The best kept worst secret of having a school-aged kid are ALL the days out of school. Now, I get it. Teachers need work days. There are holidays. Kids need breaks. Yadda Yadda. I KNOW. But, seriously! The scheduling shenanigans that take place to figure out what to do with a kid on these days are enough to make a woman crazy…crazier…than normal. Add a multi-track schedule to this mess and it’s a recipe for hysteria.
We are on purple track in a school with four different tracks. We chose the purple life! We love the idea of purple track. We get the entire months of October, February and June off school. Sounds nice, right? No one else is off to vacation in October or February. June is the perfect summer month. We still get Christmas break and Spring break. It was all good in our purple hood. Then, REALITY.
Multitrack has longer school days and 15 fewer days in school every year. This means that for 165 days of the year, the boy is at school. It also means that for 200 days, he isn’t. Yes, normal weekends and holidays account for 111 of those days. This leaves 89 days to figure out what to do with him while we work. My husband and I have amazing jobs with great vacation benefits – but certainly not 89 days’ worth. Add our vacation days together and they don’t equal 89 days. I mean, what family has this kind of time off available? We aren’t unique. Two parents working out of the house is a normal situation. Does that make it less frustrating? NO!
But, wait! Our city has a solution - the parks and recreation kids program. This program is great! The before and after school care held at the schools keeps kids entertained, helps them with homework, feeds them a snack and is a great resource for parents who can’t get to the school at 3:30 for pickup. The Balanced Calendar schools’ summer programs are also held at the schools and are invaluable resources for families. But, multitrack is a different story. The off-track break camps are offered at one community center located no less than thirty minutes from any school on a multitrack schedule. THIRTY MINUTES. Who has an extra hour to add to a day that is already crammed with the drop off and pick up the kid that isn’t old enough for actual school, work, dinner, and all the other crap life decides to come up with? I don’t. You don’t. No one does.
This reads like a rant because it is. I am beyond grateful for a flexible job, parents who can help, and a husband who does his share. This is hard for our family, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for a family with jobs that don’t have regard for extenuating circumstances or those without family and friends to help or single parent households.
We need better options. How does your family handle days off from school?