School Start Times

by AustinMom

I know my kids’ private school start dates are earlier than many as both start the week of August 17 this year.  The article below talks about school start times and how middle and high schoolers shouldn’t start before 8:30 am given their internal clocks stay up to11 pm and they need to get the requisite 9 hours of sleep.  Our middle school begins at 8:00 am and high school begins at 8:20 am.

In our metro area we have at least 6 different school districts with different start dates, though not before August 24, and different start times.  Those high schools with 9 am start times do not let out until 4 pm and kids riding the bus are often not home until 5 pm.  The main complaints of parents I have heard about this later start time are (1) the kids have an hour or more at home after the parents have left for work before they have to leave for school, (2) after school sports practices then often go over into the dinner hour, and (3) it often means the kids are up doing homework after parents have gone to bed.

Some discussions I have had with other parents have raised the following points about 9 am starts – (1) start time really doesn’t matter because often club or some sports practices are moved to the mornings which still puts the kids on campus as early as 7 am, (2) after school activities are just shifted later, so a 4-6 pm practice moves to a 5-7 pm practice, which interferes more with the dinner hour, especially if you have younger kids whose school hours in the same district are 7:45 am to 2:45 pm, (3) kids with lots of homework (especially after an after-school practice) often aren’t in bed by 11 pm as you have just shifted it later in the day, and (4) even to take the bus for a 9 am start kids are to be “at the stop” by 8:15 am, so assuming they are getting up at 7:30 am, they would have to be in bed by 10:30 pm to get their 9 hours.

Totebaggers – What hours do your kids attend school?  Do they start earlier than 8:30 am?  Do you think it’s a problem?  Do you like later start times, if your district has them.

You won’t believe how early school starts in some states

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103 thoughts on “School Start Times

  1. I guess there’s no more romance or nostalgia for teens getting up at the crack of dawn to milk the cows or ride a paper route before school. Not only are they not working, but now we’re supposed to fret that they’re not allowed to sleep in long enough.

  2. Our high school starts at 7:15 and there is a big push to start later. I’m years away from it, but I hope it move at least 30 mins later by the time my kids get there. The bus stops at our neighborhood at 6:40 and it isn’t the first stop in the route. I want them home later but mostly because I work and I’d rather the time alone after school be lessened.

  3. First day of school for DS was today. Yes, I took the obligatory cute photo. :) I LOVE seeing all the 1st day of school photos from friends & family.

    School day for ES is 8:30-3:30pm. I think that is just about perfect. He does after care & after school extra curricular at school until around 5pm, which gives him enough time to relax, do his homework, and practice his guitar before dinner. I can see how this will get crazier as he gets older though – but that is one of the benefits of having an only. Only need to worry about one kid’s crazy schedule.

  4. In Seattle, elementary schools start at 9:30; middle and high schools start at 7:50. There’s a big push by parents to shift the start times with high school starting later and elementary school starting earlier. The school district is resistant as they say it will increase transportation costs. I hope it goes through. DS (who is only 10) has been sleeping in late this summer – I can only imagine how hard it will be for him to wake up when he’s a teen.

  5. We have a great schedule. School is from 8 – 3, and sports are from 4:15 – 5:30. Everyone is home and showered by dinner, and homework is generally done after dinner.

    I am really struggling with my youngest, though. He is such a night owl, and just drags in the morning. Bedtime for him is 8:30, but he’s usually awake in his room reading or messing around until 10. He can barely get dressed, comb hair & brush teeth in the space of 45 minutes – he’ll just sit there, staring off into space with one sock halfway on. I have tried incentives, disincentives, letting him sleep to the latest possible minute – everything I can think of. Am at wits end and losing patience. Any suggestions would be warmly welcomed.

  6. start at 8 usual dismissal is 250pm

    I don’t think this is necessarily a problem. If he (or all three thru the years) took the bus, yes, because that pickup time is 700am vs me driving and leaving the house more like 725 (the school is on the way to work, so really no special favors. Everybody gets an additional ~30 mins of sleep.

    I think the “clubs, etc., will just move meetings to before school” argument is a red herring. Sure some teachers/moderators will want to do that, but the school could just say nothing before homeroom if they really wanted to.

    And, also, families having to deal with younger kids different schedules, disjointed dinner times, etc. is not really an issue to me. It’s going to happen anyway if there is >1 kid.

    A feature for me at least of a 1 hour later schedule would be that after school practices which now end at 6 would end at 7 so if I’m the pick up parent, I can go to the gym between work and pickup.

  7. Our ES goes 8:55-3:30; HS goes 7:45-2:15 or 2:30.

    I think this is stupid. I see in DD how her sleep habits have changed since she hit about 12 — she literally cannot go to sleep before 10-11 any more, but she needs sleep just as much as ever.

    I think they should switch the ES and HS times to match what the current science says about most kids’ developmental and sleep habits. Sticking with the current schedule because of concerns about after-school activities is putting the cart before the horse — I’m more worried about her ability to do Spanish and algebra at 8 AM. If that means after-school activities go before school and she can’t participate in some things, so be it. That stuff is optional; school is not.

    And, really, if a 9-3:30 schedule doesn’t allow sufficient time for activities, dinner, and homework, then there’s just something flat-out wrong with how much we expect from our kids.

