homeschool · medical · slice of life

Mom. Teacher. Principal. Curriculum Director. Superintendent.

“Would you like a printout of your visit summary?” the medical office assistant (MOA) asked me in mid-September.

“No, thank you.”

“Do you need a school note?”

“No, she’s homeschooled this year. I’m mom, teacher, and principal. So no note is needed,” I smiled beneath my mask.

“Okay. Have a great day!”


Isabelle attended a Jewish day school through second grade. I pulled her out of school anytime she had a medical appointment, vision therapy, speech therapy, OT, etc. I never needed to get a note from the medical provider. Isabelle’s school knew that if she was missing school, then she was missing school for an important reason.

We moved to Lancaster and began sending Isabelle to public school in third grade. That’s when I became acquainted with the joy of school notes. Every time she missed part of a school day — even if it was just ten minutes of remote instruction last year — I needed to obtain a medical note or else she’d receive an unexcused tardy or an unexcused absence.

I try not to curse on this blog, but I’m going to break that rule for a second. It was such a royal pain in the ass to get a medical excuse note for every appointment. (You saw how many specific things I linked to two paragraphs prior to this one right? There have been many medical appointments needed through the years!) Often times, I’d forget to request the notes because, well, ya know… I was focused on the medical aspect of the visit, not the paperwork. Then, I’d get home and have to call into the office to have them fax it over to the elementary school. In fact, I forgot to get to get the notes so often — since I wasn’t in the habit of doing it do it for the first three years of Isabelle’s formal schooling — that I put Isabelle in charge of reminding me to get the medical excuse notes.

I understand why medical notes are a necessity. I realize truancy is an issue in many places. I also realize that kids do best when they’re in class. However, when a child has a standing appointment, it’s nice when the school is willing to work with caregivers so that a paper trail doesn’t need to be created every single time. (For instance, when I had to pick Isabelle up 20 minutes early from school twice a week for Dyslexia tutoring in third grade, I was able to submit one letter that stated all of the dates/times of tutoring so that I didn’t have to submit an excuse note twice a week. THAT was a relief!)

Last spring, Isabelle’s seasonal allergies flared to the point that she asked to start allergy shots, I jumped at the chance to start her off this year knowing that I would be able to work our school days around her weekly (Thankfully, bi-weekly now!) appointments. Imagine how happy I was every time they asked me if I needed a school note. Nowadays, the conversation is more like this:

“Do you need a school note today?” the MOA asked.

“Not today,” I said smiling beneath my mask.

NOTE: Thank goodness most MOAs ask if a school note is needed nowadays. Maybe there are many other caregivers like me who call in after the fact to get the notes.


This morning, Ari had a medical appointment. Isabelle completed a vocabulary assessment in the car on the way there. While she was in the waiting room, she finished a quick publish assessment. On the ride home, she completed her math workbook. In reality, having a day that’s disrupted with a medical appointment isn’t a big deal since. She doesn’t miss a single class because her teacher (ME!) is alongside her.

Isabelle brought her iPad along to finish up a Quick Publish Assessment of a literary essay while I did some of my own writing.
Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

14 thoughts on “Mom. Teacher. Principal. Curriculum Director. Superintendent.

  1. I forget how things are in the USA sometimes! Here we just take the parent’s word for it, mostly because doctors charge for notes like that ($10 at my family doctor if I need one for work, but I only need one if I’m out more than three consecutive days.) I love that you put Isabelle in charge of her own note!

  2. The notes! If my husband ever brings the kids to an appointment, I also put the kids in charge of remembering. You have so many hats and it seems like you’re wearing them all well. Your kids are lucky to have you as their mom!

    1. It’s just one more hoop caregivers have to jump through/remember. It’s infuriating. Alas, I never wanted Isabelle to be labeled as truant, so I jumped through the hoops and got the letters.
      It would be amazing if it could go back to how it was when your boys were in primary school… That would be nice.

  3. Putting Isabelle in charge of remembering her notes was a good help, I am sure. Here they only need a note after three days and even that does not seem to be enforced. By the way, you seem to really be rocking the home schooling!

    1. Thank you, Erika. I’m trying to. Some days are better than others. She’s learning and making progress. Sometimes it isn’t as much as I’d like, but I see her moving forward and that’s what matters.

  4. I love the description of your home school/medical appointment morning. I’m sure Isabelle is learning so much having such a smart, accomplished, and organized mom as her teacher. But, what really strikes me is the study habits and organizational skills she is learning that will last a lifetime….making the most of a car ride and the time waiting in a waiting room, not procrastinating and putting off the work until you get home, taking control of your own learning and time….those lessons are invaluable! It seems you have to be so incredibly organized and disciplined to successfully home-school, and that the organization and self-discipline get passed on to your kids. What a gift!

    1. I have worked diligently so that she learns the necessary skills to get her work done at home, but I never thought about the way I’m teaching her to maximize her time while she’s on the go. Thanks for pointing that out to me, Susie. Hoping all of these organization and self-discipline skills stay with her indefinitely.

  5. I like the idea of giving Isabelle the job to remember to get a note. Good thinking, Stacey! I always say you are amazing! So much to juggle and you do everything well! Such a great use of time – in the words of Kipling – “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run…”

    1. You’re very generous, Lynne. I often feel like I’m about to drop one of the many things I’m juggling. It isn’t easy. Hoping I can continue to keep everything “in the air’l

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