About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 17, 19, 21, and 23, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running (finished her first marathon in October of 2014!), and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.

How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?

I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Monday, September 27, 2010

6 Advantages to Homeschooling Your Bipolar Middle Schooler

First, let me say that homeschooling is not for every child or every parent.  You know your own situation better than anyone else and the needs of your child, so please don't make a decision to homeschool if all signs point out that you should not be doing it.  I am a firm believer in freedom of choice when it comes to schooling, so if your present schooling situation is working just fine, stick with it!  I am only listing these advantages because I felt like it, and perhaps there are some who might consider this option if school is presently a nightmare for everyone.

So here it goes:

Six Great Reasons to Homeschool Your BP Middle Schooler (or High Schooler, Grade Schooler, etc):

1.  Your young teen can sleep later and start work when their brain is actually awake.  We have heard of the scientific studies that concluded that teens actually do need more sleep than younger kids and that their naturally changing body clocks make it almost impossible to go to sleep before 11:00.  With sleep being such an issue for bpkids, this is a very nice thing indeed.

2.  Your child will be limited in their exposure to unwanted influences, which abound in middle and high school.  No, we can't protect them from everything, and they do need to learn to handle temptation, but at the same time, aren't these kids challenged enough already?  The kids your child might interact with will be easier for you to handle in most cases (sports, church/synagogue groups, homeschool classes, music classes, volunteer work, etc).

3.  You can be sure they get that mid-day dose of their meds!

4.  They can study their subjects at their own pace, moving faster if they want to on subjects that come easily to them, or more slowly for subjects that they find challenging.  With the very low tolerance for frustration bp kids have, the relaxed mood of school at home can benefit their ability to think things through calmly.

5.  NO HOMEWORK AT NIGHT!! I don't know about you, but I HATE the homework routine in the afternoons and evenings.  Take a tired kid who has been at school all day, using up what little self-control they have to make it through their classes, then they come home, grumpy, meds start to wear off in the late afternoon/early evening but if you give them their evening meds too soon they are too sleepy for homework, and what you end up with is a dreaded daily battle.  Add in sports or other activities, and the problem is compounded.  Caroline can do lacrosse all afternoon, and our home is much more peaceful.

6.  They can do most of their work on their own, using online academies, or if they can handle it, simply following your instructions using a company-written curriculum.  There are SO many great curriculums out there, and they are not all Christian-based, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

So those are just my thoughts, and I know that many out there will think that homeschooling is just a bad idea in general.  That's OK, I have seen amazing results in my sister's kids, and in many friends' kids as well, producing honor students at great colleges who are extremely well prepared for life in general.  I don't know how long I will homeschool Caroline because we all know how unpredictable life with a bp child can be, but for now, it is good.

P.S.  If your child isn't stable at all, not only will homeschooling be close to impossible, but any school situation will likely prove untenable.  Stability allows these kids to think, learn, focus, and gain academic confidence.  Seek stability first, then decide on schooling.


Meg said...

I agree that homeschooling definitely has some great advantages. We have done all kinds of schooling and my son is currently in public school but we may go back to homeschooling at some point. Our schooling situation seems to be permanently fluid depending on our needs at the time.

asplashofsunshine said...

I think homeschooling is fantastic if you can make it work for your family. Generalizations drive me out of my mind when it comes to homeschooling vs. private/public education. I can not stand it when people say that ALL homeschooled children are socially inept, Christian weirdos, or things like that. Just as I can not tolerate it when homeschool families say that schools are awful, teachers are horrendous, and things like that. If you can make homeschooling work for you, GO FOR IT... any and all education is critical for our children. Taking education responsibly is the most important! (Ok, I'm off my high horse!) Ha ha! Sounds like you have your ducks in a row and your children are thriving!

Megan said...

Splash of Sunshine--Yes, I am with you about not holding to extreme generalizations. Caroline has done every type of schooling, and different school situations worked at different times.

Megan said...

Meg-Yes, fluid is the word, isn't it? I wish homeschooling would work for Caroline for the rest of her teen years, but we never know what the future holds. We are open to change, to put it mildly!