Thursday, August 14, 2008

Opinions Sought

So I reviewed the county bus schedule. Brian can use it to get to school. It would look like this:

Walk just over one block to bus stop to catch bus at 7:08
Ride bus for 30 minutes
Walk three blocks to school in 20 minutes.

Walk .4 miles/6 blocks to bus stop in less than 10 minutes*
Ride bus for 30 minutes
Walk 3 blocks from stop to the house

A bus pass will cost $20/month. The school is 10 miles from the house and since I live right next to work, driving him myself would mean 20 miles per trip. The car pool route, if we continue with it, is 14 miles one-way. Clearly even if I drive the little car which gets great gas mileage, the bus pass is better for my wallet and schedule, not to mention the planet.

So we are doing it. I don't know if the other car pool families are planning on it, but I am.

Now here is what I want advice on. I told Brian would be willing to drive him when the weather was really bad, and that we had to have objective criteria for "really bad." So what do you think? What sort of weather makes it unreasonable to expect a 14-year-old boy to walk 3 blocks in the morning with plenty of time, or 6 blocks in the afternoon within 10 minutes?

There are no shelters at the bus stops, just signs.
*I can do the distance in less than 7 minutes. He tends to be slow walker and he will have an instrument (hopefully a trumpet and not a trombone) and a backpack. If he can't make this stop the other options are:

#1- 3 blocks almost an hour after school gets out

#2 - 11 blocks 45 minutes after school gets out -- this involves walking on an overpass. The sidewalk is safe, but the wind and cold can be bad.

#3 - the same stop 7 blocks from school, an hour and 10 minutes after school gets out

#4 - participating in afternoon carpool, but not morning


  1. I drive Slugger either to school or to his bus stop when it's either raining or there is really cold wind. (It can get bitter here in the winter.) He doesn't get a ride on just plain old snowy days, though. If he can play out in snow for hours on end, he can manage 10 minutes of waiting for a bus.

  2. So glad I live in a country were kids can bike to school! this whole bus or car thing makes me tired just reading it..

  3. The elementary school is just a few blocks from home, so my kids walked from Kindergarten through 5th grade. Middle school was too far to walk, but it was in town. Our high school is less than 2 miles from here. Gary rides his bike to football practice unless it is going to be letting out after dark.

    The only reason it is an issue for Brian is that he is going to a charter school in another town. I think there is a good chance he will decide to go to the big high school next year, especially if the other actors in the play this year fail to learn their lines like they did last year.

  4. I like that fact that he has so many options; that helps.

    I'm a sucker, so I would drive the kids if it were too cold or wet out.

  5. LOL--almost no weather in which school is still in session is too bad for a teenager to walk that far. the only exception for me would be horrid ice, and usually school is delayed in those cases if not outright canceled.

    I have to admit, however, that I grew up on the plains of South Dakota. School was never canceled. And I walked 1-3 blocks to the bus stop many days of my life (my Dad worked in town and he often drove us into school, but we took the bus home; it stopped in different places. the 3 blocks was street. The 1 was a field and back yard. Not easy walking in winter time.) And as an adult, I walk to work about 3/4s of a mile (about 11 blocks) in all kinds of weather. Pouring rain or bad ice, I take the bus, which is about a 1-block walk on either end. I never, ever drive or get driven (except when I had the sprained ankle).

    Our daughter will be walking or riding her bike up to a mile to school when she's old enough. I hope that she too goes in any kind of weather.

  6. By the way, has he considered biking to school? My DH still waxes eloquently about biking to high school, friends, and jobs, all of which were at least 5 miles away from his house. No, not in the worst weather, wait..actually, he does talk about the time they went out during the hurricane.

  7. I agree with annmarie...almost any weather that doesn't get school cancelled would be ok for such short walks (and the ten minute, six block walk? I bet heavy rain would hurry his steps a little bit!) Here in Japan, there are no school buses, at least where I live. I see first graders walking by themselves, over a mile, up our incredibly steep road, in the rain. They carry umbrellas. I see elementary school and junior high school students walking and taking public transportation in rain, snow, sleet, 100 degree heat, etc.

    If it was pouring rain, or miserably cold and windy, I could see offering to drive him...but rubber boots, a good umbrella and warm clothing should take care of just about any weather in which school would be open. Also, I think if you take him to school because it's raining heavily one day, you'll have an argument the next time it's just drizzling.

    Heck, in high school, I used to walk to my school bus stop, five blocks away, with my hair wet in the mornings, and it would often freeze into solid strands. (No, I didn't get colds -- germs give you colds, not cold weather.)

    As for the trombone or the trumpet, at least he doesn't have to carry a tuba or a bass fiddle!

  8. p.s.-- when my brother graduated from college, he went back home to live with our mom for a while. He bought a car and promptly totalled it -- before he got it insured. So, he was making payments on a car that was no longer drivable. My mother lent him the money for a bicycle (which he had to pay back, as well as paying rent!) and he bicycled 15 miles each way, every day, to work and back. He was FURIOUS at the time, thought Mom OWED it to him as a parent to bail him out of his finacial difficulties. He's very happy now, in retrospect, that she insisted he stand on his own two feet. Today, he's a very successful adult with a beautiful family and a great relationship with Mom....and his self-confidence, drive and determination is off the charts!

  9. My kids all took the city bus to school. I drove them if the weather was bad enough that being out in it would cause them to be uncomfortable at school. For example, if it was raining hard enough that they would have wet shoes and pants all morning. We don't really get cold around here very often, but the rare times that they asked me to take them because of the cold, I did.

  10. I know I'm coming in late on this...I haven't been blogging much because my FIL is in town for the first time in nine years.

    If it were me, I'd make the kid walk unless the weather was freezing, or really pouring rain.

    Of course I'm mean, so maybe you would be nicer.

  11. from 3rd through 7th grade I lived close enough to school that I couldn't ride the bus but far enough away that I remember those cold days.

    I like the litmus someone said earlier, if they could play outside in it then they can walk in it.


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