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Friday, May 14, 2010

Shavout Vacation

A reader of this blog wrote to tell me that in addition to her children's school taking two day off for Shavout, they are taking off the entire day preceding and following Shavout. And, she is outraged. She is the primary breadwinner, leave time is more often than not zapped by illnesses, babysitting is an additional cost that is difficult to bare, and the school schedule simply isn't working.

I've written about school schedules before and have come to see that there is no schedule that will accommodate the needs of all parents, all the time. But it seems to me that an taking the day off before and after Shavout would be a large imposition on parents.

Towards the beginning of the school year, a friend of mine was going through her kids calendar and noted that with the exception of a 3 week cluster, that every week of the school was subject to some sort of day off, minimum, or early dismissal for Shabbat. I'm fortunate enough to be mostly able to work on my own schedule, with the support of my husband, but the more I become aware of the challenges of the calendar, the more I sympathize with the challenges so many families are facing. It seems to me that there are a lot of good dollars being lost to crazy schedules.

Those of us who are home can perform a great chessed for other families who are struggling with school and work schedules by opening our homes for short amounts of time when schools open late/closer early, need a 1/2 hour of supervision while waiting for carpool or a bus, or even taking some kid(s) from a struggling family for the day after Chag. Not everyone is able to extend a two day Yom Tov into a 4 day vacation.

46 comments:

tesyaa said...

This is typical. B'H my girls are plenty old enough to stay home themselves, plus prepare for Yom Tov and Shabbos while I'm working.

The only reason these days need to be given off is because teachers expect/demand it. This is one reason why sone of us feel that teaching in yeshiva is a job with many intangible, unmeasured benefits in addition to whatever salary is received.

anon426 said...

It seems to me in past years that Shavuos, in particular, was not subject to this same kind of padding that the other chagim were.

For one thing, it's only 2 days and doesn't require special prep like Pesach does. People don't seem to travel for Shavuos like they do for other holidays. Also, it's almost the end of the school year and there has always been this sense that we need to get as many days in as possible before the end.

I am the outraged parent and the discovery of an additional 2 days off just about put me over the edge. I was reeling from 1) starting a 40 hr work week and 2) having 3 kids home sick over an almost 2 week period in the first 2 weeks of my new schedule.

I felt particularly stuck as I could neither afford to stay home nor could I afford the hundreds of dollars I would have to spend to go to work.

This is doubtless a frustrating situation, but it would probably not have hit me quite so hard if I felt confident that the people making the schedule were not just being cavalier about scheduling time off. Something I have no evidence of either way.

I actually think I'd feel better if the schools would acknowledge the difficulty parents face and explain how they come to these decisions.

This year, in particular, with Shavuos falling on Thursday, it just seems it was all to easy to say "Oh why not just take Friday off, too! After all it's erev Shabbos!"

I really needed to work that day. Now I'm going to have to fork over another $50 or more for babysitting that I really cannot afford.

Honestly Frum said...

I sent an e-mail to the administration in my kids school asking to limit the days off next year given the financial stress it places on a 2 income family. It was well received and I hope they respond in a positive manner.

anon426 said...

That's a much better idea than what I did which was send a very emotionally charged email at the height of my anguish. It was not received well, but today I'm laughing about it. (I hope they are!)

I think I will follow your idea and write a reasoned and considerate letter on the subject to the board and administration.

SCK said...

We are just entering the Yeshiva system, having used day care centers until this point. With both me and my husband working full time, the yeshiva schedule is a huge fear of mine. Not just holidays- Isru Chag, middle of the week siddur parties, Teacher's meeting days, shabbos ima days that they expect a parent to show for, etc. This on top of the fact that the schools do not have an early drop off or late pick up option (8:30 is not early and 4 is not late to a full time working parent). Plus the early close Fridays. We came to the conclusion that we will need help in order to make Yeshiva work. A sitter who can drive the kids to school or a lie in nanny are too pricey (We were told $400/ week). We tried to find a "share" but it was hard to find someone who meshed with our schedule.
We decided to go with the Educare Au Pair Program. We haven't met many people who have done this, but it really is a fascinating program. The educare program brings in someone from another country to work for you under a special visa. You do not need to pay social security, medicare or employment tax for this person. You can request someone with a driver's license. Under this modified program, the person lives with you, works up to 30 hours/week and gets paid $146.51/ week stipend. YOu also have to pay appx $7000 when you are fully matched with an Au Pair to pay for the persons healthcare, travel expenses, background checks,training and student classes. They will replace the person if there is ever a major problem. Also, since this is not an illegal immigrant and it is all legit, you can pay $5000 pre tax from a Childcare flexible spending account! All in all it costs us almost half of what a nanny would cost us.

tesyaa said...

