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Sick days

The warmest room in our house is the southeast facing master bedroom. In the morning the rising sun streams through its windows and wakes us gently with a rosy orange light. Many a morning I lay in bed, basking in that benevolent glow and gathering my thoughts for the day, charging up my reserves of patience and well being. Even later, after the sun follows its daily path to the other side of the house and the light in the room becomes softer and more diffuse, the warmth there remains.

In the summer, when the air in the house is hot and stagnant and the dogs are positioning themselves wherever they can find a cool breeze, we draw our shades and wish for cloudy days and big drops of rain. In the summer we use adjectives like airy and billowing. In the summer we spend as much time as possible outside in the yard or out back on the deck. The winter, of course, is different. In the winter, especially this winter of the bitterly cold polar vortex, we throw our shades open to welcome in all the warmth the sun can muster and go in search of adjectives like cozy and enveloping. In the winter, our favorite place to be is the warmest room in the house and we spend as much time as possible wrapped in the cocoon of the bedroom.

I have been asked many times this year what we, as homeschoolers, do on snow days. It’s a valid question, usually sparked by nothing more sinister than the curiosity of parents who have struggled to entertain kids kept home from school day after day thanks to this winter’s wild weather. My answer is usually a slightly self deprecating “I think we’ve actually ‘gone to school’ more than the contemporary schoolers this year!” We don’t take days off due to snow fall or polar temperatures. On the coldest days, though, we have been known to pack our whole operation off to the warmth of the bedroom where we set up camp on the cozy bed, warming our bodies with sunlight and our minds with contemplation.

This is also where we spend sick days. Even though contagion is not an issue for our little school of two, when runny noses and nagging headaches come calling we remove ourselves again to the bedroom, that satellite classroom of our homsechool campus. There we spend our under-the-weather days reading, coloring, and playing games that keep us from suffering mental stagnation without taxing our diminished ability to focus.

These are our homeschool sick days, and, excepting the headaches and congestion, I'm rather fond of them with their slowed pace and air of indulgence.

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