Homeschooling When YOU Have a Chronic Illness – MBFLP 281

It’s one thing when you’re homeschooling a child with a chronic illness – sometimes that’s the only way they’ll get an education! But what if Mom’s the one who’s struggling? What if you’re a parent with health issues, but you’re convinced that homeschooling is the best for your kids? How can you manage your days, your illness, and your expectations? We’ve had to deal with this ourselves, and it CAN be done – let’s talk about it!

Bonus Story

We didn’t get to this in the program, but there’s an interesting and encouraging story about long-term illness and doing good things in the midst of it. Susannah Spurgeon was the wife of the legendary British preacher Charles H. Spurgeon. She often helped him proofread and correct his published sermons and book manuscripts, and when she developed a debilitating condition that often confined her to bed, she was still able to do that. When she proofread his book Lectures to My Students, Susannah remarked that it should be in the hands of every minister in England; shortly afterward, she became the manager of the church’s new book fund. Over the last 28 years of her life, she shipped out over two hundred thousand theological books to needy pastors – all while dealing with a life-restricting illness.

Read more here!

Melanie says that her months – many months – on bed rest gave her opportunities to teach our children life skills as well as academic material, simply because many of the household tasks were off limits to her. It really became a matter of looking for what she could do, rather than give in to the legitimate frustrations of what she couldn’t.


Things We Referenced

Genesis 50:20 – “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good … ”

Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God

Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.



Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Homeschooling a Child with a Chronic Illness – MBFLP 280


Everybody goes through seasons of illness – summer colds, seasonal flu, an occasional injury – and most of the time, we can take a few days off to get over them. But what if your student has a condition that doesn’t get better with a week in bed? How can you homeschool a child who has an illness that has to be managed day by day, hour by hour? Is it even possible?

We have to say YES – we’ve homeschooled kids through all sorts of long-term or chronic illnesses. It doesn’t look like other families’ home schools, maybe, but it’s our home school and we’ve been pleased with the results. So let’s talk about some realities of homeschooling a child with a chronic illness!

Things We Referenced

2 Corinthians 1:3-4Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 

David McCollough, Mornings on Horseback
This is a detailed look at the childhood and home life of the young (and very asthmatic) Theodore Roosevelt. It’s interesting to see how little “Thee’s” illness and his refusal to let it hold him back led to his vigorous “Rough Rider” and “Bull Moose” years of adulthood. Like all of McCollough’s books, Hal highly recommends it!

NEXT: Homeschooling When YOU Have a Chronic Illness



Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom.

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolingWithChronicIllness #TriciaSoderstrom

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

Sometimes life hands out challenges that we would rather not face. Chronic illness is one of those challenges that can make day-to-day functioning challenging. One of the most common chronic illnesses is Lyme Disease, which can be so debilitating physically and mentally. In fact, the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that 86% of healthcare spending goes toward treating chronic illness and that 31.5% of Americans are living with multiple chronic illnesses.

We have been thinking about our homeschool mom-friends who are successfully homeschooling their high schoolers (and youngers) while dealing with chronic illnesses. Vicki contacted our friend, Tricia Soderstrom, of Abounding in Hope with Lyme to share some encouragement and tips.

Tricia Soderstrom

Tricia Soderstrom, photo used with permission


Tricia was a mom of four kids. She has three homeschool graduates and one middle schooler.

When Tricia was pregnant with her youngest she started having symptoms of exhaustion. Her obstetrician told her it was related to her age (because she was close to forty years old by that time). Unfortunately after her son was born, her symptoms became worse. Her fatigue was overwhelming, even to the point of sleeping so deeply she did not hear her baby crying at night. Her husband would have to wake her up.

Then she began having so much pain that she had difficulty holding the baby and moving around. She began experiencing brain fog and having difficulty with her memory.

Her oldest was twelve years old at the time and her next oldest was ten. They and her husband were enormous helps during that time. (Especially important was her husband’s prayer and support.)

She pushed her doctors but most of them discounted her symptoms, saying that Tricia was simply “stressed out”. She spent two years going to specialists trying to get an answer to these challenging symptoms. Finally she found a doctor who listened to her and tested and began treating her for Lyme Disease.

Vicki points out that she has seen this type of thing happen with several of her counseling clients who have chronic illnesses. The illnesses are often discounted as anxiety or depression and left untreated until, after long searching, the client finds a doctor who will listen and help. Vicki points out that anxiety or depression may occur along with a chronic illness, as a side effect of the illness or related to the frustration of being ignored by doctors.

However, counseling will not cure a physical illness. Counseling helps with the anxiety and depression, but it is not going to fix illnesses that doctors need to fix. So, yes, get counseling for the anxiety or depression but also push for the treatment you need from your doctors.