  8. Mr WCE and I are both night owls. School start times aren’t a big concern for me, but long bus routes mean kids have to be up early even for our moderate (8 or 8:15) start times. We’ll see if we wind up letting the boys drive once DS1 is old enough to drive them. The school is also pushing community college classes as alternatives for advanced students, so they’ll need a way to get there. Lots of people take their kids to school to avoid the long bus routes. This year, our boys are at two different schools but next year, we might drop the boys at their (one) school on the way to work, since it’s on the way.

    How many people’s kids ride bikes to school? That’s feasible in our climate and the only hazardous spot is a bridge to high school. Middle school is definitely walkable/bikable.

  9. Milo–DS has two a day XC practices, with am practice starting at 6:00 am. Which means he is up at 5:30, well before the crack of dawn. There is nothing romantic about it.
    With afternoon practice and homework, he averages about 6 hours of sleep a night on a body that runs about 10-12 miles a day.
    I couldn’t do it.

  10. Lark – My son was similar to your youngest. Problem was resolved in high school when he got involved in football and wrestling. He was so tired after practice he was in bed by nine and got up around 6:30 – 6:45.

  11. Milo,
    Some kids at DD school do have to help milk the cows before school starts.
    DD has to be at school at 6:00 for sports practice on Friday; practice all other days of the week is right after school. I asked her if it is hard to get up that early and she said that it was not hard to do so because running is fun, but if she had to get up that early for classes, then it would be a struggle. So, my guess is that most kids drag their feet in the morning not because they are tired but more that they just don’t want to go to school.

  12. This has been a huge issue with much debate in my school district. Last spring, the School Board voted to switch the Elementary and Middle/High school schedules, starting next fall. So we have this school year to figure out how it will work.

    Currently, ES runs from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. My DD catches the bus at 8:05 am (was 8:00 at our old house, which was the first stop). If she rode the bus home, she would be there by 4:00 pm, but we have chosen to have her daycare program pick her up and take her to their center instead. MS & HS are basically one hour earlier – morning bus between 7:00-7:30 am, out at 2:30 pm & home between 3:00-3:30 pm. I will probably start driving DD to school next year to give her an extra 30 min in the morning (leave home at 7:30 rather than bus at 7:00), but I will have to trim 20 min. from my own routine to do that. Either get up earlier or hire someone to walk the dog, I guess. I’m assuming the childcare programs will pick up the extra hour in the afternoon. So working parents will have to pay more for whatever childcare arrangements they have, and the new schedule also limits opportunities for parents who want to work part-time and be home for their young kids after school.

    I’m assuming that DD can at least come home to an empty house in middle school, so the later schedule does reduce that amount of time. Morning bus at 8:00, home at 4:00, only an hour or so to kill until I get home, not so bad. But add in activities that require transportation. . .I still can’t get her to swim practice at 5:00 or pick her up from band practice at 4:30 if I have to be at work until 5:00. One hour earlier on the current schedule isn’t any better. No one wins in this deal.

  13. @LfB – As usual agree with you. I think it is insane the way we treat sleep like it is some sort of luxury item especially with our kids who are growing and changing so much. So many people who would never dream of denying their kids a meal are happy to deny them sleep day after day, week after week. Could you imagine if they said, “We won’t be serving lunch anymore. THe kids can make up the calories on the weekend.” We will and we are paying for this with our health and happiness. Our district made school for MS and HS 20 minutes later and ES 10 minutes later. Ideally the ES kids would have the earliest start since that matches their body clock most closely but there’s something with the busses that makes that cost prohibitive. Happy to have the 20 mins.

  14. My DD#1 does XC as well, but we live farther from school, so we are up at 5:10 and out of the house by 5:30 am for the 6:00 am practice. She rides the bus home, which means she walks in the door at 4:50 pm. The bus doesn’t leave right after school to allow them to meet with teachers for questions or tutoring. Most days this gives her about 35 minutes of homework time before boarding the bus. She puts herself to bed as soon as she finishes her homework and packs up for the next day, often as early as 8:30 pm.

    How do working parents make an 8:55 am start time work, LfB? We have always been able to flex our work schedules so that we did not require kids to be in before school care, but many are as the bulk of working parents have to be to work between 8 and 8:30 in my area.

  15. I started high school at 7:25, and even as an early riser I thought that was too early. Some kids on the other side of town were getting on the bus at 6:40.

    I think it would make sense to switch the start times for elementary (8:55) and high school. All of our elementary schools offer in-school before and after care, plus there is the Y and the local community center programs.

    Very few high school students here have after school jobs, and most who do work at restaurants which can start them later in the afternoon.

  16. We have 7.50 a.m. to 2.40 p.m. You can drop off at 7.00 am so the start time works well for working parents. The end time is earlier than most workplaces, so many working parents have their kids do afterschool program that runs till 6 p.m. I am fortunate to be able to leave the office and work from home later if necessary which makes it possible to take my kids to a few after school activities. It also gives my kids time to relax after school. It can be a long day if the kids are dropped off at 7 am and picked up at 6pm. My older kid takes the bus. Right now he doesn’t do any sports through school but may want to. Either, I will have to pick him up or make arrangements to have him picked up.

