More Events During School Day?

Updated on May 25, 2016
L.Z. asks from Seattle, WA
17 answers

After reading several questions about missing school events, I'm just curious to hear if you have an opinion on all these school events during the day. I don't remember having so many shows, ceremonies, and parties when I was growing up and certainly don't remember parents in the classroom at all. I lived in a nice area and parents were very involved in extracurricular activities and things with the kids, but it wasn't expected that they attend so many events during the school day. We were bussed there and bussed home, that was it. There was one or two evening music shows and probably an award ceremony, but I don't remember parents being there during the day. Is this how others remember their youth, or were your parents expected to attend teas, poetry readings, award ceremonies and more during the day? I am able to attend most of the events, since I set my own hours for work, but I do feel for the families who don't have that kind of flexibility. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time at my kids' school and seeing them participate in all of these fun things, but I still feel like it's not really fair to everyone.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

My parents weren't all that involved.

They showed up for Christmas performances, end of year graduations or awards ceremonies, things that were not the every day thing.

Other parents were there for each in class party we had. The home room parents were in and out all the time. Planning things then doing those activities.

Kids think their achievements are a big deal. When parents don't even acknowledge these achievements the kids learn to discount them and don't strive to earn them. Like good grades. If parents think a B is awful and abnormal and horrible then a kid who really struggled through a class and worked hard but only got a B feels like they will never make it and they will often just not care anymore. So next time they'll make a C or a D and won't care.

Parents showing kids they recognize their efforts and achievements show their kids those things are important.

I do know parents who take their kids to school every day before they go to work. If their child has anything going on in the opening exercises they are sitting there cheering their kids on. They just go in late or take the morning off. They put those things first.


answers from Boston on

"...why should we expect teachers and principals to work over time? They have families too. "

Thank you mynewnickname. I agree.

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answers from Rochester on

ETA: I wanted to point out after reading mynewnickname's response that I agree - with respect to #1 - that staff shouldn't be required to work evenings - it was more to point out that it happens less than it used to. I don't want to work late, I don't think that they should either. They probably already have to grading papers and working other extra activities or coaching. I can't speak directly to the trend of less "yeah, give EVERYONE a ribbon just for showing up." Here it runs rampant, especially in the elementary and middle school areas. I do think that there is a big, big difference in ADVOCATING for your child vs. being overinvolved. I consider staying on top of IEP issues or making sure your child is safe from bullying fall under being a good advocate for your child. However, from the standpoint of subjectivity, yes, the definition of overinvolved would be subjective.


I'm probably not going to get the popular vote by saying this but I do believe this is due to several factors:

1. Teachers/administration do not want to stay after school or work in the evening.

2. The whole "celebrate mediocrity" faze that is sweeping the nation, requiring an award and ceremony for every burp and fart our children produce.

3. An entire movement of mother's needing to be overinvolved in every aspect of their child's life.

I truly believe that the culmination of this has led to all these functions during the school day that seem to "require" our attendance as parents - or risk our children needing years of therapy due to our extreme neglect when we are unable to attend.

Personally, I think the whole thing is ridiculous. However, as long as the aforementioned factors exist, we are doomed to this practice continuing.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Totally agree with Starr too and it's starting to drive me crazy all these things. I also don't think it's good for the kids in the long run and certainly not helping. And to answer your question, no. I don't remember all these things as a kid. I struggle to remember my mother ONCE stepping foot inside the school during the day except to pick me up from the nurse's office when I was sick. And she stayed home full time and was a very available/attentive mother. She thinks all this stuff is ridiculous too.

ETA: what also gets me with our school is we do have very involved parents which is great but a lot of them are creating work. We have so many "special" days. Days where kids get to try "new" things in the name of education but most are just fun things for the kids. Like one of my kids did tutu making. Fun? Sure. Not sure it's worth missing educational time though and besides that, the demand for parents to help is huge. I just say no now but in the beginning, the guilt is huge. We didn't even have these kind of special event days as kids when more mothers were staying home. So fund raising and helping in class bc funds are cut and classes are bigger so teachers need help I understand. But "enrichment" activities seem to be overdoing it to me if they also expect parents to be there for those. And our school does. Now my kids are old enough to understand if I'm not there it's not bc I don't love them. But when they are really young, it's hard not to feel like your child is going to wonder why you aren't there tying ribbons...

