Having school 4 days a week

MACCRAYDistrictWhen I first heard about this, my first thought was I didn’t like it. I thought it would cause to many problems with parent’s jobs and daycare situations. But then when I watched this last night, it made “some” sense to me.

I know you can’t please all the people all of the time but I wanted to hear both sides. There were the people who loved it.  They said things like this:

“The doctor visits, orthodontist, college visits, anything we needed we tried to schedule for Mondays,” said parent Michelle Trulock. “Mondays were good for piano, guitar, all the extra things that were harder to fit in when there were 5 days,” said parent Jennifer Dirksen.

Then we had stuff like this:

“The family time has been very precious to us. Because you try to get him to bed at an earlier time and that Monday having off is kind of nice,” said Struxness.

I think all of these things are a very neat package but what if parents work? Lessons and extra curricular activities won’t happen if you’re at work and not at home. So if the kids are young enough to be in daycare, they are there one more day a week. If you have a child old enough to stay home, they are home one more day alone each week. I mean, my kids had their lessons and their sports and doctor and dental appointments and they went 5 days a week.  

Whether or not this has improved students performance hasn’t been determined yet and they will know the results of that next month. I feel if students perform better or not depends on the student. If someone likes something, they usually do well and those that are fooling around on that day off, might not fare as well.

This does add 65 minutes to each school day. That is a concern of mine. Especially with the younger kids who are already tired after a day at school the way it is. Throw into the mix of kids who are at daycare another day and kids who are alone all day for another day and then lengthen the day, they lose an hour each evening when they could be doing things with mom and dad.  We should also remember homework has to be done and the older grades, how much time will there be each night to do other things?

The “experiment” has had really mixed reviews. I wasn’t really sure where I stood on it until after I read up on it but now, for me, I think I liked it better 5 days a week.  I liked having them home early enough for a snack before supper and to get a good start on homework with still enough time for sports and family things. It’s the longer days that I don’t care for.

How do you feel about this?

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18 Responses to Having school 4 days a week

  1. SKL says:

    This is a tough one. Personally the idea appeals to me. For one thing, the length of the school day would be more consistent with the length of the parents’ work days, and for many parents, this would remove the requirement for after-school care. It might be easier to schedule one full day each week than five short afternoons.

    I understand about the fatigue factor, but what if the day off was Wednesday rather than Monday? That would give kids a chance to get caught up on homework, too, and it seems to me it would be less stressful and fatiguing than trying to squeeze homework into the afternoons / evenings.

    The other thing to consider is how much of each day is review of what was done the previous day. If you have to spend 10 minutes a day (per class) on review, wouldn’t it be more efficient to have those 10 minutes happen only 4 days a week? That could save an hour a week, and that hour could be spent doing more enjoyable things.

    I have so many issues with school and the way it’s structured. When they came up with the 5-day, 7-hour school day, life was so different from the way it is now. Maybe it’s time to throw out the whole thing and start fresh; though if Big Brother is going to be in charge of the change, I fear it will only end up worse.

    • Joy says:

      You have a very good point about the after school daycare problem. I hadn’t thought of that. Toby and Sue ran into this problem this year with Trinity because she was there a few minutes in the morning and “maybe” 45 min to an hour in the afternoon but the daycare had to count her as there and it cost her a “spot” for a full time child (more money!). There was only the day Sue’s was on call that was the problem but Trinity just got off the bus here that day but most kids don’t live next door to grandma.

  2. holeycheese says:

    We have school 6 days a week, and that is way too much. I would love to have only 5. Now that they aren’t yet in compulsory school we take a day off so they actually go only five days. But this is the last year we are allowed to do that.

    4 days.. naaa. I don’t know. I don’t think longer school days is a good solution.

  3. Laura (LS) says:

    My first reaction is, no, I don’t like it. I’ve seen how tired Josh is when he comes home from a 6.5-hour day. By Friday, he’s cranky, dragging, and nearly impossible to get out of bed. And that’s with a 7:00 PM bedtime!

