Now is the time in my blog when I admit that we are homeschooling! Now, I didn't have James leave public school because of diabetes. I want to be rather clear about that. Although he's young, we have had many experiences in different school environments. Some were incredibly positive, and some were most definitely not! The school we chose to leave, however, was about as great as they come. Not only was it highly rated and full of involved, bright students, but the teacher was incredibly organized, approachable, and compassionate. She was the absolute picture of a perfect kindergarten teacher! And I have zero complaints about our diabetes care there. Our lovely school nurse was so involved and competent, I didn't worry for one minute that James wasn't safe or well cared for.
So why did we leave? Well, despite what I would call "ideal" conditions, traditional schooling didn't really suit James. It became a point of major stress for both of us. I realized that trouble-shooting problems in kindergarten was taking more hours per day than he was away from home. I decided to try schooling him myself. And I LOVE it.
I would never want James to think that his schooling choices were dictated by his chronic illness. However, there ARE some advantages to the flexibility of homeschooling. We like that we can have a snack whenever needed, and we can reschedule physical education when he is having a day where his blood sugar is too high to exercise. And, honestly, when he is sick or has been high all night because of a growth spurt, we can call the next day off entirely!
That said, we have found that having a schedule/routine really helps us to accomplish all of our schooling goals. And I would also say a schedule is a tool in our arsenal of dealing with type 1 diabetes. That's why I think this post can help even those kids who are in a public or a private school.
First, schedules aren't 100 percent required these days for a child like James with type 1 diabetes, and we do take full advantage of that on weekends and with friends. It's great to be able to go to birthday parties and have pizza and cake and dessert! But we don't live like that most of the time. Part of the reason I feel like I can do all of those fun extra things is that we try to live healthy and ordered lives most days.
Second, eating, snacking, and exercising at around the same time each day allows me (as the diabetes "manager") to be able to see how certain foods or activities affect blood sugar and helps me make better decisions about changing insulin doses.
So what does our schedule look like? In reality, probably a lot like yours! We've found value in a somewhat regular breakfast/snack/lunch schedule. And while we might deviate on a bad day (or a good day!), we like the regularity of knowing what's coming next. It's a great school day tool for whoever is handling the diabetes care of these young pupils!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.