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

My kids don't have a lot of school events during the day. I'm trying to daughter (who is in Kindergarten) had one classroom event where parents were invited to see their projects earlier this year. My son (6th grade) once had oral presentations this year that parents were invited to attend. Each kid read a story they wrote of something that happened to them in their life. I think about half the parents made it to was not mandatory and plenty of parents were probably busy at work. No, it's not really fair that the parents that had to work could not make it...but these things are not that big of a deal (to me anyway) and life just is not fair. I noticed for school plays, orchestra, and band concerts they only do it after work hours so everyone can attend. Parent-teacher conferences have time slots you can sign up for and some are before school/work starts early in the morning, some are during the day and some are in the evening. You choose your own time slot. Anyway, my opinion is that I really don't think this kind of thing is that big of a deal. I do agree with you that schools now a days expect a LOT more out of parents than they used to....but that is a different topic altogether.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I am 50 and have had this discussion with my mom. Way back then events that both parents would be expected to be at were held in the evenings. That included parent teacher conferences (dads might be needed for discipline) as well as all plays, concerts and other performances. Graduation ceremonies (6th, 9th and 12th grade) were held on the weekend so families (including grandparents who often worked and might live further away) could attend.

I find it very inconsiderate of schools to expect working adults to take time off during the day. I also know many of the teachers (who have their own school age kids often not in the building they are teaching in) miss their own kids' functions because they cannot get a sub for something non essential in the middle of the school day.

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answers from Norfolk on

Our Mom taught 6th grade for 30 years in the next town over from ours.
She could never make it to anything that happened during the day.

When I worked from home I could make it to everything our son was involved with at school.
It was nice.
Dad couldn't always be there.
We live in an area where there are many military families.
If a parent is deployed for 6 months or longer - they are on the other side of the planet and can't make it to awards ceremonies.
Some have grandparents come to events - others don't have grandparents or they live very far away.
Every kid seems to manage fine with what ever their family situation is like.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I completely agree. When my daughter (36 now) was in school, we only went to the Halloween parade and one winter singing event in December. There was also Open House and Back to School Night, but those were at night. Personally, I think it's ridiculous to have all these things during the work day. Just like I think 6th and 8th grade "graduations" are a joke.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, my mom volunteered in the elemenary school library, so she was around when I was in school. I remember the once per semester band/chorus concerts that were in the evening. Our school did have an awards assemblies during the day right at the end of each school year, but only the kids attended, parents did not.

So no, I don't remember as much parental involvement. But I also don't necessarily think that just because XYZ happened when I was a kid means that XYZ is the best way to do things. I think getting parents involved in education is good. And I love seeing the projects that my kids so hard to complete.

I understand the tension created when some parents can attend things and others can't for completely valid reasons. But do I think that parents who want to be involved should be barred for doing so, because not all parents can do it? No. Sometimes parents and kids have to accept that not everyone gets the same thing. This is life.

ETA: I often agree with Starr, but not so much on this post. I respectfully submit that
1) She might be right, but why should we expect teachers and principals to work over time? They have families too.
2) I don't see this as much as I did even a few years ago. My sons' teams no longer give out participation awards - community baseball ends with a tournament with 1 team as the winner. In my kids' school's recent elementary science olympiad, two teams of 4 kids won the event and got medals for 1st and 2nd, out of the 15 teams that qualified to participate (and they had to qualify to even get into the event). I could give many more examples.
3) As to being overinvolved - well, this is entirely subjective. Is the parent of a special needs kid overinvolved for insisting that the school follows the IEP? Is the parent of a non-special needs kid overinvolved for taking an incident of bullying to the principal? Sure, I hear rumors of extremes, but actual incidents that I know are true where I think - yes, for sure this was over the top - are few and far between. I think it's very hard to actually define what qualifies as overinvolved parenting.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

It seems that Starr B has hit the nail on the head.

When I grew up in the late 50s early 60s for school, your parents attended the music concert, chorale concert, sports awards, parent conference at night. The other events were not around. Parents attended when they could and it was not a mandatory thing like now.

If I had children in school now days I would go crazy trying to be at every little thing that they did. What does this show them about the real world? Nothing. No one is going to hold their hands and pat them on the back for every thing they do at work. Employers do not have the time to coddle the masses and they masses need to be ready to do the required work of them without thinking the are "special". Yes, you are special in your parent's eye but no one else's.

So we now need to swing the pendulum back a bit to make it fair to the working parents. You also have to remember this is a group of parents that never attend anything that their child does. So where does that leave them? Out and alone and adjusting to making a better life for themselves.

Life is not fair and it is not an even playing field. Disappointment is part of life and growing up. You get an award and Billy doesn't. Billy gets the award and you don't. It might hurt a bit but it is what it is. We celebrate the good times and we are compassionate for the bad times and all is well. Many parents cannot take off for a school event.

The parent(s) may be in high paying jobs but the employer is the one who sets the tone of how much time is allowed off before you are fired. Then, where would that parent be because he chose his child's event over the job and is now out of work? It is not the Leave it to Beaver Society and hasn't been in many years. Nice if you find a family friendly oriented job but most are not.

the other S.