SCK: among my co-workers, use of an au pair is very common. Let us know how it works out!

tovarena said...

Our kids are still preschool age. But we've already moved them once for exactly that reason. Their first year, they were part time with an in-home day care provider, and part time at school. When we looked to go full time at school this year, we looked at the schedule and just about choked. Of the 42 week school schedule, only NINE weeks were complete weeks!! Are you kidding me?? How in the world are two full time working parents (that don't work in the Jewish "velt") supposed to manage that? And the only way we can afford the exorbitant tuition that the schools are asking for is for both of us to continue working.

We have mentioned it to the administration of at least one school and were told that the only solution they could propose for the days off and the lack of extended hours was that we ask other parents to take our kids home and watch them .

Our solution is different. We're now involved with a new school that is forming. Since we KNOW that we are not the only parents struggling with this issue, we're making it clear that the dual working parents NEED to be considered. You don't want to have "school" on chol hamoed or isru chag? Fine. Have field trips. Have enrichment programs. Have something. But be OPEN and charge little to nothing for that day.

Those aren't the only things we are looking for that are different than what's currently offered locally, but it's certainly part if it.

SCK said...

So far, so good. We interviewed 4 girls, before finding the "right" person. She is from China, has a driver's licence, a masters in child psychology, and is certified in CPR. She is used to dorming in school, so she doesn't mind a small bedroom and she fully expects to be respnosible for the children's laundry (Yay!). Also, my kids think she knows "Kai-lan."

JS said...

It just goes to show that the school administrators live in an absolute bubble completely insulated from the world outside the "shtetl."

It's a real culture clash and those inside the bubble simply can't understand what those in the "real world" go through. They don't understand how difficult it is to take off a day from work just for yom tov let alone a day before or after. They don't understand that when January 1st rolls around, a frum Jew in the "real world" looks at the calendar with trepidation as to how many yom tov days fall on a workday while doing the mental calculation as to whether any vacation days will be left over after that.

This year alone, you need 12 days of vacation to take care of yom tov. And that means working on all the fast days, purim, chanukah, and chol hamoed. If you only get 2 weeks paid vacation (and many aren't even that lucky), you're still in a jam for 2 days.

When days off are free and taken for granted for those in the shtetl, it creates a warped sense of reality that engenders a lack of understanding between the two worlds. Those in the "real world" get incredibly angry when there are extra days off because they are paying so much for yeshiva and it seems like every other day is a vacation day or short day, they lose money on babysitters, they wish they could just declare a vacation day whenever they felt like it, and get angry at teachers who have all these perks (plus summer off entirely) and still complain about their jobs. On the other hand, those in the "shtetl" can't comprehend how you can possibly prepare for shabbat or yom tov without a day off, how a frum person can claim to be frum and work on chol hamoed or a fast day or really enjoy purim by working or how one can even tolerate the challenges of a non-frum workplace.

I know people who specifically applied only for jobs at frum companies fully knowing they would be paid less and have less opportunities for advancement because they didn't want to deal with explaining shabbat and yom tov to their employer and they wanted the convenience of all the days off for free on top of normal vacation days.

All well and good I suppose, but it worries me that kids are being brought up to not want to deal with adversity to the extent that interviewing at "regular" companies is deemed too difficult and not worth the hassle. Especially upsetting as these are all MO people who supposedly believe in embracing modernity and the secular world within frum limits.

ProfK said...

