Always Real, School

A Half Day Is A Good Day

When Sean was two I put him in a Mother’s Day Out program at the church we were attending.  The fact of the matter is that Sean did not really want to go to MDO. He wanted to stay home and play with Lego’s with me, but I felt some sort of societal pressure to put him in a MDO.  And because I was young and stupid, I did it. It was a mistake.

On his second or third visit to this MDO, after he’d been there about an hour, he told the teacher that he was ready for his mommy to come pick him up.  She told him that I would come pick him up after lunch. He said, “Okay then, lets have lunch.”

Up through Kindergarten, he went to school from 9-1. Which was perfect.  By 1pm I was more than ready to go get him and he was more than ready for me to come and get him.  I’ve discovered that if I can’t get it done between 9 and 1, it probably doesn’t really need to be done.

First grade, however, is a whole new ballgame. Now he goes to school from 8am to 3pm and that has been a bit of an adjustment.  For both of us.  In case you did not know, the longest span of time in recorded history is from 8am to 3pm, it’s like 72 hours.  This was true when I was in Sister Luke’s 3rd grade, it was true when I worked in an office and it is still true.  The fastest span of time is from the moment your child is born until the day they enter first grade. That is actually about 60 seconds.

I walk Sean to school every morning, and then I come home and do a few little chores and by about 10:15 I’m ready to go get him.  I’m looking at my watch and eyeing the big plastic bin of Lego’s that has been left unattended in the den.

On the second or third day of school, I walked him to school and took him to his classroom, and as I bent over to kiss him goodbye, he looked up at me and said, “Mom, go ahead and come get me ’bout noon, okay?”

“Okay, that sounds great!” I said.  No, I didn’t say that.  Instead, I just kissed his forehead and reminded him to be respectful and be obedient, as I always do.

“You know I will,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “See you later.”

Half-day kindergarten worked for me and half-day first grade would work for me too. And half-day high school. And college.


He oughtta be able to crank this assignment out by noon, don’t you think?

47 thoughts on “A Half Day Is A Good Day

  1. I loved this post! My one and only Little Man is about to start Junior Kindergarten. He’ll be gone for just less than three hours a day and I’m already “worried” about him starting first grade in two years.

    * * *
    Oh sister. First grade will be here before you know it. Man oh man, it all happened so fast.

  2. half-day kindergarten was my favorite year with my daughter, too! she’s my only, and i missed her so much when she started first grade! now she’s 14 and we homeschool.

  3. We start grade one in 5 sleeps. Oy. Because of the bussing situation here he will be gone for from 8 to 4:30. Half day would work nice for me too.

  4. Sounds like homeschooling may be your best bet? You would be a great person to do it.

    * * *
    Homeschooling is always something we are thinking about. We have so many friends who home school and their kids are awesome. We home schooled all summer and he loved it — he just sort of accepted that in the afternoon when it was too hot to play outside that we’d do math, reading and phonics. You can make a lot of progress in a short time home schooling, that’s for sure.

  5. My little guy started The Big K this week. Ours is full day (8-3). I thought time went faster because I was getting older. Hah.

    The first three days were half days, but the time dragged. Four hours was Forever.

    You are the smartest mommy on the planet for figuring it out!

  6. I’m taking in a deep breath and sighing. I know we’ve emailed about this before, but I needed this reminder. The last two weeks have been terribly hard with my nearly 2 year old. And as I look around at friends/blog friends who have their kiddos Brennan’s age in MDO already, I’m wondering if I’m missing something…maybe my sanity. But oh, I’m not ready. I’m so not ready. And neither is my guy. I’m gonna soak up and prolong those 60 seconds as long as I can…even though there are HARD days!!

