27. September 2013 · Comments Off on Walking to School · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I’m about to embark on a topic and present an opinion that might make me very unpopular.

When the weather cooperates, I have my sons walk to and from school. It’s about 1/2 mile, gently uphill towards the school, gently downhill all the way home.

We are surrounded by houses with families who drive their kids to the same school every day. We walk past several houses where we see the kids loading up in the cars — to go to the same destination.

So here are some of the things I see:

  • We aren’t leaving any earlier or later than the kids on our street getting rides to school. They have to wait in a drop off line.
  • There are several individual families each taking their 1-3 kids instead of car pooling.
  • When I go to pick up the boys, I’m saving time. I can leave my house at 3pm, even 3:05pm, for a 3:15pm pick up. If I drive to pick them up, I can’t leave the house that late; I end up way back in the pick up line, and we get home later than if we walk.
  • There is ONE OTHER family who is regularly walking from our part of the neighborhood. It’s a Mom pulling a Kindergartener and preschooler in a wagon. My neighbor with her Kindergartener sometimes walks in the afternoon to get him and has her four-year-old riding her little Disney Princess bike.
Timmy does a great job on a scooter or bike traveling the 1/2 mile.

Timmy does a great job on a scooter or bike traveling the 1/2 mile.

Benefits to walking to/from school.

  • The kids and I get exercise. They’re walking a little more than a mile per day, I’m walking about 2 1/2 per day. I’m seeing a marked difference in Timmy, who has slimmed down quite nicely since school has started.
  • I can bring Howie. The kids love that Howie joins us, and Howie gets much-needed exercise. He isn’t getting any younger. Unfortunately, I can’t walk Howie onto the school grounds so my walking with the boys is cut short on those days.
  • I get to save a little gas in my 20 mpg SUV
  • Timmy rides his bike or scooter. This developed because he walks pretty slow. Not because his legs are short of anything, but because he’s distracted by EVERYTHING. Even if there’s nothing immediate getting his attention, he starts daydreaming and slowing down. On a bike, it’s great.

As of now I’m still with the boys every morning and afternoon. I don’t mind. I like the exercise and fresh air, as does Howie.

When it rains, I drive the boys to school. It’s pretty quick to go up and back, but not that much quicker than walking.

I do worry about when Jacob goes to middle school, which is over a mile away without bus service.

I’m not judging you. I will be driving with the rest of them later this winter when the road conditions get too poor for the boys to walk.

But here’s a plea: consider walking if your time, the weather, and your kids can handle it. There’s so much benefit to it. At a minimum, car pool! I understand if you’re limited by young children, jobs, and time overall. You’re not the ones I’m talking to: it’s those who are driving their kids because the kids don’t feel like walking.