As many parents in Warwick, RI are sure to tell you (if they have a public school age child) the start of the 2010-2011 school year is anything but a clear beginning. School began on September first, a Wednesday. The buses ran a little late, as is usual for the first day of school. School’s sent home lots of paperwork consisting of forms, lunch calenders, & fliers for the PTO. The kids came home amped up & tired at the same time.
And they go for 3 days total from Wednesday to Friday & then they have the weekend off. Accept that this weekend is a three day weekend because of labor day. So, the following Tuesday, you try to get them back into the schedule & routine again…until Thursday because they have the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, off from school, too. After Thursday, the children go to school Friday & then here is the second weekend of the school year.
Now 2 days isn’t so bad, but then we have to deal with an Election year. This year in RI we have a Governor & Attorney General, as well as many congressional & local city & town elections happening. So before the general election in November, we have the primary election day to narrow down who we want to be choosing from in the general election. And guess what. School is out again this coming Tuesday, September 14th! Many of the public schools in the city of Warwick, & in many other RI communities, are voting locations. None of this is really too terrible, but I imagine that it can be confusing to the kids, especially some of the younger ones & kids with Autism, like mine.
Getting my kids into a smooth fall schedule is sometimes tough & I have seen better years so far. Usually by the time the third week of school gets going, its going & the next extra day off the kids have is Columbus day, about a month away. No such luck this year. Problems have been everything from asking over & over when the bus is coming to waking up on the next morning (when school is open) & not wanting to go at all. Also, my 2 children seem to count between the days to when highlighted days of the week are, like Fridays when they visit over night with their grandparents to upcoming holidays or events. These last 2 weeks & this upcoming one, too, I can imagine, have been a calender puzzle to them, leading them to think that Wednesdays are Fridays & that Mondays are just another part of the usual weekend. Even their bus drivers get mixed up & one even complained that she won’t get her first full paycheck of the year until some time in October, even after working for 3 days short of a full month for September.
And that is just the problems my kids & I are having. I can only guess what other parents, with jobs outside the home, are dealing with. Jockeying work schedules, when possible. Shelling out extra cash to a baby sitter or day care for days when they can’t. One of the benefits of working from home is that I don’t have to wheel & deal, but I do remember what some of that felt like from when I was working in an office. It is not pretty if you have a boss with a work first, family later mentality. Steady pay asside, I do not envy the “Out of the Home” working mom or dad this year.
In conclusion, I have a suggestion for all school systems that have had the same problem as Warwick, RI did this year. Try canceling gym class & lunches in the cafeteria for the day of election days. Take into consideration the families (both the families of employees & students) that are disrupted by both large & small disruptions. Trust me, any disruption of as smooth of a transition as possible into a Back-To-School schedule is a huge inconvienience. Not that this is really a big deal to most, but its a giant “pain in the schedule” to me & my kids. Just saying…