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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>A few months ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. As we try out various treatment options, it's become evident that I fall on the severe end of the spectrum and that I may also fall in that 15% who don't respond to meds. I was hospitalized last week after my symptoms got out of control, and we realized that I need a lot more bedrest than I'm currently getting. I did slow down a lot this semester -- I've been homeschooling my daughter, who just turned 6, and my son, who is 4. We pulled out of all co-ops, limited my driving to within 20 minutes of our house, cut down on playgroups and activities, and did more at home (for the first time ever we were actually HOMEschooling!). This has been fine with ds, who's pretty happy if we only go out a couple times a week, but dd clearly needs more social stimulation than she's gotten the last few months. DH wants me to seriously consider putting the kids in public school for the spring semester. Which starts in just over two weeks. Where's the tearing out the hair smiley?!<br><br>
His reasons are sound. I landed my butt in the hospital last week and he's rightfully freaked out and clearly I do need more downtime than I've been getting. And dd needs way more social stimulation than she's been getting this semester. We tried out a quieter schedule with more days at home and it's just not working for her. I get that. Maybe I'm just being stubborn, but I still don't think public school is the best thing for the kids, even if it would provide me with several hours of bed rest each day. I have concerns about putting ds in that setting at all. He has SPD and we went through the IEP process with the local school system last year and they weren't able to meet his needs. He's come a long way in the past year, but I just don't know if he'll enjoy the experience. I also have concerns about putting dd into first grade mid-year, with social groups already established. There are pros and cons to any choice we make here, but I'm trying really hard to find other options.<br><br>
If we can find the money and if they are willing to accept a new student or two mid-year, there's an option called The Learning Collective in our town that would be a good fit for where the kids are at right now, I think. They know a lot of the kids there already and I like how the cooperative has developed over the past year. It's basically drop-off homeschooling -- they've hired a teacher who runs a multi-age group three times a week, with a lot of Montessori and Waldorf influence on the curriculum. Two big <em>ifs,</em> though -- the money and the space in the program. I could also put dd in our local homeschooling co-op on Wednesdays, and we have a volunteer mother's helper on Mondays. That would provide social interaction for dd five days a week and have her out of the house without me three days a week, so I would get some rest time. DS could possibly go to both programs, too. So there are definitely options.<br><br>
A lot of it depends on how I respond to my new med regimen, and I'm not going to know that for another two or three weeks. That really puts us past the deadline for registering for anything. And sometime in the next month or two, I'm going in for outpatient surgery to do some muscle biopsies. Depending on how many biopsies they do and where they are, I might end up on crutches for a week or so. Gack.<br><br>
I wish I knew when I'm having the biopsies done, when the med changes will fully kick in, how I respond, etc., so that we can go ahead and make plans for the next semester and feel like we've made the best decision for our family. Right now anything we decide is based on guesswork and that's kind of scary. I really want to continue homeschooling, but we need to change our approach pretty drastically if we do, because this isn't working right now.</p>
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<p>Thoughts?</p>
 

