A Year in Review: Kandace

We’re still here! We all look a little different… hopefully, but we’re still in the same house, the same car, and still doing the same-ish homeschooly thing.

It’s only fair that since I started out with introductions, I follow them up. So begins a new six-part series (‘Cause this counts as numero uno, not because I have another child hiding somewhere.) to re-introduce everyone.

Since about this time last year I started Schoolin’ Reyes in all its (initially) secret blog and #schoolinreyes hashtag glory, I thought I’d share what the past year has done for our homeschool, family, and look back on changes we made, kept, and threw to the wind for each of us individually.

I once had a conversation with a friend about how people, particularly bloggers, will put a lot of stock into changes or new things they’re trying, only to realize it’s not working out, or they don’t want to do it. Which is fine, but they never update that they stopped or decided it wasn’t for them leaving everyone in internet-land to believe they tried something and nailed it every time. My family and I are notorious for this, (making changes, that is.), and I wouldn’t want to lead anyone to believe we stick with everything that we try. Especially as the kids get older, things that once worked may no longer, and that’s totally cool.

So, I’ll just jump right in starting with me, and what I changed and learned last year both as a homeschooling mama and emotionally.

In October of 2016, the kids were misdiagnosed with scabies. We quarantined ourselves to our property and only ventured out for doctors appointments and the first 24 hours after treatment when we knew we weren’t contagious. We went on like that for months. I had convinced myself that every little itch was scabies, and even began using the permethrin cream for spot treatment– incredibly unhealthy.

Fast forward to January 2017. We saw a Dermatologist who specializes in scabies. She informed me that none of us had scabies and she was positive we were misdiagnosed in the first place. This was big for me. We didn’t have scabies; we were just treating what we now are sure was poison ivy wrong causing it to take forever to heal. I was an anxious mess for months. Allowing the depths of the internet to suck me in with posts about “My Scabies Lasted for Years” or “I’m Still Battling.” I rid our house of our couches, toys, blankets, pillows and all creature comforts I thought the mites could hide in. I bagged everyone’s clothes away and left only two outfits each so what wasn’t being worn was being washed. My anxiety was high and not coming down. I had a three-month-old baby, but the majority of my sleep was lost to worry because she, Herman and myself were clear and I was forever worried we’d become infested. We spent close to a thousand dollars in doctors visits and permethrin that just wasn’t working.

So, what does this have to do with new and old for 2017? Well, after seeing the dermatologist for the kids, I too went in. I was a mess. I was leaning into God so hard if he’d had let go, I would have fallen to the floor. I was hurt, confined, and felt forgotten. My prayers felt like they were being ignored and I was worried about quality of life for my kids. I prayed so hard every day, scouring the bible for answers and then I’d bleached my empty house from top to bottom impatiently waiting for God to speak to me.

I saw the specialist who looked Emma and me over to reassure me that I, nor the baby, had or ever had scabies. (If you’re wondering how they would know that, scabies will leave scars.) The next step I took was to see a doctor about medication. I was put on an anti-anxiety/ anti-depressant, and for the first few months of the year, I felt like it helped, and it did get me over the initial shock of being misdiagnosed, dealing with baby blues, and re-introducing my family to society. It masked the anxiety I felt the first few times I took the kids out of the house and around other kids. (I knew they didn’t have scabies, but in the back of my mind, they were going to infect others.) The medicine dulled that. It also dulled my emotions though. I’m not overly emotional as it is, but I found myself becoming detached, and I weaned myself off immediately. That, and once my mind was healthy again, I couldn’t continue to justify taking medication that was being passed to Emma in my milk, no matter how “safe” they claimed it was.

So, that’s the extended version of how I learned little blue pills didn’t fix my problems last year. I was expecting God to leap in and save me when all He wanted me to do was be patient and wait for His timing. It was excruciatingly hard, and I learned that even though I felt as though I was giving it all up to him daily, I wasn’t. I was holding on to the anger, anxiety, and worldly struggles and ignoring his cries to just stop for a second and listen. Prayer, grounding, and sewing are now my go-to activities when I’m feeling stressed, and in 2017 I did more of those three things than ever before.

2017 also brought changes to our homeschool, which I’ll go into more depth with when I reintroduce the kids individually. The change in schooling on my end though went from following lesson plans or curriculum books for every aspect of learning to unit studies and unschooling. If one of the kids asks for (or seems like they need) more structure, I give it to them. If their interest in a subject is shallow and solved by reading a book that’s what we do, and if they’re interested in knowing everything there is to know about a person, place, or thing, we dig in and start a unit study.

We’re continually learning, and it’s a fun experience. Every question can turn into a lesson, and that’s the way we like it. It seems to work well for us, but who knows? Maybe next year we’ll be on to bigger and better things.



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