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Late Arrival: How do YOU manage?

Today is the first late Wednesday arrival of the school year, and I -- a freelancing at-home mama who struggles mightily with early mornings -- am taking a deep happy morning breath. Today, my first-grader was up before me at 6:45, and got to play quietly by himself before his brothers awoke, a rare treat for the middle kid who loves occasional solitude. Now we've all had breakfast, and I have my coffee, and the boys are watching Pokemon while I typity-type-type. I even got Truman to do a little homework. When we leave, more than an hour from now, we'll probably even be a few minutes early, and I'll have a jumpstart on my writing day. No rushing required. Perfect.

I know that it's not all sunshine and deep breaths for many parents. My school doesn't even open until 9:50 (when the first bell rings), and there's no breakfast on late arrival days -- something I know many families count on. I was surprised to see the notice in my child's folder yesterday about Y morning care; it may not be the very first time anyone had heard of it, but it was the first time I knew about the 9:50 building opening. And for parents to sign up for the Y, it's not just a matter of paying $20 per late morning; there's a sign-up process and a registration fee, not the sort of thing I could manage in the midst of a week's coordination if I was working in an office. I'm sure most parents have figured it out ahead of time, but still: there have got to be parents who forget, or miss the first flyer, and struggle to pull it together.

How do you manage? Is late arrival a blessing for you, or a major coordination nightmare? If you've signed your child up for early care, do you like it? Is it a challenge to find the funds? If you could be in charge of Portland Public Schools, would you have ever instituted late arrival -- or would you have one a week?


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Yes, we luckily figured out the Y before school started and like and insane first time parent in K I called and emailed to confirm that the AM late start was a part of our PM only + package I paid for. I wish communication and coordination could be a bit more "modern" (i.e. email or even an option to add notices to feeds our outlook meetings) but let's face it, that's my world not theirs. I'm learning to adjust to their world the best that I can. They are once a month on I think the same Wed except in DEC so time to find some friends to have breakfast with if you don't do the Y ;)

We got a robocall reminder earlier in the week about the late start. Sometimes they catch us unawares, but we're lucky in that my husband and I both have enough flexibility with our jobs that we can usually manage this.

My kids are enrolled in before and aftercare on-site at their school and they offer late start coverage for $40/child. Since I now have two children attending that's a bit of a hit in addition to the once-a-month In Service day. But I suppose all told it's less than the kings ransom we used to pay for preschool.
However, if you are not already a part of the program you cannot take advantage of the coverage for late starts. Though there were a bunch of kids there this morning.

When this first started, I was working, but fortunately, my daughter was already 9 and we had already brokered a deal (because she soooo hated Vemont Hills, her on-site before and after care provider)about self reliance.

I wasn't really comfortable, but I kept my cell on and stayed in touch---everything was fine an I would prompt her when to leave etc.

Since then I've been laid off, and since last year was quite stressful for her, late start days were something to revel in--sleeping late, doing homework in the AM, a bath instead of a shower.

Today's was a bit later, but since she now attends a magnet middle school (to which she takes the bus, alone!!), it wasn't even really particularly late (still out the door at 9AM). Byt we had chocolate croissants, she got a bit more sleep, etc.

Our on-site before and after care includes late starts if you have already signed up for mornings. Non-morning or even no- care kids are able to sign up for $20(?) for late mornings if there is room. Last year I took a few mornings off to sleep later, hang out, do chores, play with kid. This year I have meetings most Wednesday mornings and will probably just do the before care.

My experience is that late start days embrace the,"it takes a community to raise a child.". Last year, when I was working outside of the house, my son spent late start mornings in Starbucks with a friend. I paid for the treats, but not the care. What I found challenging wasn't the mornings, but the pick-up, since on late start Wednesday's the half day kindergarten students stay full day. For some this may make their life easier, but for our family, the afternoons were a bit more of a scramble to find coverage. Nonetheless, it always worked out... now that I work from home this year I happily watch a neighbors son. My kids are early risers, so for them, having a friend visit one morning a month is a treat. I can't fit everyone in my car, but luckily we can all walk to school. For those on a budget, I recommend reaching out to your community! Also, for those of us who can easily stay home with our children on late start days, consider offering the gift of a morning playdate to a family who'd appreciate it. Even when a family can afford the morning care, it's a nice change of pace for the kids to experience a morning at a friend's house.

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