oz”
and Robert McCloskey’s “Blueberries for Sal”.
When Mummy has been at her worst and incapable of doing anything much more than lying on the sofa, croaking instructions (“shut that fridge door!”) the little ones have had fun learning to make their own breakfasts, and sandwiches at lunch (while I looked on, shaking my head about all the mess to clean up later!). Hours of imaginative play, and lego construction and so on – that I might normally veto or at least curtail in favour of more academic pursuits – were enjoyed at length. Not to mention all the running about that healthy Mummy would never normally allow!
I must admit as well that the TV (schools programmes and at least nominally educational videos mostly) got much more use than normal. During these few ‘sick’ weeks we became autonomous educators by default!
It was definitely a relief to finally get out of the house properly this week (playing in the garden just isn’t enough). I did wonder whether, given the choice, the children would prefer their home-ed experience with healthy mummy or sick mummy, but for my part, I’m so glad it’s over! (roll on summer…)
[Originally posted on my Multiply blog]