I have started this week of term so slowly, you could barely notice.
By Monday afternoon I had already lost my voice and felt pretty fed up. I’m back to my normal now and I think I will do ok tomorrow when we attempt a full-on day of learning.
I have to confess as that term came to a grinding end in July (and I ended up being shipped off in an ambulance – medics in green, not white coats mind you), I was at a pretty low point. In fact I think I was burned out. The fact that I was threatened with another hospital admission in August added to the sense that I had about had it.
So the question was raised, from others, but it was in my head, “Isn’t it time to send them to school?”
No one has said it outright, thankfully. But the hints have been there, and as the thought was also in my head, I suppose I was more aware of the hints.
Burnout is the beastie that haunts most home ed families at some point or another. I know there are probably those genuine super-mums out there who always manage to keep on top of things and have never reached “crash and burn” state, but I don’t know them
With the extra challenges that have faced us all this Summer I did have to seriously consider what was best for the children.
In the end, after consideration and discussion with other HE mums I am of the opinion that I have to continue to HE the children. It’s not just best for them, as I make sure their education suits their needs and abilities (which the National Curriculum simply doesn’t do) but that my health requires that I be able to adjust the day to ensure I can function. The fact is I would be unable to sort out all the stuff for a morning and get the kids to school and then pick them up and deal with all the evening homework.
As it stands I can work at my pace in the mornings, adjusting to bad days by simply starting the lessons a little later or leaving the heavier stuff until the afternoon.
Some mornings I can be on top of the pain before 8am but other days I’m not on top of it until mid morning, or on a bad day, not at all. Even with the different problems the diseases throw at me, I can usually get the work and learning done with all three of the younger ones. The reason I can do this is they are slowly learning to be independent learners.
Obviously Heleyna requires more time from me, but she’s 5, so the work isn’t too challenging and I can usually manage it no matter what my head, eyes or other body bits are doing.
I am not being heroic by continuing to home educate through this. I am simply being practical. It actually does work for us and although I have been warned by those in the know that I have to slow down or face some serious problems in the future, I think I can only organise that slowing down if I continue to home educate.
What about having seizures in front of the children? I honestly don’t know the answer to this. I do know a seriously couragous mother who has faced this and she, her husband and children are working together with it. I hope we can do the same. Even if they went to school they could easily face this prospect. I think being calm and honest with them is the best way to deal with it. They know it happens – and they know it might happen in front of them (it already has); and they know where to go for help.
I am not underplaying it, but I’m not making a crisis where there doesn’t have to be one. So long as they know what to do, who to go to and that it’s ok, then they will be fine. It’s just another symptom for us all to deal with.
In the end, what matters if that we function as well as possible as a family and that the children get the very best education they can be given. So far, that’s what we are managing.
A couple of resources for any of you facing chronic illness or other family mountains to climb:
See I Told Me So - I got this ebook free during one of those offer weeks. It tells the stories of homeschooling families who kept going through some pretty full-on crisises. (is that a word?)
Homeschooling with Chronic Health Issues - some first hand short statements from mothers who have done it. Includes a mum with FM and ME/Cfs.