  7. This summer was fantastic, after a year of whole-day K. A time to every season, I guess. Does he like it? I’ve been volunteering a lot this week and am beginning to worry…time to start projects and get our little house in order. Hope if you decide to homeschool, you write all about it 🙂

  8. Hey, I understand. I put my son in a MDO when he was 2 for only the Spring session, due to social pressure. A couple of times, the director had to chase him down. He was looking for me. =( We didn’t try it again until a later age for both mother and son!

  9. Thank you for loving your boy so much. I was ridiculed by my inlaws when I didn’t want to ‘dump’ my kids off with them for a weekend when they were toddlers, and again when I didn’t want to send my kids to sleepaway camp at 7yrs old. I still want to be with them – and have loved every minute of my 20 year old at home for the past 6 months, working at the same place I do. Kids? Love ’em. There is never enough time for that!

  10. 🙂 Maybe you could donate your time at school… so that way you can be near by, but still doing something?
    I think you would be GREAT at homeschooling!

  11. I agree and so does my son. It’s a long day for a little kid. Even my guy who is in high school still thinks school should be from 10am to 2pm. he could sleep in and still be home early. Home schooling is always an option and today it is so much more accepted.

  12. Oh such sweetly true words that really hit home with this mama~ gearing up for preschool which starts in a few days going from 2 days last year to 5 days this year-only 2.5 hours a day- but still…

  13. My children ages 7 and 10 started school last week and the first 3 days were half days. I kept thinking, why can’t it stay like this? It would fine with me! I got my stuff done and was ready to pick them up by noon. Now they are in school 8 to 3pm like your son. I really miss my lunch buddies! It gets far too quiet around here. Sigh!

  14. You all (Y’all!) need to adjust to this and have fun in school and fall in into the school year and I’m sure you’ll find that the school year goes almost as fast as summer does!! Volunteering at school is an excellent idea, ny 3 boys are big now; 1st year of college, senior in high school and 8th grade and I used to love to go into school to help, the teachers and the PTA moms loved the help, and it made me part of their world even when they got older and would roll their eyes when they would see me there! Being class mom is fun because you get to share the excitement of the holiday parties and class trips with your child and his whole class:D College is kind of half day, my oldest is going to our community college and he gets a later start than he did in high school, his classes are scattered thoughout the day AND he has Fridays OFF; WOO HOO! I’ve learned to embrace the changes and have fun along the way….

  15. Antique Mommy,
    Although I respect you and understand you needed a break from the blog to actually *live*, I am selfishly glad you are back with this post. 😉 I truly enjoy your writing.
    A funny thing happened on the first day of school. As was on my way to school, I stopped at a light, only to see a group of parents walking their young children to school with cameras in hand. I began to tear up. Then I thought-whoa, am I in trouble for when I have my own children! ha.
    Needless to say, as a teacher I am always letting go of my students, for whom I truly care deeply, as they move on to the next grade or the next school. I cannot imagine how tough that must be as a parent.
    Best of luck in the new school year-to both of you. 🙂

  16. I am a teacher. . .and my eldest is in 7th grade at the same campus where her Daddy teaches. . .and her brother is just down the road, and hubs/Daddy drives them both to and from school each day, but I am STILL ready to get both my kids ’bout noon.

  17. Good to hear from you–I feel your pain. Getting my youngest on the bus for first grade was a struggle. He still wanted to stay home and play legos–and I wanted to let him. This year he starts 3rd grade. WHAT???

  18. High School. My son leaves home at 6:45am to go to ‘before school’ Water Polo practice and gets home at 5:45pm after ‘after school’ practice. Every school day including Friday.

    And he was my little butter bean who I often brought to kindergarten late because I thought he needed to sleep in.

    And I remember that after his first day of day-care (which was 3hrs long), as we headed there for his second day, he said “But I did that yesterday.” Oh the shocking realization that school was ongoing!

  19. Oh, perhaps you should look into homeschooling and see if there’s a co-op somewhere in your town of other homeschooling families! We have that here and will probably do it.

