You know, one of the best things about homeschooling is the ability to make your own schedule, but honestly, there are a couple aspects of that idea that seem to get left behind when we talk about it.
We've had a really rough month for school. For health, really, but for school as well. I had originally planned to have school through October and the bulk of November, with a break for the week around Halloween - after all, who needs to try to have school while your first grader is hopped up on enough candy to give him diabetes within a week, right?
But, naturally, life happened. Mad Natter got sick. And not a little sick, either. Just after starting hockey, he came down with a cough. And then it got worse. Then, he was up all night coughing, not sleeping, he was dragging and miserable. He spent two weeks on inhalers, trying to convince his lungs they really were intended for breathing air, and not snot. We certainly weren't doing school during this time - could you imagine being sick as a dog and having to go to school anyway? Trying to learn, even when your body's sluggish, and your mind can't hold a train of thought? Exactly. And so, I was thankful for homeschooling. It gave me the freedom to keep him home, to not have to worry about calling him in sick, or about having to send a doctor's note with him when he felt better - and felt really better, not just better-enough-to-go-back. Unfortunately, that piggybacked with our planned time off for Halloween, but really, it's not like I'm worried about him falling behind in any way. So, I got our things together, geared up for the following week's school days... and then started coughing.
I got what he had, only worse. Within a week, I was unable to breathe properly - both due to injury from coughing, and from my lungs rapidly filling with who-knows-what. I sounded, frequently, like my tea kettle as it boiled - a bubbling, rattling sound whenever I breathed. I taught two days of school anyway. No, I neither recommend it, nor know what got into me. After that, school was cancelled once again. I didn't have to worry about getting up early to get Mad Natter around the block to the school, I didn't have to worry about how many people I was making sick as I dragged my kiddo out of the house and picked him up again. I didn't have to worry about making sure I timed my rest around the school calendar, or being late for drop off or pick up, or having to make lunch for the next day.
Now, granted, we're not as far along as I'd like in a few things, but truthfully, I'm going to tell you straight. I value our health a lot more than I value pages done in a textbook. And teaching Mad Natter that it is important to take care of himself, no matter what, is important as well. I don't want him to be like me in this respect - where he would go to work no matter what, because he owes his boss/company that time, even if he's sitting on the edge of pneumonia. Once again, it's easy to reschedule a couple days worth of lessons and school days. Teaching him that his health is more important than any job, though? That's a lesson that has to be shown, and not told, and I like to think that homeschooling gives me the freedom to do exactly that - and without the stress of others second guessing whether or not any of us are "really" sick enough.