During the most difficult times of her illness, Tricia’s family made adjustments:

  • Her husband took charge of being homeschool supervisor and resource manager.
  • They switched from lots of library-books/real-book approach to homeschooling, to using the simpler “canned” curriculum, where her kids could open the book and do the daily work.
  • They moved from a daily structure/schedule, to a more organic homeschooling rhythm.
  • They moved from a high expectation (of mom, for herself in her part of homeschooling) to an acceptance of doing “good enough” homeschool-momming.
  • They gave their homeschoolers lots of free-time for interest-led learning and self-directed learning.
  • They maintained a few important outside-the-home activities, such as piano lessons because they were important to the kids.

With chronic illness: adjust curriculum, adjust expectation, hold onto grace. Tricia Soderstrom. Homeschool Highschool Podcast #HomeschoolHighschoolPodcast #HomeschoolingWithChronicIllness

Vicki reminds listeners that we do not live in a storybook world. When hard things happen, we adjust the best we can. Graciousness and humility are important character traits for hard times. Lowering high expectations and doing “good enough” are important for real life.

Within a couple of years, Tricia’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. One by one, all her kids picked up Lyme or PANS. Then her husband was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

Now that her kids were sick, the family had to adjust their homeschooling expectations again. It was a hard time, but again, they adjusted their expectations and curriculum.

While the entire family was sick, Tricia concentrated on:

  • Doing what they COULD do for homeschooling. (She kept realistic goals for the circumstances.)
  • She studied her homeschoolers:
    • To know them well
    • To be their cheerleader
    • To encourage them in God’s word and His love
    • To pray for them
  • To build on what they could do, rather than worry about what they cannot do

Tricia has some tips for organizing important family information:

  • Keep a notebook or journal that includes:
    • Each person had a section that includes
    • Daily health (with chronic illness, this is a daily log)
    • Their medications
    • Doctor visits and testing

Tricia could walk into a doctor’s office with the notebook. This helped the doctor diagnose her youngest kids and keep up with the family’s health.

BTW- As Tricia would explain her notebook to audiences at her speaking engagements, people began asking for help creating their own notebooks. Tricia created the ebook:

Risk Management for the Homeschool Mom (check this out along with Tricia’s other resources at Abounding in Hope with Lyme).

Trica keeps her family organized with:

  • Chore charts
  • Bills and account information in a notebook

Vicki points out that teens benefit by keeping personal journals that help them become self-aware, including daily asking themselves the 3W’s:

  • What am I feeling?
  • Why am I feeling that way?
  • What am I going to do about it?

This helps teens “become their own scientists”, to know themselves well, and to be able to care for themselves well or advocate for themselves well.

Visit Tricia Soderstrom at:

Join Vicki and Tricia Soderstrom for an encouraging and help chat about chronic illness and homeschooling high school. Also check out these resources:


  1. Follow this link to our iTunes page.
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  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
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  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
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Chronic Illness and Homeschooling High School, Interview with Tricia Soderstrom

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling – Tricia Soderstrom

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling - Tricia SoderstromHave you ever felt sick and miserable, but still had to push through a homeschool day? What about every single day? Tricia Soderstrom ( shared with me how she and her children survived homeschooling for many years with chronic illness (Lyme disease). Once again, we talk about the faith element in homeschooling and how when we obey His call, He provides all we need!

Tricia lives in the beautiful state of Maryland with her husband and children. She’s been married to Scott for 28 years and together they have four children who are now 23, 20, 17 and 10. Their two oldest have graduated from their homeschool and they will graduate another one this year.

Tricia decided to start a blog after much prodding and nagging, or rather encouraging from family, friends and even from people she met along the way who insisted she share her story and experience living with chronic tick-borne diseases. So in January 2015, she began Abounding in Hope with Lyme where she shares her journey with Lyme, homeschooling and her deep faith in God.

Her whole family was diagnosed with Lyme disease, Bartonella, and Babesia and a host of other things. You can read more details in My Story on her site. The purpose of her blog is to share her experience with Lyme disease in the hopes that it will be encouraging and informative. Lyme disease can be a devastating disease and Tricia’s hope is that the information on her site will help you to be educated so that you can protect yourself and your family or get the help you need. (Bio taken from

On this episode, I ask Tricia the following questions:

  • For those of my listeners who don’t know, we have a personal knowledge of Lyme disease ourselves, as my husband has suffered with it (to varying degrees) for the past 18 years. Tell us your story and were you already homeschooling when you became sick with this chronic illness?
  • Were you ever tempted to quit homeschooling?
  • What are some of the considerations for those who may be dealing with chronic illness, but want to homeschool?
  • One thing I read in one of your aticles on deciding to homeschool was, “You can homeschool when you’re sick but make sure your children are being nourished in every area of their lives, not just educational book work.” This is so true and is what lifeschooling is about! What does that look like in your family?
  • How has Lyme shaped and influenced your educational philosophy?
  • To remind our listeners, the definition of lifeschooling is “the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents through real life experiences that happen within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions.” Is there a part of that definition that particularly speaks to you and how does your family lifeschool?
  • What are some of the gifts that you saw early on in your children and how did you tailor their education around the development of those gifts? How did Lyme influence that?

