So what do you do with your child if he ends up staying home for a few days from school due to an illness?  That was a question I found myself having to answer recently.

If you know my son Nicolas, he is not one to sit still and remain quiet.  There have been numerous times when he would literally run into a wall and “bounce” off it, and then attack our couch by jumping on it several times before landing on the floor, laughing hysterically and shouting to the whole world that he’s mightier than all the villains in the universe.

With only a small measure of patience, I would bark out several warnings, and then threaten to carry them out if he continued “popping” all over my furniture and walls.  Being absent from school for several days is a very long time to be homebound for a child who is usually bursting at the seams with such energy!

And so it happens that one day not very long ago, Nicolas became ill, and he wasn’t “popping” on the furniture or “bouncing” off the walls.   My poor little guy was burning up with a fever.   Fortunately, medication kept the temperature at bay, and one would think anyone with a fever would slow down a bit, but, apparently, that wasn’t the case.

Nicolas was active again (yikes!) and ready to conquer the world.  How kids do that, I will never know.  However, what transpired the next few days for the both of us was eye opening for me and absolutely fun for him.  I was determined to make our time together productive without the distractions of TV or computer games.

We began our time together with Nicolas’ schoolwork that his teacher sent home for him to do.  That wasn’t very exciting for him, so I decided to spruce things up a bit.

On the first day, we baked red velvet cupcakes and slathered cream cheese frosting on it. We sprinkled them with crushed chocolate crumbles and accented each with a slice of strawberry. He absolutely loved being mommy’s helper.  It was definitely a fun and yummy experience for him.

On the next day, my husband Eric built a model plane with him.

It was awesome to see them work together as a team.   That was the longest time I ever saw my son so quiet and focused on any one particular project or assignment.

On his last full day at home with me, we built a tent in our living room.   A large blanket hovered over a small space in the corner of the room, and our recliner, bookshelf and air hockey table were our “tent poles”.

My daughter joined us as we huddled inside the cozy tent.   We shared stories and created different kinds of shapes and animals with the shadows our hands and flashlights made.

The time I had with Nicolas was definitely well spent.  Although the activities themselves were not extraordinary, it was what was learned in the process that made it an unforgettable experience.   In the few short days I had with him, his pace in learning had undeniably quickened.

Math concepts that were difficult for him the last couple of months were mastered within 20 minutes of re-teaching them.   Making cupcakes was about learning to read and follow directions for baking.   It was learning to measure liquids and solids, understanding about volume and weight, and about appropriate oven temperatures to cook food thoroughly.   It was also about fractions, addition and subtraction when it came time to distribute the cupcakes.

Building a model airplane became an opportunity to teach and reinforce the importance of following directions to create an end product.

Aerodynamics of a plane was discussed, which encouraged Nicolas to create his own paper airplanes with various wingspans and shapes that made them fly properly.   He has since become interested in how rockets and space shuttles work in space.   We read and discussed books on amazing airplanes as we huddled inside our makeshift tent.

Developing a love for learning, exploring and creating at home is unbelievably beautiful and life giving.   It isn’t easy to work with my own children sometimes because of the required energy, patience and resources, but it was well worth it because my son mastered so much in such a short period of time.  He was so happy that I taught him.  He said, “I want YOU to teach me because I understand things better.”

Was he hinting at home schooling?  I had a taste of it, and I saw the myriad of benefits, both academic and relational.   Might there be a day when home schooling becomes a reality?   I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that the experience we had was undeniable and might inspire me to someday consider that option.  If that day comes, you will be sure that I’ll be blogging about it.

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