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new on empowher: "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Homeschooling: Can They Go Together?"

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Jody, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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  2. liverock

    liverock Senior Member

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    Jody,

    Sounds like you are speaking from experience regarding CFS and Homeschooling. Where you doing any Home schooling after you became ill ?

    Do the Education Authorities carry out any checks on Education standards in home schooled children ?

    In the UK Homeschooling is allowed but frowned on and is not encouraged. What is the attitude in Canada.?

    I think a lot of parents welcome the break from their children that normal schooling provides and would find the 24 hour a day attention that would be required for Homeschooling to be too much for them. On the other hand you have the reward of seeing a child make the progress that perhaps he would not make in normal schooling environment.

    Any budding geniuses in your classes? :D
  3. river

    river

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    I actually have read that the creators of homeschooling actually meants unschooling.
    They say they didn't mean to recreate at home the school system with all its curriculum, grades, schedule but actually considered that system flawed and mediocro and what they thought is that when not influenced by a systen or reward or punishment, children (and humans in general) are natural learners and find somethng everyday they wish to learn and know more about if they're motivated enough and as long as there's no external threat or reward, they are. So actually the non-school system supports the self-teaching of children, learning becomes living and living becomes learning without any specific moment or schedule for one or the other.
  4. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    Hi river,

    There are lots of different approaches to homeschooling, and unschooling is definitely one of them.

    We started out pretty regimented our first year and hated it, as did our son (our only pupil at the time -- the other kids were either toddlers, or not born yet:D). Over the next few years we became less and less institutionalized in our approach.

    This was easier for us than it would be for some because the actual government requirements where we live are minimal. Which we and our homeschool support group helped to clarify for our area.

    We'd been "required" by the schools for some years to have our kids do this test or that, hand in certain material ... till we learned that this was not required by our Education Act and we made a point of letting local homeschoolers, and the schools, know about this.

    I was a homeschool liaison with the local school board for many years. :D

    After I got sick, I clung to my belief that the less formal, less institutional way was best, because we had to really swing hard in that direction from that point on. It was that or put them in school which I was not prepared to do.

    We homeschooled our 5 kids from the beginning. Nobody went to high school. It's alot of work but if I had it to do over again I would do it without hesitation.
  5. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    liverock,

    We started homeschooling in 1987 when our oldest was five. I had my first taste of CFS in 1992, when it would hit for 6 wks then disappear -- about twice a year, triggered by a cold each time. Most of the year I was fine though, we'd just have to quit school for those 6 wk periods, then resume.

    That changed in 1999, when it moved in full-time. I started really down-sizing my role, fortunately the oldest was 17 and youngest was 9, so it was possible to have the older ones do their own stuff more, and help the younger. Things got very difficult but I was still convinced it was the right choice.

    In Ontario the Education Act is very minimalist in its requirements. We learned after the first few years that there were essentially no tests or evaluations required, so we stopped providing any. Other provinces are more stringent. And of course, if people in an area don't know that requirements are minimal (ie., if their schoolboard doesn't broadcast that fact and they don't hear it from a homeschool support group) they will end up doing whatever they are told is required. But that's another story.:rolleyes:

    When we first started 23 yrs ago (is my math right? Wow!:eek:) it was considered pretty weird by and large. Not quite so much these days ... but still weird. But a tolerated weird.:D

    It's alot of work but at least it is your own rules and work. Not a teacher or school that arbitrarily is telling you what your child must do. If for instance your kid isn't ready to be able to read, it's no pressure at home ... you wait until signs show that they are ready. But it can be torture for that kid in school where it is hit upon every day.

    So more work, but you choose your own, and less interference from outside to burn up your energy and peace of mind.

    One who tested in the 90th percentile for Ontario but has not chosen to go to college or university. One who went to college and didn't like what she was taking, and has opted for now to waitress as she travels the country. One who is married with two kids. One who graduated with honours from the Early Childhood Education program and works in daycare (ironic, considering she was homeschooled.:D). And one who is home with cfs -- but at least when he got sick at 16 we didn't have pressure and complications from dealing with sending him to school or not.
  6. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    I homeschooled my daughter for all her life up to university. Since she and I both had the sudden onset of ME/CFS when she was 12yo, we homeschooled 5 years while we were both ill, although not terribly so. Our first ME/CFS doc said that my daughter probably got into and stayed mostly in remission for those years because we homeschooled. Even though we weren't diagnosed for about 4 years, the flexibility of homeschooling allowed us to take pressure off her when she wasn't well, and work harder when she was in remission. If she had had to deal with rigid school schedules, including testing schedules that don't account for varying degrees of health, she probably would have been sicker much sooner.

