Chronic Illness and Scheduling

Every home school is unique- but every home school also has changing needs which make each year or even each semester within the same home school unique.  Sometimes it's time to revamp schedules or curriculum.

One of my greatest challenges has been to figure out a schedule that is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of my chronically ill 3 year old.  For weeks at a stretch he sometimes requires multiple blood sugar checks and feedings every few hours during the night.  Occasionally he has to be hospitalized for a few days for I.V. treatment.  Then there are the doctors appointments which tend to come in clusters and are capable of wiping out the best laid plans.   Last but not least there are the times when he is just "low" and things need to be calm and relaxed and at home.

The following schedule is working for us this semester mostly because school is more spread out over the day than I've traditionally liked.  I also have a cushion (due in great part to the baby-sitting super power of my older children) built in during the afternoon which I can use to sleep during times when I've been up all night caring for my 3 year old.  I haven't included chores- but we definitely work as a family to keep the house running.  Though I don't list them, the extra activities and lessons my teens are involved in all occur in the afternoons this semester.

My schedule calls for "sibling leadership":

  • Our 8th grader reads a history, science, and literature selection to the 2nd and 4th graders each day.  The reason is three-fold.  First, the 8th grader is benefitting from the review and the responsibility.  Secondly, it's a bonding activity.  Thirdly, it gives me afternoon time to focus on my 2 and 3 year old doing fun and usually messy pre-school activities.
  • My senior son reads history to his second grade brother.  This lightens the load for me but it also is the highlight of my 2nd grader's day.  His big brother makes the history reading come alive.
  • During my morning "table time" my senior takes an hour to read and play with the toddlers in another part of the house then my sophomore does the same for another hour.  This makes table time a truly focused and productive school time, building the "habit of attention".
  • I've incorporated some workbooks into our schedule for the first time so that if I'm away for a hospitalization the 10th grader can keep Table Time going for a few days at a time.
9:00- 11:00 Table Time with my 2nd, 4th and 8th grader.  We use this time to do math, bible, artist study, copy-work... basically anything that is more pencil and paper oriented, or Mom lead.

11:00 Outside- nature studies, walking, gardening or reading in the sun.

12:00 Lunch

12:30 Nap-time for toddlers. For the first 30 min. 2nd grader reads to mom and then has history read to him by big brother. Older students read and study- Mom is available to answer questions and direct work.  10th grader practices piano.

2:00 8th grader reads to younger siblings.  Mom has Toddler Time.

3:00-5:00 Free time and music practice time

Evening: Older students often read or study later in the evening (when it's quiet) to keep up with work load.
Bedtime for younger boys includes Bible stories.

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