    Our district has all day kindergarten and if I’m going to be home anyway with his little brother I’d rather he not have to sit (sit!) all day at 5! He’s only 3 now, but yes, I’m thinking about it!

    We do have a bilingual program I wish he could be in, but I think unless they go back to half days we will have to opt out and I will have to get better at teaching him my limited Spanish!

  20. Love this post and glad you are back! My youngest daughter started kindergarten a week and a half ago. My heart continually aches for it still to be summer and be around my kids, even though they seemed to fight all summer. I love spending time with them. I volunteer a lot at the school to help pass the time and plan to get a part time job working school hours. Both of my kids love school, and we have an excellent school district. I have asked them if they would want to be homeschooled, and they have both said “no”. They love being around other kids. Anyway, I think the homeschooling would be more for my benefit than theirs. My MIL said raising children is learning to let go a little every day and watch them fly. It has been the toughest part of parenting for me.

  21. A week at Camp is a million years. Gabe went to church camp and it was the longest week of my life. When I went to pick him up I was crying like a baby. He had so much fun, and did so well, and he’s looking forward to going next year. I may have to go with him.

  22. On Wednesday I’m sending my oldest off to second grade. And my baby to all day, every day kindergarten. And in 3 1/2 weeks or so, I’m having another baby. Time? Could you slow down a tad? Please?

    Something tells me the school is going to have to come and pry the baby out of my arms when it’s time for her to go preschool in a few years.

    The only thing I’ve got going for me this week, is I’m so distracted by the coming baby that I haven’t had time to wallow in my mid-baby going to kindergarten already. KINDERGARTEN. A couple of weeks ago she told me she wasn’t sure she should go to school all day. “I think I might miss you too much.” Be still my heart.

  23. Oh me…….i totally agree. got one sweet girl in 10th and one sweet girl in 6th, and i really hate for them to be away from me all day long….

    Love having you back, AM. Missed your stories!!

  24. My boy is in the fourth grade this year. I am having a hard time believing that it is even possible. The time goes by entirely too fast.

    While most mom’s look forward to the start of the school year, I always dread it. I love the long, lazy days of summer that I get to spend with my boy. Since he has been in elementary school, I have made a point to volunteer at the school. Even the simple act of eating with him in the cafeteria somehow helps the days apart seem not so bad.

  25. I never, ever in a million years thought I’d do it, but we started homeschooling after Christmas of my son’s Kindergarten year. He started 3rd grade (still in homeschool with me) 3 weeks ago and we’ve never, ever looked back or regretted one single second of it. And he has lots of friends, so that’s not an issue (they really don’t get to spend alot of time just hanging out/talking with kids in ps anyway). Doesn’t hurt to look into it as a possibility. And listen to your “gut” or heart. It will never steer you wrong…
    Long time reader (love it!)

  26. What a wonderful post. My girls are in 2nd and 3rd grades and the school days are so long. Especially when you tack on gymnastics and horseback riding after school. I’m already longing for the long, lazy days of summer break. Last week when a stomach bug kept them both home from school, my mind said “woohoo!” while my mouth said “I’m so sorry you have to miss school today”.

  27. I am SO with you. My daughter had long days in Kindergarten and First Grade, and I did my best to “talk them up” — for her sake. But we both missed each other terribly (even though she enjoyed many aspects of her day). I found myself spending so much time as Room Mother and general school helper that I had to consider homeschooling. Now we’re in the second year of it (my daughter’s 3rd grade) and we are LOVING it! There’s nothing like designing your own curriculum and your day and playing/learning with your favorite person! Hang in there…and trust that you’ll be led where you need to go. Thanks for your honesty and sharing! You’re the best!!

  28. This spoke to me since my husband and I made the decision to NOT send my four year-old daughter to four day a week preschool this year, amid societal pressure in our small town. We work on “school” at home most mornings, and my kids go to MDO once a week.
    Anyway, everyone’s needs are different in this area of parenting, but I loved your thoughts on this. They’re not little for long.

