Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kindergarten Decisions

With Kindergarten starting in a few weeks, there are a lot of changes going on. As I’ve stated many times, I’m not too big on change. The only thing worse than change for me, is when you add unmade decisions to the mix. If there are decisions to be made, than give me the information and let me decide!

Michael’s kindergarten is not exactly the best at getting out timely information. For example, school starts in less than three weeks, but we still don’t have any information on the school bus schedule. Nothing. It’s driving me crazy. It also makes planning harder since we don’t know what we need to plan around.

For the past five years, I’ve been dropping Michael off in the morning and then Andy and I take turns picking him up in the afternoon. We both start work early, so I actually had to adjust my schedule to a later time when Michael entered a daycare center that opens at 6:30 am. You would not believe the additional traffic I have to deal with because of that half hour.

So, I wasn’t too happy when I learned that Michael’s kindergarten starts at 9:10 in the morning and runs until 3:25. 9:10? That’s practically lunch time to me. However, even J’s parents, who work on a more typical schedule were freaking out. 9:10 doesn’t work for them either. At least Andy would typically be home to meet the bus, but J’s family doesn’t stand a chance.

It was time to look at alternatives:

1. Before and after school care.

Pros: Reliable and on-site

Cons: They don't open until 7:00 am and they are in the other direction for me. It would make my ride to work about an hour long.

2. Grandma care:

Pros: She would come to my house.

Cons: Due to her health situations, she's not very reliable.

3. Community care: This involves Michael going to J's house in the morning before the bus comes and J coming to our house in the afternoon until his parents get home from work.

Pros: Easy. Free. My schedule doesn't change. Michael gets to spend time in a house where he won't be the only child.

Cons: If this kind of thing goes sour, which it often does, it kills the relationship between neighbors.

Of course, not having all of the information from the school about busing and drop of times and such, made this decision linger on for several weeks as we all looked into our work schedules, finances, and had uncomfortable conversations with Grandma. In the end, we have decided on option three. In the morning, Michael will head over to J's until the bus comes. J's dad will see the boys onto the bus. In the afternoons, Andy will meet the boys and we'll watch J until his mom gets home. I'm happy with the plans and will make sure that we keep the lines of communication open so that it doesn't go sour.

In addition, I've spoken with my mom about why she wanted to do this for us. Her main concern is that she really wants to maintain the close relationship she's developed with Michael over the past five years of caring for him. I also want her to maintain that relationship, and reassured her that it is a priority for me and that she will get time with Michael. And, it will be on weekends or afternoons/evenings, which will be much more quality time than what she would have gotten at 6:30 am. And, Andy and I may even get some date nights out of it. Win/win.

I'll let you know in a month or so how this is working out.


Lindsay said...

I was reading, thinking, "Ooh, pick #3! #3!" It's definitely worth a try!

I always went home with a neighborhood person, whether their kids and I were friends or not. It was just what I had to do. I didn't really think about if I wanted to play with Becca Roth every day or not. =)

claudia said...

Really relate to this. Babycake's kindergarten starts a week from Monday and they still won't give us the bus schedule. I really can't figure out what we will do without knowing what time drop off and pickup is. I think that you, however, made the perfect choice. Having someone to play with after school is a good thing for onlys. It won't always be smooth but everyone will learn to work it out.

LauraC said...

I can't wait to hear how it goes too. I wonder if you will have a better chance of it working well since you both have a vested interest (not just one family looking after other family's kids).

Karen said...

Ummm, maybe we could trade kindergarten start times as a solution? The bus to Michael's school picks up at our corner at 7am (school is 2 mins away) but school doesn't start until 7:50. As you already know, it's going to be rough for me. Realistically, Option #3 is probably the best and would be fun for the kids.

Stacey said...

I think this sounds like a great plan all around.

DesiDVM said...

I think #3 sounds like a good plan, fair for everybody. The kids will like it.

I don't understand how the kindergarten schedules are set up. 2.5 hours of instruction, how can anyone do that if they're not a SAHM? We're also in the midst of the before-school program/"extended curriculum" (i.e. all day kindergarten) square dance.

Karla said...

We have a similar arrangement to #3 also. I'm hoping it works out too!

Beth said...

I think I would have picked option #3, too. Although luckily for us, William's bus picks up at 8:00 a.m. and his school has extended day. (It also has before-school care.) Ed will see him on the bus, and I'll pick him up after work. I'm hoping we'll find a friend who takes taekwondo at the same studio, though, and maybe he can go home with said kid one day a week and go to taekwondo. We'll see. I hope your situation works out well. Sounds like it has great potential!