The “E” in “E-day” does not stand for Excedrin — trust me

By Melanie Yingst

February 12, 2014

Finally the sun is shining and the two-hour delays are starting to dry up around here for local kids.

I’m not sure what teachers and students (and parents, including me) are going to do when we finally have a full week of school around here.

By now, most of you folks have heard the new wave of snow day terminology called “E-days” or “Blizzard Bags.”

E-Days or “Blizzard Bags” is Ohio’s new way of making up days of school when they have exhausted the five calamity days they are allotted each year.

It became a back-up option about three years ago and my son’s school district took advantage of the long, lengthy process to have his district’s E-day plan approved.

And this year, we actually had to use ‘em because boy-oh-boy were those calamity days quickly exhausted.

One would think the Vikings of Miami East would be able to navigate their way through the ice and snow like ducks on water — being Nordic warriors and all —but, out here in the country, snow and wind covers up the hard work our county plow boys have done in minutes.

So, I’d like to share with you my own personal experience with my fourth grade student and his three E-Days so you can get a taste of what an E-Day is like in real life:

E-Day No. 1: Evan and I were out to eat at our favorite restaurant the evening school was canceled for the sixth time this year. Luckily, I printed off the quarter-inch thick E-day packet and brought it with us to the restaurant table.

Evan happily filled out crossword puzzles with spelling words. Other examples of his first E-day worked included: writing an essay about his favorite season, learning about polar bears for reading, place values for math, learning about renewable vs. nonrenewable resources for social studies and my favorite, “why matter matters” for science.

E-Day No. 1 went fairly smooth. We actually had an enjoyable time getting through the assignments. It was a novel experience for the both of us. Heck, did you know polar bears have two layers of fur? And they have black skin to absorb the sun’s heat? I didn’t know all this until I helped Evan with his E-Day stuff. It was kind of fun!

E-Day No. 2 was dealt with by Evan’s father. He managed to get him to complete it all in one day. He had the power of prayer and Facebook moms to help too.

E-Day No. 3: “Awe Mom! Do I really have to do more work?”

Have you ever been couped up in a house with a 10 year-old? Do you know how hard it is to make him do his homework after not being in school for almost a week? It was not pretty for anyone involved.

Trying to get Evan to finish his final OAA reading assignment between playing LEGOs and being distracted by my kitchen demolition was like trying to rope a baby calf with dental floss.

Let’s just say E-day No. 3 was not a success compared to the first two days. Papers weren’t being finished. Evan promised he’d finish them during inside recess and I’d find them in his book bag not complete.

It was a mess. It took a lot of headache medication to get through E-Day No. 3.

The three E-days reassured me that elementary teachers are a valuable resource and I do not, will not, could do their jobs for 180 days a year. Also, it eliminated any chance of an attempt to home school my kid and garnered a new appreciation for those of you out there that do chose home school your kids. You are all saints.

Yet, as the state debates on how to go about making up these days of school Ohio children have missed, I hope they keep the E-day option in tact. It was fun to learn along with my son. Often I have no idea what type of information they are learning unless its assigned homework so this was refreshing for me as a parent. It also helps me plan for the summer by not dipping in to mid-June. All in all, I like the E-Day option as a parent.

But I also highly recommend not using more than three E-days because the kids (and a few parents, ahem, me) are over the work by the third day. Trust me.

While I enjoyed our three day educational adventure, I’ll gladly leave the instruction to the professionals. I hope all the teachers in our area enjoyed their snow days off.

Next week, there’s a warm front coming through and no one is more excited about this fact than me.