As many of you now know, we are expecting our fifth child 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 will spare you the gory details), it is also often a mental battle for me to remain “in the game.” Feeling sick and being sick make me want to give up, especially when it is all day every day for weeks and weeks.
Okay, enough about the hardship. My sickness only comes for about fifteen weeks every couple of years when I am pregnant. I know there are some wonderfully strong women out there who are 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. However, today, I am 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 the schedule 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 as though I accomplished a little something each day helped me.
Keeping in mind the obvious things, such as eating right (at least, as much as you can), resting often, and sleeping much, I am 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 Classical Conversation 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 close at hand. Thankfully, our family room is connected to our school room, so my children could sit at the table while I sat on the nearby couch. With a child 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 would go over any missteps.
#3: Made ridiculous requests of my children. When it already felt like the room was spinning, having children in the room who were actually spinning, dancing, jigging, and bouncing 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 regularly (like pens, lesson books, and so on), I also asked my oldest child 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 have 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 have 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. It also helped that winter break occurred during a few of these weeks and we simply took some time off.
How about you? Have you gone through a prolonged period of sickness or morning sickness during homeschooling?