  17. We started school in late July. Everyone has an 8 am start time. The end time is variable due to an insanely complicated MS and HS schedule, but mostly they’re getting out around three, with one or two earlier dismissal days a week. ES was a more consistent 2:15 dismissal, one day a week 1:30.

  18. I think a bigger concern is total time commitment. Our middle schooler had his school reassigned last year. He now has about 1:15 more time at home each day. There is much happiness.

  19. WCE – we think that we will let DS ride his bike to school when he is a little older. He is not good at it yet, but I could see us allowing that in a couple of years. School is almost exactly a mile from our house, with a medium amount of traffic & a few parks to cut through. It is also legal to ride on the sidewalk rather than on the street until 12 years old. It seems doable. A few of the kids at his school do it – some of the younger ones with parents tagging along and then finishing their own commutes via bike.

  20. “How do working parents make an 8:55 am start time work, LfB?”

    Daycare.

    Since we have two who are almost 5 years apart, we are going to be screwed either way. Our only saving grace is that we are only about a half-mile from the HS, so there are no more bus routes to deal with. Last year, we left at 7:30 to drop of DS at daycare and DD at her bus stop (in front of same daycare) for an 8:00 start time. This year, we all leave between maybe 7-7:15 to drop DS off, and DD takes off sometime between 7:15-7:20. I assume as she gets more comfortable with the school and the commute, her departure time will stretch closer to 7:30 so she squeaks in right before the bell rings, like her dear old mom used to. . . .

    So, personally, it is more convenient to have the early start, as it works best with our work schedules. But I’d prefer DD to be able to sleep more, even if it were less convenient.

    And speaking of school, we had our first three-hour homework event last night. Except it was really probably an hour of homework + 2 hours of “this is unfamiliar/I don’t know what I’m doing/they didn’t give me a rubric/OMG am I even doing this right?” She had to do things like write up two lab procedures/equipment list and outline a chapter in her SS book, but the teachers didn’t put the dots as close together as in earlier years about how to do those things, so there was much fretting/angst over whether she was doing it right (+ me trying hard not to smile when DD could see me). Still, she stuck with it and did it all with no nagging or oversight, so I call that a total win — whether it’s Cogmed or maturity, I don’t know and don’t care — I’ll take it!

  21. My son’s HS goes from 7:45-3:30. We’re about 1/2 he away. When I had to use a car/shuttle service to bring him home he typically didn’t get home until around 5:30. I agree with AParent – the extra time at home increases happiness. I am a huge proponent of adequate sleep. I think it’s the foundation to a sane and healthy life, so agree with start times that are more inline with natural sleep patterns. One drawback of having ES start earliest, though, is that for families that use older siblings instead of paid childcare, that means the youngest child is getting home to an empty house. (This is on my mind after grousing to my son that he appears to be doing all the work on his group project, and he explained that his friend has to watch younger siblings after school, then when his parents get home has to help one of them with something job related, and doesn’t get to start schoolwork until around 9, and is frequently up til 1 on school nights. So I shut up. But if his friend started and got home last, that family would have a big gap in their schedule.)

  22. The high school I went to moved the start time to 8:30 (I think it was 7:30 when I was there, um, a long time ago). The principal said it has improved tardiness and seemed to have an effect on grades. This is from a few years ago and I saw an article today about it as well but can’t seem to find it.

    http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20120110/NEWS/201100313

    I have no idea what time high school starts around here. Elementary school is at 8:00 but the bus comes so early – sometimes before 7:00, it’s ridiculous. Luckily we don’t take the bus because we’re only half a mile away. We leave our house at 7:30 when walking and get there about 15 minutes later, it’s the best.

  23. We started at 9:35 last year (ES) — we were often 3 hours into our day before dropoff. It’s a lot of morning time to fill.

    DH and I already had a theoretical fight about homework (the disagreement was real, the homework isn’t – we are about the last people in America to start school). There are a few things I would like DD to be doing after school (swim, art), and I don’t foresee a lot of room for homework without the day becoming quite regimented. I am not inclined to dedicate afterschool and weekend hours to homework for a 6 year old — the 7 hours she is out of the house should be more than sufficient for them to impart whatever wisdom and skills the school thinks necessary.

    We are at a new school this year, and I am getting the feeling that we may be in a world where the parents are agitating for a lot of homework.

  24. DD lucked out because a family is moving into our neighborhood and DD will get two buddies to walk home with. She has been doing fine walking home by herself so far.
    I thought of saac last night and I hope the school year is going well for her son.

  25. LfB – You sort of made my point. If you have to get your kid up to get them to before school day care so you can get to work, your child isn’t getting that extra sleep. Their “school day” shifts, but not their waking schedule.

    DD#1 – HS schedule is weirdly erratic – 8:20 am start daily. M&F out at 2:40 pm, unless there is an assembly – which there is at least once a month, then release is at 3:05 pm. T&TH – out at 3:05 pm and W out at 3:50 pm because that is the day they have Mass. Bus leaves at 4 pm daily.

    If we were at the local public – it would be bus or drive. Our subdivision is cut off by a major park, so you must go around to taking one or another major road – 50 MPH, most of the way no sidewalk, and no bike lanes. Plus, the route you must take to get there makes you almost at the 2 mile limit for busing anyway. The ES and MS are right across the (another major) street from each other. The ES is on our side, but the MS is on the other. We are 3.5 miles from the HS.

