It’s About Time is a blog series on time management. Join us as we take a peek into the lives of different homeschool moms, all with a unique approach. Today, let’s meet Sonji as she talks to us about homeschooling through chronic illness!
Accepting What Comes
It is a beautiful Autumn day. Although we did not start our lessons on time, we finished the bulk of it, had lunch in the backyard, had our reading time, my three-year-old is napping, and dinner is mostly finished all before 3 p.m. This is no small feat in the Mims household. I am sure that hubby may find a kink in this well-oiled machine that is our homeschool today but for now, it is perfection.
I am usually the mom that is a few minutes late or an hour early. My two girls are always clean, their clothes match but there is always a chance that one of the three of us could have her hair a little neater. I am almost fanatical about keeping lists and updating my calendar, but few believe me because I often miss appointments or have to cancel our plans at the last minute. I walk a tight line between always being present for my girls as they experience the joys, wonders, and adventures that is childhood and forcing myself out of bed going through the day pretending that I am not in pain, ignoring tremors, muscle weakness, and double blurred vision but sometimes, a lot of times, there are beautiful days like today.
Twenty-three years ago, I was a single carefree jewelry designer with an emerging line that was in trendy boutiques in several states and featured in commercials and print. I was overjoyed and content to be the aunt of two adorable nephews and a niece with no plans to have children of my own. I was content with my beads, my books, and a great group of friends and family.
After several trips to the ER, a neurologist suggested a round of tests, and I was diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular disorder Multifocal Motor Neuropathy and later developed Myasthenia Gravis and trigeminal neuralgia. I lost my autonomy (my mother moved in to help me), my sense of identity (I thought that I was what I did for a living), and for a brief moment, I lost hope. I was told to stop working and take some time for myself because it was possible that I would be in a wheelchair by year’s end. I was referred to a psychologist to help me prepare for death and dying. I was 28. I decided that I would not die but live and declare the works of my merciful God!
There have been numerous surgeries, including the removal of the lining of my rib cage, decades of antibody infusions, tears shed trying to figure out how to pay medical bills, insurance, and still eat, a lot of going without but there have been twice as many triumphs and miracles medically, financially and spiritually.
What I and so many thought would defeat me has helped to mentally restore me in ways that I did not know I needed. I revel in nature, His Word, the simple things. I know that I may be in charge of our day but God in control of everything. I know that God provides, restores, and equips us beyond our puny imaginations. He turned a fancy-free fashionista into a married, middle-aged adoptive homeschool mom of two opinionated, expressive, smart, independent seven and three-year-old daughters. I often laugh and wonder how I got here and then just smile. I’m still content with my books, my beads, my great group of friends and family, and now I have so much more.
I am forever grateful for the time that homeschooling has allowed me to spend with my girls. It has strengthened the bonds of our family and brought us closer to God. I don’t know what the future holds for me, none of us do, still- I am thankful that God led me to homeschool my children.
Homeschooling through chronic illness is hard, but it can be done. I use a mixture of different curricula like Abeka, Singapore Math, Time 4 Learning, Outschool, tutors, and TONS of books.
If you are also homeschooling through illness, here are some quick tips to help.
- Homeschool year-round. Yes, that’s a thing! By choosing to homeschool year-round I have the flexibility to stop when my body tells me to stop.
- Take a half-day. I listen to my body. If my body tells me I need to rest, or I feel the sickness coming on, I split the lessons in half.
- Take a full sick day. When I’m not feeling well at all I take the sick day (that’s the beauty of homeschooling year-round).
- Substitute school. When I’m still not feeling well, I have a substitute school plan. For example, I use Time 4 Learning mainly at night for those sick days. We also read books and do workbooks in the bed. Yes, we do educational programs on Netflix and YouTube too.
- Get help. When it’s really bad, I call my mom. The kids have a binder with everything in it. The calendar and the routines are set, so she is able to jump in and help.
Remember home is school, homeschooling is a lifestyle because we learn all day. Look for those teachable moments throughout the day. Use them and record them! You can do it!!
Sonji Mims is a bead weaver and jewelry maker. She is the homeschool mom of two daughters 7 and 3. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, crafting. She looks forward to one day taking a shower and not being interrupted.