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answers from San Francisco on

Yes, it's all a bit much. Partly I think it has to do with bored housewives (myself included at one point!) looking to stay busy/productive during the day. It's not like we are growing our own food or washing our clothes by hand, so we throw ourselves into our children's lives. Also, some of it has to do with fundraising that wasn't necessary in previous generations. Our school held carnivals, book fairs and other things that required long parent volunteer hours just to pay for things like music, art and PE, things that were paid for by the district when I was a kid in the 70's.
And no I don't think it's fair, because lower income working class people don't have the luxury or option to come help at their child's school during the day. In wealthy districts like mine not only are many mothers around during the day, but professional moms and dads with more flexible schedules too. Our kids get all kinds of advantages because of this, not only extra funding for materials and staff but more adults helping with literacy, math, science, sports, art, etc. in the classroom and after school. Just another example of rich kids getting a better education, even at the so called public level :-(

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I find it to be extremely frustrating. I have always felt like schools frown upon parents who work, whether it's a two-income household, or a single mother or single father, because of the fact they make all events during standard working hours. I have even requested that they have them at earlier hours (like 8 AM), if the issue is that the teachers don't want to spend their evenings in shows/ceremonies and want to be home doing homework with their kids, or eating dinner, and to no avail. Even parent teacher meetings are held during hours of 9-3, which makes it hard for a working parent. I try to attend most, if not all, of these events, and I am lucky that my boss is understanding and has a strong concept of family, but there have been times where he has become upset, if it's crunch time and I have to be gone for 2 hours or more at some event. The schools seem to frown on people who don't attend PTSA meetings or volunteer in the classroom as well, when again, both of these require losing half a workday. Unfortunately, some people just HAVE to work, it's not about trying to be difficult or wanting special accommodation "just because". I really do wish they would think of those people when they decide upon these things...I have complained to the teachers and they say their hands are tied, so I guess you just have to be selective about which events you will attend versus which ones you will skip, due to your work schedule.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We have an equal mix of daytime and evening events. That way parents who work shift work have a chance to attend some events, as well a grandparents (who may not be able to get out in the evening) can attend. The monthly daytime assemblies that the kids preform in are geared towards the students, although adults are welcome to attend. All of our choir, band and holiday concerts are evening activities. We have evening literacy events and family fun events. Volunteer teas are daytime, but the parents who volunteer are available during the day.

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answers from New York on

Now that my kid is further along in elementary school (3rd grade) it's not as bad as it used to be. Pre-K and Kindergarten were the worst for this type of thing. I remember his Pre-K (which had a very costly tuition) constantly holding plays and other types of events for the least little occasion. Worst of all, they would set them at 10:00 in the morning and expect us to take our children home immediately after. All the working moms (and dads) would collectively get together and groan over it. I am a WAHM, so I have some flexibility (though my boss is not the most understanding - no kids), but I feel really bad for the other parents who have to somehow finagle their way out of work. Not that these events aren't cute, but it becomes ridiculous after awhile.

When I grew up, my dad worked in a very flexible job and my mom was a SAHM. I don't remember either EVER coming to school during the day for anything. They came to concerts, plays and maybe the stray sporting event after hours. That was about it. I never felt particularly deprived. Then again, none of the other kids' parents ever came to school either. It seems to be a modern development. Not sure if it's a good development or not. I do make an effort to be there for clearly special events. I can't do field trips or other all-day things though. My son was a little disappointed I couldn't make the last field trip, but I tend to feel that not showing for everything makes the times I do show more special. Just my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I totally agree. I went to a small Catholic school where to avoid a surcharge, families could volunteer a certain number of hours. My mom was a nurse and worked nights so every Wednesday, she was a volunteer lunch monitor. She was strict, so it was awful. And my dad worked bingo every other Sunday night. Unless your parents were serving their mandatory volunteer hours or worked at the school, you didn't see them during the day at all. We had one back to school night, one night for conferences, maybe one concert or play (in the evening), and some evening events for Catholic Schools Week.


answers from Springfield on

my kids school has evening things for showing off like the science magnet showcase was at 6pm. all field trips are during school hours and so are the parties. we are required to volunteer for ONE trip or party to meet the quota to keep our child in the magnet program.
i am a sahm mom though and signed up to be a mommy helper one day a week and have gone on every field trip. i have even gotten a few perks from knowing the class so well. (i got to go to their magician show that they won for most box tops, i got to go on the park walk and play, and since i know several of the other mothers they request that their kid be in my group or the teachers which helps the teacher divide the class and know that my group is well watched and cared for.)

dh however would HATE it if he had to be as involved as i am. he shows up to the non school hour things to see how ds is doing and show support but he often can't just take off work and is ok with not being in charge of a few 5-6 yr olds


answers from Phoenix on

I agree. Also I don't remember "School spirit week". Monday is hat day. Tuesday is crazy hair day- Wednesday is silly sock day... Blah blah....... Just a distraction. "Mom, we need to go to the store to buy a jersey for tomorrows spirit day!!" NO! Haha

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