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!

When Momma’s Sick VoA 4

Momma’s you are normally the main caregiver, homemaker, homeschooling educator in a home of littles. What happens though when you the go-to gal gets sick? What if its serious like hospital sick or long term sick? I have a lot of experience with being a sick momma of many and still making sure our home runs smoothly.

Lets talk today about how to make some changes to your life to help you overcome these difficulties. Also lets take some time consider what to do to prepare for a time such as this. How can you adjust your day to day living to be able to handle a sudden illness.

Caring for Littles including making sure everyone including daddy gets a share of your love and attention.

Homemaking how to keep the home clean and running. Real world things like cooking and budgeting for prolonged illness.

Homeschooling should you change your curriculum because you are chronically ill?

and more…

Also a blessed return from my own illness to podcasting and a warm thank you for your prayers and support.

Subscribe: Please subscribe to my podcast feed at iTunes and each of the shows will pop up on your listening device as soon as it is released.

Social Media: I’m a talker so you can find me online in several places. Follow Special Needs Homeschooling on Facebook and Pinterest, and find my blog and more resources at  Special Needs Homeschooling blog.

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit to learn more.

Emergency Mode is NOT a Lifestyle! VoA 3

The unexpected happens and you are suddenly living in emergency mode. Things are a blur. At this point you are not even sure you what you made for breakfast. Your body can’t keep up with that type of stress for long. Your family won’t be healthy and happy living in emergency mode.

This is not a lifestyle!

It’s time to make some changes!

One of my most sought after workshops is ‘Peace in an INTENSE home’. I hear you friends. Life is rough and with special needs in the house things can get out of control fast. Let me help you get your breath and find a way to make positive changes in your home to create a peace-filled home.

First step is to start on your knees in prayer. With God on your side let’s explore the other ways you can help yourself get out of emergency mode. Also, we will be talking about how to help others help us. Creating a strong support system to help you and your family in times of trouble.


Emergency Mode is NOT a Lifestyle! ~Victory over Adversity


Join me today in talking emergency mode and stressed living. Whether this is an acute or chronic issue its time to adjust and bring peace to our families.

Subscribe: Please subscribe to my podcast feed at iTunes and each of the shows will pop up on your listening device as soon as it is released.

Social Media: I’m a talker so you can find me online in several places. Follow Special Needs Homeschooling on Facebook and Pinterest, and find my blog and more resources at my Special Needs Homeschooling blog.

Victory Over Adversity


Going through trials and adversity is part of life. It’s how we handle them and work through the storms that show our love of the Lord and character to the little eyes that are watching. Let me help you, sharing my experience as a caregiver and chronically ill mom.

I’m your host, Heather Laurie, a veteran special needs homeschooling momma to 5 wonderful children. One great hubby Christopher Laurie who will get roped into joining the podcast occasionally to give dad’s point of view. And a wild menagerie of lazy cuddle craving cats and a chocolate lab.

Offering practical encouragement and support to special needs families and families that are going through a rough patch. Get your preferred cuppa and find a place to relax for a few minutes with me as we learn to find Victory over Adversity.

Subscribe: Please subscribe to my podcast feed at iTunes and each of the shows will pop up on your listening device as soon as it is released.

Listen Online: Every one of my shows can be found listed below. Just click on the show title and you will find the sound file of the show available in a simple click.

Upcoming Shows: Want to know what episodes are coming up next? Click through to the Show Calendar and see what I am working on. Also feel free to leave a comment about topics you would like to hear more on!

Social Media: I’m a talker so you can find me online in several places. Follow Special Needs Homeschooling on Facebook and Pinterest, and find my blog and more resources at my Special Needs Homeschooling blog.

MBFLP 103 – Special Needs Homeschooling – Hope and Help!


MBFLP Special Needs HomeschoolingWe think homeschooling is a great choice for nearly everybody, but what about a family with special needs? Should an “uncertified” parent even think about teaching a special child? Or can they not only succeed but excel at home educating a student with health issues, or developmental delays, or academic gifts, or sensory processing challenges? Our special guests are Chris and Heather Laurie of Special Needs Homeschooling – they’re doing just that, and has a message of practical help and God-centered hope for families with special situations!