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why i may homeschool, and why i have not yet homeschooled

I was homeschooled from second grade on through highschool. I graduated in the spring of 1997, a year earlier than I would have had I gone to public school. I could have graduated even earlier than that, had I applied myself more.

It was a relatively positive experience considering the home enviroment I grew up in. I really enjoyed being able to learn at my own pace and not spend 8 hours a day in school. I also enjoyed that we could take a lot of field trips, taking our school work with us to parks, and really enjoy the close family time together every day. I do credit homeschooling for the reason my brother and I are so close.

My “classroom” was ever changing. We schooled at the dinner table, on the couch, on the floor, outdoors, at the park, at the zoo – but my favorite classroom was the sun room in one of our many houses we lived in growing up. I loved that room. To this day I wish for a sun room like that one. It was so warm, so much beautiful light flowing in, right off the deck. I could spend hours in there reading and learning and baking in the cozy sun.

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Even with the positive experiences I had with homeschooling, I’ve not yet homeschooled any of my three boys. I seriously considered it with my oldest son when he grew into being school aged. I researched distance learning schools and different types of homeschool learning and even support groups. I dreamed about it and hoped for it…

However, I became chronically ill with Lyme disease shortly before he was to begin school and knew I wouldn’t be able to give him the educational experience he needed, and deserved. Most day I couldn’t get off the couch, many days I couldn’t even stand to make breakfast.

I remember days when I crawled to the bathroom, laid down on the hard concrete front steps while my children played on the drive-way with their bikes, and lived in a complete daze – total brain fog and even crippling depression. Homeschooling was not an option at the time.

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{how you’d typically find me in that first year of treatment}

Public school has been relatively positive for my oldest son. Aside from a few negative experiences with other children, the actual educational experience has been good. He is a natural learner and really enjoys school. It’s been a huge blessing. I believe God knew I needed this for my son because of my health problems and gave me a first born who was a natural learner, one who could thrive in the typical schooling environment.

Because my oldest son has had a good experience at school, we put my middle son into public school as well. And though his experience hasn’t been the same, its been pretty good. He would probably thrive better in a different learning environment but he is still doing quite well, and learning the ropes. So for the time being, I’m content with them being in public school… that could change at any moment, but for now, it’s all good.

I am, however, considering homeschooling my youngest son though and this is why: he is sick with Lyme disease also.

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He struggles daily, still. He’s been in treatment two years and there’s no real end in sight. He sleeps a lot. At least three hours a day. He cries often, struggles with rage, and impulse control issues. Noises bother him and he fatigues easily. He’s very smart and would thrive in any schooling enviroment, I believe, but his body is limiting him in how he can be schooled. Spending a few hours a day in preschool might be a viable option, however, if things continue the way they have been, he will not be ready for all day school next year.

Maybe I’m jumping the gun. Maybe he’ll be cured by then. And maybe he won’t. I really would like to prepare for his future and give him the best possible education for his health needs and personality. And quite honestly, at this point in his healing journey, I believe being schooled at home would be his best bet.

I am not healed yet. I am not cured. I am not completely well. I struggle with fatigue still. I deal with a lot of health issues just like my son does. Having said that, I am much better than I was when my oldest was about to begin school and we had to make a decision about his schooling. I recently purchased a few pre-k workbooks to practice with. We’ll see how that goes. And we don’t have to make any final decisions until next year. I am still praying that he’ll be completely healed and ready for an all day school by next year but I am also not naive, I know this disease is often extremely difficult, if not impossible, to cure, so I have to start thinking about these options and issues now.

I’m sure our schooling experience would look different than many others. We’d have to work around our illnesses, and do what we could when we could, and there might even be days where we didn’t get much more than a couple hours of work done, but I’m completely devoted to giving him the best education possible, one that works for him and his needs.

It’s something I’m praying about and hoping for a clear cut answer from God about. So tell me, if you homeschool a child with special needs/health problems – how has that been for you and your child? I would love some insight from other mothers who have been there, done that.

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