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Please help me get through 9th grade with sick daughter

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I have talked about her a few times. However, it is getting so long, I really have to change my ideas about homeschool. She is 14 1/2, normally very smart and very hard working and has been sick with as yet undiagnosed illness since Nov. 23rd. It started as a headache which has never ceased except for sleep and now has moved into joint pains, fast heart rate, ganglion cyst in her wrist, various muscle pains, occassional breathing difficulties, etc, etc. She finally got blood tests a week ago and we are waiting on those results. They are checking for rheumatological and thyroid issues along with other things. Anyway, when her headache is low, which is less and less, she can do schoolwork like geometry and chemistry. When her headache is an 8, she can't do hardly anything. If it is a five, she may be able to listen to a teaching company lecture or study Spanish. I live in a stupid state that requires me to send in test results or portfolio evaluations and she is signed up for a test in May but I don't know whether she will be up to it. I don't think it is just the pain but also that she has very bad brain fog at times. I will be able to give her 1/2 credit for choir, 1/2 credit for PE, one credit for English, one credit for Spanish. She may be able to finish Ancient History (she has slightly over 1/4 done). She is slowly working geometry through ALEKS. It claims she will be done in 13 weeks. Her chemistry won't get done in 13 weeks since she has 15 chapters left. We are likely to be moving at least once if not twice this summer. By the end of May, she will have four credits in total (one from Algebra in eight grade) and maybe another 1 or 1 1/2 if she gets a bit better. This isn't great but is it enogh not to get the authorities from harassing us? What gets to me about anyone looking over my shoulder is that even with this illness, my daughter is the best prepared student for her outside classes, the most conscientious participant in youth praise band, and Police Explorers and keeps volunteering whenever her health doesn't prevent her from doing so.

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Sorry to hear about your daughter's illness. This is difficult for you and for her. I think of two things:


First, her studies need to take precedence over extra-curricular activities in this situation. You & she need to order her priorities so that when she is feeling up, she can accomplish those things which are her first responsibility. Even so, don't have her give up everything social- she does need that outlet, too, to help her feel connected to others and not too isolated.


Second, if she really is facing medical issues that the doctors are able to substantiate, even if she doesn't have a diagnosis as yet, there should be some provision for a medical exemption from completion of the year's work if your daughter is unable to finish. Talk with her physicians about it.


ETA: If she is able to get a medical exemption, you wouldn't just give up on the courses she's working on now. You would continue to plug along until she has completed enough work to receive the full credit.

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I have similar situation but my daughter has been sick this year and last.She is in the 6th and prior to that she was sick in 3rd grade. We thought that she had Lyme in 3rd grade and was on antibiotics for a year and a half. Then in 5th grade she started with headaches again.The Dr could figure anything out and finally they said she need a psychiatrist, we took her back to the Lyme specialist she saw in third grade and sure enough it was Lyme. We put her back on antibiotics.


I was diagnosed with Lyme on antibiotics for two years and my Dr had me take a saliva test to check my adrenals and sure enough my cortisol levels were low.


To make a long story short, I keep searching the internet because something didn't sit right with me and the Lyme diagnosis.So I found out were I could order the test my self for my daughter. Sure enough her cortisol was extremely low.


Her symptoms included headaches, sleeping a lot during the day,to relieve the headaches. migratory sharp pains, muscle pain, low energy, brain fog and I could just see the brain fog in her eyes, and unable to focus and retain what she read.


Always get copies of her blood work!


Not many Dr know about adrenal insufficiency or even the proper test for thyroid problems. Please, please check these web sites





As for the work, let her do as much as she can and have her read , read, read.


Don't stress out she will get through this .


Do your research, if the Dr says she is fine and you know she is not, trust YOUR instincts NOT the Dr !!!!



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I have to agree with Tina to trust your instincts and keep searching for answers; but, if you are a person of faith, would add to keep praying. My eldest dd was very sick in 8th grade and it was a difficult time. Thankfully I found the answer and she is now well again.


