When I was in Middle School we had something called “Late Day”.  Late Day happened twice a week and it was a day when we could choose to stay after school for an hour for an elective.  The best part was that we were old enough to buy a snack like Rolos, Twizzlers and/or a can of soda from the Student Council to eat beforehand.  The electives were varied enough so that everyone who wanted to attend a class could do so.  At 4:30 pm we would either take the late bus home or get picked up by our parents.  Sounds fun, and it was.

What reminded me of Late Days was seeing the parents that have been steadily streaming through my school’s doors today.  You see, many of the kids that go to my school also go to the after school program located at my school.  For some of them, Late Day isn’t 4:30 pm, it is more like 6:00 pm.  For many of them, Late Day is every day.  Now I know that many parents work 9-5 jobs, so 6 is the earliest they can feasibly get to their kids, but I just wonder how that affects the whole dynamic of family time.  I know that when my kids were at their old preschool, I was able to get to them and get home by 4:45.  Earlier if I wanted to.  Now that they are further from my school and it takes more time to get there, get them, get them to agree to come to the car, and get home, we get home later.  Getting home later means that things get pushed later into the night.  Things like dinner, showers (my kids aren’t much into baths), pajamas, books (Maya made a pile higher than Mount Kilimanjaro last night) and bedtime get pushed later because the time they used to have for things like free play, coloring, and riding bicycles is slowly ebbing away.  They need this time to decompress from their day, and frankly so do I.  So I wonder . . . how do the kids that are just leaving school at 6pm deal with it all?  Do they get any family time before it is time to get up the next morning and start all over again?  I guess this is what they call “the daily grind” elementary style.