  26. “If you have to get your kid up to get them to before school day care so you can get to work, your child isn’t getting that extra sleep. Their “school day” shifts, but not their waking schedule.”

    @Austin – I don’t think the issue is the grade school kids getting adequate sleep. It is the middle and high school kids who aren’t wired to go to sleep earlier unlike the smalls – In general.

  27. Our school days seems longer than average. High school is 7:40-3:15 and middle school is 8:15-3:30. Both kids are dropped off in the morning as the bus schedule is unreliable. Both ride the bus home, as DH and I cannot pick them up. They reach home at 4:30-4:50. This is a long bus ride for what is a 15 minute trip by car, but they are stuck with it.

  28. Are school days in general just longer than they used to be? InMyDay ES was 9-3, middle 830-230, HS 8-2. My hometown still has that schedule, and all practices etc. are after school. Here the ES is 830-3 – don’t know about the MS and HS yet.

    Also, the dropoff schedule/procedure is different for us – you can’t arrive early, and parents MUST walk the kindergartners and 1st graders into their classrooms (a huge PITA), and the kids can’t walk to school alone until they are in 4th grade (!!!!!!). In my hometown, my friend who is now a parent there can drop her kid off at the playground at 8:30 even though school doesn’t start until 9, and no one is allowed in the school except students/teachers.

  29. Ada, I wouldn’t say my kids have a lot of homework, but given the first grade class size (31), some tasks get outsourced to parents. The kids have to write 10 sentences about the object they bring to share with the class and with my boys, this means doing 3-4 sentences/night on three different nights. (Class rotates through with 1 kid/day and you get a calendar ahead of time with your child’s due date.) With my kids, we have to think of the sentences and write them out for the child to copy, at least at the beginning of the year. Depending on child’s skill/frustration level, we may have to do some erasing so the sentences feature spaces between the words. I think some of the girls, in particular, require less support than my sons.

    Other parents have to do much more reading/math support than I do. You are supposed to read to/with your child daily but I, umm, don’t. I would make the time if my children struggled with reading. I miss SoFl Mom, because Khan Academy has been good for my kids this summer and I started it on her recommendation. The school math is a joke.

  30. L, my children’s school is like your hometown. Starting first grade, you are even allowed to walk the quarter mile or so from the bus stop to your house without a parent/caregiver to meet you.

  31. L – knowing you dislike confrontation/arguing, I would still wonder what would happen if you just dropped your kid off at the curb and watched him/her go into the school? What, pragmatically, are they going to do? Tell your kid, nope, no learnin’ for you today. Sure you might get a stern talking to/email reiterating the rules and maybe even a tsk, tsk, but what, really, would stop you from doing it again the next day? Just imaging if the whole school society broke down with kindergartners and 1st graders marauding thru the halls going right to their classrooms.

  32. at what age can your kids get off the bus and go in their house without being met by a parent or guardian? (latchkey kid)

  33. Fred – we did actually do that with #1 child last year. We did speak to her teacher about it, either ahead of time or when she complained to us. They are much stricter with the K kids so I won’t be able to do it this year with #2, unless the K teacher magically thinks that big sis dropping him off is okay! Hmm…

  34. Our district’s written policy is that K-1st must be met at the bus stop for the first 10 days of the school year – but then they are on their own (at the discretion of the parents). Our school is the totebaggy outlier in the district, so I am curious to see how this works in practice.

    I would imagine that L would get a referral to CPS if she did it repeatedly. You do wonder if the bus kids are also escorted to their desks – or if they are street toughed enough to just make it from the school dorr.

  35. Fred, L — or send a note to the teacher, “L Jr. has my permission to walk from the curb to her classroom on her own. We are working on fostering age-appropriate independent navigation skills this year. Sincerely, L.” And then the next day let the kid walk in from the curb.

  36. Didn’t see your latest comment before I posted, L — I would totally go for the ‘big sis walking him in’ approach!

  37. Winemama, I think being met by a parent or guardian is probably subject to your local rules about children home alone. I saw in our local paper today that someone got only 4 years in prison for smothering an infant while on meth, so I can’t imagine our local CPS is going to put too many resources into ensuring 9 year olds are greeted by a parent or babysitter. It depends on if your view of the law is “I would never chance my 10 year old being alone for a few minutes because I was caught in traffic” vs. “Yeah, well, they can just come enforce that law.” A wireless keypad garage door opener is a good way to avoid the latchkey problem. My kids knew how to let the babysitter in when they were in preschool.

  38. LOL HM – I do like that phrasing! Big sis would totally welcome the responsibility, but I’m not sure little brother (who I think outweighs her at this point) would deal well with the concomitant superior attitude. ;)

  39. Wow L! Our school only lets you walk the kids to the classroom the first week, after that they are expected to be able to get from the bus/car pool lane, etc. to their classroom on their own. And they do put the onus on the kids to also know how they are getting home in the afternoon. The teacher has their schedule written down but I doubt they’re checking every day unless the kid expresses confusion. I know in kindergarten DD definitely got on the bus a time or two instead of going to the after school program like she was supposed to. I do like that they don’t let the kids off of the bus without a parent there for that reason.

  40. Well, I guess I am glad to see that I am not alone in feeling that our town/schools require a lot of conspicuous caring! Grumble grumble.

