Today Tuesday, 30 May is the last full day of school for my girls. Tomorrow is their Awards Day and Thursday is classroom parties; both days they only attend for a few hours.
Now I know that may seem like a hassle to have to get up early, go through all the normal school day prep, get them in the car, fight traffic, drop them off, then only to have to deal with mob traffic in a few hours all over again but this time worse because you’re dealing with TONS of families who don’t normally show up on time or at all. These are special days so more people are going to make the effort to be in the community to support the kids which means more traffic. My girls also attend a school, that despite being built in the middle of a planned HOA neighborhood, is primarily a commuter school which they apparently didn’t plan on because the traffic patterns suck.
So yes there are negatives to having to deal with all this for them just to attend for a few hours. But the benefits? Those are pretty good.
My kids are lucky to have fantastic staff who truly showed they cared about their welfare and education so every hour they can get being in a positive rich environment is something I want them to have.
Due to their autism, at their previous school, they didn’t have a lot or in my oldest daughter’s case, any friends. Parents acted like their autism was contagious and would harm their families so in front of me they would tell their kids to stay away from mine. Birthday party invites were non existent and playdates were only in movies. At this school they both have friends and that has done amazing things for their self esteem. Having a few hours with their friends is a good thing after having none for years.
Their personalities require routine. They need to get up at the same time every day and have regular order in their lives so when they transition from all day school to none it’s hard on them. Half days allows them to transition a little slower, gives them a chance to better understand how their days are going to change for a few months and the staff goes the extra mile to spend time with them talking about what to expect next year.
If I’m honest with myself I need these half days too. My nature is to be a night owl. I thrive staying up late while the world sleeps, basking in the darkness, silence and quite enjoying my walks around our property where I get to take in the moon and stars without worrying my phone is going to go off or someone is going to call out for me. All of this means I may be related to a vampire because I feel psychologically and emotionally healthier at night than during the day so I’d sleep the daylight away if I could.
Half days still force me to get up and move on with the day so I don’t waste it away in bed. I need the routine to ensure I don’t let things fall apart. As much as I love to live at night I know the rest of the world doesn’t work that way so I have to suck it up and function during daylight. Having the girls attend school for a few hours each day allows me to transition my expectations about what my own schedule is going to be like once they’re out and I have to start including them in my plans.
I won’t be able to suddenly decide I want to head to Starbucks for a pick me up, my favorite local cafe for lunch or a matinee that’s not appropriate for them. I have to plan more family friendly activities, tutoring sessions to keep up their education over the summer so they don’t slip and cook more meals at home. That’s not a bad thing it just takes more planning so having to alter my schedule now to pick them up early and spend more of the day with them gives me a chance to adjust.
Yes the traffic is still incredibly annoying along with the parents who drive like they’re practicing for the Indy 500 while on their cell phones – if the police hung out around that school more they could pay all their bills from traffic tickets alone – but if you only look at the negatives you’ll miss out on what a great opportunity you have to benefit from them being at school ‘only a few hours’.
These days don’t last forever because sooner than you think your kids grow up and don’t need you anymore then you’ll be wishing you could have these Half Days again.
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