Faking Sick — A Homeschooler’s Story

If you are or were homeschooled, you know how hard it is to get a “sick day” or–even tougher–a snow day. I was homeschooled 6 out of my 12 years of school. There were many things I loved about it and other things I, well, didn’t love about it. But that’s the nature of school and it’s the same way no matter where you’re sitting at a desk (home, public school, private school, etc.)

I was a little hellion growing up (forgive me, Mom) so naturally I faked sick here and there. Because it’s no fun spending the day in bed if you’re really sick. Then it’s miserable and lonely. But if you’re not sick you get to read and journal and have Mom bring you tomato soup in bed.

But here’s the thing. When you’re homeschooled in the same house as your three other hellion siblings, you really have to sell it. Perhaps you can fool Mom (who was probably never actually fooled), but you can bet your buttons you can’t fool you siblings.

They. Know.

If you get a sick day, they’re going to keep their beady little eyes on you. Watching for a slip. Waiting to catch you out on the trampoline or sneaking upstairs for a popsicle or holding your thermometer against the lightbulb (yes, I did this.) And if you have one teeny little slip, they’ll alert mom and you’ll never be trusted again. No more sick days for you.

This is a fact.

But even though we were at war with each other, we also used each other. Because if one sibling is sick…that must mean that sibling is…

[dramatic music]


Thus, when Big Sis decides to pretend to have a sore throat, Little Sis (Nadine) decided it must be catching and she also had a *cough* sore *cough* throat.

So, on a school day so long ago, when I knew Big Sis was faking…I faked, too. She glared at me, I glared at her. We both knew that if she ratted me out…she’d incriminate herself. Ah, sweet bliss.

Then Dad came home. He could see straight through my little facade. “Okay girls, get out of those PJs.”

“B…But D…Dad…” choke. cough. tear. “I’m….dying.”

“I know, sweetie. So we’re going to the doctor.”


No begging or pleading or telling him that I’d just “wait it out” would deter him. It didn’t help that conniving Big Sis just obeyed. “Okay, Daddy.” Man…she was good.

Off we went to the doc. I knew that, hidden in those little thermometers they’d stick in my mouth was a lie detector. The doc would know. He’d tell Dad. All my sick days of the future would be DOOOOOMED!

The doc examined Big Sis first. He swabbed her throat. She gagged. I opened my mouth and he did the same thing. Then left. And we waited…and waited…and waited. At least if I got busted, so would Big Sis. There is always comfort in taking a sibling down with you.

Ten minutes later the doc returned. “They both have Strep.”

Strep? Strep? What was that? Code word for FAKING IT?!

The doc handed Dad a prescription and said, “Best go to the store and get a giant bag of popsicles. That’s the best way they’ll soothe those sore throats.”

Popsicles?! This couldn’t possibly…was this real? Was the doc on our side?

Big Sis looked miserable, even at the mention of popsicles. Turned out…she was actually sick. (Who knew?!) And apparently so was I? (The effects hand’t hit me yet.) But we spent the next day living off of popsicles and a yummy tasting pink medicine. Mom even bought me a beanie baby orange dog and I named him “Strep” in honor of the virus that saved the day. (Don’t try this at home, kids.)

I was utterly convinced that I faked so well I caused my body to get sick right then and there in the doctor’s office. It. Was. Bliss.

Until the next day.

Or the next.

Or the next.

I spent the days in bed (against my will). I ate so many popsicles I made myself sick (especially when we got down to the orange and root beer flavored ones. *barf*) Then, to make matters worse, I wasn’t allowed to hang with friends over the weekend because I was contagious. I got behind in school which then sacrificed some of my summer break making it up.

So…in the end, I decided faking sick wasn’t worth it. Especially if it could cause me to really get sick. 😛 So you should know that other than that one time…Big Sis and I were complete angels the rest of our childhood. Pinky promise. 😈

If you didn’t guess from my story…I’m sick, peeps.

For realz.

I don’t know about you, but my brain turns into a ball of cotton fluff when I’m sick. So as I sat down to write this blog post (which was supposed to be the second post on my new Marketing Series) I could think no further than the fact my throat and nose were warring to see which one can more accurately imitate a volcano.

All I want to do is eat popsicles.

As hubby drove me home from my non-writing job I said, “What should I blog about? I just want to go sleep.” And he said, “Just blog about being sick. Your readers will understand.”


So here I am, sharing one of my best sick day stories…wishing that I really wasn’t sick today. But I’ll take solace in popsicles and memories.

Did you ever fake sick as a kid? Or at least think about it? Tell me your story!



About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.

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  1. What a great story. (I love the pic of you & your sis too!)
    I was homeschooled 7 out of 12 years (the latter 7) and I don’t think I ever truly faked sick but I’m certain there were times I may have exaggerated. Truthfully though, I tended to do all of my school work within the first month or two of the school year and then all I had every day was math (the one subject Mom wouldn’t let me work ahead on). I’d spend a month or two blissfully happy, reading and playing all day, until Mom would decide maybe it wasn’t good for me to have most of a year with no science/history/etc. and she’d go buy another textbook or come up with some project. (So not fair. lol)

    I hope you feel better soon! Get some rest! 🙂

    • Clare Farrelly

      I would do that each week, she would say I had to donso much work in rhe week and I’d try get through it on the first few days and have the later one off.

    • Wow! I should have done that! LOL. Instead, my sis and I would rush to finish our schoolwork by 10am so we could “hit the slopes” on our skis and snowboards every day in winter. 😛 That was also blissful.

