Teenagers today are moody, bipolar, full of angst, disrespectful, and lack any sort of impulse control, from binge eating and drinking to watching TV when they feel like it instead of preparing for a life-changing test.
Or are they?
Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, authors of NurtureShock, point out that all the above characteristics that we typically associate with adolescence are in fact also symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation. Interesting. That certainly might explain why an apparent switch is flipped once teens enter high school. Suddenly, they become mere shadows of what they were earlier, with no explanation. Some striking discoveries of these authors included the following:
- One hour less of sleep pulls students back two grades (ie. a sleepy sixth grader will perform on par with a fourth grader).
- Catching up on sleep on the weekends isn't the answer. One hour of "weekend catchup" will cause a student to perform 7 points poorer on IQ tests.
- Tired people can't access long-term goals so impulse control is lessened in times of sleep deprivation.
- Odds of obesity go up 80% for each hour of lost sleep.
Further, public schools are "forced" to start their school days earlier than is necessary for high school kids due to bus schedules, sports practice, and commuting teachers. However, data presented in NurtureShock indicates that bumping back start times for schools have enormous gains for students: fewer car accidents, increased levels of motivation, fewer instances of depression, and increased academic performance.
With homeschooling, parents can set the start time for their children based on what's best for their children, not what's best for the school. Here's another argument for why homeschooling just... works!
buy it now on Amazon