11 Simple Ideas for Homeschooling when Mom is Sick

Homeschooling sick

Homeschooling when mom is sick is possible! How do you homeschool when mom is sick? You need a plan.

Thankfully this doesn’t happen very often at our house. But last week was one of those weeks.  What started as a sore throat, turned into a full blown cold or respiratory flu.

I was out of energy, totally drained! My whole body felt awful.

So what should you do when mom is sick?

First, give yourself some grace (definitely a homeschool benefit). There will be times you are just not up to teaching.  If you need to rest, rest! I know this is easier said than done, because you begin questioning yourself. “What will your children do all day? Will they fall behind?”

Second, don’t panic! I repeat, “Don’t panic.” Even public school teachers miss a day or two of school when they are sick. It’s super inconvenient for them to be gone, as they must plan lessons for a substitute and then check to see if those plans were followed.  I was a substitute teacher for several years, so I can tell you things don’t go as planned.


Table of Contents

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Pancakes cooking in pan.

Keep all meals simple

If your children are old enough, put them in charge of feeding the younger ones. Today is not the day to worry about balanced meals.

Burnt Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Child writing the letter m in shaving cream on kitchen counter.

Shaving Cream

Spread shaving cream on the kitchen counter. Draw, practice letters and numbers, and drive cars through it.

Fort Building

Grab some extra bed sheets and let your children build their own indoor fort. Drape the sheets over chairs and add some comfy pillows & blankets. Play in the fort, read in the fort, snack in the fort. Maybe even take a nap in the fort (a mom under-the-weather can always hope for this).

Child cutting playdoh with cookie cutters.


You can make this in less than 10 minutes. Add some cookie cutters, small toys, and put them to work. Playdough keeps them busy and is a great way to strengthen little hands for writing and scissor work. My girls enjoy this recipe at Living Well Mom. It is super simple and turns out great!

Tip: Store it in the fridge in an airtight container. It will last a long time. We also add a little extract (vanilla, cinnamon, or pumpkin) to make it smell amazing.


Drop Everything and Read

Children can read on their own or to a younger sibling.  Audible books are also a great choice.

Bonus tip: Try this in the fort!

Child playing school

Play School

Children can take turns being the teacher. They will likely know what you usually do and can lead each other through daily tasks. Will they do everything? No, but they can do some.

Child using pattern blocks and pattern card.

Pattern Blocks & Puzzles

Get them out and enjoy.  Your children can do these independently. I also use these blocks and patterns for our homeschool co-op.

Child painting on art easel while mom is sick.


Pull out the supplies and let them be creative.

homeschool art
Children playing outside in the garden.

Outside Time

  If the weather is good and you can adequately supervise, send them outside. This is a great time to get out the bubbles, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, riding toys, and gardening tools. See more ideas outdoor ideas my teaching a gym co-op class.


My children even like to clean up after the dog with our special pooper scooper.

Child playing in the snow.
Ipad Pro for homeschool planning


On most days, we limit this. But if I’m sick, I let this go longer than usual. If you’re up to it, keep some of it educational.  If you’ve got the flu, just let it go. Starfall is a favorite for my littlest.

Colorful turtle made of magnet tiles. Another great idea for when mom is sick.

Call Grandma

  Save this for emergency days, when you absolutely need support. If Grandma isn’t an option, it’s good to have an emergency plan in place with a family member or friend. Even better if it’s a homeschooling friend!

PLanning Ahead Will Save the Day When Mom is Sick!

Plan ahead and have some of these ideas available.  Then homeschooling when mom is sick will not be a problem for you. If you’re sick today, do what you can. I hope you feel better soon! 

Have you tried any of these ideas? What is your plan for homeschooling when mom is sick?