    I do see/understand the theoretical benefits – less time in school, less money spent. They’ve been touting this here in Iowa for a while – and they keep harping on how much money is going to be saved in utilities by keeping the school closed for that one day. But then, the very next statement is, “Coach Smith says that this will give his team an opportunity to have an extra day of practice.” Hmmm…. won’t they need to turn on lights and heat/ac for a practice? And I can also make the argument that school is laying the foundation for later employment. What employer do you know of that regularly has it’s employees working a 4-day-workweek?

    I also see it as yet another band-aid to a hemorrhaging system. Like SKL said, the entire structure is outdated and needs to be completely dismantled and reassembled. Tenure needs to be eliminated, certain classes need to be cut while others are added or bolstered, better technology needs to be implemented, I could go on for hours. But, thanks to the slowness of Big Brother, and the strength of the Teacher’s Union, that will never happen.

  4. Tosha says:

    I didnt go to the link you posted.. But there have been some talks about increasing the school hours here and I think its crazy. I don’t think my kids could handle anymore hours than they have now. Its hard enough already now trying to get everything pressed into a few hours before bedtime as it is.. They get out of school at 3:20 and don’t get home till 4:30 then that leaves little time for the massive amounts of home work Taylor has before dinner time and bath and bed time… There isnt time for them to be kids much anymore.. School is important.. It really is but kids still need to be kids.. My sisters kids get out at 2:30 and are home by 3. They’ve got plenty of time to do what all they need to do and have play time. my kids dont..

  5. javajunkee says:

    I too didn’t watch the video..those days are over for me since my kids are graduating and we’ve homeschooled for that last 14 years.
    I think there is a thing of overkill. Even if you give them a day off during the week they are probably so exhausted and have more homework what is the real benefit? I could see SKL’s point of maybe having Wednesday off instead. Give them that midweek point to breathe and catch up.
    I don’t know alot about this except that we’ve escaped a lot of this craziness by homeschooling. Wow I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be a working parent anymore and try to weave a day or schedule around any of this school stuff. I’d need bigger doses of medication.

  6. Gary says:

    This is a tough one! I can see pro’s and con’s to both sides here. Most everything has pro’s and con’s to them. I’m the type of person that embraces change, especially if it’s for the better. I would be interested in hearing the results of this “experiment”.

    Many schools have gone to year round school and that seems to be working out ok. I could see where this would work!

  7. nikki says:

    It would be easier to plan appointments, and not have to take him out of school. I personally don’t think it’d be good for Bailey though. He gets on the bus at 8am and doesn’t get home until 4pm. You add 65 minutes to that and now supper is late and what about baseball? He’s already had it by the time he gets home! An extra day off during the week is no big deal for me, I’m home anyway but I don’t think it’s a good idea. I actually do like the year round idea though, I think kids tend to forget a lot during summer vacation. Then the 1st couple months back to school they are just playing catch up. I know a lot of school in CA are year round and I’m surprised we haven’t gone that way too.

  8. Doraz says:

    I think it is better for most parents to keep things the way they are.
    For those who would like changes, perhaps there could be a school available that offered different hours. I feel the community should decide what is best for them, and be creative!

  9. In Israel, until very recently, everyone studied six days a week – Sunday through Friday with only Saturday off. My elemntry school studies were this way – once I got to high school, they took off Fridays for high-school students.
    Anyway, my point is that even though I went to school six days a week, I got to at least come home earlier – some days were until 1 or 2 instead of 3 in the afternoon. This was nice because then I had some studying during the day but also enough afternoon time for extracurricular activities or time to meet with friends.
    I think four days of school isn’t a good idea… what will happen when the kids start working after school? Or when they get to college? Suddenly it’ll seem to them as if they’re doing so much, working so much of the week. I think five days is plenty and enough but any less would be silly. Especially as I agree with your point, Joy – what about parents who work five days a week?!

