06 April 2010

Homeschooling Through Family Crises.

One of our older children has had one problem after another and been in the hospital six times in seven months. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes almost two weeks at a time. The constant calls, visits and coordination of care can take a real toll on a family. Between times, we have about a zillion doctor appointments and discussions with providers on the phone about things all. the. time. I think he's going to be ok EVENTUALLY, but we're doing a lot of stupid treatments, and still others that sorta work, and others that don't really.

Well. He has the best of care, but I don't really want to blog about it out of respect for HIS privacy (Um, you read my blog... you know I have no issues with my own...). I just mention it to frame the story so that I can talk about how it affects our homeschooling.

It's shot! It's terrible! We've put the hours in, so I've fulfilled the letter of the law, but I see stacks and stacks of stuff NOT DONE. And sure, sometimes it's great to linger over a lesson, or do something else entirely. But honestly, we're only about halfway done, and the school year ends/begins on July 1. The kids are going to want to take a break SOMETIME this year.

They homeschooled all summer. I pretty much turned my homeschoolers loose and let them learn about whatever they wanted during that season. And yes, they did learn. And I'm all for that "discovery" thing. But to me there is a balance, and it's totally been shot to poopie-land over the course of the year as a whole. I had given them that time over the summer reasoning that there is plenty of time to get down to business later.

There wasn't. I can't tell you how much emotional energy it takes to battle insurance companies and yap with this doctor, that doctor, the other nurse for the whoosie-whatsits and then have to tell the public school YET AGAIN that this child will be out. Sorry. They've actually been very understanding. If you have a doctor's note, you can miss as many classes as you wish. NB: you will also pass said classes. I only wish I were kidding; this is an open secret. But thank GOD for some of those people at the public school being willing to work with our family because I cannot *imagine* how badly things would turn out if they didn't. I'm going to take the grace they have offered and thank them for it. Profusely.

In any event, I'm wondering if other families have been through this sort of thing before. Do things get better? And I wonder, what if they don't get better? What if this is a "new normal?" I cannot imagine putting the children into the local elementaries... and yet, I cannot imagine going through another year of this.

I hope to really, REALLY homeschool through the summer with perhaps a week's break in there somewhere. I start to wonder about sinking money into the five-billion dollar "leasing" of the DVD curriculum at this rate. School by TV doesn't sound bad at all compared to "school during times Woodjie and Rose are quiet and Mom doesn't have to be on the phone and Elf and Emperor are BOTH ready to listen."

Arg. If you've ever been through something like this before, I'd love to hear a little about how you managed it, especially if you also had younger children at the time.

Little side note that has little or nothing to do with the rest of this post: It's come to my attention through the Apples and Jammies blog that it's time to enroll in Pizza Hut's Book It program for next year. You get a free itsy pizza each month for students ages 5 -12 if you register here. We didn't enroll for this year because of the AFA boycott (we wind up spending $25 every time we go, free pizza or not!), but we will this coming year. :)

8 comments:

  1. We have taken days, weeks, months and even a whole year off, when family crisis has hit. It worked out in the end. I don't feel any of my older children suffered for it at all.

    Life is a lesson too !!

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  2. MrsC: we've always homeschooled like this. I don't blog about it much but it has certainly affected Ditz. Dearest has a broken back. We spend a lot of time at the Dr's office, dealing with medical issues, travelling to Drs appointments. One reason for choosing Sonlight [hi Luke! ☺] is that I could set the reading now Ditz is older & leave her to it while I choofed Dearest round.


    I find there are seasons. Some weeks, even months, are great & we get a lot done. I've learnt to optimise them before we hit a down surge. Ditz rides them out pretty well now but she's not above using the chaos to wriggle out of any real work.

    It is hard but seriously, when has real life ever been easy or organised or anything but ups & downs? Just do the best you can with what life hands you & let God take care of the rest.

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  3. I love Ganeida's comment! I haven't started homeschooling yet, but my life has taught me that when things are this hard you just have to do the best you can until things change. They do. Even if very brief you will have moments of peace and getting lots of stuff done.

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  4. I knew a homeschooling family I very much admired who once took off an entire year because of a divorce. Instead the mom handed her older kids books, and read to the younger ones a lot, and they went on a lot of field trips. She encouraged them to journal, draw pictures, create art. Later she said she was shocked to find that all four of the kids had actually gained ground over that year.

    We've lost as much as a month here and there because of illness, holidays, moves, and family crises. Every break worried me to death. But as I've now put two in public high school only to find that they were ahead of most of their peers, I'd say that these "pauses" have clearly not harmed them.

    The fact of the matter is kids in public school are not learning every minute, even necessarily every day. Kids also lose ground in classrooms when their personal lives are up in the air. Just because they're in the seat does not mean they're learning. Add a bad teacher or a winter with a lot of snow days and all the extra-curricular activities, and you'll find that your education at home more than matches the pace of the one at the school.

    Take your break when you need one. Your kids are young. They'll be fine.

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  5. Do what you can, and forget about the rest! You are only ONE person... don't be so hard on yourself.
    Things will eventually come right... or you will learn to live with 'the new normal'....
    {{{HUGS}}}

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  6. I hope your son gets healthy soon. I know what you mean about dealing with all those appointments. Sometimes, like this week, our little one has five different appointments. And then there all those calls to the medical supplier that keeps messing up the order for the feeding tubes and super-rich formula.

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  7. Lord, I ask that You will give Mrs. C direction and peace in this time. Be with her whole family, and heal her son. Encourage her and help her figure out what she can do and what she should do about the rest. Amen.

    Sorry, Mrs. C. I have no wonderful words of wisdom or insight as this never really happened to my family. But I will say this: The flexibility of homeschooling is a wonderful thing, so don't let the pressures of "should haves" get you down. As you point out above: The public schools provide free passes for these kinds of situations.

    Do what you can. Enjoy what learning you can do. And know that we all have our entire lives to learn stuff...

    That's all I got.

    Hang in there!

    ~Luke

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  8. With all gentleness I ask: Who are you trying to keep up with?

    My dd has been unwell for months. She's a sophomore in hs, but will be taking the hs proficiency in October of this year, because there is no way she can do California's standards for hs now. She is doing school, at her own pace, when she feels well enough. I've put it all on God. He knew this was going to happen, and he knew her path. I'm finally okay with it.

    My son is "behind" as well, but for different reasons. And you know what? It's okay. He is learning. Both my kids can hold an intelligent discussion on politics and religion with any adult (or child). She's 15, he's not quite 14. They are far more "educated" than many of their peers who are in public school.

    What they learn from you, and each other, about life is just as important as the three "Rs."

    God knows what you are going through, and has you in this place for a reason. Go with it, my friend.

    Also, agreeing with Luke in prayer!

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)