anchored

Suggestions: Chronically ill child, working mom, traveling dad, sonlight

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anchored

Hi,

 

We used Sonlight 5 years ago when we were schooling all 3 of our children.  Now our dd is off to college and our older ds is in public school - high school. 

 

Our youngest 11 yo ds has an immune deficiency and currently other undiagnosed mysteries. He was in public school for several good reasons but now those are no longer relevant and the ps suggested he take time off, regain strength and then resume; probably repeat 5th grade. Much could be said here, generally they were very supportive and understanding, but between my working 3 days and dad traveling for work the tutoring wasn't helping and he had too many gaps and they weren't filling them.  We all agreed that switching to hs was the best plan for him - not often a ps supports that!

 

I get two days a week with him and it looks like one of those each month will be interrupted by his infusion and several doctor appointments that are coming up. The other days he comes to work with me at the pediatric physical therapy clinic that I work at. I get very little time with him on those days and he has to be very independent, do school, take care of his emotional support puppy who is still in potty training, and he visits with those in the waiting room. We live in a small town so people always know each other wherever you go.  

 

Because he often doesn't feel well and can go up and down literally in minutes as to how he is feeling we see a tendency toward not tackling anything that seems hard.  We suspect that he feels like he has been and has done enough hard (and he certainly has done a lot of hard) and so tends to scoot around it when he can or he hasn't learned to be self directed yet, but I'm not sure how to teach that when I'm not even in the same room as him. 

 

I'd like to return to Sonlight next fall and I'm trying to put together a picture of what that would look like and strategies others have tried.  I'm sure I'm not the only working mom to hs on this forum and I'm surely not the only one with a chronically ill kiddo.

 

Thanks so much - looking forward to some fresh ideas!

 

 

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AnnikaC

Hi anchored,

 

We pulled our oldest out of public school back in 1st grade after he was dx with a chronic illness. He was missing way too many school days and he was so miserable from being sick all the time.  We had a lot of support from the school when we made the switch since they thought homeschooling would be best for his health. I remember I struggled a lot with the decision but in the end I think we had a pretty good reason to turn to homeschooling.

 

As far as being a more independent student, I write on a lot of notecards and post-its for the kids. Every workbook, reader, and worksheet has a notecard or post-it on it from me. I prepare the notes the night before. Depending on how hectic I think (huge guess) my day is going to be, I may write a lot of directions on the cards or very little. Often I try to estimate how many minutes I think a task might take for them and I write that on their cards too, then they have little fridge timers they set.  I find the timers help them stay on task. For the most part it works well, esp for my oldest who loves to read but not so much for my middle child so I have to tweak it a little for him. Middle child sits a lot with me during the day. However, I do need to devote time to the other 2 kids so middle child gets a little more video/internet learning (Khan Academy, Watchknowlearn, Bill Nye). He still has reading/workbook independent time with his timer but he is on a lower core than what his peers might be doing, but that's ok. 

 

I don't know if this helps or will even work for other kids. I hope you find out some good ideas and I truly hope your son feels better.  It is very difficult to be sick so much :(

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anchored

Thought I might update this thread as we homeschooled from February to now - July.  What we found was that we needed to move through the motions of school, some consistency in schedule and such but we needed to do a lot of little field trips - walks in the woods observing, went to see a fish ladder, went to old public school field trip sights to see how things had changed and if he could find the same things.  In June he had his first ah-ha! just dug into a topic that interested him (it was a fabric state map with birds and flowers and he noticed some were shared - how many states have the cardinal as their state bird?). Small moment but huge.  He had been totally burned out.  If you switch plan to deschool and give them a chance to rediscover a love of learning.

 

Next we had to figure out how to develop some perseverance and independent learning.  Over the summer he came to the realization that he does need to put in effort, he is going into 6th grade and doesn't want to be left behind from his peers. Now to help him translate that to working when he doesn't feel well - we started developing a chart from 1 to 5. He struggles a lot with fatigue and generally has a pain level of 3-4 out of 10 on any given day. He has a headache every day.

1 - no energy, may actually be sick (virus), body pain - joint aches, headache very elevated

2 - not a good day but can do something (maybe spelling but a new math concept isn't going to fly, educational videos - light learning but learn)

3 - medium energy, his average pain level - for him should be a full day but will need breaks and pacing, may nap, etc.

4 - better than usual energy - pain 1 to 2/5 - good day to get work done, catch up some and also have some fun - we aren't here often so let's enjoy it as well.

5 - full energy, feels good - we are never but maybe 1 or 2 summer days so we didn't bother with defining it.  I think we would can school and go outside and celebrate!

 

Create a problem solving tree:  math - I don't understand the lesson and mom is working. Listen to lesson again, check it out on Khan Academy, purple math or any other resource we have come up with. Step back from it for a little bit.  Take a movement break. Come back and try again.  Still don't get it, then move it to the need mom list and move on to a new subject.

 

We went to Teaching Textbook for math - visually friendly with large print and material spaced out. Sequential spelling for independent spelling lessons. Young Explorers for science as that has an audio cd that matches the book. We get any Sonlight book we can as audio and I am researching how to get them in large print. I may scan them and manipulate them that way in order to manuall adjust the print size. It is a work in progress.

 

We surely do not have all the kinks worked out but we came a long way in understanding our son and he is taking ownership of himself. All super things.

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