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I am not a doctor, none of the information on any of these pages pertaining to the Ketogenic Diet or Adrenal Fatigue should be considered medical advice and should not replace the care of your personal physician. I am simply eager to share the information I have learned while on my own journey to health. Before you embark on this journey, please consult with your physician.
Is homeschooling with chronic illness possible?
How will my kids get a good education on my bad days….or bad months?
These were the questions I asked myself when we began to consider homechooling our children. I thought I had to be crazy to take on one more thing.
- I work from home as a professional blogger and virtual assistant.
- I lead an online Bible study.
- I’m involved in my church as a school-aged Sunday School teacher.
And I have a chronic illness – Adrenal Fatigue.
In the days leading up to our meeting with our son’s principle, my husband asked me several times if I was certain I could juggle what I am doing as well as the added responsibility of homeschooling two children.
Two children with a language disorder.
I put on a very brave face and assured him I could. Truth be told, I was hoping I could – but I know what my bad days are like.
We are nearing the end of our 3rd week with two homeschooling children (but wrapping up our 5th month of homeschooling our youngest – having added our oldest to homeschool this month), and I can tell you that I have learned a lot in these three weeks.
Last week was one of my “bad” weeks.
- Zoned out
- Emotionally taxed
For years my alarm for weekdays has been set to between 5:00-5:30.
One morning last week my alarm rang, I woke up from a very deep sleep confused, not knowing where I was for at least the first 10 seconds, and for the rest of the day I was out of it.
It was then that I realized that I couldn’t continue such early morning wake times.
I also realized that my urgency to get as much client work done in the morning was no longer necessary. Homeschooling has relaxed our schedule and has given us complete flexibility with our day.
I no longer had outside pressures putting demands on my schedule.
That was when I went to my phone and deleted all of my alarms, except for my Sunday morning one.
6 Tips for Homeschooling With Chronic Illness
During these three weeks I have already learned so much about how to juggle homeschooling, client work, and housework with my chronic illness.
One of the first things I had to accept was that what we do and what others do — and especially what my mom did with us — won’t be the same.
They can’t be the same.
Once I accepted that it was 100% okay for my homeschool method to look unique, I was completely liberated.
1. When homeschooling with chronic illness, forget the idea of balance
For years I have tried to find balance; and for years it has eluded me. There is a reason for that.
Here’s the reason:
Balance is an unreasonable expectation that is rooted in a false idea that we can give everything in our lives equal attention all of the time.
There have been times when I have successfully given everything equal attention, and I would go to bed with a wonderful sense of satisfaction.
I am a good mom, wife, entrepreneur, teacher, and friend.
And then something would come up, and suddenly my delicate balance was disrupted and I was back to feeling like a failure.
What I’ve come to realize is that there may be those moments when everything in our lives get equal attention, but those moments are rare.
What is most common is that something in our lives demands more attention, and because we are mortals we are forced to deprive something else in our lives for a season so that the one thing demanding more attention is tended to.
And that is okay!
What we desperately need is divine wisdom to know what thing in our lives will get less attention and if the thing demanding more attention legitimately needs more attention.
That is where James 1:5 is so important: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
2. When homeschooling with chronic illness, make rest a priority
If you’re living with chronic illness, rest must be a priority for you. You absolutely cannot minimize it’s importance because your ability to function depends on it.
Not only rest at night, but points of respite during the day.
There are four things I do now to make sure I get ample rest:
- I go to bed early in order to make sure I get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
- I wear ear plugs and an eye mask to make sure that I get the best quality sleep I can.
- I only set alarms for the mornings when I have a morning appointment, and try to keep morning appointments to a bare minimum.
- We have “room time” for my kids, which is a 1-2 hour time period during which my children play quietly in their room, giving me some physical and mental space. During that time I get online work done without interruptions; or rest, if that’s what my body is demanding.
3. When homeschooling with chronic illness, take care of your body
One of the things I’m learning this year is that taking care of my body is a non-negotiable. Yes, I knew that before, but I didn’t take it seriously.
But this year I am learning to take it seriously.
If I don’t stick to the Ketogenic diet, my energy levels plummet – and I can even experience a crash. If I want to give my children a quality homeschool it is essential that I adhere to my strict diet.
I cannot fudge on this.
When I combine quality rest with taking care of my body, I am able to keep my chronic illness under control. Undisciplined living is simply not an option.
4. When homeschooling with chronic illness, plan for days when you pull back
No matter how disciplined I am with my health, there will always be those days when my body doesn’t cooperate. Whether it’s hormone fluctuations or a virus, there will be days when we’ll have to pull back.
We had a day like that last week. We all woke up out of sorts, lethargic, and zoned out.
Even my oldest son – who, being on the edge of falling into a coma will never admit that he’s tired, willingly went back to bed for nearly an hour.
Thankfully I had a plan.
We were able to watch a movie based on a book that we’re reading right now. Thank God for that movie!
Every month I plan for 2-3 days when we’ll need to pull back and do something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration and energy.
If I need them, I’m thankful that they’re there. If I don’t, and they are things that will work for our lesson plans the next month, then I just shift them to next month’s pull-back days.
If not, then – yay us! – we get to have a lighter school day.
5. When homeschooling with chronic illness, prep ahead of time as much as you can
You need to know what area is most important for you to prep ahead of time. For every person this will be different.
Some need to have lesson plans prepped ahead of time. For me – I do best when I don’t plan school too far in advance.
I have a rough monthly plan and then do weekly school plans on Fridays or Saturdays; and even sometimes do day-by-day planning if I find I’m crossing too many things out.
Where prepping ahead of time works for me best is in meal planning.
I try do to as much cooking over the weekend as possible so that during the week all I have to do is heat our meals.
This allows me to make healthy meals, as well as have a lot of quick Keto options or modifications for me.
Find the area of your life where prepping ahead of time makes most sense, then find a day of the week when you can easily get your prep work done, and then make it a priority for you.
This will make your life much easier.
6. When homeschooling with chronic illness, don’t forget to have fun and laugh
Dealing with chronic illness is not only discouraging, frustrating, and sometimes depressing.
Yes – depression is something chronic illness suffers know a lot about.
Sometimes, it’s just the emotional taxation of having to deal with another crash.
Sometimes it’s purely physiological – because your body is focusing it’s energy resources where they are most needed, leaving your emotional center deprived.
But do you know what will help?
One of the best ways to bring laughter in my day is playing “Funny Party” with my kids.
They take turns going in their room and dressing up in weird clothes and masks, and then showing off their fashion choice to the rest of the family.
And do you know what’s most funny? It’s not really their weird costume.
It’s the fact that you can literally hear them already laughing as they’re coming down the hall. They barely make it to the living room because they’re laughing so hard.
And I’m crying from laughter because of their laughter.
This is the best “supplement” of my day — far better than all of the vitamins and adaptogens I take. It has the best affect on my health and energy.
“A merry heart does good, like medicine” Proverbs 17:22
Sitting with my family – no devices, no screens, looking them in the eyes, giving them my full attention, and just laughing together.
My dear sister, don’t try to get all 6 of these in place by Monday morning. You won’t. I promise you that it will take time. Take them one-by-one; getting in a routine with one before moving on to another.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Give yourself grace.
You can do this! I promise you can. By God’s grace, and relying on His joy that gives us strength, we will learn to rest in truth that if God has called us, He’ll equip us!
Here are the other posts I wrote on Homeschooling: