We all have days where it's just not happening, you're sick and tired, or just plain sick. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help stay the course. In each section of ideas, I'll be including a tried and true resource list that I hope helps you. (Please note that many suggestions can be used in multiple categories.)
1. You can't effectively help anyone if your heart, mind, and body aren't in the game. Pray and/or read a little from the Bible or another Catholic book. (My favorite is an old prayer book given to me by my mother in law.) Have a cup of tea or cocoa or hot beverage that helps ground you. Something to get the heart and head in the game. If needed ask for prayer from a trusted friend or even in a prayer group. Just don't dwell there. Get up and move. Make sure you are taking the supplements/medications you need, for example, I have anemia so I need extra iron, B12, and I take a multivitamin. If you feel overwhelmed, take a walk, get some physical activity and fresh air. Get those endorphins kicking. Take time to take care of yourself daily, mind, body, and soul even just a few minutes a day can help tremendously.
- The Catholic Study Bible - I found it on Amazon
- Mother Love A Manual for Christian Mothers - I have the 1951 version and it's among my most valued possessions
- Lives of the Saints Vol. I and II - loved this set when I still had it!
- A Catholic Woman's Book of Days - I used this one for years too
- Laudate - my favorite catholic app by far
- English Tea Store - where I got my favorite teapot, their tea is good too
- Chock full o' nuts - my favorite coffee hands down, order directly from them or find a local source
- Twinings - I love their Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Orange Pekoe
- Adam's Drugs - (local drug store)
- Walgreens - for my vitamins, iron, and B12
- My Fitness Pal - app that helps you keep track of your eating and exercise
- The Rosary Workout - YouTube channel I have used successfully before I had to stop
- Beachbody - I had my greatest success with the 21 Day Fix and Beachbody on Demand (I no have an account or coach but I do like the workouts and their products)
2. Find like-minded friends and a support system. Even one good solid homeschooling friend that you can count on is priceless. I found mine on Facebook, learned we lived fairly close, and we have been good friends since. Look for your Nan J. in the homeschooling co-ops near you or even on the social media groups that fit your family. The homeschool group lists range from freebies, large families, secular, special needs, to you name it. There's a group that will fit your family. Also, find a local co-op. I loved the co-ops we were members of here in AL and the Schuylkill Co. co-op in PA was fantastic. Get out and interact as much as possible, if there isn't one close by consider starting one. Meeting people in person is by far the best way to find support, scary as it is. Nothing beats a mom's night out or an emergency playdate at the park with moms that get it. It really doesn't matter where you start or where you find your support as long as you find a good one. Homeschooling, in some areas and even in some families is not a popular decision. You will need like-minded people to talk with on the bad days, the sick days, and especially the days you are bustin' to share a success that stands a good chance of being shot down or misunderstood by those that don't measure success the same way we do. Look for us. We are out there. We have been there. We get it.
- Google "homeschool co-op near me" or "homeschool support near me" it's how I found local groups in AL and PA
- Facebook - do a homeschool groups search, for specifics add things like ADHD, large family, single parent, etc. they are out there
- HSLDA resources - national, state, and local organizations
- Homeschool World - organizations and support groups
- The Homeschool Mom Local Support (just click on your state)
- Meetup.com (this is a great resource and loved the PA co-op I joined there)
3. Keep their books and supplies in a bookbag. That way no one is looking all over the house for supplies and their books are easily accessible. When lessons are on the computer, the laptop is on the coffee table where kiddos can sit on the floor to use it. I can't even begin to tell you how much sanity this step has saved me. On the really rough days (mom is sick but life goes on days) the laptop can be placed on the bed, nightstand, or dresser and everyone just piles in with pillows, stuffed animals, kleenex, Vicks, and hand sanitizer. The book bag also makes it easier to grab and go for those days you just want to get out of the house to get some air. Basic art supplies and a nature notebook are always on hand this way.
- Inexpensive bookbags at Wal-Mart
- check flea markets or local thrift stores for cheap bookbags
(our favorite basic art supplies and composition books)
- crayola watercolor paints for kids - basic watercolor pan
- inexpensive brushes we use
- crayola watercolor pencils - love these as an alternative to the pan
- Crayola color pencils (tin collection) - I love these have their own slim case.
- Inexpensive sketching pencils
- geometry set - we use these types of sets all the time
- vintage Crayola crayons - LOVE these! (I get these for me too, not just the kids)
- Primary Journal - hands down my favorite journal for early writers
- Mead half lined half blank wide-ruled composition book - for older kids
- Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool - we are using them this year and it's been awesome as a guide through the year
- Khan Academy - love this site for their online learning
4. Have a bookbag/tote bag for library books. (Older kids with their own library cards might want their own bookbag/tote.) This takes *some* of the panic of looking for misplaced books on their due date (let's face it there is always the one you can't find no matter what you do). On the days that you just want to crash on the couch with Netflix, tissues, and plenty of fluids it makes the fuss less of a headache when you just put the bag next to you so keeping up with who has what and where is that much less of a bother.
(tote bags/book bags)
(tote bags/book bags)
- tote bag for book lovers on Etsy - love this one!
- see the inexpensive bookbag link above
(find a library)
- Find a library near you - awesome site with links to find a local library
5. Easy slow cooker meals are good for these types of days. Just dump it all in and go crash on the couch. Soups are my personal favorite. You don't really need sides except for maybe some crackers with a good soup. Keep some in a thermos and some brat friendly snacks close by on the days when you are really sick. I learned it's easier on everyone when the person that's sick has what they need on hand. It also helps keep younger kids from worrying quite so much if they can see you have what you need. *brat stands for bread, rice, apple, toast and is what childhood sick days tasted like when I was growing up. There is a link on tip number 8 for more about it.)
