I'm looking ahead to the near future when my DD will be in (public) middle school a county over from where I work full-time (about a 20 mile drive.) I'm also a single parent with no close family. We have good family friends but everyone works during the day and none have kids near that age.
Up until now, after-school extended day programs have worked well for us. But it seems there are limited options in the junior high age.
I'm thinking about possibilities of hiring someone reliable to run her from school to home in the afternoons five days a week (the morning is not an issue, just the time between school letting out and the time I get home from work.)
Obviously I have to research more, but would be very appreciative of ideas or scenarios that have worked for you. Thanks!
wow -- that's a long drive to middle school!
Do they have afterschool activities? Starting in 6th grade, my DD stayed after school about half the time for everything from chess team to cheerleading to drama practice. You might still need to find a pick a person because she was getting done at a different time every day, but it kept her busy and happy. The activities were either cheap or free.
but everything has pros and cons
I would see what the school has to offer in advance. Our local middle schools have free afterschool programming until 6pm everyday. If the child is in a sport, they have practice but there is also tutoring, guitar, swing dancing... all sorts of different options. The community center also has free programming for middle schoolers and the school bus can take them there. The Boys and Girls club have a fee based program for that age range. Of course, there are classes and enrichment activities but they can be pricey and you'd still need a driver.
I'd try to find something at least a couple days a week. Middle schoolers are old enough to be home alone but they are also at a really difficult age and many still need lots of emotional support, a little supervision and some external structure. I know that many of our local businesses give money to these programs because it pulls down the trouble THEY have to deal with when these 11-13 year old kids are wandering around town.
Our local YMCA has lots of after school options for middle school age kids and the public school provides bus transport there.
Can she take the bus from school back to your neighborhood? If you could find a good fit with a local SAHM (and if your DD has any interest in being a mother's helper) maybe you could work out an arrangement where she could spend at least part of the afternoon at their home helping take care of younger kids while the mom is getting dinner ready, etc. That way you know she would be supervised, and it could be really helpful for the SAHM too.
Thank you all for the good ideas and information. I really like the idea of mother's helper and she'd be great at it, if I could find the right situation.
My priority is not to have her walk alone and secondly would rather she not be latchkey.