Hiya. So, I have a question (ok, 2 actually)…how many of you are experiencing the problem of family (or friends) taking advantage of your time simply because “you’re home,” so much so that they interrupt your lessons on a regular basis leaving you with the feeling that you are doing your child (ren) an injustice to their learning?
What about those same family members (or friends) constantly badgering you to go back to work (I am a certified teacher who left the classroom to homeschool my son) and telling you that you that you should put your child back into public school so that you can either have more time for said family or so that you actually have a “real” job?
How are you being interrupted?
If it is the phone, you can turn it off or turn it to vibrate. (If you were in the classroom, would you answer your phone?)
If it is people coming to your front door, make some kind of sign that says: “School in Progress between hours of 8a.m.-2p.m.” Then lock and do not answer the door.
As far as number 2. This is a personal boundaries issue. Anytime someone else (even family) tells me that they know what is best for my life, in any way, they have crossed an enormous personal space line and have been rude. I am an engineer personality type, so my response is very straightforward: “I find it incredibly rude that you are dictating what is best for my life. Please do not tell me how to live unless I directly ask for your advice.” Even if your personality makes those words too harsh, the content needs to be the same: These are my choices, then change the subject.
It is up to you to make clear to your family where your boundaries are for time and unsolicited advice. At some point you will have to make clear that your time and choices are not theirs for the taking.
Recently I noticed that I was becoming overwhelmed with extra projects for Girl Scouts. I mentioned to the leader that it seems like only my daughter and I are asked to do reports, projects, and pickup items from here and there. The leader said, “Well you’re the only mom who homeschools and is home all day while we’re really busy working.” Oh yes… I was shocked for a moment or two and politely, but firmly said that I’ve taken on a bit more than I can chew and while I may be home during the day schooling my children, it is a family en devour that takes a lot of time an commitment so I won’t be able to continue taking on so many projects in the future… The leader looked annoyed.
I too am a teacher that left the classroom to teach my children at home. I got a lot of very interesting looks and comments from friends and family. I stuck to our decision though. I have the phone on silence during our school times, and I don’t look at the computer (unless we need it for a lesson). I also created an ultra private Facebook page that I invited close family and 2-3 friends to. 2-3 times a week I upload pics and descriptions of what we are doing in school. At the beginning of the year nobody was sure I’d be “schooling” the kids correctly at home (I still don’t understand people who think this way - what difference is it if it is in a brick building or my house?) Anyway - once they started to see what we were doing - reading what our kids were doing, watching videos of my kids presenting things, etc the whole family got on board and is 100% supportive. Instead of confronting them in a challenging way we stuck to our decision and proved it was a good one. I hope this helps
The biggest way I am being interrupted is by my father. He is elderly and lives, literally, 10 houses away. He can’t drive himself long distances, and while I don’t mind helping him (he is my dad after all), he refuses to schedule his appointments around my homeschooling schedule. He will also often call in the middle of the day to ask when I’m done and if I will come over for this or that reason. Even though my sister lives with them (that’s a whole other issue), I’m the one who is expected to drop everything and run over…in the middle.of lessons. And when I try to talk to him I get a guilt trip about how he’s sorry his such a burden to me and he should just move to Montana and die alone in the woods. I kid you not.
I think you are going to have to decide what your priorities are. I do not know how sick your father is, but from your statement, he sounds well enough to push your buttons.
If your priority is your dad, then talk to your kids about how important family is, and be content with getting a bit of school done around caring for your elderly parent. This is a wonderful life lesson as they take in valuing time with those we love.
If your priority is school, then block off school “hours.” Turn your phone off and clearly communicate to your father that these hours are off limits for you to drive to appointments or run errands. Think of going to teach at a school and stopping a lesson to take a phone call, then walking out of the school to deal with your father’s emergency. When he offers to go off and die, you will need some scripted response appropriate to your personality. But using guilt to demand your 24 hour attention is not appropriate even if your children were at school. When he tells you about his doctor appointment during school hours, you should have a scripted response like, “O.K. Dad, but who is going to drive you?”
Regarding your Dad, it seems he wants to be with you & spend more time. I suggest to include him more, that will be a great thing for him, you and the kids (who will see how you deal with him and give him love and respect even when you are busy).You could for example- these are just suggestions-:
Have him attend a field trip with you
take your lunch and go to him
ask him to spend a day of school with you and the kids
Surprise him with something made for him by the kids
Ask him to teach the kids certain thing
I know the appointments will be interrupting but may be you can offer making the appointments for him yourself, this may allow you to schedule it around your day… to make this short, I think parents need generosity in terms of time and emotions especially when they are old and life has changed and it turned out that they are dependant on you not the past case where they provided, helped and taught.
I think with friends you need to be firm and clear.
I wish you the best luck, life is not easy but a mom is a hero