When we started our homeschooling journey, I was healthy. I was rarely sick, aside from the occasional seasonal cold. However, after my Dad passed away suddenly in 2012, I found myself becoming more and more ill. In fact, from April thru September of that year I was in the hospital a total of 7 weeks. My husband had to take FMLA at work to help stay home and care for me when I needed him.
Fast forward 4 years to when I was pregnant with our fifth child. I was confined to bedrest for the majority of my pregnancy, which was, of course, during the school year. It wasn’t easy to function, let alone homeschool. I nearly gave up several times, but we pushed through.
Over the years I have heard a number of excuses why people can’t homeschool. From finances to patience, to space in the home and more. While those are valid things to think through and consider, they should not be the deciding factor for not homeschooling.
I firmly believe if you have a firm conviction about homeschooling, there is nothing that should stand in your way – including a chronic illness. I have lived with several chronic illnesses for the majority of our homeschool journey (6 of the 8 years). And while it can be challenging at times, it does not keep us from homeschooling. It just looks a little different. However, there are several reasons you won’t be able to homeschool if you have a chronic illness.
You Can’t Homeschool with a Chronic Illness without a Plan
Much like public school teachers make plans for substitutes, a homeschool Mom with a chronic illness needs to have a plan in place for days she just can’t. There are days I simply do not have the energy to get off the couch, much less get all our homeschool work done for the day.
When my flare-ups became debilitating, I finally put together a solid plan that would ensure learning could take place, even if I couldn’t “teach.” Whether you create folders with papers to do or have videos ready to watch, make sure your plan is quick and easy to get together should you need it last minute.
You Can’t Homeschool with a Chronic Illness without Compromise
Learning doesn’t always have to be from a book. My kids love watching science and history videos and even some documentaries. These are great to pull out when you have a day or two where the illness prevents you from actually teaching. You can watch the videos together and then discuss them. Even create some worksheets for your older kids to do as they watch or have them do some extra research and write an essay on what they’ve learned.
Watching movies isn’t a bad thing either. Watch movies that come from books and then have your children do some fun compare/contrast activities, or have older kids write an essay on the differences between the two. This is also a great way to start working toward research papers and more formal writing!
You Can’t Homeschool with a Chronic Illness without a Self-Driven Curriculum
While this isn’t a must, I have found it to be most definitely helpful. There are many curriculum options out there where your child can watch their lessons and work through the questions/problems on their own. We love using self-driven curriculum for our math, because our kids can at least get their math done daily, even if I’m not feeling well.
There are a number of self-driven curriculums out there for a variety of subjects. If you’re looking for some good options, I recommend Time4Learning, Monarch by AOP and Schoolhouse Teachers. We have not personally used Time4Learning or Monarch, but I’ve heard great things about them. We have, however, used Schoolhouse Teachers and love them! We typically use them for extra curricular subjects, but they have a wide variety of subjects across all ages, so we can use them to fill in any gaps or give me a break if/when I have a flare-up. It has worked very well for our family.
While homeschooling with a chronic illness isn’t easy, I can say it is still worth it. Even if our days look slightly different from time-to-time, or we have to scale back some lessons, it is all worth the extra time and effort. However, when I take the time to make sure to have a plan in place, make sure to compromise when necessary and make sure we have our self-driven curriculum in place, we can still complete our homeschool year on time!
What ways have you found to homeschool when you’re sick?
This post is part of a Homeschool Myths series by the Homeschool Blogging Connection Team. I encourage you to read all of the posts in the series, which you can find HERE or by clicking the image below.
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