Are you homeschooling with a chronic illness? This is my personal story of how I’ve been handling homeschooling & chronic illness, and a few tips to help you on your journey.
2020 hit everyone hard, but for me it was much more than just the changes that Covid-19 brought to our community and lives.
The Background Story
In February, just before COVID became widespread in the US, I was dealing with a relentless sickness. I had been sick for 4 weeks. Honestly, I was terrified when my “upper respiratory infection” and sinus infection kept lingering.
Before too long it turned into something I couldn’t ignore. I was so lethargic and weak I could barely stand. So, I made yet another trip to the doctor.
I was super low on B-12, so I started taking a B-12 supplement.
I had myself convinced that my thyroid nodules (that I also had confirmed this year) somehow were playing a major role in my illness. However, that wasn’t the case. I had a biopsy, and the nodules were benign. (Huge sigh of relief!)
Ok… let me get back on track. I made several trips back to my doctor before they decided to test me for mononucleosis. I got a call a few days later telling me I was positive. I needed to wait another 6-8 weeks before I would start to feel like myself again.
Getting Better…Then Worse Again
Weeks and weeks passed. I got some better, but the pain in my joints and my body still lingered. I had unexplained nerve pain & tingling sensations. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever dealt with.
My anxiety was through the roof!
Needless to say, we took a ton of time off of school during all this mess.
My doctor ran every test imaginable. (Or at least that’s what it felt like. ) Every test came back 100% normal. No auto immune diseases, no vitamin deficiencies, my CBC’s were perfect. So what was going on???
I did a ton of research, only to find that there were others like me who didn’t recover from reactivated Epstein Barr Virus (aka the virus that causes Mononucleosis) in the prescribed 6-8 weeks. Some had actually taken a full year or more to get better.
So, I started taking supplements and changed my entire diet. I reduced the amount of sugar I eat and gluten, too. (Read my Trim Healthy Mama story right here.) I started to feel much better, and had almost completely recovered.
After about a month and a half, my health began to decline again. We had started school again, and I could barely make it through the day without crashing. All my old symptoms started rolling back in.
My doctor will not diagnose me or retest me again because they suspect it’s still the EBV in my system. I’ve had other doctors say fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome stemming from mononucleosis. No formal diagnosis has been made so far, but homeschooling with a chronic illness has been a challenge.
Here’s what I’m doing to make it through homeschooling with a chronic illness. >>>
Homeschooling with a Chronic Illness
As you may know, I call myself a Charlotte Mason ispired homeschooler. I love everything about a Charlotte Mason education. I’ve read her books, and almost every CM book I could get my hands on.
There’s just something about CM homeschooling that resonates with our family. However, since my thyroid nodules have developed, reading aloud to my younger kids has become a challenge because it strains my voice if I read for too long. So, a chapter a day is max for me. That doesn’t work out so well when you have 5 kids of various ages.
Now since I’ve been dealing with homeschooling with a chronic illness, (crazy fatigue, joint pain, body pain, & more from EBV) I’ve had to re-vamp our homeschool.
What we Changed
No, I did not completely give up on the Charlotte Mason homeschool method. However, I did have to scrap pretty much everything I had picked out for this year. (Talk about frustrating. You can check out what we were using right here and here.)
I’ll be completely honest & nights crying because I just couldn’t get a good routine to work with what we were using. I couldn’t afford to buy an entirely new curriculum for all 4 of my homeschooled kids.
So, I prayed.
I wanted something that wouldn’t completely compromise I our homeschooling philosophy. Something that they could work independently on, but not have to be in front of a computer all day long.
I tried Gather Round Homeschooling for a bit and found it was too much reading aloud for me each day and I was still stressing out every day. So, we scrapped it after the first unit.
Then I found Funschooling & it was exactly what we needed.
Quick disclaimer: I’m not being compensated in any way, shape, or form for this post. I’m just genuinely excited about my discovery!
Funschooling is a self-directed learning style for homeschoolers. The creators of Funschooling have created open-ended journals that can be used with any books.
(If you’re interested in learning more about Funschooling, the website has a ton of great explanations and videos. I also suggest joining the Facebook Support Group.)
I wasn’t super fond of letting go of some of our homeschool philosophy in order to make things work, but I realized that this is a season of change for us. The most important thing for me is that my children are learning and retaining information. Not whether or not they measure up to a certain standard.
So, we dropped almost everything we were using and picked out a few Funschooling journals. (They have a Charlotte Mason inspired journal!)
Talk about a breath of fresh air!
My symptoms are only made worse when I get stressed out. We had to have something that inspired independence but didn’t give up our core homeschooling values. Funschooling was that answer.
Is it for everyone? Maybe not. Maybe Gather Round would work better for you, but I would encourage any homeschooling mom struggling with a chronic illness to give it a try.
Homeschooling with a Chronic Illness>What my homeschool looks like now:
Here’s what my homeschool looks like now while homeschooling with a chronic illness.
- Children do 5 pages each day out of a core journal.
- Math is still done online via CTC Math.
- Then they work out of these journals throughout the week>>> Spelling/Language Arts Journal, Foreign Language Journal, Film Study
- We take more breaks throughout the day.
- I do mom schooling. (Here’s more on mom school.)
- My library of books is actually being utilized.
- My kids are more eager to do school because they love studying what they’re interested in.
- I can lay in bed on the days I feel bad & still get school accomplished.
- Less Stress!!!
I know some of those things sound too good to be true, but Funschooling has really made a huge impact while homeschooling with a chronic illness.
Will we use Funschooling forever? I don’t know. But, for now, it’s exactly what we needed.
I want to hear from you
What do you do? I want to hear what you do while homeschooling with a chronic illness.