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<p>I'd stick with homeschooling, but perhaps go with a more unschooling type approach. At that age it won't hurt to take a semester off while things get ironed out, and then catch up in summer maybe or later on. We did that this semester due to family health issues, and in the younger grades it really doesn't make much difference from what I've seen. I would keep working with your son since you said he has SPD.</p>
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<p>Is there maybe another local HS family that would allow your daughter to do classes and attend things with them? I know My parents did that when I was a kid. And honestly it may just take your daughter a little while to adjust to less social events and more at home stuff.</p>
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<p>I don't think public school is the answer - by the time you factor in getting the kids to and from every day, plus events, plus homework, school meetings, etc you probably wouldn't get any more bedrest that you already are. Maybe even less.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<p>I have similar concerns about the logistics of putting both kids in school. DD and DS would be going to two different schools -- two different schedules, different locations for various conferences and meetings, etc. DD's school would be at the end of our street, but the preschool program DS would attend is clear across the city.</p>
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<p>We fall pretty close to the unschooling end of the spectrum as it is, and following DD's lead is what drew us to doing so many activities and co-ops over the last couple of years. DS is getting old enough to establish his own preferences, and is generally pretty happy to hang out at home, but DD has always had a *really* high drive to be social and that seems to be an integral part of her personality. She may adjust to being at home so much in a general way, but it's really not serving her needs. I'm starting to think that the kids really deserve to have some time away from my illness. I hadn't thought about it that way before, but a friend gently pointed out that side of the equation last night and it really struck home.</p>
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<p>I'm still struggling with this. I want what's best for my children. As much as it breaks my heart, I'm not able to provide that myself right now. I know it's not forever, but I'm still trying really hard to think of creative options. On Wednesdays, I do think it might be possible to have DD "adopted" for the day by one of the other families at the co-op -- I've come to know a pretty big group of them and they're all awesome folks. DS might not be up for that, but we could give it a try. I think that would work if we also did The Learning Collective. I still have no idea if we can pull the money together, but it would be worth making a push for, over public school. I sent an e-mail off today and I'm hoping to hear back within a few days about whether or not enrolling mid-year is even a possibility. I promised DH I'd e-mail the coordinator for the preschool program and the contact for the elementary school this weekend as well, but I haven't done it yet.</p>
 

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<p>Does this have to be an all or nothing thing?  If your son is fine being at home, could your daughter go to school and your son stay home? That would avoid the problem of having two different school schedules, and you also wouldn't have to get him to and from preschool all the way across town.</p>
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<p>Is there a way you could make having him at home compatible with your health needs? How understanding are the other parents you've been doing things with?</p>
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<p>Or is there perhaps a preschool closer to your home?</p>
 

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<p>could you find some curriculum that is more hands off?  I just started Story of the World with dd for Social Studies and while we do not have the audio that goes with it (because she can read and comprehend it). The part that requires me doesn't take much time at all.  What about using the Math U See videos and just pushing the start/stop button when you need to (I've not done this but people talk about the videos so I'm assuming it's possible. I'm sure there are other examples.  I'm having a rough pregnancy and we sometimes school in my bed.  DD does her work and I've been know nto dose off a little until I'm needed.  She seems to be thriving. She's a little older but it works.  My just turned 5 year old occupies herself with her "lessons" and also plays quite a bit during this time.</p>
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<p>Are there other areas which could be run more efficiently in your life? For me, when I was quite sick chronically, the biggest help was moving cups and some plastic dishes to a low cabinet where the kids could reach them.  We did easy lunches that could be heated like a hot dog and veggies and had a nice supper when dh could help me. And again, lots of my teaching during that time was from my bed and the kids were wonderful about it.  When they were younger, dosing wasn't as possible just lying down and resting while I watched them did help.</p>
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<p>Are there classes that dd could go to when dh gets home from work? Is it possible that an older homeschool student could come in a couple of times a week and help out with the kids or household chores?</p>
 

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<p>i agree with the majority. i don't think school is really the answer here. driving the kids around would take up lots of your time all by itself. i would try and find other ways to meet dds needs. honestly, i don't think a large chunk of time every day needs to be taken up with a social activity. i think if you could get a few days in there with some sort of social activity it would be good enough- or at least buy you enough time to figure out a more long- term plan. you could totally slow down on the schooling at this age (or even at an older age imo) for a while and be fine. my dd learns tons just when i read to her or sit with her looking up things online. we only have an hr after i get home from work when i have time to do school stuff before bed and we seem to get everything covered in that time just fine. good luck!</p>
 

