Are you a homeschool mom who lives with a chronic illness? Maybe you have a child or multiple children who have special needs, chronic illness or both.
If homeschooling with chronic illness is new to you, you may be wondering how you’re going to plan your year and create a homeschool schedule that will actually work for you and your children.
Scheduling your homeschool when you have a chronic illness doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, it should be quite simple.
Not too long ago I had a severe case of chronic Lyme disease along with multiple coinfections, so I know all too well the struggle of getting ready for a new homeschool year, the difficulty of keeping everyone on task and the overwhelm at the end of each day. I’m all too familiar with the mom guilt that is associated with chronic illness.
I felt I wasn’t doing enough and that my kids wouldn’t be prepared to graduate. I was also aware that other people were judging my circumstances even though they weren’t aware of the facts about my chronic illness or how we managed as a family to keep our homeschool functioning.
Scheduling your homeschool when you have a chronic illness doesn't have to be difficult, in fact, it should be quite simple. #homeschool #scheduling #chronicillness Click To Tweet
Over the past few years, I’ve heard from many of you and know that you also have a chronic illness right along with your children like I once did.
Previously, I shared how we made that work in my two-part series titled Chronically Ill Homeschooling, but today I want to talk about how to schedule your homeschool!
Your level of health will determine how you plan your homeschool year.
Severe Chronic Illness
If your chronic illness is severe and you’re not able to consistently home educate, I would suggest securing the help of your husband, loved one or friend.
Children do quite well with online learning but you will need to teach them how to stay on task. Accountability is very important, especially when children would prefer to play and teens want to do what teens like to do.
You might consider scheduling your school hours later in the day. Mornings can be difficult for those who don’t sleep well at night or for those who wake up exhausted even after a full night’s sleep.
Keeping a gentle, low-stress routine is best when your illness is severe. I was unable to keep up with the demands of homeschooling when I first became sick with Lyme disease and so my husband filled in where I needed.
Have plenty of things for your young children to do to keep themselves busy if you need to rest. Have them crawl in bed with you and draw or listen to audiobooks. Older children can read aloud to you, or watch an educational video or Netflix program.
There are many moms who homeschool when they have a serious chronic illness but I’m not aware of many who do it without help.
Mild to Moderate Chronic Illness
For those of you whose chronic illness comes and goes, you’ll be able to create a homeschool schedule that looks much different. I would suggest that you consider two schedules.
The first would be a schedule that you have in place for good days, days when you’re able to accomplish more and possibly even go on a field trip. The second schedule would be for times when your illness flares and you need to rest more.
Planning out a flexible routine versus hourly scheduling will take a huge burden off you and your children. Life with chronic illness is already stressful enough and adding extra stress can actually make your illness worse.
As you write out your routine you would write down the order you would like for subjects to be completed. Include other tasks such as chores and extracurricular activities. You could write down the general flow for your day or at a minimum have a checklist that your child will use each day so that nothing is forgotten. Instead of scheduling subjects by the hour, your routine will look more like a checkoff list. I used a checkoff list as well as a list that I hung up in our school area so that everyone knew what they should be working on.
Maintaining a Balanced Homeschool
Hindsight is 20/20 and as I look back on our homeschool during mine and my children’s illness, I would offer this warning, don’t do too much on the good days! It’s natural to want to cram in double the amount of work on good days, believe me, I caught myself trying to do that all the time. Expecting to catch up on everything is sure to frustrate and exhaust both you and your child.
Rather than doubling up, begin your school year with a plan for accomplishing the most important assignments. This is especially important for those children who are struggling with special needs or chronic illness.
You will have to adjust your expectations both for yourself and for what your homeschool will look like. I used to say, focus on what’s important and skip the fluff but I think our children need some fluff mixed in with their important work so that they can learn to relax and enjoy learning.Click To Tweet
When you are scheduling your homeschool and either you or your child has a chronic illness, try to have a relaxed homeschool with a schedule that looks and functions more like a very loose and flexible routine. Scheduling this way will facilitate plenty of time for rest and healing for the one who is sick and it will take the pressure off of everyone so that when learning resumes on the good days it can be productive and enjoyable.
You can do this! You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing so focus only on what works for your homeschool!