All of my teens have had advanced Red Cross training. It's about time to re-certify and it occurred to me that having Red Cross training is good for any teen, especially if they have younger siblings and it counts towards their P.E. credit. For that matter an Emergency Home Schedule also wouldn't be a bad idea for any home school family.
My 3 year old and my 2 year old were born with a form of Fatty Acid Oxidation disorder. Our home school schedule is now occasionally interrupted by hospital stays or prolonged sick days. At first if we were in the hospital with one of the little ones it would be an automatic day-off for the rest of the children.
I thought the extra free time and getting to watch movies would make the days go faster for the kids at home- a treat to compensate for the stress everyone felt each time the babies were sick.
However, last year we had over 8 hospitalizations. The problem wasn't so much that we were getting behind in school work, the problem was that the lack of routine during stressful times was taking it's toll on behavior and coping skills.
I didn't even see it happening- my attention was brought to the matter by my 17 and 15 year old. My two oldest actually came to me and requested some sort of schedule on hospital days because their younger siblings needed more structure.
Keep in mind on hospital days- generally I'm at the hospital and my husband will work from home. It's not as if we push the other children out into the streets to fend for themselves- but I'm not at home and I'm pretty much our home's cruise director.
So, I complied with my older children's request and we made up an Emergency Home Schedule that is kept posted on the fridge. Blessedly we've not had a hospitalization for 10 months now- but we use the schedule when I'm with the little's at lengthy doctor's appointments or when they are ill at home and I have to sleep for part of the day to make up for being up all night.
Basically our emergency schedule gives "bones" to the day- as well as a treat for the end of the day. In my schedule I have in writing (helps prevent arguments) who does which chores, and an order to both school work, chores, and relaxation.
On nights when I've warned the older children that by morning the 3 year old will probably have to be in the hospital I've watched as they quietly check the schedule and mentally get their thoughts in gear- with no prodding from me.
I don't know how I would schedule things if I didn't have teens in the house. I do know that if we had to depend on someone other than family I would still have a schedule to give to the substitute caregiver. Having an emergency schedule has made a huge difference emotionally as well as physically for the entire family.