Sorry, but it's not a problem limited to the frum veldt. In the secular world there are also working parents, and those working parents have the same concerns that frum parents do re scheduled days off from school, special "performance" days that parents are supposed to attend, teacher conferences etc. Few businesses give off every single federal/state "holiday" but virtually every public school does. Some businesses require their employees to work the Friday after Thanksgiving, but schools are closed. There is the winter recess around the end of December that in some systems can be 10 days long, there is the spring break and a whole lot of half days for administrative/staff purposes.

The only difference between yeshivas and public schools is when such breaks are given and for what reason. At least in NY there are a required number of days/hours that all schools, public and private, have to meet (and yes, according to the state a 1/2 day meets the requirements of being a full day as far as the counting goes towards meeting the requisite number of days if it contains at least 3 hours.)

Working parents is the key here, not that it is a yeshiva giving the time off. The complaint about having to arrange for child care is a universal one.

About the only area of difference is that a few public school systems have an early drop off, late pick up program, and that program does take into consideration what early is for working parents and what late is.

tovarena said...

ProfK, I disagree. The preschool we're currently using, while Jewish, runs on the public school calendar for our area (with just the addition of yom tov days off). And we have no where near the number of issues. Our school's closings this year were:

Labor day
Rosh Hashana (really erev R'H)
Yom Kippur
Erev Succot early dismissal
Teacher conference day (camp day available at a small extra charge)
Thanksgiving (3 days)
Winter break (8 days of which camp was available all except 12/25 and 1/1)
Martin Luther King Day
President's Day
Erev Purim early dismissal
Teacher conference day (camp day)
Pesach break (7 days of which camp was available all days)
Shavuot (2 days)
Memorial Day

So for the frum parent working in a non-Jewish work place, let's look at that. The actual secular holidays, we're going to be off anyway. The yom tovim we also have to take off. Since a school like mine also includes camp days, it means we were on our own exactly FOUR full days and TWO half days this year. For those times, we found a babysitter and managed. But at least once a week almost every week for the bulk of the school year? No way we could pull that off.

JS said...

Days off and early days for 2009/2010 calendar at a local yeshiva for the grade school:

Unfortunately the school doesn't list early Fridays on the schedule. Either way, 29 days off and 5 early days not counting early fridays.

Days off:
9/18 - Erev RH
9/28 - YK
10/2 - Erev Sukkot
10/5 - Chol HaMoed
10/9 - Hoshana Rabbah
11/3 - Election Day
11/26 - Thanksgiving
11/27 - Day after Thanksgiving
12/11 - Channukah
12/25 - Christmas
1/1 - New Years
1/22 through 1/29 (6 days) - Vacation
2/15 - President's day
3/29 through 4/7 (8 days) - Pesach
5/19 and 5/20 - Shavuot
5/31 - Memorial day

Early Days:
9/21 - Tzom Gedalya
12/2 - Parent Teacher Conference
12/7
2/25 - Taanit Esther
5/18 - Erev shavuot

tesyaa said...

The most senseless yeshiva days off might be Chanukah.

But it might be election day, since no one votes in a yeshiva auditorium.

Of course, like the original post said, it might be the day after Shavuos...

JS said...

A local high school 2009/2010:

Days off: 35 (2+7+3+1+9+2+4+5+4)
Early dismissals (including Fridays): 31 (3+3+3+4+2+4+3+4+4+1)

Seems that Fridays are always early regardless of daylight savings.

Miami Al said...

JS,

Yeah, I has two weeks vacation, 10 days, and 2 days of personal time, so do the math... no margin for error. After a few years, a third week of vacation becomes available, which will make all the difference.

Fortunately for us, my wife works for a non-Frum Jewish company where the owners are involved in various Jewish organizations, so they are understanding of her situation. Also, they get Rosh Hashanna (1 day) and Yom Kippur off, which gives us much more margin for error. However, our kids are in a non-Day School Jewish Pre School, with a useful schedule.

ProfK,

Also, the public school days off are universal for 95% of the population, so there is programming available. Winter Break camps, Spring Break camps, etc., filled with activities.

A friend lost her part time job because when the holidays rolled around she was out so much (plus a part-time schedule around her school schedule so she can move up), she was a painless cut.

The increase in DST of three weeks made the time frame where Shabbat is a problem much smaller, which helps. but for a few months, I'm leaving "early" and still lucky to get home with 10 minutes to shower before Shabbat.

