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Making it to Elementary School


Last week I wrote about the logistics of getting to and from preschool. This week, I thought I’d share a little insight into our elementary school routine.

When we bought our house six years ago, one of the big factors of consideration was its location to schools, and our ability to get to and from them easily either by walking or public transit. . There is an elementary school just down the road from us—within walking distance, and a junior high the other direction, also within walking distance. Both are great schools too. I remember looking online to see the schools we would be zoned for, but apparently I either misread it or mixed up the address. So, it turns out that while we live really close to this one school, we actually are right on the dividing cross street and our neighborhood is bussed to another elementary school a few neighborhoods away. At first, this was a little disappointing even though our kids were not old enough to go to school. I thought being able to walk to their school would be so helpful, especially when I wanted to go volunteer, needed to drop something off to them, or if they stayed after for extra curricular activities. We decided that when the time came, if we still wanted to attend the closer school, we could always petition the district to give us a waiver. Well, when the time did come, we decided it best to keep our daughter with the neighborhood kids and that having a regular bus ride would really be helpful. The piles of snow in the winter and lack of shoveling along the main road we would have been traveling to the other school also helped make this decision easy. The other times we needed to get to or from the school would be easy enough to work out. It turns out that the school we do attend is also walkable when necessary, but not practical to walk to on a regular baisis. The walk takes about 20 minutes. When you’re used to walking places, it’s doable, but time consuming.

We’ve also been blessed with great neighbors or parents of classmates who give us rides to/from common school events like back to school nights, school carnivals, fairs, etc. For the other times, it’s convenient enough to use a ride service to get to the school. As for those times when my daughter forgets her lunch or homework, she has to learn a bit of tough love since I’m not always able to take forty-five minutes to make the round-trip walk or not inclined to pay $15 to run something up to her unless its really necessary. But we do our best to be prepared the night before and We make sure she has money on her lunch account just in case. OH yes, and I’ve really made it clear that missing the bus in the mornings is not a good option. ( I think we only have missed the bus once for being late in the year and a half that she’s been in elementary school,.) Anyway, its turned out to be a great arrangement for us and we really love the school and the community we are in.


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Making it to Preschool



Recently I was talking to a blind mom who was trying to figure out transportation to/from her daughter’s preschool. Transporting your children from place to place often requires a bit of logistical Olympics whether you’re blind or not, but even more if you can’t drive. so I thought this post might be helpful to share some of the things we’ve done with respect to getting our kids to preschool.


Thankfully, we have a really great preschool within walking distance of our home (about 10-15 minutes.) My daughter attended there three years ago and this year my son started there. The tuition is a bit higher than some other programs around us, but for us, the convenience of being able to walk there is worth it. IN walking there, I use some kind of combo of either taking my children in the double stroller, one in a carrying pack, one in the single stroller, or one walking, etc. Each time we’ve had a child there, it works out great for us until about late December/ early January when the snow starts to fall and the temps dip down. We get a lot of freezing rain here too which leaves the sidewalks like an ice rink and makes walking anywhere pretty impossible. On top of that, we’ve had years when the snow gets plowed onto the sidewalks from the road, or people just don’t shovel, making the sidewalks virtually impassable. So, here is what I’ve done in these circumstances.


First, I could take a ride service like Uber/Lyft/taxi, but this gets expensive if you’re doing it to and from a couple times a week. Not to mention, it’s sometimes a bit awkward or tricky getting drivers to pull up in the pickup line or to be willing to wait while you run in and pick up your child. So, this is an option I generally have saved as a last resort or in a pinch like today when the sky broke open with pouring down rain right as I was heading out the door.


My second and most practical recommendation is to find someone with whom you can carpool. When my daughter was attending preschool, I asked her teacher if she could connect me with a parent that lived near us or passed by us or who would just be willing to pick my daughter up for a few weeks in the winter. A sweet mom volunteered and this worked out great for us throughout the months of January and February when walking was most challenging. She would pick up my daughter along with our car seat and take my daughter to and from school for me. I offered to pay her, but she declined so instead, after this arrangement was finished, we gave her a gift card as a thank you. In my experience, a lot of parents are really open to carpooling. While I can’t take a turn driving, offering to pay or babysit in exchange goes a long way.


This year, before I started asking around, the assistant teacher offered to pick my son up for a few weeks on her way to work. She has been picking him up for us for the past few weeks. He gets to school a little early, but there are a couple of other kids who need to be dropped off early so he hangs out with them and looks at books in the receiving area with the teachers until school begins. This same teacher also got permission to leave work for a few minutes to drive him home. (It’s helpful that we live within a five minute drive of the school.) This arrangement has been so helpful for us. It’s been nice not to have to scramble around to find a ride for him at the last minute if the weather looks rough that morning, or take both my young boys out in such cold temps. The weather is starting to warm up and hopefully the worst is behind us, so we are getting back to walking regularly, but I want to thank this sweet teacher for her time and service to us. Thanks Mrs. George!


This fall, I will be starting over and trying to make some new transportation plans. Sadly, we did not enroll our son at this same school for next year as the tuition for the four-year-old class is about $1000 more than this year, so I did find another program close to us which several of our friends have attended or do attend. I didn’t go with this one initially because it’s not walkable and not accessible by public transit either, (I like to be as self reliant as I can) but after weeks of deliberating, I decided to go ahead and enroll for this next fall in the hopes that we can find a regular carpool situation or some kind of alternative solution. I feel pretty confident that we’ll be able to find another family with whom we could carpool or that I could find a neighbor or good friend to hire as a driver for this (still less expensive than the current preschool or taking ride services) which is why I went ahead and enrolled our son for the upcoming school year. . We’ll see how it works out. Fingers crossed!