A school day that begins at 9 and ends at 6 is one of the pre-election murmurs coming out of the UK. That’s a 9 hour day. Okay if you’ve got a well-paid high profile job, I can see it being worthwhile, but where’s the incentive in it for children? I’m writing this from Australia, but we have our own agitators. And our politicians have a history of borrowing ideas that don’t work elsewhere.
Picture this, mum has been working and comes home exhausted; the child has had an equally frazzled day. (Imagine it in winter when it’s dark and you’re feeling dark yourself.) No one wants to communicate. It’s time for dinner. Or are the schools providing it? A little telly and then bed for all, or maybe mum wants a little ‘me’ time first after her long hard day at the office, the poor thing.
Children should be at home, relaxing and bonding with family is the lobbyist’s contention, not overburdened with school work. It’s a mystery how this can be achieved if school lets out at 6, then home at 6.30 then dinner (who makes it?) then both hard working mother and hard working children flopping down on the coach for some ‘me’ time, then bed. No one has the energy for extra-curricular activities.
Longer school hours is an idea that is meant to suit busy working mothers rather than hard done by, overworked children. Children are already doing ‘before’ and ‘after care’ (I think of it as doing time) but that’s the choice of those mothers, why foist it on the rest of us? Some of us like(d) going over the school day with our children and helping them with their queries. That’s where the bonding comes into it. And if mothers think it would mean relief from child care fees it’s only short term. One way or another the government or the schools will find a way to make those mothers pay.
Not children bonding, but children missing out on family time is what I see. Children are being raised by their teachers. One responsibility at a time teachers are undertaking what was once traditionally a parent’s role. Thankfully my children are all grown up. I have to wonder if parents are ever going to take (back) responsibility for their own progeny.
And who seriously believes that longer hours mean better learning outcomes for all? There are always going to be children who don’t get it in a crowd of thirty and are afraid to ask, or children who ask but don’t want to ask a second time.
Homework and assignments introduces children to research and to the work ethic. Great if they ever get to University, and great training for those who make it to the workforce. And of course it’s not (as we are constantly made to feel) that children are merely finishing what they hadn’t completed at school. Even half an hour a night will reinforce what children have learned during the day. A much more preferable option (if you’re thinking of the children) to two and a half extra hours of (more of the same) slog at school.