It may be hard to be a Frum Yid, but it's REALLY hard to be a Frum Yid with kids in Yeshiva, especially since costs have escalated making dual income a requirement even for high earners, when the Yeshiva system is geared around pleasing the teachers, not the parents.

Basically a week off for Shavuot, that's INSANE! This holiday involves ZERO prep work, people don't travel, the first meal is supposed to be a light dairy meal, come on.

Miami Al said...

JS,

What's truly wonderful is being closed 12/25 and 1/1, because the alternative is a scheduling nightmare (plus those are days to be off parents DON'T need a sitter) and doing a Winter break in January. You are closed for the bookends, just close the days in the middle, have the same length Winter Break.

Nobody but retirees and Frum Jews takes a January vacation anymore, it's too important a time for business after the busted Thanksgiving - Christmas - New Years cycle, when everyone (in the gentile world) floats in and out visiting family, etc.

I think my favorite is that while the local schools run a camp program, which makes sense, all the private schools do to use the facilities year round, they close for a week before/after camp. If they needed to turn over the facilities, fine, but they do it to "give the teachers a break."

Sorry, the people paying their salary NEVER get a break unless Yom Tov falls out on weekends, the need for constant weeks off of a part time job is a little much.

JS said...

Al,

I was just going to comment on the "yeshiva break" which, imo, is the world things that has happened to yeshiva parents. When I was a kid, we had off roughly between Christmas and New Years. Now, the MO schools I graduated from have caved in to the RW idea that timing vacation to the "secular world" es past nisht (unacceptable) and have the "yeshiva break" in January.

As a working adult for several years, I don't know how parents manage this. My office is dead in December in general with everyone on vacations and general slow-down of work but absolutely insane in January as the realization hits that nothing got done the previous month. A January vacation would be really frowned upon if even possible.

The yeshivas simply don't have working parents in mind when they make the calendar.

tesyaa said...

Besides the impossibility of days off - with which I sympathize - there's the expectation that everyone "does" something over winter break, chol hamoed, or the Chanukah days off. I'm always working then, and while my girls are old enough to be home alone, they have to deal with people asking them what "plans" they have - a trip to Florida? a trip to an amusement park? Basically, they're stuck home on those days; although they're free to make local walking distance plans with friends, these rarely materialize since their friends have "plans".

dvorak613 said...

Not quite at that point yet, but definitely concerned already...

As an aside, a lot of people have mentioned that Shavuot requires no prep and no one goes away. I don't know if this is just me, but lately I've been seeing a lot of ads for hotel Shavuot programs in many frum publications. Any idea how widespread this is? Could this possibly be the beginning of a social trend much like Pesach hotels? If it is, to quote my grandmother- oy, Gott in himmel!

Anonymous said...

Four days* off for Shavuot is completely and utterly ridiculous. I wouldn't send my kids to such a school that has this kind of utter disdain for the parents of their students, certainly a huge level of disdain when compared to the high level of regard it has for it's employees (the teachers and administrators) that get all the extra days off (and adding insult to injury after they already have 3 months or so off throughout the year).

Mark

* Frankly, 2 days off for Shavuot is also ridiculous. It is a 1 day holiday and we really need to find a way to "fix" (i.e. eliminate) the extra day for each of the holidays in chutz la'aretz.

Anonymous said...

JS - They don't understand that when January 1st rolls around, a frum Jew in the "real world" looks at the calendar with trepidation as to how many yom tov days fall on a workday while doing the mental calculation as to whether any vacation days will be left over after that.

Well, as far as I can tell, they don't have to look for the next 10 years ... because there are *NO* Shabbat/Sunday combinations AT ALL during the next 10 years!

Sorry to be the one to break the bad news.

Mark

Miami Al said...

JS,

Traditionally, January was a big time for vacations amongst the wealthy. Skiing vacations were big... since December was holiday breaks and January was a vacation.

Indeed, some of the South Florida private schools, secular AND Jewish, began in the 1930s and 1940s as "winter schools" where families that "wintered in Florida" would enroll their children for a few weeks or months to keep up with their studies back home.

