During our Christmas break, David (age 14) and I were discussing our imminent return to a more structured schedule. He complained about the time I wanted him to be out of bed, telling me it was too early.
"None of my homeschooled friends have to get up THAT early, Mom!"
The time in question is 8:00 AM. My goal is for the kids to get ready between 8 and 9 and then have some scheduled quiet devotional time between 9-9:30. (Not necessarily 30 minutes of it, but sometime in there.) It also gives us a little cushion of extra time. We start our lessons at 9:30.
I posted on my facebook account, asking for other homeschoolers to let me know what times their teens arise from their deep slumbers.
What I hoped for was some reassurance that there are other homeschoolers out there who like to stick to some semblence of a schedule.
What I got was a number of traditionally-schooled kids (or their parents) reporting what ungodly hours those kids have to get up to be ready before their school buses arrive. An oft-quoted time was 5:00 AM. FIVE O'CLOCK AM? That's really not a time I like to think about being awake. If David went to the local junior high school, he'd be tardy at 7:15. So, yes, if you have a long bus ride and if you have an intensive grooming routine, you might need to get up at 5:00.
Most of the homeschoolers that responded were not helpful to my position. They were saying things like, "it wouldn't help for me to tell you our routine" or "We live on a farm, but we definitely don't follow a farm schedule." I assume this means they don't make their teens get up early, or perhaps they don't have a schedule at all. That make work for those families, but I am not satisfied with that approach in our home.
So, I brought it up last weekend when I was scrapbooking. Most (all?) of the other ladies are homeschoolers and many of them have teens. I didn't get a lot of support there either. Studies were quoted. "Teens need their sleep." "Teens need to stay up late." "Teens grow best when they can sleep all they want."
OK, but what about the family? How do we have any routine at all when one member of the family sleeps in until 10 or 10:30 (or later) EVERY DAY? How do the other kids go to bed when one kid stays up until 1:00 AM? And this kid shares a bedroom with a sibling? How do we accomplish family Scripture and prayer time to start our day when one of our family members isn't yet awake?
My position is that it's better to teach them to go to bed at a decent hour and arise at a time that allows them enough sleep, but still keeps the family on a productive routine. Someday when my children have to be to work on time, I am hoping this training will show its fruit. I was encouraged in this approach by a couple good friends.
My goal for my teen? Bedtime is 10pm. He can listen to audio until 11pm. Then it's supposed to be time for sleep. That gives him 9 hours until the appointed time for rising and shining. I think that's a workable schedule, allowing for staying up later than younger siblings, for enough time asleep, and for a family routine that works like, well, clockwork!
So, what about your family? What frustrations do you face with bedtimes and waking up? What approach works best for you? Have you tried anything else?
EDITED TO ADD - I aim to get up at 7:30 to do my own devotions and work out. I don't always make it, but that's the goal. I am trying a year-long plan to reset my body clock and turn myself into a morning person. It's gotta be possible, right? I figure it's at least worth a try. (That's another post in itself, really - my reasons, motivations, and thought process.) So, anyway it isn't like I am asking my kids to do something I'm not doing either.
Also, read the comments for some other comments and my responses.