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How Much Time Should K-12 Students Spend at School During a Calendar Year

The K-12 schools around the world can differ from each other more than we think. I have been visiting quite a many schools and seen from great to sad ones. They can differ in their daily life from day structure to the teaching content not to mention the student’s status. I have seen schools where students move to one lesson to another without any breaks. I have seen schools where there is no space for students to spend their breaks. And then totally opposite; schools with breaks between the lessons and areas where they can spend their time. Students have an active role in their learning and making decisions.

Photo by Maarit Rossi. Children in Arusha, Tanzania

Let’s talk now only how much time students spend at school!

I am happy about the time students spent their time in the Finnish schools. They have 190 days in a school year, as I think many children have around the world!  But this information doesn’t show us the whole picture. How many hours do they spend at school in one week tells us more. What kind of school days do they have? Do they have a good lunch and snack if the day is long? Do they have breaks between the lessons? Do they have a place where to spend their breaks? Do students learn in the school or do they have to go after school? Does the quality of teaching influence to the length of a school day!

In Finland the minimum number of hours is in the following list:

• 1st and 2nd class 19 hours per week

• 3rd grade 22 hours per week

• 4th grade 24 hours per week

• 5th and 6th grade 25 hours per week

• 7th and 8th grade, 29 hours per week

• 9th grade 30 hours per week.

In high school, grades 10 to 12, the minimum number is 75 courses, each of which lasts approximately 38 hours.

In grade one they have 722 hours a year, amount of hours growing so that in high school students may have average 950 hours.

 What about the time used out of school?

15-year-old’s spent globally average of 5 hours on homework based on OECD study. Students e.g. in Shanghai spend 13.8 hours a week on homework and in Russia 9.7 hours. Students in Finland and South Korea spent fewer than three hours – the least among the 65 countries and regions surveyed – on homework each week.

What if that is not all? There are after schools! Yes, you read right, there are countries, like Japan, where most kids have school after school. It is possible that students in Singapore leave home at 8 am and return at 10pm! Asian countries have achieved good Pisa results, but there has been a rush of hours of study!

What if that is not all? There are after schools! Yes, you read right, there are countries, like Japan, where most kids have school after school. It is possible that students in Singapore leave home at 8 am and return at 10pm! Asian countries have achieved good Pisa results, but there has been a rush of hours of study!

How many hours does your child spend at school?

In Finland most of students, teachers and parents are satisfied with the time their children spend at schools. Finnish students spend less time at school than students in many other countries, they have a lot of breaks during the school day. They have free school lunch, transportation and free books. Now we are talking about ending the school later in June and starting later in the autumn. Other discussion is when it would be good to start the school? Pre-school starts now at the age of six and 1st grade at the age of seven in Finland.  Politicians are planning to advance the start.  I appreciate our system today. Finnish children have a childhood. Learning at the right age is like driving a bicycle. If you try too early or too late, the result is not the best.

Do you want your child to have a childhood?

As part of the Top Global Teacher Bloggers / CMRubinWorld.com / Global Search for Education  http://www.cmrubinworld.com/TGTB,  above is my answer to question of September: How much time should K-12 students spend at school during a calendar year?