  41. Atlanta, my kids go to after school care 1x/week and (I think) will have to ride a different bus than usual. I’m unsure if my twins will necessarily remember, but having two of them increases the odds, plus DS1 (third grade) should already be on the correct bus. We have talked about how to go in the house if you accidentally get on the wrong bus. I don’t view this possibility with extreme distress, obviously.

  42. L, when DS was in the 3rd grade, he was responsible for picking up DD, who was in K, every afternoon and walking her to the bus stop, which is on campus.

  43. Wow, so many schools will not even let a parent into the school at all around here- especially after Newtown. Many of the schools around here issued bonds for upgrades to the physical plant o the school, but a large portion of the money in many districts is going to upgrade doors, security and keep any adults out of the building if you do not belong.

    Our MS starts at 7:45, and the kids are dismissed at 2:40. The HS starts at 8, and the elementary is 8:45. I think the MS is too early because I don’t think these studies are crap, but there is real evidence that kids need more sleep to develop their brains etc.

    I know I was waking up early when I was in HS, but I never stayed up as late as these kids do because my work load wasn’t this insane in HS. Also, there was TV or a shared family phone at night. I didn’t have all of the distractions that these kids have that keeps them from possibly finishing their work earlier and getting to bed by 10 or 11.

  44. “Winemama, I think being met by a parent or guardian is probably subject to your local rules about children home alone”

    true.

    I guess I am wondering at what age they could come into the house (with someone there) without necessarily having the parent greet the bus.

  45. I have a friend at work who lives way outside the city and one of her girls got confused in kindergarten one day about what she was supposed to do after school. I think she was supposed to go to the after school program but was quite insistent to the bus driver that she was supposed to be on the bus. The bus driver let her off at home and no one was there of course and the house was locked. So I can’t remember if she was trying to go back to school or where she was going but a neighbor acquaintance (not a good friend or anything) of my friend found her walking on the side of a pretty major road. Luckily it all turned out ok, the neighbor acquaintance called my friend and the girl was returned safe and sound, but the girl went with the neighbor unquestioningly. So I never minded when I got those calls from the school saying the bus driver had returned DD to school because I wasn’t at the bus stop.

  46. At my kids elementary school they had to get stricter about dismissal because they had situations where mothers had agreed to play dates between their kids after school and then a mother forgot that their kid was going to be picked up from school by another mother and taken for a play date, resulting in a panicked “where is my kid”. We couldn’t do after school play dates so I one point I did feel out of sync with other mothers but my kids have moved past that stage and all is well.

  47. At my kids’ school, K-8 starts at 8am. Ending times are staggered. IIRC, K-1 end at 2:20, 2-3 end at 2:30, 4-5 end at 2:40, 6-8 end at 2:50. The staggering end times help spread the pickup traffic over a longer time and make it more manageable.

    In HS, kids have individuals schedules, and it is not common for any two students to have the same schedules. Their schedules vary from day to day. Earliest classes start at 7:30, and last class end time is 3:30. A lot of students don’t start until 8:30, but Symphony is at 7:30 every day, so DS always starts then, and he usually ends at 3:30; I think he’s had one day per cycle in which he’s ended before 3:30.

    The kids catch a bus to school, so they leave home at about 6 every day to catch the bus. When they were younger, we didn’t schedule them for after school activities in school, and they would catch the bus home, and get home somewhere between 4 and 4:45, depending on traffic. When DS hit 7th grade, he started having afterschool activities, and that was about the same time DD started club softball, so we started to have to drive to school to pick them up. On those days, depending on their activities, they’d get home anywhere between 5:30 and 7:30.

  48. My kids have told me that in the morning, most of the older kids sleep through the bus ride, with most of them going to sleep upon getting seated, and many of them not appearing to be totally awake when they board the bus.

  49. At my kid’s school, walking or biking or getting to school than by a car (preferably foreign) driven by a parent, custodian or a registered drop off/pick up service is verboten. No exceptions– even for kids (and there once was one) living on the block and regardless age.

    If my kid doesn’t finish 8th grade this year, he’ll be 15 next fall and eligible for his driver’s permit. I fully expect that he will be driving himself each day as I sleep (or claw at the windows in panic), but God forbid that he should walk.

    Mind you, his school could not be located in a more upscale neighborhood!

  50. Are school days in general just longer than they used to be? InMyDay ES was 9-3, middle 830-230, HS 8-2. My hometown still has that schedule, and all practices etc. are after school. Here the ES is 830-3 – don’t know about the MS and HS yet.

    We had ES from 9-3, MS was 8:35-3 and HS was 8:10-2:57 (those extra three minutes were huge!). Our kids’ school (k-8) is 7:50-3:30 except for wednesdays which is 7:50-2:10.

  51. When I was in HS, we had the longest school day of any public school in the state, from 7:45 to 2:40. At 2:45, the campus was pretty much deserted. The band room and the speech coach’s room were two exceptions I remember. The sports complex was separate from the rest of campus.

  52. “Our subdivision is cut off by a major park, so you must go around to taking one or another major road – 50 MPH, most of the way no sidewalk, and no bike lanes.”

    I’m assuming this was in reference to walking or biking to school, so I’m thinking walking of biking through a park would be a great alternative to a major road.