- Bon appetit recipes when you're sick - bon appetit recipes
- 15 feel better soup recipes - Give me some Oven blog
- Honey Lemon Ginger Tea Recipe - I keep the ingredients on hand always, it's my most used recipe, when the kids are asleep I add a shot of whiskey, and when I'm feeling really bad I add cayenne
- AllRecipes slow cooker meals
- Slow Cooker Recipes - Simply Recipes
- Day 3 of Fly Lady's Rubber Chicken - don't freak out, it's the stock you want here, try to keep some in the freezer for days like this
6. Enlist kids the kiddos! (Try to make it fun, or at the very least play to their strengths.) One of my kids likes to clean, another likes to cook, one of my adult sons likes to make sure I have everything I need, and my oldest helps when he's here by keeping the little ones busy, bringing food, or by giving his brother a break. Valuable life lessons from basic teamwork to home economics to empathy are learned. Don't stress out, they will surprise you by how helpful they can be. Try to have things they'll need readily available and within reach. Be appreciative, even when they make mistakes. Try, try, try to remember they are trying their best to help you......and try not to dwell on what the house looks like. Let her give you her baby. Let him make the soup. Whatever. While they are working on school if the younger ones get stuck and you are not up to helping ask an older sibling to try. Sometimes though schooling can be The Magic Schoolbus or a documentary. If you can't you can't do *official* schooling it isn't the end of the world. They will have learned how to get through an illness and other life skills. Crawl into bed, order out if you need to and call it a day.
(recipes for kids)
(recipes for kids)
- Cooking With Kids: - Food Network
- tpogonat - YouTuber kiddo cooking show - no new content but has some good recipes kids can make
- Very Easy Recipes - YouTube channel
- Kids In The Kitchen - Jr. Leagues recipe list
- Chores 2-8 - printable from Your Modern Family
7. Use electronics. They are your friends right now. Documentaries are great! Educational games are all over the place. For the record, I include Minecraft here for problem-solving and creativity. It is Legos for the computer, but with zombies. Look up something they have found interesting then encourage them to go wherever it leads them (within reason). Use apps on phones, tablets, and even on computers. You can find things from guitar chords and singing lessons to advanced math and science. My kids love to use human anatomy and geography apps. For art, they can use things like Paint.Net or print out coloring pages. There is literally a world of information at their fingertips in this day and age. Just be smart about it.
- Documentaries on YouTube - there is questionable content but there are some gems
- Netflix - the kid's section is full of educational shows
- Documentaries online - free documentaries
- educational games online - Education.com has lots of games and a lot of other helpful things
- PBS kids - games
- EWTNKids - Catholic based site for kids (will need to sign up)
- Minecraft download - not free, but a great game for strategy and creativity
- Google Play Store - where I got all the apps the kids use
- Crayola coloring pages - free to print out with lots of educational options it has some for adults too
- Math Games - 1st - 6th-grade math
- Language Arts Games - elementary to adult refresher
(online books and reader apps)
- Paint.NET - free image and photo editing software I've used for years
- Calibre - my favorite free e-reader
- Free Kindle App - most of us probably know this one, but just in case
8. Talk to them. Look up the best ways to combat your illness or your need for a down day. Just be careful about looking up symptoms. This has been known to backfire. (How many are guilty of looking on the internet and thinking the worst.) One kiddo loved researching illnesses and wanted to be a doctor. He would look things up constantly. As a result, he learned quite a bit about health and nutrition. That helped him to bond with my mom, an RN, even when he was quite young.
9. These are great review days if you are up for it. Young brains won't be straining on a new concept. They can crowd around you on your bed, couch, or on the floor. Blanket forts where worksheets or online review can be made fun. This is a good time for them to do some acting for you. For example, CJ once acted out Whistler's Mother using my rocking chair and an old piece of lace after we visited the statue in Ashland PA a few days or so before. Darian once acted out Washington's crossing of the Delaware River with stuffed animals, and then there was the unforgettable day I felt like death on the couch and they acted out the Titanic tragedy falling dramatically into the icy waters below *cough * on the other half of the sectional * cough* All that's really required is maybe a quick video or documentary on the subject beforehand and letting them do their thing. The noise is reassurance they are alive and well, freeing you from the panic of the too quiet moment in a house full of young children. Just make sure you have lots of cushioning for the overly dramatic kiddo.
- Free Worksheets - PreK-12th grade at education.com
- School Express - create your own worksheets
- Teachers pay Teachers - a great source for worksheets and other educational printables
10. Don't beat yourself up! Some days are better than others and even public school teachers take sick and/or personal days. If you need to, take it. If you can call someone to come help or to take the kids for a little while, even better. If you can't find anyone, see the first sentence of this paragraph. My favorite remedy kids there or not is a hot bath Epsom salts, essential oils, and a warm washcloth over my eyes. Candles and soft music just make it better. The kids have a little free time and I concentrate on breathing in and breathing out for as long as I possibly can.
- Dr. Teals Epsom salts - when I'm sick I use the eucalyptus and spearmint (this site tells you where you can buy Dr. Teals products and how to use them)
- Where to Buy Essential Oils Online - great article from Savy Homemade Gifts and Crafts on where you can find them if you don't have a health food store near you
- Kudzu blossom scented candle - link to my favorite, but they have lots of candles to choose from
- Make your own bath salts - do these ahead of time to keep on hand
- Make you bath bombs - again do ahead and keep on hand
- DIY Linen Spray - helps to keep linen fresh smelling while you don't feel good
- Relaxing Gregorian Chant - over an hour on YouTube
- Noise Trade - excellent source of free music downloads of all kinds
Sick or just plain sick and tired. Take care of you mama bear. They will be fine.