What to do about snow days and sick days are big questions in the homeschool world. As in, do you take them? This week we were faced with both. Monday brought an ice storm to the area, followed by an overly hyped snowstorm on Tuesday. Then Friday saw both John and me with the beginnings of head colds.
So, how to balance out the needs of doing school with the excitement of the first snow of the year (even if it did end up being a bit of a dud storm). Especially since all the public schools were out for two days. And how to overcome my own desire to just crawl into bed and nap with the need to actually teach my children.
One of the best things about homeschooling is being able to be flexible. However, one thing I’ve learned as we’ve done this longer is that there will always be something that can be a distraction from schooling. A snow day. A visit from an out of town friend. An unusually warm day in the middle of winter. A cold. Not to mention field trips and outside lessons and regularly “scheduled” breaks and vacations. Flexibility is good but so is consistency. And the work needs to get done eventually.
There is no formula for determining when to take off and how much time. It will be different for a family with a first grader and one with high schoolers. Different families have different goals and different needs. I do think though that homeschoolers need to take care not to fall into the all to easy pattern of taking off just because they can.
In the end, the kids were able to get a good amount of work done on Tuesday and still have five hours to play outside in the snow with a good friend. They built a snow fort and had a snowball fight. They drank hot chocolate. And they also did math.
On the sick day, I found it was all about perspective. Neither of us was really ill. We just had stuffy heads and felt kind of blah. John was obviously dragging early in the day. So I told him we’d have a sick day. “What does that mean?” he asked. I said we’d just do what we could but not worry too much if we didn’t get it all done. He almost immediately perked up and in the end we got about as much done as we usually would. Turns out, just the possibility of flexibility was enough for him.