  53. “I miss SoFl Mom”

    Me too. I miss her stories of what her son was doing; he seemed to be in a track similar to mine, at least academically, although somewhat more advanced.

  54. PTM, are some kids at your son’s school more challenged than your son? Another mom at church has a son with Down’s who is a few months older than Baby WCE. If we have playdates, I will need to ask her about her son. I won’t feel comfortable assuming that feeding, toileting and other life stages are the same as for Baby WCE.

  55. Our school actively discourages ES parents from coming into the building in the morning, but they don’t actually expressly forbid it. As a private school, they seem to do more active encouraging and shaming for enforcement than actually laying down the law with their paying customers! Afternoon pickup is more flexible as 90% of the kids stay for the after school program/activities & get picked up anywhere from 4pm til 6pm.

    I agree that ES homework should be minimal – 7 hours/day with my 5-10 year old should be plenty to teach what he needs to get out of ES. It seems that at our school, most parents are of this mindset, but at other schools we looked at (including public), some parents seemed to equate lots of homework with extra learning & getting ahead. I also had a parent at a school visit who wanted to know how they would ever know what their kid was doing everyday if they weren’t bringing home worksheets. UGH. DS does have a small amount of homework – a list of spelling words to practice each week and a book to read and write a short book report on each month.

  56. In our 14000 kid public school district, what the kid does after school is handled by the parent’s instructions as reflected in the software the district uses for parents to input those choices. This is back stopped by the classroom teachers who take phone calls from the people who can’t or won’t use the widget. In our 700 kid elementary school, elementary kids are escorted off the bus and to the classroom by an adult before the herd is released from the buses.

  57. Many states do not have an age on the books that a child can be left alone. Some have guidelines and a few have actual laws. The downside to no law is that you are subject to the whims of CPC staff and how they are interpreting the situtation. The downside to having a law is it could be an unrealistic age like Illinois which is 14. I was babysitting three kids under the age of 4 at 14. It really does depend on your child and how they react to things – some kids can handle the responsibilty at 6 while there are some 18 years that I wouldn’t leave alone in my house! See the link below for your state.

    http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-kids-age-limits.htm

  58. @usuallylurks Even the Illinois law is vague as it says that a child under 14 cannot be left alone “for an unreasonable amount of time”. That leaves a lot of discretion when it comes to enforcement.

  59. Last year, my sixth grader started riding the bus home without his high school age siblings. At first, the bus driver wouldn’t let him off the bus alone. Granted, it was a mile walk to our house. However, 1) he was 11, 2) he was walking across our.own.field.

    It took a few phone calls to the school district to straighten this out.

    Our course, they believe he is old enough and mature enough to advocate for himself in 504 meetings.

  60. This issue has been exacerbated by the decline of neighborhood schools. A school that starts at 7:45 is quite reasonable if most kids live within 20 minutes of the school, but becomes completely unreasonable if they have a 45 minute commute. We are lucky in that our kids go to neighborhood schools.

  61. Our HS goes from 7:50 to 2:40 (or something like that). If they made school start later, I am guessing that a lot of activities would have to get moved to the morning, especially the team practices. My son’s cross country practices go until 4:30 or 5 as it is – any later and it gets too dark. Or they might have two, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

  62. Mooshi makes a good point about neighborhood schools. Here, parents whose kids get into magnets have to think about school schedules that are different from the neighborhood schools. Also, the magnet schools times are such that you encounter the heavy commuting traffic. In addition the homework is more, so you really have to consider the impact of very long school days on your family and whether it is worth it.

  63. “This issue has been exacerbated by the decline of neighborhood schools.”

    I don’t know, but are you saying that the average distance between home and school has increased?

  64. I think in general, people end up travelling further if their kid is in a magnet or specialized school. At least, that is what I have seen with friends who have kids in such schools. For example, one of my my friends in NYC lives on City Island, and sends her kid to school in Manhattan because it is a magnet program. He has to take a bus and a subway so his days are much longer.

  65. Mooshi – I agree. We have neighbors who travel ridiculous distances for magnet programs, but I don’t think that is the norm, especially outside of major cities.

  66. “I think in general, people end up travelling further if their kid is in a magnet or specialized school.”

    Or a private school.

  67. Mooshi, thanks for the reminder about the local schools and short commutes. There is finally a benefit to the micro district – every school is 5 or 10 minutes from each home.

    Our town did switch bus companies this year, and there were a lot of missing buses, lost buses, and very late buses. I was just so relieved to hear happy feedback about the kids and teachers at school today. 1 positive day, and 179 to go!

    off topic – something so horrible happened yesterday with one of the subcontractors that my contractor uses that I didn’t even have to say anything. He is finally coming back tomorrow with his best team ( I agree), and he told me that they can stay until everything is finished in my house. The two week break is over, and I might finally be able to stop living like a nomad in my own home.

  68. Luckily it all turned out ok

    One might even say that, predictably, it all turned out okay. There are mostly good people who want to help children in the community. The chances are vanishingly small that a missed bus stop would lead to the child meeting first a person who wanted to hurt a child. The supposes that we are all one transportation miscommunication away from a disaster.

    I did, however, just have a conversation with DD that it would be okay to knock on all of our neighbors’ doors if she ever needed an adult. The only situation I could come up with is that if we all went out for ice cream and she feel asleep and we forgot to take her.

