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4THEJOURNEY's Photo 4THEJOURNEY Posts: 5,261
9/7/10 7:29 A

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Great suggestions everyone! I think I'm going to start screening my calls more. If my Mom's messages sound urgent, then I'll call back. If she's just standing in the canned vegetable aisle at the grocery store and calling me to ask if she should buy the name brand or the store brand, then that call can wait. I know she might need me more often in her senior years, but she almost always has my Dad standing right there with her, and oftentimes, he can be heard in the background saying, "Don't call her for that!" or when I give her an answer to her question, my Dad will say, "That's exactly what I just told you! Why did you need to call and bother her??" So I think he's feeling frustrated with her constant calls to me also.

We use Calvert School boxed curriculum, and there are 160 days of instruction 16 days of review (I believe), and then tests every 20 lessons that can take up to 4 days since they're filled with multiple sentence, paragraph, and essay answers in the upper grades. We are signed up for the ATS program that Calvert offers in order to get a transcript, so we have to take the time to do these tests exactly the way they want us to. So, you can see that if we want to have a break at the holidays, a small break in the Spring, and a decent summer break to visit far-away relatives and unwind a bit, we are a bit crunched on teaching time. We sometimes double up on lessons...two math lessons in a day, two reading in a day, etc, to move through our lessons at a quicker pace in order to get it all done. It's a wonderful program, and it's challenging, but it doesn't offer much room in the way of flexibility.

I think screening is going to be the way to go. Just this past week, I got calls from two neighbors just calling to chat, several from my Mom, my Sister-in-law who just wanted to see what we were up to, and my little nephew who wanted to tell me about a new toy he'd gotten at the store that day. All during school hours, when they knew I was working. I let all of them go to voicemail, and I returned them when I could. My Mom was highest in priority, and then I returned the others as it fit into my schedule. Some of them had a bit of an annoyed tone and said, "I tried to call you....", and my neighbors started their returned calls off with, "I knew you were home...." but I answered with, "I know, but I work during the day. So unless it's an emergency, no calls will be returned during school hours."

So I think it's going to work out. It's a shame it has to happen at all, though. Thanks again for the suggestions. They were very helpful. :-)

AVOCADO10's Photo AVOCADO10 Posts: 45
9/6/10 11:58 P

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I think TerriJ makes some really excellent points. I don't want to make light of the problems constant interruptions can cause, but I'm concerned the need you feel to "catch up" could lead to unnecessary stress or possibly even burnout.

Screening calls is definitely a good suggestion; I've never felt the need to answer my phone just because it's ringing. But, I would consider carefully how often you want to ignore calls from your mother. Just because it doesn't sound important to you doesn't mean it isn't important to her--maybe for reasons completely separate from the topic at hand.

Flexibility is a wonderful advantage of homeschooling. There are some valid reasons for some families to have a strict schedule, but consider carefully whether or not it is really necessary for you and your child. Just because public schools do math at 9:00am and reading at 10:00am doesn't mean we have to follow suit. Embrace the flexibility homeschooling offers and do what works best for you and your family...your whole family.

TERRIJ7's Photo TERRIJ7 Posts: 13,730
9/3/10 12:54 P

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There are a couple of ways to think about this--well, probably more than a couple but here are my thoughts:

1- one of the reasons we homeschool is for the flexibility of schedule and the ability to move at our own pace. We don't ever have to feel like it's a race and that we have to "keep up" with anyone; rather, we decide our own pace. So we CAN incorporate other things into our school day that are beneficial to the family-at-large.

2- Our parents often do not understand how difficult it is to be interrupted and lose momentum with children. Sometimes they simply refuse to understand (my own experience) why you can't just answer the phone and be available to them whenever they call. A simple question turns into a long conversation nearly every time.

3- On the other hand, if our parents are frail and genuinely needy, we must realize that it's like having a baby in the house. Some schedules are going to be disturbed just because they need us, and we must realize that it will pass. Babies will grow up but sadly, our parents are going in the other direction--either way, the disturbances won't last forever and you won't want to feel as though you've neglected them in the pursuit of keeping up with your school schedule.

All of that being said, I agree with screening the calls. I'd let ALL calls go to the machine and I'd listen to them. If it was urgent I'd pick up, but most often it was just someone leaving a message, a sales call, or something that I could deal with during our lunch break. Once people got used to hearing my answering machine pick up, they finally quit expecting me to answer the phone--but I had to be respectful and return those important calls as soon as I had an opportunity.

Just my thoughts~

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8/31/10 11:53 A

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I live your problem. I tell everyone I don't answer during school. I am a full time teacher in a multi-age classroom. If I were in a school they wouldn't call and pull me from class unless it were an emergency. The same stands for school at home. This is my job. And make no mistake we are paid - just not in monetary forms.

What I do is let the calls go to voice mail, then I screen the message. If it was important I call back and send the kids to do independent work. If not I call during lunch or dinner as the schedule permits.

If we break from school it is so hard to get back on schedule. Because I made this choice and commitment last year the calls have reduced.

In the Service of the King.

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4THEJOURNEY's Photo 4THEJOURNEY Posts: 5,261
8/30/10 6:51 P

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Hi! I was interested in learning how some of you have handled school interruptions. In our first week of school, we received many calls from our homeschooling friends who hadn't started school yet. We let them know that we'd already started, so we couldn't sit and chat on the phone with them, but the next day....another phone call, just hours into our lessons, just to chat. I solved that problem by simply not answering my phone and changing my outgoing message to say that callers could leave a message, and when we were able to return calls, after our school day, we would. So that worked out fine.

Now, I have a new problem. My Mom, who lives 1000 miles away, has been calling me every day, always during the school day, and sometimes multiple times in one day! Normally, I'd let it go to voicemail, but with her being older and she and my Dad having health problems, I certainly don't want to miss an emergency call. Despite the distance between our homes, I'm their power of attorney, so I need to be able to step in, help, and make travel arrangements if something bad should ever happen. So I pick up the phone, and her opening line is always the same, "I know you're doing school, but I just have a quick question....". Only, her questions are never quick, they're never emergencies, and she gets huffy when I tell her that I'll have to call her back once our lessons are done. Today, she called because she was going to install a program to play her mp3s, and she was nervous about the steps in installing it, and she wanted me to sit on the phone with her as she went through the entire installation process, reading every alert box to me, etc. Meanwhile, my son was at the kitchen table saying, "Mom, I need your help with this. I don't understand what I need to do here.", and when I tried to talk to him, my Mom got angry that I was no longer listening to her! I had 8 subjects planned today, and I only got through two of them. Which means that tomorrow's school day is going to be heavier so that we don't fall behind.

Has anyone had to deal with this? Maybe I could just let her calls to go to voicemail and check them immediately to see if it's an emergency, and if it is, return the call...but otherwise, not, and just let her get huffy and angry with me? I mean, sometimes she calls me from the grocery store, asking me whether she should buy an apple pie or a coconut cream pie, and my Dad is literally in the background saying, "You're calling her for that?!?" It's getting a little ridiculous.

I could use some hints, tips, and support. :-)

Thanks bunches!


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