Saturday, April 23, 2005

Home Education and its Constraints

Realistically there are constraints that make home education either a doddle or a struggle, but in a bid to present the best possible world, the difficulties are frequently presented in the HE literature as being perfectly surmountable. The situation of single parenthood and low income, for example, are usually documented as being no barrier to successful HE. And I would say that this is often the case, but that this often involves an effort of will and an admirable courage.

I say this is in all due humility because it is only over the last few days that I have gradually emerged into the realms of normality from the constraint that I hope was at least flu. Come the day that SARS or bird flu head in our direction, I realise without doubt that I am for the chop. Whatever this was laid me horribly low for about 5 weeks and still gets to me when I least expect it. I used to be an arch sceptic about chronic fatigue syndrome. I am no longer. It definitely exists, at least as some sort of post viral consequence. Just when you think you can start living as normal, it wangles it's way up to consciousness that your legs and lungs are incapable of genuine effort and that lying down and preferably sleeping are the only truly desirable activities in the entire world.

So I am suddenly deeply in awe of people who do struggle with circumstances that could mitigate against HE. Tbh, during the last 5 weeks, I have not lived according to my highest or even my lowest, come to that, ideals. It seemed desperately hard to remain reasonable when even bending over to pick something off the floor felt like a monumental effort and an absurd demand upon the body.

The only saving grace seems to have been that the theory about why the immune systems of humans all vary so much, bore itself out in our family. The children were comparatively only mildly ill with the same bug and DH didn't get it at all. All of us got it at different times. The theory about this goes something like: immune systems vary so much in order that tribes could get through patches of illness with at least someone being healthy at any one time.

There is another theory that some people are better at fighting viruses, and others bacterial infections; related to blood group as I recall and again, this seems to apply in our family. For yet another theory about all this, some bod has come up with the idea that being compromised in one area of immunity or health actually increases one's ability to fight off other sickle cell trait leaves one less susceptible to malaria. I am not quite sure that I see this at work in our family. DH is consistently more healthy and I am yet to find his immunological Achilles heel.

So how is that people with severe, debilitating illness cope with HE, for I know of at least two vivid situations where this is the case? It is truly awesome, and you are extraordinary.

Also, I owe my family thanks and apologies for all that extraordinary testiness and lassitude. It has left its traces and this makes me sad. Some remedial effort is now required on my behalf!

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