I have hardly posted here, or even checked the forums, in probably close to a year. Yesterday God promted me to come back and update my email address and check in again. I wasn't even sure what I was "looking for" here but really felt I needed to come back. My account was reactivated today and I just posted about our ECC year here
, including how we handle my health limitations. Immediately after posted that, I just read your post and now I know why God wanted me back here. :)
I've lived with CFIDS (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome) for nearly 18 years and the past year has been a significant relapse, so very hard. I've also entered a research study that has required what seems like a full-time job sometimes in medical testing and appointment schedules (and of course all that testing is in and of itself exhausting, not to mention time-consuming). I've questioned over and over and over if we are still where God wants us to be as far as homeschooling. (And though my husband, parents and in-laws have all been very gentle and encouraging, I know that they each have questioned more than once as well.) I've prayed, and I've wrestled and sometimes felt like giving up. And just when I think "I'm not giving them what they need!" God always sends some beautiful moment or breakthrough to remind me that yes, this is still exactly where He has called us. In my weakness, His strength shines brightest!
From a realistic standpoint, I look at my friends who send their children off to school and realize that there is physically a lot of work in getting them out the door each day, packing lunches, driving (if needed) to and from, being sure all the clothes and backpack and everything is set each day. These are all things I can do in a much more relaxed and physically/mentally less demanding way because we are at home. And homework!!!
Many of these kids come home with as many hours of homework as we put into our whole school day, so while I might have a few semi-restful hours each day while the older kids are away, we would still be "schooling" in the afternoons/evening anyway, when none of us are fresh or at our best. And of course I couldn't just "send them off" as I would absolutely want to be in the classroom as much as possible.
So in the end, especially after talking with another friend who also has sever health strugges and has tried both home and traditional schooling alternatives, I truly believe that homeschooling is the least physically demanding choice we could make. No, it certainly isn't easy, and at times it seems absolutely overwhelming, but God continually provides for our needs and we are finding creative ways to accomplish what we need to do. I am learning to let go of feeling I need to "do it all" and set my goal to making sure my kids are learning, growing and "moving forward" with a fairly ballanced education and not stressing over the parts of the programs that we don't get done. Part of the beauty of this 5 year cycle is that I know each of the kids will have at least some of these units twice when they are at different levels of understanding, and that also helps me feel less preasure that we have to "get it all" this one time around.
I also really appreciate our local homeschool co-op, for even though it takes a lot out of me to go, by having my kids there one afternoon a week, 22 weeks out of the year, I know they are receiving other things I just don't have it in me to give them and they are learning and being blessed so this is a blessing to me![/url]
One of my favorite resources:
Rest Ministries is a HUGE organization that partners with other groups like Joni and Friends. It was started by a dear friend of mine, Lisa Copen, and has been amazing to watch God bless this ministry and use it to bless so many around the world who are struggling with chronic pain and health issues. The homeschool support branch is described like this:
- "If you're a Christian parent who lives with chronic illness and you have also been "called" to homeschool, you've found a place to call home! We will encourage you, pray with you, motivate you and most of all, help you remember that God knows your limitations and wants you to find rest in the midst of sticky hands and math equations! Over 100 women participate on a daily basis, sharing prayer, ideas, recipes and lots more!"
I haven't been to that website in quite some time either, but maybe I should start posting again there too...