Thursday, May 30, 2013

Homeschooling with a Chronic Illness - A Guest Post from Grace S.

Today I welcome another chronically ill homeschooling Mom here to the blog to share her experience and tips with us. I was lucky enough to meet Grace through our homeschooling group which has been meeting in the San Jose area for over 25 years. It is only recently that I learned that she also manages a chronic health condition while homeschooling. Grace S. is a homeschooling mother of four who lives in the Bay area of Northern California. Her oldest, a boy, is nine, followed by three younger daughters aged seven, five, and three. She and her husband have been "homeschooling since birth" she says!

Grace has to deal with chronic high blood pressure, even though she is a very fit and trim Mom. It's another one of those health problems that no one can "see" from the outside. She was diagnosed in her mid-20s with the high blood pressure and never gave it much thought prior to being married and having children. But now with four kids aged 9 and under, and being in her mid-40s, it is starting to be more of a factor for her and she has had to become more cautious about her daily health routines.

I asked Grace what her biggest challenge is as a chronically ill homeschooling mother, and she explained that staying on top of the kids' discipline and obedience, their schoolwork, and making sure they all get along while maintaining her own even and cool composure is the hardest part for her. Managing her own emotions is important for every mother, but even moreso for a homeschooling mother with high blood pressure.

During flare ups or when she has to go to doctor appointments, Grace has found some great ways to get herself some help. She hires teens or college students from the Homeschool group, her husband gives her breaks when he can, and she uses media (TV, computer) if and when necessary. Her most creative solution is the use of a drop-off kids babysitting service. In the Bay area there is one called Kidspark that lets you drop your kids off for a reasonable hourly fee and the sibling rates are quite steeply discounted.

Kidspark provides hourly, drop-in, licensed childcare at many locations around the US. I admit I only recently found out about Kidspark and just visited a nearby center in the last couple of weeks. As soon as my youngest is 2 years old, I plan to sign them all up so I can have it available for back up emergency care. I was glad to hear from Grace that she has used their service and found it helpful during the rough spots.
For her homeschooling curriculum, Grace is currently use Seton Home Study School, and though she is considering changes to their homeschooling in the future, she is currently quite happy to continue with Seton for her family. 

Grace offered me some helpful tips as well. Her number one recommendation:
  1. Keep praying throughout the day, especially keeping close to, and dedicating yourself to, Our Blessed Mother Mary
  2. Try to exercise 3 to 4 times a week
  3. Enjoy your children, especially spending a little time alone with each one regularly
  4. Rest!!
Among the many blessings that Grace's family has received from her homeschooling (because of her having to deal with her medical condition) the first she mentions is that her family has had to learn to cooperate and work together to keep her calm and happy. She has also noticed that her children have become and seem to be more concerned with others' well being and health. It has also made them more compassionate towards others in general. She has also noticed more mercy and forgiveness when they argue with each other!

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Things I'm pondering after reading about Grace's experience...
*am I remembering to pray all day long?
*how do I manage my own emotions, especially anger, to keep myself calm and composed?
*what could I do to keep myself closer to our Blessed Mother throughout my days and nights as a homeschooling mother?
*am I using the resources in my community enough to give myself needed rest time? . 
*am I letting myself get rest without feeling guilty about it?
*how can I find time to spend a little one on one time with each child?

Grace S., thank you for sharing a bit of your homeschooling with a chronic illness story here today. Thanks to you, I am reminded what a blessing it has been for my children to learn compassion for others right from the start.



4 comments:

  1. I am new to homeschooling, my son is starting Kinder with me in the Fall and I have been unsure how I'm going to manage being a good teacher and mother and taking care of my health. I have colitis, and Hashimotos Disease. Thank you for sharing. Asking for help from Our Heavenly Mother and not feeling guilty about taking time to care for myself will make all the difference.

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    1. Please let us know how your year goes next year! I have Crohn's disease and I have been able to do it. :)

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  2. So far so good. I decided to have my son attend Live Oak Academy two days a week and I homeschool the other three. This has worked well for us.

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    1. That sounds like a very good plan!

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