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<p>I would pick the option that gives you the most flexibility.  I can tell you right now that any sort of 5 day a week school wouldn't be it, UNLESS maybe your children are bused.  My 5 y.o. is in school and the school is a 7 minute walk or 1 min drive (yes, I drive when it's cold!).  Even though it is so close, it is quite a hassle to go every day.  The combo of the Learning Collective and the Mon/Wed. routines sound really good.  If the LC doesn't work out, I think just the Mon/Wed routine would be enough-- though it would be nice if you could have some help on Fridays, too. </p>
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<p>I am sorry for your health troubles . . .I hope you respond well to the meds!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>After going around and around, dh and I came to the reluctant conclusion that The Learning Collective is just out of our budget right now. They have space for dd, and are willing to be flexible on tuition and logistics (as much as they reasonably can), but we just can't swing it. At the same time, without us mentioning our schooling debate at all, dd asked us if she could try public school for a semester. She's mentioned it before -- her original plan was to give it a try when she was 10, but she's decided that she's a curious girl who likes to explore and wants to see what it's all about now. End quote. This is hard for me, and I'm going to really miss her, but dh pointed out that our essential approach toward learning has been to follow our kids' leads, and if we have a child who is expressing a clear desire to try public school for a semester, and she has sound reasons for doing so, we shouldn't block her from the experience. Granted, if we told her about TLC, she'd probably choose that instead, but she's happy with the option she came up with herself. So...dh is going to stop by the office on the way to work tomorrow and pick up the paperwork.</p>
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<p>I'm trying to look on the bright side. DD will be getting the social time she needs. (And while I acknowledge that for most people, just hanging out for a few months at age 6 wouldn't be a big deal, and even 2-3 days of social activities should be enough -- that's not true in dd's case. She has a **really** high drive for social interaction and could easily go 5+ places a day for several months before needing a down day.) Her timing is impeccable. The new semester's about to start and I do need the rest. DH is planning to join the PTO so that he's in the know, and is going to be making her lunches and bringing her to school in the morning, as well as handling most of the paperwork and homework. DS and I will pick her up in the afternoon and I'll attend any meetings that happen during the workday, but that's about it in terms of what I *need* to do. DH promised that if I miraculously get better or dd isn't enjoying public school, we can pull her out at any time. No arbitrary limits on how long she has to try it. We'll figure something else out if she's unhappy.</p>
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<p>DS has stated clearly that he does not want to sign up for any classes. He's been pretty consistent that he doesn't like teachers because "they tell me what to do." So for now, he and I are going to hang out at home, maybe do a playgroup once or twice a week. If he decides that not having his sister to play with makes it worth trying out a preschool program, we've got a couple inquiries into some local programs that have been recommended by friends.</p>
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<p>None of this is my ideal, or even close, but I'm not even close to my parenting ideal right now, much less my homeschooling ideal. Both my illness and my medications interfere with my ability to function. Sleeping, eating, walking, using my arms and hands, balance, reading, thinking clearly...they're all affected. Hopefully this will change in a matter of weeks, but for now, I have to acknowledge that I'm no longer in a position to work out a creative alternative to public schooling. I'm simply not functional enough at the moment. This is kind of a depressing update, but I figured it was worth updating for the PPs who took the time and energy to post their ideas. Thank you. Your ideas were good and when I get back to the point where I'm functional enough to make them work, I'm going to come back to this thread for inspiration.</p>
 

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<p>well, it sounds like your dd is happy and eager to try ps, and you will have some help with the transportation- so do what you need to get healthy now and don't sweat it :) .</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<p>Thanks. :)</p>
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<p>Of course I woke up this morning feeling pretty good and was able to take dd to her piano lesson, which makes me question our decision all over again. DH reminded me that this is only the third time I've left the house since Christmas, though, and I slept 15 hours yesterday, which is why I'm feeling good today. So it goes. I'm going to enjoy my time with my children while I have it, and then count down the days until February vacation. In the meantime, I'll be doing everything I can to get better.</p>
 

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<p>First off wishing you good health!</p>
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<p>I think it is good to follow the kids lead and let them try a school setting.I let my dd try the local public school 2 times.She ended up disliking it,but atleast she tried it so there was no wondering.Ds liked public but was public over relentless bullying. Years later I have come to the conclusion that my dd will never like any type of schooling.My ds on the other hand seems to like Montessori over other types. I wish they were both the same,so I could just school them at home and not have to drive one/both to school daily.</p>
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<p>Hopefully the public will work out for your.I wish we were not paying thousands a year for private.</p>
 
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