    We loved homeschooling.
  7. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    I agree with everything Jody says here.

    My daughter graduated high school a year early with 2 semesters of college chemistry (from community college) and Calculus 1,2,3 and Differential Equations. She was accepted to a top-ranked engineering program and has been very successful so far. She couldn't have done that in a public or private group-schooling environment, especially not with ME/CFS.

    Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but it does have distinct advantages for kids with ME/CFS. Maybe their parents, too. ;)
  8. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    sickofcfs,

    It's good to hear from someone else who has homeschooled.:Retro smile:

    Congratulations on the job you and your daughter did, sounds like it's gone well for her, at least where schooling is concerned. Health may be another matter.

    After Jesse got sick I was grateful that we had kept him home. I can't imagine what it would have done to him, trying to go to school, the stress of worrying about whether to go or stay home, and the pressures from the school over time missed.

    We basically ended up just stopping everything. He was so sick he could hardly lift his head. If I didn't put the food in front of him he didn't eat. And even then if there was too much on a plate he was too overwhelmed to take a bite. It was terrifying.

    Because we hadn't opted for the school system, cessation just seemed the natural logical choice. He's 20 now, so not normally considered high school material. But we are so used to being off the grid that when the time comes that he is able to have a larger life, it will seem natural and logical for us to seek out the best options for him and help him to implement them.

    If, in the worst case scenario, he doesn't get to that stage, ... he will just stay with us. Again, natural and logical. With no intrusion from any institution trying to tell us what he "should" be able to do.
  9. Babs41

    Babs41

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    Wow, Jody what a timely post! God always sends me things I need when I need. I am just beginning to look into homeschooling my two kids (15, 9) for various reasons. I see many benefits for my kids and for myself and our family in general. I may not be able to envision the "dark side" ;]. My husband travels for business and is away three months at a time and I figure homeschooling would free us up to spend more time with him at his location. Public school is slowly sucking the good life out of me and the kids as they are both developing negative attitudes. I am an out of the box thinker, my husband in the box thinker. He worries that since we are both with this illness (he has more energy than I, but it does get used for the job) we may not be able to handle it. We live only five miles from the schools and I spend 2 1/2 hours daily driving my kids back and forth to school because of heavy traffic. I also have to wake up at 5:30am to have my daughter at school for 7am which just kills me. I think dropping this schedule alone would be of great benefit to me to help conserve more energy. I am looking to use the K12 online curriculum.

    Any advice from you or any homeschoolers out there that would help keep me moving in the right direction, tips, or other information you might deem important would be sooooooo appreciated! Bring it on!
  10. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    She's been on Valcyte since Feb and is doing very well. Tonight she walked with an engineering club in the homecoming parade -- at least a mile! :eek: She seems fine, though. So we're feeling good about her homeschooling and her health at the moment. ;)

    I can't imagine how terrifying it would be to have a kid that sick! You and Jesse have my utmost sympathy. It would be awful to have to be fighting the school system on top of that.
  11. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    I've worked with quite a few homeschooled kids in cooperative classes and tutoring. One thing to be aware of is that most kids need a year of "deschooling" -- time to adjust to homeschooling after they've been in school a long time -- before they get into the full swing. Google it to find out more. :D Make sure you connect with a local homeschooling group and get your kids involved as quickly as possible. You'll get a lot of support from other homeschooling parents and the kids will get the social interaction they need. They might have some cooperative classes your kids could take part in.

    Make sure you know your state's homeschooling regulations before you take your kids out of school. Some states are really picky and you could get yourself in trouble if you don't do the right paperwork.

    There are many better ways to homeschool than an online curriculum, but it might be a good way to start. :thumbsup: Once you're all more used to it, you can work on a different educational style, if you like.

    If you can travel with your husband, you can create some wonderful educational opportunities for your kids.

    Good luck!
  12. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    What a great moment for your daughter. And for you.:D

    It was terrifying in the beginning. I checked on him every hour or so to make sure he was still breathing. Horrible.

