- Lusi Austin
HOMESCHOOLING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS
Today’s not a good day pain and inflammation wise.
It’s not the worst of days but it’s not the best either.
I could feel it throughout the night. My right hip was aching when I turned in the light part of my sleep.
When I actually woke up to start the day, my knee felt like someone had hit it with a hammer. My left elbow was so sore that just to rest it on the table was impossible. My right knee felt inflamed and hurt to walk up stairs. I had to take one stair at a time and hold on to something as I climbed each one. I had swelling and bloating in my stomach. In short, I was in pain and discomfort before the day had really begun.
In case you are wondering why things are like this right now, I will say that this has all coincided with a drop in my steroids and an increase in my immunosuppressant. It is something that has happened before for me in my journey with Systemic Lupus and previously with ITP but I had been hoping it wouldn’t happen again. Maybe it’s just a one off bad pain day today. I don’t know yet. Maybe it’s more of a pain-kind-of-season.
What happens on days like today when homeschooling still needs to go on?
Well, it’s what happens to anyone when you have kiddos at home and are feeling under the weather. You do whatever you need to get through. Some days like this we do lots of bed-school or lounge-school; we learn from the lounge or bed. Some days we watch movies or have resting time. Some days it all gets a bit too much for everyone.
This morning Miss 12 (Zippi) showed me some new fashion designs she’d be working on. She’d sourced the template and then designed over it herself. She happily showed me what she had created. The kids did some chores before we left the house. All examples of natural learning.
We had a few errands to run so we did those early in the morning. We made a list and went for it. We went to the local church book fair (first one since Covid hit). Zippi posted some letters too. I did minimal walking and had time to have a cuppa at my fave café with the kids. The kids chose books (more Trixie Belden, books on Ancient China for Zippi and some Mr Men for Mr 9 (Zeeki)).
By the time I got home, I was wrecked and in pain. I had to rest again while the kids had their lunch and did some quiet poetry reading together in my bed.
We read a beautiful War poem called ‘Lights Out’ by Edward Thomas. We discussed the themes of death and light. We talked about subject matter, about the stanzas and the rhyming pattern. We discussed how it was written perhaps from the point of view of a soldier given that it was written in 1916 during World War I.
Once rested and with meds under my belt, we tidied up a little together and then read outside under our fave trees. We were still ticking off learning outcomes (and actually just learning awesome things!) but we were doing so at a pace that suited us all.
The flow of our days reflects the flow of our lives and the flow of our learning is the end result of it all.
Even if you don’t have chronic illness, know that the seasons of life come in various shades and colours and at times, catch us off guard. Over the years we have had seasons of pain, of depression, of post-diagnosis and needing time to get our heads around things. We’ve had seasons of sorrow and of new life, of worry and of hardship. We’ve walked out seasons of adventure and travel, of celebration and of death.
At home, our kiddos have experienced all these things right alongside us. They are doing life with us and get to see the seasons of life in all their beauty and fragility.
Maybe right now all you can do is feed your kids a bowl of cereal for dinner. Don’t worry. This season won’t last forever.
Maybe your kiddo is always pulling at you and “neeeeeeed”-ing you for something! I know it’s hard right now but this season truly won’t last forever.
Maybe you feel like you haven’t read enough books to your child, they haven’t written enough or you worry that they haven’t mastered their times tables.
Don’t worry, friend. ALL kids learn in their own time. Yes some need explicit instruction and help in various areas. You’ll work out what they need as the days go by. That will come.
Seasons flow with time too. They help us find a flow in life.
There’ll be a season where you’ll be able to manage more hearty meals.
There’ll be a season where you’ll find read alouds less challenging.
There’ll be a season where writing comes more easily to them and you notice they actually enjoy it.
Do whatever you need to get through.
I pray that if you are struggling today, there’ll be arms that uplift you and help you carry your load.
I pray you find joy in some small thing.
I pray that you are reminded that you are not alone.