On the first morning of school all the kids quickly got dressed, ate their breakfast, and made their beds. The second morning was almost as efficient and then reality set in. Each morning I turn on lights, shake their legs, talk to them, and pull their covers off. “Mooooommmm. I am tired.” It is early but the bus comes early. For some unfathomable reason, the education system has deemed it necessary for the youngest students to be in their school seats earlier, much earlier, than the pre-teens and teens.
At the bus stop the small Kinders are dragging their feet and whining. It is difficult to convince these young children that learning is fun when they are so tired. What they know is that they get up in the dark and have to leave their warm beds to perform tasks very quickly and they are not ready to be hurried that early in the morning. For the “older” fourth and fifth graders it is not so drastic as long as they get in bed on time the night before, which is an entirely different issue if there are teens in the house. Meanwhile back at the house, the pre-teen and teen are getting dressed and eating breakfast.
In all of the school systems we have been in with our eight kids, this is how it works. The youngest have to be at the schools, in their seats, long before the older kids. About the time parents finally get all of the older kids off to school, the younger ones are out. This just seems backwards to me. I have some suggestions.
Let the teens get up the earliest and get to school on the bus or on their own. This will help prepare them for the real world of work. It could also teach them a few things about time management which will help them in their future. For instance, if a teen stays on the phone until waaayyy too late, they still have to get up early and go to school – which is their work. Another advantage of teens being the first to school is that THEY will be the ones to get out early in the afternoon.
More job opportunities will open up if a teen is out of school earlier. If a business closes at 5:00 o’clock or 6:00 o’clock, it is difficult to create hours for a teen if they can’t get there before 4:00 o’clock. If they could get there by 2:00 or 2:30, that might mean the difference between being hired or not. For the independent teens, paying their own car payments, this would be a great help.
The sports-playing teen will also be at an advantage. No more staying until after dark for practices. Travel for games can be accomplished without so many classes missed if the teen is out earlier. It would definitely be easier on families if the teens got finished earlier. They could get home in time to help their parents. They would have time to do homework and not be so rushed and stressed.
Reversing the times to attend school will solve several problems. The family could eat together at home instead of grabbing something at 7:30ish, after sports, because it is so late and the youngest has to be in bed by 8:00 to catch the bus the next morning.
With reverse scheduling, bedtimes might not be so much fuss. If the teen has to get up at the crack of dawn, then they won’t mind going to bed a little earlier. This in turn helps the pre-teen who thinks they are in fact a teen. The youngest kids will get to stay up a smidgen later because they don’t have to be at the bus stop so early. AND the parents will have a few minutes to themselves before midnight!
Reverse scheduling could be the key to turning our education system around. However, nothing is going to help the education system as long as they continue to require a three page paragraph to explain how 2+2 is 4.