Well, the economy has changed in that time period, and January - March is vacation "wave season" for the Cruise, Caribbean, and Florida vacation market, which at this point is retirees and Canadians, for whom long winter "holidays" are as much a part of their culture as "summer holiday" is to the French.

The wealthy families that could have a place in the city, a house in the country, a summer home, and a winter home simply don't exist anymore. Staffing giant residences is a fortune now, and energy costs are astronomical.

The handful of what passes for "old money" in the Jewish world is coming to an end anyway, as few families can support multiple generations with families of 3-5 children in private schools, and while I see plenty of grandparents that are taking families to Pesach Hotels, etc., I just don't see the next generation going to be able to keep that up in 20-30 years.

ProfK said...

tovarena,
You're clearly not in the NYC school districts. The NYC school calendar lists 81 days that are considered "special" days where school is either completely off or there is a partial day. Dividing out that some of these days are for high schools and some for elementary schools still leaves you with an easy 40-50 days that school won't be on a regular schedule. As an example, in the high schools on Regents testing days there are no regular classes, in both terms. The state mandated testing days in the elementary schools are only partial days. There are two afternoon parent conference sessions in each term and classes are not in session.

And thanks to budget cuts there are plenty of school districts that do not offer any formal programs for working parents during off times.

So yes, my original contention stands, that secular parents also have childcare issues with the school calendar. They aren't always off when their kids are.

Miami Al said...

Mark,

Pesach 2012: Sat Sun, Fri Sat
Shavuot 2012: Sun Mon
Yom Kippur 2013
Yom Kippur 2014
Pesach 2015: Sat/Sun, Fri Sat
Shavuot 2015, Sun/Mon
Pesach 2016: Sat Sun, Fri Sat
Shavuot 2016: Sun Mon
Yom Kippur 2017: Sat

I'm thinking, a family Vacation in 2012, 2015, and 2016 are all possible, maybe a 5 day vacation taking Thursday/Friday off...

Sigh... When RH/Sukkot fall out on the weekends, it's a crazy month, but you don't burn all your vacation (and deal with colleagues that think taking Tuesday/Wednesday or Wednesday/Thursday makes you certifiable.

But ANY holidays falling out over the weekend helps.

Anonymous said...

ProfK: Thanks for as usual providing some perspective. I agree that it is also hard for parents of students in public schools. The attitude of "oy I have it so hard because I'm observant," is not healthy and is not a good message to send. How about, "I'm so fortunate that I have so many holidays and times when families get together." We hear this all the time when complaining about the costs of weddings and kosher food, etc. as if other people didn't have weddings, didn't like to eat well, etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm pleased to see that it sounds like the Dads are bearing some of the scheduling burdens and not leaving it all to the Moms. I remember someone in my office constantly taking off at the last minute for when her kids were sick, had a dentist appointment, etc. Her husband never took off. She explained that his job "was too important," in effect, announcing to her boss that she did not consider her job to be important to her. Curiously, she was the primary bread winner.

Orthonomics said...

ProfK-It is true that public school parents have scheduling issues, but I don't think the extend is nearly as great. Perhaps I should just make a separate post.

I agree with anon about not complaining and being grateful for our yomim tovim (yeah, I LOVE Shavout and can hardly wait!), but who is talking about the yom tov? Friday isn't yom tov!

Anonymous said...

Maybe everyone who has to work next Friday can drop their children off at 7:30 a.m. at the homes of the administrators that set the school calendar without considering the needs of parents who have to work to pay tuition.

Anonymous said...

lets get some perspective here people. your kids wouldnt learn that friday anyway, and school is not a babysitting service.
i suppose erev shavuos should be a half day tho...

LeahGG said...

Wow. Yet another reason to love Israel. At least we don't have to use up our vacation time for holidays...

Though there is an annoying 3 weeks of August when it's hard to find any programming, and Hannukah and Lag b'omer are off for school and not for workplaces.

Anonymous: yes, school is a babysitting service. Ask a retired principal. (the ones who are still working won't admit it.)

JS said...

Profk,

In my listing of days off and early dismissals above I didn't include the half days for finals and other testing.