    That was almost four years ago. He is still not well but he is better than he was. We found out two years ago his teeth were full of cavities -- so therefore, infection -- and he needed a root canal.

    One of the hazards of being sick and broke for long periods is, nobody goes to the dentist. Jess paid for that big-time. But between credit cards and a benevolent local dentist who offered his services for free for local low-income families last year, we got all the cavities taken care of, and the root canal.

    There are the worries about what they might be putting in his mouth but ... we had to do something about all that rot and infection so we just went ahead and hope for the best.

    We are trying to build up his immune system, and improve his digestive system. He's on B12 and vit D, which seem to help. (He can't hack many supplements at a time so we choose them carefully.)

    We were glad not to have had to deal with a school amidst all this.
  13. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    Babs,

    Sounds like a good opportunity, to homeschool and be with your husband. Good for the family and broadens the kids' horizons.

    Sickofcfs has a lot of good stuff in her post. Can't improve on it.:D
  14. Babs41

    Babs41

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    Jody, Sickofcfs,

    Thanks for the info! I'll put it to good use.

    Babs
  15. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    Yes, I can't begin to describe how thrilling it is to see her getting better.

    Have you been able to try any sublingual supplements with Jesse? Having digestive problems is bad enough -- having to avoid meds and supplements that might help just makes it worse.

    Your family has been through so much! You have our sympathy. We will be thinking of you and wish you all the best.
  16. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    sickofcfs,

    I appreciate your sentiments.:Retro smile:

    Our B12 is sublingual.

    Are there other ones you're thinking of?
  17. 3CFIDS@ourhouse

    3CFIDS@ourhouse still me

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    Wow! It was amazing to find other homeschooling CFS folks out there! We began homeschooling our oldest in 1987, when it was still very unusual. When I got sick in 2000 we were still schooling two at home. My husband took over as I was too ill to sit up or talk much. After I got sick, our middle child made the decision to go to a small private school at age 16- it was strange sending him off to school for the first time ever! (He just completed medical school, so I guess those years of homeschooling were adequate preparation!) My husband got sick in 2002, and after that we just did what we could. Our youngest got sick in 2003. For two years, she was a part of a homeschool co-op one morning a week- it completely wiped her out to go for 3-4 hours, and she could not attend any of the afternoon sessions. There are so many online options now. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that students can make use of community resources, other adults who have special knowledge or skills, and can pursue their own special interests. It is definitely a challenge when both parents are sick, but so many benefits!
  18. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    B12 was the main one I was thinking about. I've also taken glutathione sublingually. There are many supplements in sublingual form at iherb.com. Many of them are Source Natural products. I know they have a number of B vitamins and melatonin. More than 20 pages of products come up if you search "sublingual".

    I have heard that some people take their transfer factor products sublingually by opening the capsules and putting the powder under their tongues. As I remember it, they mostly did it in order to start at really low doses if one capsule gave them too many side effects.

    It sounds like anything you can do to avoid irritating Jesse's digestive system would be good. :D
  19. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    The homeschool world is growing rapidly, isn't it? :D

    Homeschooling makes so much sense for kids with ME/CFS. Maybe not so easy for us parents, but I think dealing with the schools and the social stresses that kids encounter in middle and high school would have been a big energy drain, too. ;)

    Yeah, community resources are wonderful. My daughter learned her biology and chemistry from a homeschooling mom with an MS in biology, english from a homeschooling mom who teaches english at the community college, and her math and physics from me (MS engineering and former college engineering instructor). And there are lots of other times when she learned from other people in the community-- park rangers, museum docents, native speakers of different languages, artists.... So many opportunities. :D

    I always laugh at people's ideas of homeschooling. My husband used to joke that HOMEschooling was a misnomer -- we were never at home, lol!

    When my daughter was about 10yo, we were out at a restaurant after a visit to some museum. The middle-aged waitress asked rather scoldingly why she wasn't in school. My daughter replied, "I'm homeschooled." The waitress answered, "That means you never go to school?" to which my daughter replied, "No, it means I'm always in school." :D Education is life, not drudgery.
  20. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    Hi 3CFIDS@ourhouse,

    It's great to see homeschooling showing up more and more, isn't it. :D

    Definitely the way to go for a sick kid.

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