Recently my girl who is in Std 3 stayed back in school till 4pm for the first time. I had not signed her up for any activities in school before this year as I did not think it was necessary. Sleep and rest was more important to her. This year we could not escape this madness as it was compulsory for her to stay back for some activities. We are also trying out one tuition for one subject as I mentioned in my previous post.
Her brother who is in Std 1 also stayed back for one activity to match her time. The little one had 1 and 1/2 hour of activity while the sister had 2 hours. Since it was their first time and it made no sense to travel back and forth, I decided to stay in the school for a while.
It was quite eye opening really watching the kids and other parents. There was one which sat beside her son as he did his homework in the canteen while waiting for an older sibling I assume. There was one which plonked down her laptop on the canteen table and did some work herself. There were a couple of grandparents chatting and another group of mothers chatting. And then there were the kids. Some of them ran around from 1.30pm till 4pm waiting for siblings and transportation.
One kid who was attending the same activity as my boy cried loudly and refused to be dragged by grandmother into the classroom. "I don't want to go. I hate this activity" he cried loudly. Another one of my boy's kindy friend attended the same activity with him after school and after that he waited for 1/2 hour for the older kids to come out before taking the bus ............... not to home sweet home but to his old kindy which also doubles up as a after school care centre. The kindy is very near my home. We saw him alighting from the bus to the centre as we approached home.
I can't imagine how tiring such a routine is on a 7 - 9 year old. My kids are 7 and 9. Wake up at 5-6am. School from 7.30am to 1.30pm. 1/2 hour for lunch then more lessons from 2pm to 4pm. Then shipped off to another centre to wait for parents to take them home after work probably around 6pm. That is 12 hours with little rest in between. It is madness. Even adults work officially from 9am to 5pm with a 1 hour lunch break. These kids work from 7.30am to 4pm with only 1/2 hour break for lunch and 15 minutes recess.
By the time we got home it was 4.30pm. The kids ate in the car. There was only enough time to give them a bath before getting them to do their homework and pack their school bags for the next day. We did this till 7pm. Fortunately the girl listened to my suggestion and had done most of her homework in school in between lessons. Otherwise she would not have been able to complete everything by 7pm.
Dinner was at 7pm. Right after that the kids prepared for bed, jumped into bed around 8pm, read some books and was fast asleep by 8.30pm. Me too. It was sooooooo tiring. I wish that parents who send their kids for one activity after activity in the name of "enrichment" and wanting to bring out the best potential from their kids would just step into the shoes of the kids for one day, just one day and see for themselves how tiring and ridiculous such a schedule is.
During this week there will be another long day like this for the kids after school. They only stay back in school 2 days in a week but it is so tiring. There are kids who have to do this every day. What a life.