I often joke that the main reason why I chose to homeschool was because I couldn’t wrap my head around getting all six of my kids up early in the morning to make sure they’re dressed and ready for school. It’s partly true–we attend a learning center once a week and you should see the level of craziness that is reached every Monday morning. And this is only once a week!
We prepare as much as we can the night before but the real struggle comes with trying to get my kids to wake up. My younger children (age 8, 9 and 11) are peaches in the morning. They often greet me with a smile and swollen eyes. My teenagers? It’s like trying to wake up three hairy bears from hibernation. And this is coming from a big mama bear who just woke up from hibernation herself. It’s not pretty.
Apparently, there are lots of families who are struggling with the fact that they have to wake up so early in the morning. In Parents of sleep-deprived teens push for later school times, a mom has to wake her 15 and 16 year old up at the ungodly hour of 6 am. They have to be out the door by 6:35 every morning. I know for a fact my kids wouldn’t be able to pull that off day after day. Not because I let them party all night long–my teens just don’t go to sleep as early as my younger kids do. According to Dr. Judith Owens, “we are asking [teens] to be awake and alert at the time in their 24-hour clock when their alertness level is at its very lowest.”
See, it’s science. And all this time I thought I was being a terrible parent because I couldn’t get my teens asleep by ten o’clock. They shower, read, strum on the guitar and talk about things teen boys do in a room full of brothers. But sleep? Sometimes that doesn’t come until almost midnight.
Some parents are so passionate about this subject, they put together a national petition that prevent public schools from starting before 8 a.m. Eight in the morning sounds very humane in comparison to a 6 am alarm blast. I can’t complain. Our learning center starts at nine in the morning and that is challenging enough. I remember sitting behind a school desk in the seven o’clock hour–it was torture. But then again, I’m not a functional human until nearly 10 am.