I have a progressive illness that keeps me from doing as well in homeschool as I’d like to with my children. The medications I must take make me very sleepy, and I am hospitalized at times. We’ve done school around my bed many days but I am worried that my children are falling behind academically and I feel like I’m slowing sinking. I just feel so far behind, and wonder if I’m doing the right thing to keep them home.
My first thought in response to your question (if you are doing the right thing to keep them home) is that only God can answer that question, and it may be different today than in the future. We really have to rely so much on his inspiration to us. It is challenging to deal with what life dishes out to us, and yet, God knows what He is doing. We can only trust Him.
Your love for your children is the most important ingredient for raising a successful person. But there is a point if we are not doing well, when we do them a favor to put them in a situation where they can progress more. Explore options, not just public school. I do not know if you have reached that point. Give to your children the things that only you can give—love, caring concern, a listening ear, moral values, feeling they are special . . . and that is enough. You don’t have to do all the teaching load in order to homeschool. You just have to be the one that makes the decisions about their education, whether it is at home or elsewhere. And that may be possible even if you are not feeling well.
One thing that I may suggest if you continue to homeschool is to use all the help you can afford. There are marvelous computer programs, online educational games, even online curriculum programs that can sub for you being the teacher. One computer program I have been using is DIVE along with Saxon Math. It is such an effective tutor and I
have been “retired” now some years as far as teaching my kids math. The computer tutor does such a good job of it, they really don’t need me anymore. They are progressing marvelously on their own with the DIVE program and their Saxon books. If you live near a university or college, you may be able to hire a college student who will tutor your children in any subject you choose.
When I have been in difficult pregnancies, I have taught my children to school each other somewhat, and been amazed at how capable they really are. They can give each other spelling tests, do flashcards with each other, etc. When times are rough, you can move into a supervisory role, rather than the teacher. They can even take turns reading aloud and you can be the recipient, and put in your 2 cents of wisdom or word definition when needed and you can all still enjoy read aloud without you doing the reading.
Get things as automated as possible so they can go on “cruise control” without needing you ever present. Make using their student planners a daily habit. You can write up the whole week’s assignments and gather the needed extra books, videos, or supplies for the week (or assign them to gather them) and then you have them just bring the planner to you at the end of each school day and you can check that they’ve done and corrected their work. It is fun to be involved in all of the reading, school learning, etc. but it is not essential. You can oversee things in short, manageable sessions, and they can work daily on their own. I have worked with my kids through rough times healthwise, and been amazed to come downstairs to the schoolroom at 11 a.m. on a “bad day” for me, only to find them all dressed and working away diligently on their math or English. I’m surprised but when I question them, they say, “Well, this is what we have always done every day. We didn’t think of doing anything else!” Of course, the younger they are, the less likely this is, but over age 10 or 11, I have found them to be “trained” and pretty self-motivated.
Rather than using your voice and energy, rely on electronics. The kids can learn states and capitals through geography CDs and they can practice math facts on the computer or with other self-correcting “games” such as Wrap-Ups. There are lots of “mom extender” products that I rely on. They can be a blessed assistant when Mom is not feeling capable of doing the teaching. There is a time and a place for these, and it may be now for you.
Don’t underestimate the fact that there are very meaningful lessons to be learned from being close to someone who faces challenges. I felt sorry for my children the year I was pregnant with Louisa, as my pregnancy (at age 42) nearly incapacitated me and my homeschool was far from ideal. But looking back, my children grew in ways I could never stretch them with math facts or geography studies.
May the Lord bless you to have the courage and strength needed!
May I recommend: