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Anyone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Homeschool?

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I have googled this many times and can't find much. I've been battling health problems for four years non-stop, since I got a stomach bug when my oldest was almost one. Adrenal fatigue, then a rough pregnancy, then hyperthyroidism, and now CFS. I'm on Dr number three and she has been somewhat helpful. (My treatment options are very limited because of my nursing toddler.)


How do you moms with CFS manage to school your kids and take care of your need for lots of rest, especially when your kids are young?

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There are several of us here who have fibromyalgia (which is very similar and sometimes the two are mistaken for each other or considered to co-exist). Honestly, I can't remember how I managed but I think it was easier than it would have been to put them in PS and have to deal with their schedule and requirements.

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First of all, I'm sorry you're suffering. I hope you find some answers and get some help soon.


I don't have CFS, but what worked for my family was to do less when my kids were very young. As far as 'school', we did very little, except I focused on reading skills so they would be able to work independently later on. They are now still young, but can do more independently. My husband is also very good about reminding our sons that they MUST be good to me, or they're going to hear it from him.


Are you a member of a church? Is there someone who would be willing to come over a few times a week for an hour or so, just to give you a rest time?


How old are your children?


I think HSLDA has some information about HS'ing with a chronic illness.


Best wishes! :grouphug:

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I have CFS/ Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain...whatever the heck they feel like calling it at any given moment. I also have Hashimoto's (hypothyroid) and PCOS w/ Insulin resistance. I think they are all one and the same and seem to run with eactother. Once you have one auto-immune problem, they seem to find buddies. I have homeschooled for the last 16 years. I have been chronically "ill" for the past 17 years.


I take VERY good care of myself. I eat low carb (makes a BIG difference) I exercise daily. I take my vitamins. When I don't, I know it and I feel it. I just had my first trial run of Cymbalta, because it was the first time in 20 something years that I was not pregnant or nursing, sooooo, I heard Cymbalta worked well for pain. It did not work for me. After 2 days, I had a full blown panic attack, was throwing up, fainted and hit my head...drove my car into a snow bank and fell in my drive way because I was so dizzy....SO, I guess that won't work:glare:


Anyway, I homeschool and I have been very successful at it. I have graduated 3 kids who are doing/ did very well in college. I have one ds who is graduated but doing a gap year (or 2) apprenticing with his dad and 3 more at home.


I do much of our schooling with me on the couch. I use a lot of "do the next thing" curricula. I am very literature based and use much of Ambleside Online/ WTM recommendations.


We do a lot of talking and discussing...we do much of the younger kids schooling orally...


Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you ad let you know this can be done and done well. You just have to determine how important it is to you, be nice to yourself and give yourself time to heal.


If you have any specific questions, I would be happy to answer.



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If I had to do it all over again I would use ACE Paces. Kids can work independently and Mom would feel less guilt. You can still do fun stuff when you can.






You can even connect with a larger group by ordering through them... http://www.midwestchristianacademy.com/ Nice accountability, encouragement, etc.


It's tough, isn't it? :grouphug:

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:grouphug: I don't have CFS but I do have a friend with chronic pain which frustrates her to no end. However, she's the type who tries to do it all and then feels like a failure because nothing is done well. What I wish I could get through to her (in a loving way of course) is this: you have to choose. What is the most important to you? A clean house or well-educated children? This could be said to a lot of us, in fact! ;) But my point is that you can do a fabulous job homeschooling, OR you can have a clean house, OR fill in the _________. But with a chronic illness, you cannot do it all. If your desire is to see your children raised with a great education, choose that, and then allow yourself to rest. Don't spend any mental/emotional energy beating yourself up over what you cannot do. :grouphug:

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Thank you for posting this question! I have had CFS almost my entire life, I was actually pulled out of 1st grade and homeschooled because my fatigue was so awful. I also have Fibromyalgia and was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.


I also want to homeschool my children but the past few months has definitely made me question whether I can physically do it or not. I just started some new meds for the RA and I hope they will start helping soon.


We hope to be stationed closer to my family in the next year and a half and I know they will help me homeschool my children. I think when you have a disability you have to look at things outside of the box. Homeschool all year long, then when you have a bad day take it off, have family or friends help educate or share a hobby with your children. One thing I learned as an unschooler is that there are many ways to learn :-)


As for meds with CFS, the only thing I took while nursing was an antidepressant for post partum depression. But I actually felt physically better while I was nursing and pregnant. I had less pain and had more refreshing sleep. Once I weaned the pain and fatigue came back with a vengance. I am on a ton of meds now and have recently started taking a stimulant to help with the fatigue.


Good luck and I hope you feel better soon!



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My sons will be 5 and 2 soon. The older one is very intense. He wants "more" of everything. If it was up to him, every day he would spend 1-2 hours at playground or getting other exercise, 1-2 hours of me reading to him and doing school, 1 hour playing educational video games, a long bath, and some playing with his younger brother. I understand the idea of lowering expectations and all, but he is one of those kids who needs more of me, not less. His behavior is much better when I give him lots of attention. He has always been a challenge to parent and been ahead academically.


My younger son is also very active, but not intense. Since he was about 10 months old, he will only take a nap on my lap, usually for only 20-30 minutes per day. So it's hard to take advantage of his nap time to do school with my DS1.


