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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Homeschooling When Life is Hard...one Mother's story

Homeschooling When Life is Hard...One Mother's Story

Written by Anonymous.

This past school year was full of new -- new baby; new position at work (my hubby’s). But since Thanksgiving of 2016 we’ve also had some hard new.

While these changes have been a big adjustment for our family, they have also provided a sweet time of fixing our eyes on Jesus, resting in His strength, and finding gratitude for all the ways He has helped us to narrow our focus to what is most important: Him and our togetherness.

To make a long story short, one of our daughters has always found sleep elusive. Slowly over time, she became like something out of The Night of the Living Dead. She was there, but she wasn’t there. She was with us, but her mind was in a constant state of sleep-deprived fog. So, at 3am one morning, while watching as my daughter read books on the couch instead of sleeping in bed, I crafted a desperate email to a local therapist.


Little did I know that a few weeks later when we had our first meeting with said therapist, we would leave her office with a high-functioning ASD diagnosis and a game plan to help our little girl sleep. This diagnosis never sat right in my husband’s Spirit, nor mine—not because we were scared she was autistic—but because we knew she wasn’t born like this, she hadn’t always struggled in these ways, and that sleep somehow played a major role in the peculiar “quirks” she was displaying.

From then on, our daily dynamic changed. Where we once had a leisurely week of homeschooling and a few well-chosen extra-curricular activities, we now had a whirlwind of non-stop, never-ending therapy appointments.

Quickly I realized we were going to have to make some major changes to our school year to compensate.

It wasn’t perfect, but these changes made what could have been a soul-crushing year for our girl and her mama, manageable and even joyful.

We combined when we could


We worked hard to get all of our therapies on one day. As a homeschooling family, we didn't have a daycare or nanny with which we could leave the rest of our brood while I tackled appointments scattered willy-nilly across a week. As I couldn’t seem to manage to get someone lined up to watch my kids for an hour on Tuesday, a half-hour on Wednesday and 45 minutes on Friday, I was left with the prospect of having to take ALL of our children to ALL of these appointments….

So, I grabbed my calendar and called all of our different therapy providers. I asked them to look far out into their schedules and find a time where we could consistently be booked at the exact same time every Monday. Then, I booked out every Monday appointment they had available for months on end. Having a schedule that didn't change was amazing for our daughter and for me. We both knew what to expect and when. Every.Single.Week. While we didn’t get a whole school day accomplished most Mondays, it was easy enough for us to shift other tasks and items to different days, knowing the rest of the week was open and therapy-free.


We unloaded the extras


We have loved participating in a lot of different homeschooling extra curriculars over the years. This past year, however, we chose to do nothing. Not.one.thing outside of our daily school work. We, of course, had play dates and get-togethers with friends and other homeschool families just for fun, but we cut anything that would require us to be somewhere at a specific time or which would stretch our time or our finances. And do you know what? It was awesome! Our weeks, other than Monday, felt so laid back…carefree! Most importantly, we were really able to focus on Jesus, on being a family, and on helping our daughter to recover. None of which would have happened as easily if we were always busy, busy, busy.

We called for reinforcements


Knowing that I would not have a daycare to help with the therapy appointments, I enlisted the help of some loving people to walk with us through this tough time. God has blessed us with an amazing church, wonderful friends, and a very big family. By these graces, and because we had all of our appointments on the same day every single week, our other children were always well looked after on “therapy day." My daughter and I usually came home Monday afternoons to find that more often than not, the school day had gone on without us and that there wasn’t a lot of catch up that had to be done.

We redeemed the time


A passage that held new meaning for us this last year was Ephesians 5:15-17
"Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is." BSB
At the beginning of this last year, our daughter often felt like the weight of the world was on her shoulders. She was stressed by the newness that came screaming into her life with a single wave of a therapist’s pen. But now a full year later, she feels like all the world is new. She’s sleeping well and she knows that Her God can indeed move mountains!

What could have easily robbed our daughter of joy has become a blessing to her and to us. Those full days filled with therapy appointments allowed our family to focus on helping her get better more pointedly than we ever would have. They allowed my husband and I to spend more one-on-one time with her than we otherwise wouldn’t have. And they allowed us all to redeem that time together as we knelt at the foot of the Cross with her in prayer about this hard season.

The last time we met with the therapist, she mentioned that if our daughter keeps progressing like she has been over the last few months, she will no longer meet criteria for ASD! This year has been hard. But with a few simple changes to the schedule, we made it.

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful testimony! Many parts remind me of our journey with our son, who was born with cerebral palsy. God does indeed redeem the time! Thank you for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. God is good all the time and he takes the difficult pieces of our journey and uses them to draw us closer to Him, which in the end is the ultimate goal of life for any Christ follower -- that's what I took away from this mother's story. Thanks for reading!

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