September 01, 2011

The After School Scramble

People always say things to me along the lines of "I can't imagine what school mornings are like in your house." They're really not bad. My girls can dress themselves. They pick out their outfits the night before. They need some help with brushing their hair, but that's OK. I've even reached the point where I can let them tell me what they want for breakfast (within reason) and they can each have something different. I even have time to check my email before we leave the house. It's what happens after school that leaves my head spinning.
I won't rant about the pick up lane at school. It's stressful. It's chaotic. Any parent who picks up their child from school knows what I'm dealing with. Depending on the chaos of the day it can take me anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to get home. And then the real fun begins. 
Our school district has a policy that every grade, including kindergarten, has to have at least 15 minutes of homework a night. Our two kindergarten teachers send home their packets on Monday with specific things (thank goodness they send home the same things) to work on every night. The packets are due Friday. For a family with one child, this homework should truly only take 15-20 minutes (I keep track of the time). Times four... at least an hour. Phew! I can't really do the homework as a group because a lot of it is "Tell me what letter this is" or "What sound does this letter make." Sue Sue would shout all the (correct) answers before her sisters if given a chance. Couple the homework with our required reading log (which I try to do one on one, even though I'm sure the teachers expect me to read one book to all four) and we have a lot to do. Fortunately, Hubby is often home before the girls and I get home, so he's a great partner. We can split the work, so it's a little less painful. (I like doing homework as soon as we get home because everyone is still in "school mode" and they haven't realized how tired they might be).
Then it's time for dinner. After that, it's a shower or a bath. It has been in the high 90's ever since the first day of school. They have three recesses a day, plus gym class three times a week. Trust me... they need to be bathed/showered every day! Then, if they're lucky, they have 45 minutes to an hour to veg in front of the TV before bed.
Today is the first day that I'll head directly from the morning drop off to work and then from work directly to the pickup. We'll see who is the most exhausted tonight!


MaryAnne said...

That is so much! I don't understand the 15 minutes of homework per night policy. I guess they're trying to build habits? And it could help parents stay involved with schoolwork in the early years at least...

Good luck managing everything!!! We start school next week and I dread the drop-off/pick-up routine. Johnny and Emma start and finish school an hour apart from one another, in schools about five miles apart. Poor Lily is going to live in the car, and I can say goodbye to mornings! Emma's school is at least walking distance, so we'll make that into a walk whenever the weather is nice enough!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I have to admit, I'm not looking forward to the homework discipline when our girls start school. It's definitely been a few years, so this may not be relevant, but I certainly don't remember my parents having to be so involved with my homework when I was growing up. I'm not saying I don't think that's valuable time spent, but I hear most parents talk about how challenging it is to make everything fit in the evenings after work / maintain a balance between time for schoolwork and unstructured family time.

It sounds like you have a great system lined up, though...and I hope things will continue to go smoothly on your work days, too.

By the way, I finished the In Stitches book. I really loved it. It's never a book I would have bought for myself, but it was a very enjoyable read.

reanbean said...

It great that you've got a system in place to handle all the homework and reading that needs to be done. I'm sure that helps, but still, it does sound so exhausting. I'm not sure I remember having homework in kindergarten. When I was teaching first grade, there was often reading and math homework 3 or 4 nights a week, which I imagine took 10-20 minutes depending on the child. In the early grades, the homework is probably just as much work for the parent as it is for the kid. But hopefully by at least mid-elementary school, the girls' homework will be something they can do on their own.

Holly Ann said...

We're required to even give our Pre-K students at least 15 minutes of homework per night. However, we know that is developmentally inappropriate so we give our kids a very simple packet that should take about 5 min per night if each child does one page per evening. Then we count the reading log time as the other 10 minutes.

Best of luck to you! It sounds like you have a great routine down. You're an inspirational momma!

Anonymous said...

I'm nervous about preschool mornings 3 days a week lol. Sounds like you are doing well, and I hope I can be organized like you are when mine start K. =)

Quadmama said...

Preschool took some getting used to. In the beginning my girls really needed help getting dressed, motivated, etc. Now I can just tell them to get up and wait until they need their hair combed.

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