    • Joy says:

      That’s my biggest concern Ilana. The kids with parents working will spend that day in daycare anyway so there is no “family” time and those kids old enough to stay home, will spend the day alone or “maybe” goofing off. I don’t see “that” benefit. I also feel sorry for kids when they’re home alone. As much as kids like to act tough, kids like it when you’re home. I know my boys liked coming home from school with me there to talk to. Whether they will admit that or not, I don’t know but our home was always a gathering place with my boys friends who’s parent’s weren’t at home. We just talked about this on the boat on Sat. Jason had a good friend who would even eat with us if Jason wasn’t home because his mom worked late and he liked eating with someone.

      • nikki says:

        Jason did like that you were home and I wished I had someone home waiting for me. That’s why it’s SO important for us to give that to Bailey now!

  10. starlaschat says:

    Kids at home alone too much I don’t think is a good idea. I’m not sure about the choice between 4 and 5 days. The 4 day thing could be tough financially for some, but on the other hand having an extra week day to run around for appointments and such might be nice. sigh. I guess it kind of depend on the family as far as which would work best. The idea of year round school, I can’t believe I’m saying this but seem like not such a bad idea. I think a lot of learning is lost on the long Summer. As long as the kids could have long breaks for vacation. Interesting topic, good video. I guess I’m not completely sure what would be best.

  11. birdpress says:

    Well, I don’t have kids, but I think that I should get a 4-day work week too. 🙂

  12. Sue says:

    AHHHH!!! I hit a button and lost my response!!!!! Ok, I’ll try again.

    I don’t know how I feel about this, but for this particular district it helped save 2 teaching jobs for this year and that only benefits the kids. So far, they have saved $65,000 in transportation alone.

    No, it doesn’t work for everyone, but nothing ever does. If parents have that much of a problem with it, drive your kids to a school you want them to attend. If your child needs daycare, wouldn’t it be easier to know that you need it every Monday instead of getting up at 6:30am to find out school has been cancelled and OMG now what do I do with the kids? What about the non school days and summer vacation? The parents complaining of daycare issues only have issues during the school year???

    There was also another story on our local news about an elementary school in the Twin Cities that has school 5 days a week, but those kids go until 4:30 or 5pm! They have longer school days and of the kids they interviewed, they really liked it b/c they didn’t have to be home alone or in daycare while the parents worked. They also had more time on one subject and to complete their work in school. I believe that was a private/charter school.

    I think we need to get creative with education b/c what’s happening now isn’t working as well as it use to. BUT, most people HATE change and to touch something like school days sets off a flurry of controversy. Here in MN, we couldn’t even start school b/4 Labor Day b/c all the business’s (?) complained that they would loose too much $$$! Oh, that’s great, your greed is more important than my childs education.

  13. mssc54 says:

    I’m with you on not wanting a longer day for the younger students. I mean especially if they ride the bus! If you add another 65 minutes onto that. Wow.

    I wonder if they have thought about only doing the 4 day school for high school students only. That would enable them to work more if they have or want to get jobs.

    As for better education experience; I think that each student is different and the education experience is based mostly on how involved or not the parent(s) are. I’m speaking from both the parent and being married to a high school mathematics teacher.

  14. Otto Mann says:

    I think it’s a great idea.

    Kids have short attention spans. Having a 4 day weekend would be convenient for all parties involved!

  15. SKL says:

    One thing I will say about “saving money.” Are they really saving money, or are they just shifting costs to someone else? If they are shifting costs to the parents, is that really a good thing and is it fair?

    Another thing is the whole school bus thing. Why are kids spending so much time on school buses? In urban areas, it’s a complete waste of time and money. In rural areas, I can understand some of it, but can they do something to help kids make use of that time? Or facilitate carpools so Johnny doesn’t arrive home on the bus an hour later than his next door neighbor arrived by car? I know this may seem “off the point,” but if kids weren’t spending hours in transit every day, it wouldn’t be so much to ask them to spend an additional hour in school.

    I think school fatigue isn’t about the amount of time per day, but about how that time is spent. I also feel that being at home doesn’t help that much if the time at home will be spent on homework. We need some creative minds to re-engineer the way school kids spend their days. I think it has to start in the private schools because politics will always be a drag on public school “progress.”

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