No question public schools have days off that inconvenience parents, but it would seem that yeshivas create far more issues, most of which is unnecessary or based on the idea that doesn't EVERYONE take off for erev chag, chol hamoed, and isru chag?

Avi said...

Yes, the public schools can be infuriating, too. So what? That doesn't excuse our schools one bit. I'm furious that our school has off erev Shavuot. I don't have off, my wife doesn't have off, and with all the weekday yom tovim this year we don't have enough vacation time to take off if we wanted to. Never mind the time to take a proper vacation. If the schools are structured to require dual high incomes, they have to be open any day it's not yom tov. ANY DAY. ALL day. Don't make attendance mandatory, do some days or afternoons as day care / clubs rather than class, I don't care. But requiring dual six figure incomes AND live-in help is beyond ridiculous. It is unacceptable.

Lion of Zion said...

JS:

"based on the idea that doesn't EVERYONE take off for erev chag, chol hamoed, and isru chag?"

last year i complained that my son had early dismissal (11 am) after his hanukkah play. this was on top of the other 2 days they had off for hanukkah (of course a week or so before another 2 days off for thanksgiving). response? "well a lot of parents have off on hanukkah anyway." i personally don't know any parents that have off for hanukkah. then i suggested that the kindergarten graduation, another early dismissal, be rescheduled for erev shabbat, which is already a shorter day and people have alternate arrangements for watching their kids. take a wild guess how that suggestion was received.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Naftali said:

Orthodox Jews could gain up to six work days each year by eliminating the Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galuyot, which is the totally unecessary and irritating additional day of fake Yom Tov that is celebrated outside of Israel.

They would also spend less on food, if holiday meals cost more than weekday meals.

Lion of Zion said...

and the biggest BS are the schools with sunday school. suggest that the this be ended (you know, so the one day we're not working our tucheses off we can actually spend with family) and the schools will cry about what will happen if the boys go a day without learning torah. i asked, "a ha, but a week and half in the end of january is ok to go without torah?" i suggested that sunday school be abolished and the money be used to put days back into the weekday schedule. very well received (not).

PROFK:

"Sorry, but it's not a problem limited to the frum veldt."

first of all, the big difference is that we are paying through the gazoo for the yeshivot.

and my wife works for the board of ed so it's pretty easy for us to compare the schedules. there is no comparison. yeshivot have many more vacation days. (my understanding is that nyc private schools are not required to have a minimum number of days, except for UPK, which is publicly subsidized.) things have changed within my lifetime. for example, i always had school on hol hamoed sukkot. same school now has vacation. also, early dismissal for performances, preschool graduation, last day of school (?!), etc. is unheard of in my wife's public school.

Anonymous said...

A little problem with Prof K's raya to public school is that she cites Regents schedules, for H.S. kids.
I don't think we are really discussing h.s. kids.
we are happy they have the day off, to study for the next regents test. they do not NEED babysitting the way elementary kids need it (like, legally, cannot leave little kids home alone need).
a little creativity would go a long way: as many have pointed out here, and in the past, they could just have fun days at school, pay sub teachers a lot less, to supervise the kids reading fun books, playing a few hours at local playgrounds. who knows what they could create, if they felt like
the dual-income, full tuition parents might pull their kids out if their needs for (yes, what is wrong with calling it:) babysitting are not met?
h.s. ema

ProfK said...

Might as well throw this into the pot--forget days off during the school year for just a moment. What about those weeks, yes weeks between when school finishes and camps begin and between when camps finish and school begins? Also a problem for dual working parent families. So, are we asking the schools to extend the school year so that the kids go directly from school ending on a Friday to camp starting on a Monday and the reverse at the end of the summer?

And could we also keep this in mind: extend the school year, fill in all those 1/2 days and odd days off and you are going to have the schools telling you fine, but it will cost you more. Anyone really looking for a raise in tuition?

tovarena said...

ProfK,
No, blessedly, I don't live in NYC ;), or even in the tri-state area.
And the raise in tuition? If it comes out to less than, or even the same as, what I'd spend on a babysitter for the same time period, youbetcha! Because not having to scramble every 10 minutes for coverage alone is worth it! And at least for littles the age of my kids, continuity also has a major benefit.