  2. Haha, loved this story! And OH MY do I relate to snow days being hard to get as a homeschool student. I can’t remember the last time we had one 😀 . I’m sorry you’re feeling badly!

    Okay, weird thing about me when I get sick – I WANT TO EDIT. I don’t even know WHY! But being sick (as long as I’m not super terribly sick) makes me want to edit. I can’t decide if it’s a blessing or a curse xD.

    I hope you feel better soon, Nadine!

  3. Love the story, especially since I’m homeschooled. Actually, around seventh grade I started loving school, and the past couple years I’ve stopped taking Thanksgiving/February/April vacations in order to get out early in the summer. Next week, summer vacation. EEPP!!

    Yeah, I like school, I HATE getting sick. Thank God the only time I was sick during this school year was on a long weekend. 🙂

    I’m praying you feel better soon. Get an extra popsicle for me – chocolate-covered mango’s my favorite. 🙂

    • That’s amazing!! What a blessing to love learning and love school. I think that’s awesome. It was only after I graduated that I started to CRAVE learning. LOL.

      Also, I’ve never had a chocolate-covered mango popsicle. O.o Where have these been all my life?

  4. This was laugh-out-loud funny! My fave: “I knew that, hidden in those little thermometers they’d stick in my mouth was a lie detector.” HA HA HA!

    Hope you feel better soon, Nadine!

  5. I’m so sorry you’re sick, but what a great story. XD Yes, I’ve thought about it, but never done it. Because even when you’re sick here, you still have to try and do some school. hehe.

    I’m currently almost done with my sophomore year of high school and have been home schooled since third grade. 🙂 And definitely no snow days in central CA!!

  6. This just made my day. 😃 I was homeschooled all the way through–so I relate to a lot in this story 😂.

  7. Clare Farrelly

    Love this story! I don’t know that I ever even tried to fake being sick, and even if we were sick we were usually just brough our maths books to do while we lay in bed or on a lounge, so there was not much point, and if you were so sick you could not even do that then it was juet so not nice, necause being sick never is, I hope you ger better soon! Praying for you Nadine.

  8. Polaris Northstar

    SO. FUNNY!
    So true. No sick/snow days for homeschoolers :'(
    Never pretended to be sick… but I did pretend that I needed glasses once (because I really wanted them).

  9. Public school kid. I never faked sick. I absolutely hate being sick. I was more likely to tough it out. That said, in high school about once a week I’d ask Mom if I could stay home because I was tired. It almost became a running joke. Mom is a nurse. Nothing flies with them.

  10. brandonscottmiller

    I don’t know that I’ve ever completely faked sick, but I have drawn a cold out longer than it needed to be. I mean, once you’ve already been feeling awful, you /deserve/ a few days of sitting around watching movies and reading Lord of the Rings while others make and clean up your meals, right?
    Anyway, I hope your cold doesn’t draw out intentionally or unintentionally. (But maybe just a little… because free reading time is epic.)
    Also, you should know that I just bought a new kindle to replace my broken one so that I can read A Time to Speak. I’ll be done with Die before the night is up. (Or maybe “before I go to sleep” would be more accurate… the night may be up well before then.)

    • brandonscottmiller

      So yes, I finished last night. Up until nearly midnight because I got started late. Had a calc 2 test in the morning. #noregrets
      It was fantastic. Thank you very much. That is all.

      • Oh hey look! Another comment! (I really should scroll before replying. LOL )
        Wow. I’M SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT! Who needs calc tests anyway? (Says the author who never even made it TO Calculus) 😉

    • EX-ACT-LY.

      And thank you, I’m all healed up now. 😛

      YAY! So where are you on A Time to Speak now? (Since I took SOOO long to answer your comment! *shame* ) It’s honored to be read on a brand new Kindle. 😉

  11. Hellions? Disorderly? Troublesome? Rowdy? Mischievous? Not my kiddo’s. This mom only remembers that her little gifts from heaven
    were as sweet as little angels. XOXOXO

  12. OH MY GOODNESS the accuracy here is painfully hilarious. xD I’ve been homeschooled all the way so far (graduating next year, woot!) and HELLO YES I RELATE TO THIS 100%. Especially the part about siblings knowing whether you’re sick or not… for me it’s the sibling you share a room with. YOU CAN’T HIDE FROM THEM. THEY KNOW ALL. XD

    • SIBLINGS KNOW ALLLLLLL. *shakes fist in fury* Congrats on approaching your last year of school! WOOT! Looks like those sick days paid off. 😉

      • Siblings have a built in lie-detector. And I have 5 siblings so 5 lie detectors for me. I don’t think I’ll ever get away with a sick day

  13. THIS. This is what actual siblings are like. Fictional siblings need to be like this too!

    As a homeschooler (and Australian!), I never had snow days (or snow at all). And I never faked a sick day either… even when I was sick, it had to be something serious (flu?) to actually get me into bed. Even then I’d try to do some work sitting in bed. Probably I was so worried about getting behind because my younger brother and I worked at the same level despite him being a grade below.

    Actually, faking sickness to get out of school never occurred to me. If I really wanted a day off, I’d do ten minutes of work and then run away up the paddock. 😉

    I hope you get better soon, Mrs Brandes!

    • Oh goodness, that WOULD be high pressure–a sibling race? No thank you.

      I’m glad faking sick never occurred to you. 😛 You’ve been a more honest child than I was. 😛

  14. That was so true to life!

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