    * * *

    You are doing the right thing Amy. Know they child. Trust thyself.

  29. My youngest started kindergarten this year. It’s all day. Last week there were tears about how much she missed me and she told me that she didn’t understand “why it can’t be half day, it’s not they are learning that much!”
    These “life passages” are the hardest on mothers.
    Finding a new balance to life without someone underfoot all day is hard. Praying we’ll both find our way!

  30. This is so true…I have a 2nd-grader now, and even though we’re homeschooling, he has a once-a-week all-day program at a local charter school. Those days are VERY SLOW.

  31. I am so glad you have such an amazing relationship with your little boy. These are precious days and as you’ve said, they’re fleeting.

  32. When my daughter went to 6th grade, someone, not me, decided it was okay not to take her to first day of school. Hold those little hands as long as you can, and then hold the big ones.

  33. We have been homeschooling for a couple of years now. When I think about the possibility of them going back to school someday, the number one reason I have for not sending them back is TIME. Glad to see your posts again! I have missed them!

  34. For kindergarten, mine was only gone 3.5 hours a day (and hbby back from work about an hour into THAT) so it was never long enough.

    But now that she’s gone 8 hours a day, it’s too long for BOTH of us!

  35. Homeschooling is great, we really loved it! The boys did miss their buddies though.

    My two big boys are at real big school now, leaving on their bikes at 7.30 and sometimes not getting in till after 6 at night. (rugby! fencing! science club! the fun of it all!)

    It’s going to be so weird not having them around, destroying things and making noise… luckily my youngest still leaves late and gets home early.

  36. Beautiful post. I found it so hard when my oldest started school full-time – the first big step in letting go. OUCH.

    In Ontario this year, they have now started full-day pre-kindergarten which means that the 3 and 4 year olds will now be gone all day, everyday. Can you imagine?

  37. I am with you, lady! My son had full-day Kindergarten last year and it killed me! It’s such a long day. Now in 1st grade, he has a full day AND homework!! He has been asking me to homeschool him since last year. I feel so bad that he hates it so much. He says he needs to spend more time with his family, which cracks me up. I thought last year he was jealous because little sister got to stay home with Mommy all day and he didn’t, but even now that she is there as well, he still wants to stay home.

    My daughter, on the other hand, just started school (half-day PK4) this year, and she wants to stay all day AND for aftercare with all of her friends!!!! She takes after her mama 🙂 I have let her stay a couple of times but just can’t do it every day.

    And I … miss them both. I think a half-day school day sounds like a fantastic idea!

  38. Welcome back, AM! I missed you terribly.
    My older girls had all-day kindergarten. It was great for their learning, but AZ just cut funding for all-day K so now most districts make you pay for it. When my little one (who is technically my first, since the girls are from DH first marriage) goes to kinder next year, I think I will go against everything I used to say and just do 1/2 day. I don’t think he or I could do all day.

  39. I clicked on your post about Mother’s Day Out. I, too, was encouraged to do this when my baby was 1.5 yrs old. My sweet baby turned into the crankiest child, and after a few months, she got sick for the third time, and I had to keep her home for almost a week. I then realized I didn’t want her to go back. Hubby and I work out of the home, so we had to have someone to come in the house to watch her, but it was the best decision. Now at almost 3, she loves the daycare class she is in. I agree–you cannot go with what others tell you about their child. Every child is different, and frankly, I’ve learned that we usually don’t know the whole story.

  40. Move to England! Elementary school days are shorter there. 9.00 to 3.00 – and that extra hour at home makes a big difference.

    But we start them at an earlier age – a whole year earlier, and you wouldn’t have liked that. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.

  41. I haven’t visited your blog in awhile. I didi today. Of course, this post brought me to tears. My youngest left to go back to college in Florida two weeks ago, after the summer at home. I feel like my right arm is gone. I find myself still ready to holler up the steps “dinner’s ready!”. Sigh.

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