Your daughter's health is the most important thing. Education can wait. It is not a big deal if she graduates a year late. I would contact your state authorities now to let them know about her health issues, get the doctor to write a note and send it along. If you keep them informed they will work with you.


Meanwhile, here's what we did in my daughter's case: I reduced everything to its most basic needs. If I could use work in two or three subjects I did -- a history essay also counted for composition; for every book did read she did a context sheet so literature also counted for history.


Fortunately she was ahead in mathematics having taken Algebra I in 7th, she did less than half of Geometry in 8th and finished it in 9th. Foreign language slowed to a crawl but we did a little each day It is better to do 5 minutes a day than 30 minutes/week.


It was hard not to worry about falling behind but I tried to keep my focus on her health and long term well-being.



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I agree with the others. My daughter also became sick this year (as did I too!) and it has turned out very oddly for us. We have no oversight though and other circumstances allowed us not to have the concerns you have though we are changing our plans for next year.


Anyway, I completely agree with getting a medical exemption. If you haven't already, start a journal of her daily symptoms and another of her activities. That will allow you to show that she does her work as she's capable but that you have more times than normal that she is just not capable at this point.


I SO get brain fog. Just have her do the best she can. Continue her courses in her own timing. It'll work out in the end. The great thing about homeschooling is the flexibility and though state oversight can make that a little more difficult, it can't take it away completely.


I hope the best for y'all. Try not to worry too much.

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Are you a member of a Florida homeschooling organization? If not, I would find a good one to join. I think I would start by calling one, explaining the illness issues, and asking for guidance on what to do. My thought is that they should be able to provide you with the name of a sympathetic teacher for the portfolio review. There may be options regarding which standardizes test your dd takes also. I just Googled homeschooling in Florida and came up with this website. You may have to contact a number of groups to find one that can actually be helpful to you.


In my opinion, illness takes precedence over studying. I would start looking for information, advice and help now to get through the coming year. You can't be the only family to have encountered this problem in Florida, so there has to be precedence for handling it.

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You might look at Florida's PASS curriculums. They might be easy enough to do on good days through the fog, and go quickly enough that you could check off a few boxes.


I would look not at completing things that normally get done in 9th grade, but at completing things that are easy or she doesn't care about enough to mind doing a just-enough course for. Or you could look at doing the bits of courses that she can manage and keep careful track of them. Can she colour with coloured pencils when her head isn't hurting too much? She could maybe do The Geography Coloring Book and get half a social studies credit, especially if she combined it with a few easy projects. Can she do a few projects in other subjects that later would count towards those projects? Can she listen to books on tape? Perhaps she could get some of her reading for literature classes out of the way. Then, later, when she is well again, she could write some 5 para papers and count it towards her English credits. I know a literature credit in our family only requires writing about some of the books read, not all of them, so maybe she could listen to the ones she isn't planning on writing about. Anyway, you get the idea - pick the easiest and lightest of the reading and projects for all her high school classes and try to do those now, while she isn't feeling well. Then she can do the hard bits later. It is just a matter of keeping track. Meanwhile, as far as your state is concerned, can you fudge a bit by giving them a portfolio? Perhaps you could present them with a reading list and one example paper (perhaps something done earlier) for the English credit piece of a portfolio, and an example project for social studies, etc. Perhaps she could fill out the credits with a drawing class. You could get Artistic Pursuits or Draw Squad or something and have her draw while she listened to literature tapes. That would be an efficient use of her better-feeling time, work towards 2 credits at once, and perhaps not bother her head too much. I know from my own experience that drawing isn't as bad as reading, and that listening to fiction isn't nearly as hard as listening to a Teaching Company lecture.


Just some thoughts. I do hope she gets well soon.


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I would skip the test this year and just meet with a teacher for portfolio review. You should be able to ask your local FPEA leader or other support group leaders and find a teacher who is familiar with and supportive of homeschooling. You don't need to show she can score in the top percentiles or made all A's -- the standard in Florida is simply that she "progressed commensurate with her ability." The year-end evaluation should not be a source of frustration for you. The key is to find a good evaluator and you should be able to do that by asking around.




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