View Full Version : Homeschooling son with chronic illnesses

Andrea Johnson Cusack
03-15-2011, 04:43 PM
I started homeschooling my two boys, 7 and 9, in October. We have been "de-schooling", going on MANY field trips, done some Singapore math, and some writing with Write More. Our 9 year old son was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and autoimmune hepatitis in October (the straw that broke the camel's back for pulling them out of PS). He spent 11 days in the hospital in January, so we have kind of fallen off of the schooling train lately. I can't seem to get into a routine, beacause there are so many days that my son doesn't feel well, but I still hope that they are both managing to learn!


03-15-2011, 05:34 PM
That sounds really stressful! Do they have any ideas what could be causing all of that?

My first thought is, at 7, its not going to do any major harm to go light on the academics still. My 7 yo is doing some Time4Learning, because he can plug in and do it without me when I'm busy, it doesnt require me to be 'on'. for your 9 yo, I wonder if it might be worth getting Discovery Streaming, so even when he isnt feeling well, he can just watch some gentle educational videos? That way, again, he'd be getting some information in, without having to make any effort when he doesnt feel well.

03-15-2011, 06:44 PM
I'm so sorry you have autoimmune issues to cope with. They can be so unpredictable. I echo dbmamaz comment. Do the best you can, your kids don't have to be educated in a single year. Maybe you could create a regular routine and a gentle sick day routine that includes reading aloud by you, lounging on the couch watching videos, chatting about curiosity questions.

Stella M
03-15-2011, 07:01 PM
I agree - have a 'good' day routine and a 'not so good' routine. Books on CD, good DVD's, some fun at- home challenges - check out Lego Quest and Think - will come back to post the links but should come up if you google - easy art projects, outside time when weather permits. Games. Doing school in the big bed! You can learn just as well snuggled into bed with Mama!

I'm sorry your son is unwell. I don't have sick kids but I have immune issues so I know how easily plans can be derailed.

Eta - even at the grand old age of 9! even on a 'not so good day' routine, he'll still be doing some valuable learning, as will his brother. Maybe save the academics you want to do for good days - but adjust your goals. Rather than "We need to get x amount done this year" make it more like "On ds's good days/weeks/months, we'll work on basic skills like literacy and numeracy." Flexibility is the key - and it's a great life lesson for your boys to learn.

03-15-2011, 07:18 PM
I taught a kid who had a severe case of Chron's (at least, it seemed that way to me) back when I was teaching. My sympathies. Welcome to the forum and I hope you find some good resources here.

03-15-2011, 08:07 PM
I'm so sorry your ds is becoming well versed in healthcare, which is an education in and of itself. ITA with the other posters, do the best you can and it will work out in the long run. I hope he won't have to spend too much time in the hospital, but the pediatric social worker may also have suggestions - if only how to deal with whatever state regulations you might run up against (I don't know about NC hs'ing laws).

We're here for you.

Andrea Johnson Cusack
03-16-2011, 02:25 PM
Thanks for all of the suggestions and well wishes!

I am definately hoping to find some support on this forum, since most of the time I feel like we are making it up as we go!
As far as what Pefa brought up, the HS laws in NC are fairly relaxed. I have to keep a record of the days that were educational (at least 180), and the boys have already taken the CAT this year to meet the annual national testing requirement.

I will definately look into your suggestions... Thanks again!

03-17-2011, 01:01 PM

I just want to say that I have a almost-6yo with type 1 diabetes. She too has days when her blood sugar is too high (or too low), and this affects her ability to focus as well as her moods. Sometimes we can fix it easily by giving more insulin or more carbs, but some days it feels like we just can't get them down (or up), or they swing from 40 to 400 and back again in a single day. She is in half-day K now, but I can't imagine her being in school full day next year. I'm sure there would be so many occasions in school when her blood sugar would be way off but would go unnoticed, even with regular checks built into the day. Add to that all the specials teachers, lunch and recess monitors, and substitutes who wouldn't be trained in diabetes care, and who knows what could happen. So I just wanted to say I can relate to having a child with a chronic illness, and thank goodness we have the homeschool option! GL to you!

07-07-2011, 10:52 AM
Hope things are going well for you and your son(s). If you have tried the Discovery Steaming option would you mind sharing how it is going? That is something I am looking into for my own 7yo DS.

I hope to be homeschooling him full-time in September and I have a chronic disorder that will necessitate a 'good day'/'bad day' learning schedule. We currently have a subscription to BrainPop Jr and I am signing up for the T4L trial today. I'm going to add myself to this thread and keep track of other suggestions here.


Teri Eddy
07-07-2011, 11:14 AM
MellissainOZ has good suggestion for the good day/bad day plans. DE Streaming (like PetVet mentions) is another great solution that can be done from anywhere you can have your laptop and internet. Utilize Netflix as well if you can. I struggle with auto-immune issues and have done these same things. I use my good days/weeks to plan ahead with independent activities they can do to keep them on track. I would just reverse that and plan things that he can do in supine :)

I'm sorry you all have to endure this. I have a friend with Crohn's so I can understand how you all must struggle/manage/cope.

07-07-2011, 01:15 PM
I have to say - special diets are SOOOO much easier with homeschooling, without the temptation, peer pressure, and risk of accidental exposure. You can also control the nutrition education and not subject a kid with Crohn's to the whole "whole grains are the ideal food!" mentality. We have a heck of a time getting schools to respect our housemate's special diet.

07-08-2011, 12:57 AM
I'm sorry that your son, and your family, is dealing with so much. I have a homeschooler with a chronic illness and we do have our down days. It is a different kind of day; could be a lot of out loud reading or a Jane Austin video marathon for all of us. I think the down day routine that others have suggested is a great idea. I donít necessarily have a routine, but we do have a list of books and videos that we want to get to, so we go for those. And for our daughter, Iím hoping that she will learn that itís not only okay, but important, to make her health a priority and to take the time needed for her well-being. That's a good life lesson.

07-08-2011, 01:14 AM
I'll second everyone else. I couldn't begin to imagine what you all go through. I am sure you'll find plenty of support here though.