My DH works from home, so I can take a nap during the day if I absolutely have to, but basically, he works during the day, and sweeps the kitchen after dinner. I do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, schooling, and most of the child care

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A few things I forgot to add:


1. I haven't been able to drive for over a year. Even when I'm not too tired, I tend to lose focus and not pay enough attention. So I can't take my boys out unless I can get my husband drive. There is a bus line near us, but the closest stop is 1/2 mile away and that's too far for me to walk without wearing out.


2. No family nearby.


3. I was able to have a young woman work for us once a week, but she's probably not going to be available regularly anymore.


4. Pretty much all my friends have large families and homeschool. To be blunt, they are too wrapped up in their own lives to really think of helping out. When I was on complete bedrest for a few months two years ago, hardly anyone even called, let alone came by to visit or help. We had to hire full time in-home help to take care of my son and I while my husband worked.


5. Like many others with CFS, people tend to look at me and say I don't look sick. Or they only see me when I feel better, not when I am having a bad week or month. This doesn't inspire others to help.

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This is only my second year homeschooling, and we're only into first grade - so I'm not always the best resource for what's worked consistently because I'm still figuring this out.


I lived with CFS, fibromyalgia, Myofascial Pain Syndrome and then an MS diagnosis for 5 years - till a very astute doc figured out that I had undiagnosed infections. It's taken me 5 years to go from bedridden house-hunting for a one-level house to living again. I'm not 100% now, by any means, but we manage. I still have Addison's, Hashimoto's, PCOS, chronic migraines, and a few other issues as a result of having had undiagnosed infections for so long. Just grateful every day that I can walk up stairs again! And I'm hopeful that these remaining issues will become more manageable with time. Like the above, I take very, very good care of myself.


Homeschooling for us isn't negotiable - we are committed. And it has to happen. So we have a different system. I see the threads about daily schedules, and ooooh, do I wish we could do it that way. But it's not possible, and we do what we can.


We do a lot on the couch, on the floor, on the bed... anyplace comfy.


And we do it in spurts throughout the day. Because my adrenals don't function, it takes me a long time to get moving in the morning. So my kiddo has morning play time while I commune with a few cups of espresso. Then we do a few lessons, take a break, do a few lessons, take a break. We do the essentials first - math, reading, etc.


When we break - we read aloud, we play games, the kiddo builds or creates... We listen to a lot of audiobooks. So it is generally educational, but not necessarily part of a curriculum.


Like the above, I follow "do this next" type curriculum to be sure I don't miss anything. And I supplement a ton with fun stuff, my favorite being anything that I can get the kiddo started on then let him have at it while I get some rest.


There are days when not much happens, and then days when we just fly through everything and get a ton of extra stuff done. So it evens out.


DH does Science Saturdays. And he works from home, so if I have a "nap emergency" I can count on him. DH also does piano lessons, and in a pinch can cover most anything I do.


Oh! And if you can implement Quiet Time - it's wonderful.


But honestly - I have found that the best thing I can do is figure out my personal best time of day and capitalize on it. Right now - my best time is 2 pm till 6 pm. So we do the majority of our work then. I know it's unconventional, but it works.


If that "best time" changes - I'm sure we'll adjust.


Oh... And we've made a lot of changes over the last 10 years just to keep living easier with chronic illness. We love our crockpot. We freeze extra portions of meals, we keep a stack of paper plates in the cabinet for the really bad days. We eliminated house plants. We automated all of our bill paying. We pay for a housekeeper (thank goodness we can afford it!). There are a lot of little tricks that add up to make life easier.


You might also talk to your doc about supplements. There are some helpful supplements. And when I was really in the thick of it, Provigil - taken sparingly - was helpful, and got me through the day when nothing else could do it.


Good luck. You can do this!

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I know what you mean about schedules not working. I'm good at making schedules, but terrible at following them. My energy levels are too unpredictable. I am also slow in the morning. A good day is any day I've showered and had breakfast before 10am.


I pretty much already do short bursts of housework and schoolwork throughout the day. My best time of day is usually the evening, after the kids go to bed. I would love to implement a quiet time during the day, and plan to, as soon as I can get my toddler to cooperate. Perhaps in the next six months he'll decide he can nap somewhere other than on me.


I'm currently on Dr #3 and we're trying to address underlying problems. Unfortunately, it's hard to properly treat a nursing mom. I've been on supplements up the wazoo for years now and I continue to experiment with new ones. I think I must be one of iHerb's best customers. Most people have a car payment. We have a vitamin payment!


I am thankful that DS1 enjoys Dreambox Learning and Quarter Mile Math. He liked Headsprout when he was going through that. I work one on one with him, too, of course, but it's nice to have some "educational babysitters" available.


Any other educational DVDs or computer games I should look into? We have Whistlefritz DVDs for Spanish, he loves to watch Pocoyo, and he also likes Starfall. Maybe I should look into audio books as well?

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I have had CFS since high school and I am finally feeling better. I still have to pace myself and I can't exercise more than walking a few times a week but I have made great progress. When my kids were little I homeschooled from the couch many days. We often did read alouds and then they did craft activities. We usually had short days because that was all that I could handle. My house was always messy and still isn't that clean now. My dd and dh help but they don't clean how I would clean if I could. My dh was helpful about taking them to sports, etc. My kids understood that I had the energy to homeschool but not always attend all their events. They wanted to homeschool so they understood the sacrifices we all had to make. I remember feeling overwhelmed often and it seemed like we always had a month's worth of laundry that would never get finished.

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