  69. Middle school and high school in our district start at 7:30, which seems really early to me. There is a movement afoot by many local parents advocating for the reversal of the MS/HS and ES starting times (elementary schools start at 8:20). The local Superintendent says that she agrees with the research on adolescents’ sleep needs, and would like to pursue later start times for MS and HS; but she has said that our district could not start MS/HS later unless every other district in our geographic area did the same. Why? Because otherwise, our high school’s sports teams’ schedules might not be coordinated with those of other area high schools. I personally cannot understand why the critical issue of school start times for every single student in PK-12 should hinge on the HS football/soccer/lacrosse et.al. schedules. Perhaps the topic of how much emphasis schools should put on team sports is another topic for another day.

    Thankfully, we live close to the MS, and really close to the HS. DS (6th grade) is biking to school this year, and he can be out our door and in his classroom in the span of about 15 minutes. It is the norm in our town for MS kids who live relatively close to school to walk or bike without parental supervision, so he has plenty of company

  70. One year dd’s high school was planning on moving the starting time from 8 to 8:30. They abandoned this plan because of two main complaints: many kids would still be dropped off by a parent on the way to school before 8:00 every morning, and the fact that sports practices and games (played with other private schools who were not changing their start time) would be affected.

  71. The town that borders my town was able to push back the start times for the MS and the HS by 25 minutes to 8:12. They did it by shortening a few of the periods, and by ending at 3:20 instead of 3:05. The real reason that they were able to do it is that they only bus their elementary school students, so there was no need to coordinate with the bus schedule.

  72. For those with truly cold winters: what baby snow/cold gear would you recommend for a ~15min daily walk? We may relent and get a car, but assuming we will be walking to daycare daily with a stroller–would you do JJ Cole style “bunting” or go for a snowsuit (like Mini Boden or North Face)?

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/mini-boden-hooded-front-zip-snowsuit-baby-girls/4073864?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=1169.6

    https://www.thenorthface.com/shop/kids-infants-0m-24m-buntings/infant-thermoball-bunting-crx9?variationId=BDM

  73. “many kids would still be dropped off by a parent on the way to school before 8:00 every morning”

    I think this is a big reason there is no push of which I am aware to move the school start time any earlier. A lot of people need to be at work by 8.

    When DS was going to another school, a complaint there was the very short dropoff window. School started at 8, but the kids weren’t supposed to be on campus before 7:45. Besides horrendous traffic backups, it was a problem for a lot of parents who needed to be at work at 8 or earlier.

    At the kids’ current school, they have playground supervision (HS students) starting at 7am for kids up through 2nd grade. From 3rd grade on, kids are allowed to be on campus unsupervised.

    When DS was in K, he caught a bus that usually dropped him off at about 6:40. DW arranged with a friend, who had two daughters in HS who caught the same bus, for one of them to watch him until 7, but it turned out DS’ teacher got in at about 6:30 every morning, so he had one of the girls just walk DS to his class from the bus. He put DS to work until 7 every morning booting up all the computers and helping get set up for the day.

  74. “I personally cannot understand why the critical issue of school start times for every single student in PK-12 should hinge on the HS football/soccer/lacrosse et.al. schedules. Perhaps the topic of how much emphasis schools should put on team sports is another topic for another day.”

    ITA.

  75. MidA, I recommend a snowsuit over a bunting because your baby will be active next winter. We buy our snowsuits at Kmart and they last fine for occasional use. (Neither Walmart nor Target carry them near us; strangely, Kmart does.)

    Does anyone else have an opinion?

  76. Finn – you reminded me of a situation that happened for a while at our grammar school: the gates of the school were opened at 7:50 for an 8:10 start time, but some parents were dropping their kids off earlier than 7:50, so the kids were standing on the sidewalk (pretty much downtown) for 10 or 15 minutes each morning. I can’t remember if this led to the before school program, or if the parents didn’t want to pay for the before school program, and just had the kids wait outside.

    Those early school years are starting to get blurry for me!

  77. “At the kids’ current school, they have playground supervision (HS students) starting at 7am for kids up through 2nd grade.”

    I’m sure that would never fly here because of union opposition. Similar proposals have been blocked because they would mean non-union individuals taking over union jobs. IIRC you’ve also mentioned student TAs, which I think would be a similar issue.

    Our HS goes from about 7:45 to 2:30, but teachers are obligated by contract to provide after-school help until 3. I’ve noticed lately a few school events where the announcements made sure to include the fact that the teachers involved had “volunteered” their time to attend. Just about everything they do is governed by union agreements.

    “Those early school years are starting to get blurry for me!”

    Tell me about it!

  78. Finn – Walking/Riding through the park is not what you think. There are only two public “trail heads” to enter the park and both about half way to the school. They are not walking trails, but rougher mountain bike trails that are not marked and meander. Its more like woods with some trails going through it. It would still turn the mile walk into a two mile walk.

    The problem is the periodic incidents of adults being harrassed by other adults wanting money and/or sex means no one sends their kids into this area without adult supervision.

    My school hours as a kid were 8-3 from K-12. Girls sports and band generally practiced in the morning and boys sports, excluding xc, practiced in the afternoon. You had to live 2 miles or more from school to ride the bus, but most kids walked or rode their bikes unless it was raining, you had something large and/or heavy to bring to school, or you had an appointment such as doctor or orthodontist.

