Why can’t Finnish kids stay at school?
Alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. You press the snooze button until 7:00. Now you’re in a hurry. Not enough for the kids to be late at school, but just enough so you can yell at them.
Wake the kids up, pretend you’re a sheep dog herding the children around the house, barking orders. Get dressed, brush your teeth, wash your hands, with soap, eat breakfast, no a cookie is not a breakfast, brush your hair, get dressed more, properly since it’s cold outside. Say bye to mommy, have a nice school day!
As soon as the door closes behind the kids you relax. In Finland we don’t have to take our kids to school, unless it’s pre-school. They’ll walk or ride their bikes or take a bus, alone. All alone. But never mind, it’s your time now.
You take your cup of coffee and some cookies or Kit Kats from your secret mommy stash. Moms are really good at hiding things from our children, and spouses (“What do you mean I can’t have ice cream for dinner? No cookies either? Yeah it makes me sick but I want to. Are you saying I’m too fat to have ice cream? *pterodactyl screech*”.
You put on Drag Race on Netflix, get comfortable, get into the spirit and pretend that you too could be just as fabulous, if you wanted to and had the time, yaaaass bitch. It’s a school day, it’s your day off, kids have been fighting all week, you’ve earned your time alone. You go girl, you do you.
At 12:30 the doorbell rings. It’s the kids, they can’t find the keys. But it was time for the girls to bring it to the runway, and you wanted to know who won the main challenge. Miz Cracker was really bringing it as Dr. Dill. Why are they home so early?
Because school days are short. In Finland, there’s isn’t a set amount of hours for elementary school children per day, that’s up to the schools, but there is a minimum amount of hours per week. On 1st and 2nd grade the minimum is 19 hours a week. That averages out to about four hours per day. On 3rd grade you get 3 more hours a week, for minimum amount of hours. That means that the children who need the most adult supervision are send home in the middle of the day.
It means you can go straight back to adulting. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 (It’s a Monopoly joke, everyone should know that). You get their snacks ready since apparently the lunch at school either didn’t taste good (3rd grader), or was too cold when they finally got to their turn to eat (5th grader). After snacks it’s time for homework. That takes 30 minutes max. At least you got to finish your episode of Drag Race. Kinda, since every 5 minutes someone asked for help. Don’t worry, no spoilers here.
Now you have to entertain those little buggers. Because everything is boring. And the friends can’t come out to play yet and they can’t play with each other because someone is stupid. Apparently their rooms don’t even need cleaning, that’s a first. So you hand over your place on the couch, and your Netflix, to your little angels, and go do laundry.
The keys, as expected, were in their backpacks, where they put them. Every day.
And to answer the question in the title, it’s because the school keeps sending them home.
Photo by Ben White.
The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.
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