Lion of Zion said...

PROFK:

"Anyone really looking for a raise in tuition?"

a) please see my comment above about shifting sunday school to vacation days.

b) how much do you think tuition would go up for each extra day of school?

c) givebacks?

Scraps said...

When I was in elementary school, we did not have "early Fridays". Fridays ended at the same time as every other day of school all year round, regardless of when Shabbat was starting. There was an after-school program at the JCC (which was conveniently in the same building, just at the other end of it) for a reasonable cost. The JCC also had relatively inexpensive "vacation camp" for most of our school vacations, so parents weren't in a bind to figure out what to do with their kids.

Granted, there were still days when my sister and/or I would have to go to work with one of our parents. I know that not everyone has a job where that would be acceptable practice; we were fortunate that both of our parents had the freedom to do that when absolutely necessary, and my sister and I were well-behaved enough to play/read quietly on our own. Years later, when I was working in a frum office for a few years, yeshiva vacation weeks were always the take-your-kids-to-work weeks. There were kids running around all over the office, and it was a bloody nuisance.

rachel q said...

LeahGG: I love living in Israel but the school schedule is NOT one of the reasons why. My work (and most jobs unrelated to teaching) do not follow the Misrad Hachinuch calendar and I have the same prblem described here. One week before pesach off, the entire 8 days of Chanuka, every Isru Chag. Shushan Purim, etc. No kaytanot at all on August.
Most companies do not give off for chol hamoed either. Most people take it off at their own expense (half a day vacation usually).

LeahGG said...

rachel q:
1. but you don't have to take off vacation for yom tov, so you start with more.

2. Everyone is in the same boat as you, whether they're frum or not, so your employer doesn't look at you as the lazy one who never comes to work, the problem one, etc.

Tamar said...

Rachel Q,
Aren't there kaytanot for Chanuka and pre-Pesach in your town? We live on a yishuv and have multiple choices for daycare during those few weeks of misrad hachinuch vacation (including the summer) -- girls usually run backyard kaytanot to fill in the gaps.

anon426 said...

I am planning to find sleepovers for all the kids for Monday night so I don't have to deal with the babysitting on Tuesday (how's that for creativity?)

Thank you in advance to those families who have someone home anyway on those days!

Here's something scary I heard today. One other family in our school is going to Israel for the whole month of September. They decided it wasn't a big deal to keep their kids out of school in September because they looked at the school calendar and saw there are something like 7 DAYS OF SCHOOL in September.

Thankfully I have the option of accumulating comp time at work. I can see I will need the whole summer working extra to make up the days I will need off in September! :-(

rachel q said...

Tamar, I also live in an Yishuv (rather small one). I can't find keytanot for every week off. The vast majority of people in our Yishuv are teachers, so there isn't that much demand.
Channuka: Everyone goes to eilat, no keitanot
Pesach: I can usually find keytanot, but sometimes they are run by 13 year old children. let's say they don't always inspire the greatest confidence.
The week of July before the "official" keytana starts. I'll see, I do hope.
The whole month of August I have never found anything and can't even find babisitters on a regular basis. I've heard of many people who end up taking turns with the husband to watch the kids and work. We'll see what we do this year

mlevin said...

I'm with ProfK, the parents of PS kids have problems with scheduling and days off too. Big time. I know, my children went to elementary PS. There are always days off or half a day. Plus there are performances and getting together with mothers and mothers visiting days and all other crap that PS thinks of regardless of whether mothers work or do not.

In addition the children can not be dropped off at public school before 8 am and must be picked up at 3 pm or they go to the police station.

So, you have to hire a baby sitter to drop off your child (if you have to be at work on time) and pick up your child after school and on half days. (And did I mention millions of vacation days).

Now, in yeshivas you can drop off your child earlier and school ends after four, so while you still need someone to pick up your child, it will cost you less, because it's for only an hour or two per day.

Overall, I agree with whoever said it on top "Schools are not a baby sitting service" we should all stop complaining and demand a shorter day. These way schools won't be as expensive, the babysitter will be more dependable because she would have a stable income, and children will be in a child healthy environment rather then child prisons.