Back in Utah, the kids were in school from 8:55 until 3:30. (Well, Bria was. Chloe had 1/2 day Kindergarten last year.) Here in Michigan, school begins at 8:15 and lets out at 3:21, so that is about 30 minutes longer in school or so? (Listen, I don't even understand Bria's 4th grade math, I'm not going to be able to figure this out without a calculator!) And then you add the bus time in, and they leave the house around 7:40 and come home around 3:30.
Bria has always done her violin practicing in the morning. She's a fairly early riser, so she was always up before 7:00 and there was plenty of time for her to get dressed, eat, make her bed, brush her teeth and still have 45 minutes to practice. Now, she has an entire hour less time in the morning, so practicing has to wait until after school unless I think I want her to get up before 5. And believe me, I don't.
Chloe had afternoon Kindergarten last year, so she just practiced her piano sometime in the morning before she left for school, provided she actually woke up. Since she is my late riser, sometimes she wouldn't get up until 10:30 or later! She has actually done amazingly well with the early schedule this year, but she still drags in the morning, and I don't think her faculties are quite with her. Like yesterday, when I told her to go upstairs and make her bed and brush her teeth. She came down 15 minutes later, just in time to leave for the bus. I have no idea what she actually did up there because when I went up to put clean laundry on their beds, Chloe's was completely unmade and I had already deduced from the smell of her breath while standing at the bus stop that she hadn't brushed her teeth, either.
Anyway, afternoons have become hectic, and my least favorite time of day. And I also feel like the kids don't have any time to just play and be kids. With Bria on the violin for 45 minutes and Chloe on the piano for 30, homework, a couple after school chores (all quick and easy, like putting away clean laundry), an after-school snack, and then any lessons or commitments we have to be to, dinner, baths (which have now been cut to every other day or *gasp* less), reading requirements (imposed by teachers, not me), bedtime routines and anything else there is just no time for a little R&R before they have to be in bed and start all over again in the morning.
Add whatever Sophia needs to the mix, and it equals chaos.
Yesterday was especially awful for us, because the bus was 20 minutes late bringing them home. Not only did that mean that I stood out in the freezing cold for that long, it just made the afternoon that much more crazy. So crazy that Bria got to bed an hour late because she was working on her book report, which is just code for "gigantic craft project using only all-natural or homemade materials with a brief summary of the book." It wasn't due today, but she really wanted to turn it in and get the extra credit. Which I support 100%.
There really isn't anything I can do about it, except give up music lessons, which I'm not willing to do, so I won't complain anymore. I just need to figure out how to make it completely streamlined so that there is no time wasted, and hopefully time left over for them to have a little fun.
I guess that means I'd better make the after school snack right now.