Drop off/pick up is the worst part of the day. I feel like it's ruining my life and the lives of our younger kids. The drop off isn't too bad but it's at 7:30am and the school is a 15 minute drive from our house. Getting four kids seven and under up, dress, fed, and in car seats with their backpacks and lunches (for the older two) is a nightmare.
In the afternoon you have two choices - 1) get there 45 minutes early and start lining up, remember those screaming kids? now they've just been woken up early from their naps and are extra ticked about being in their car seats in a non moving vehicle or 2) get there 20 minutes after school lets out (over an hour after people started lining up), miss out on that time with your kids, and hope the last bit of the line goes fast enough that the kids are in your car before 3:30 when 'late pickup' kicks in to the tune of $5 per minute per child. It takes forever because they have a rule that kids must be accompanied at all times (it's a small private school with about 170 students) and parents are not allowed to leave their cars for whatever reason so four teachers have to fetch each child individually or in sibling groups and walk them to the vehicle. They release cars in groups of about 20 so, inevitably, 19 cars will sit there waiting for one kid to slooooooowly dawdle with a teacher out to their car.
What gets me is that the school knows how awful it is for parents. They auctioned off the prime front of the line spot at the beginning of the year as a fundraiser. This person/family gets to bypass the line and back in right at the front, whomever is behind them has to wait longer for the kids of this family to be walked out, that family doesn't have to wait for the whole group, they get released from the line immediately. The spot went for $2800 and it was bought by a family where both parents are lawyers and have other people picking up their kids for them most of the time anyway.
It's a nightmare and I've driven home in tears more than once, in a few months it will be the four kids plus a newborn and that much worse. We home schooled for two years and I've been begging DH to homeschool again. Between all the driving, sitting in line in the parking lot (with crying kids), homework, fundraisers, lunch packing, and all the other things it's more time consuming than homeschooling and we lose all our freedom....not to mention $11,000 a year in tuition. I think about all the trips and special activities/classes the kids could do with even half that money. Having the older two in school was supposed to make my life easier but it's made in much more complicated and stressful.