  79. Mid a. I would get a stroller or car seat blanket by that I mean a fleece sac with a hood with or without arms with the mitten ends that lives in the stroller all winter. I would not invest in an actual snowsuit until he reaches the size where he would actually be lumbering around on two feet. It is a snap to dress baby in normal cold climate indoor clothes with socks, add a sweater and knit hat, and dump into the waiting sac and zip it up. If it is raining, use the normal rain cover. If it is really cold add blankets. The sac can be big and accommodate a toddler later.

  80. MidA – I agree with WCE. In the winter, I usually use the metric of one additional layer for the baby. So if I’m in a shirt/jeans and jacket, baby usually has two shirts on, pants, and a jacket. This winter, I’ll find him a snowsuit and use a thick blanket for his stroller. I won’t put him in the snowsuit and then strap him into the car seat. Most suits are really thick, and I can’t pull the straps tight enough to secure him into the car seat. He’s a wiggler, and I’m pretty sure would be able to wiggle out of the straps. For car trips like that, I would strap him into the car seat, then put a heavy blanket on top.

  81. MidA – I think I agree with Meme, if I understand her correctly. We had something that was like a sleeping bag made specifically for the infant carrier/car seat, allowing the car seat straps to come through the back, but otherwise covering the baby from neck to toe.

    It was much, much easier and faster than putting an infant into a snowsuit.

  82. I think we are all talking about the same idea with different names. The stroller needs its own sack or bunting that lives in it all winter. There were a couple designed for toddlers on Amazon, quilted and water proof but no arms and mostly with no hood. The child can be heavily dressed from the waist up, but you never need to use the snow suit unless there is independent walking planned. Zipping on a jacket is a breeze compared to getting a wriggly person into the snow suit legs, especially if the snowsuit fits well for walking, not like a Michelin man costume. And if you do it in advance of going out, you know that a dump is imminent.

  83. I have an off topic question…

    I have a friend (not local) whose DH got physically violent with her…she has a young child and is a SAHM, she is pretty isolated, no family nearby. She said this had happened before, but not since having the child. She is scared and doesn’t know what to do…no income of her own no where to go, what can I say to help her?

  84. Wine,
    I would have your friend talk with her pastor at church. He or she will be plugged in with the service providers who could respond to the situation. If not the pastor, then I would go to the closest school and ask to speak with the student services coordinator. That person will know all of the responsive agencies and groups.

  85. Lauren – that’s great news! Hope it all turns out well!

    Agree with the discussion about having a schedule because of sports seems backwards.

    Wine, Call her local domestic violence hotline or County Social Services. They can help you. I would encourage her to do the same. Also I would encourage her to document pictures/writing the violence in case this ends up in court at some point. I’m so sorry. It must be hard to care so much and be so far away! Assuming she lives in a reasonably sized city, there should be a number of resources for her. I would also remind her of her obligation to her child not just for her child’s safety but being a part of stuff like that can REALLY mess up a kid. Way more than living in a shelter or with friends. Good luck!

  86. winemama – call the National Domestic Violence hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) – they can point you to the nearest resources for her.

  87. MidA – we have this stroller bunting. VERY convenient. My almost-3-yo was not in a hurry to get out of the stroller last winter: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/83255?feat=sr&term=bunting

    I would get snowpants and separate jacket with hood for the kids, not a snowsuit, for the reasons mentioned above, AND BIG MITTENS. The mittens and jacket are most important for the walk in the stroller. Mine would always take their hands out of the mittens (gah!) but I would stuff their hands inside the bunting and that would keep them warm enough.

  88. I talked to a lady who was going to drop her son off at school before he can get into the building. School starts at 9 am but she has to be at work before that. She is hoping no one notices since it will be for a month, her busy time at work and it is a large middle school with staggered starts.

    It is so weird but I have come to the point where I think it was mentioned here that you can talk to the kids better when they are in the car with you. My intention was to have DS walk to the bus, but those couple of minutes in the car each morning with each of my kids individually allows me to connect with each one of them one on one, otherwise there is too much distraction in the house or one of them chimes in and the conversation gets off track.

  89. ER social workers also have a good sense of the community’s true resources – are shelters available, etc. Most of the time, they will take a phone call and give out information without you needing to register as a patient.

  90. I agree with a bunting if you aren’t doing anything active outside, and I strongly agree with snow pants and coat rather than a snowsuit. (I’ve actually bought snow pants rather than a snow suit.)

  91. MidA – Having dealt with your exact situation, my recco is a stroller bunting and then a warm down jacket & mittens/hat, etc for the baby. We made it through three winters that way, and the bunting does not need to size to the child.

    I found the bunting to be useless. You can’t use it in the carseat, it’s a pain to put on, and the stroller bunting does the same job of keeping the legs warm, better.

    So basically, I agree with L, except I don’t think snowpants are necessary until child is walking a lot. I believe you had a summer baby, so I wouldn’t bother with any snowpants until next winter.

  92. On second thought, I agree with Ivy that you probably won’t need snow pants this winter. Baby WCE will be crawling through tunnels and getting taken down baby slides by her brothers, but she wouldn’t be doing that as a first child.

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