Originally published in Youth Allied By CFIDS,
When I first tell people that I am home schooled, they often give me the same
look that people give when you first tell them you have CFIDS. (You know, the
look that makes you want to check the nearest mirror and see what your second
head looks like.) They have all kinds of questions about this strange and
mysterious way of getting an education: What kind of social life do I have?
Don’t I miss being with other kids? Do I cheat on tests? Just how does this
thing called home schooling really work?
I can understand where these
questions come from because when my parents first began researching the option
of home schooling, I found it just as mysterious and unusual as everyone else
does. I was concerned about making the break from school (ironically enough, the
same school that gave me endless grief about CFIDS). It was not a rational
feeling—just the idea that my name would no longer be called at the beginning of
class and I would no longer have that last link to my peers. In the end, the
obvious benefits outweighed the negative and we went for it.
began home schooling in February 1994, I can honestly say that my life and my
quality of life have improved. The home school program works out better for me
than any other option that we found. My school, The Seton Study, sends us all
the books, workbooks, answer keys and tests at the start of the school year.
From there, I wade through the work at my own pace, returning completed tests
and worksheets to the school when I complete a quarter’s work. I can make my own
schedule—sometimes working at midnight when insomnia hits, and I am allowed the
time that my brain needs to truly learn the information. I am no longer being
shoved through a system that cannot understand my illness. I am an individual
and am treated as such. I receive encouragement and understanding from the home
school. My energy is no longer directed toward getting up and out to class. I
now have some left over to improve my social life—it has not been this good
since before CFIDS. Now I can spend time with friends as well as spending time
Home school is not for everyone, and after my explanations
many people still cannot understand (remind you of anything else?). But it works
And, by the way, of course I don’t cheat on tests!