SOUTH KOREA: Sleepless in Seoul
My little one is finally sleeping through the night for the most part. I never thought this day would come. You may remember one of my very first posts with World Moms Blog in which I bemoaned the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn. Now that he’s sleeping, you’d think that I would be well-rested, but unfortunately a year of constant sleep interruption seems to have led to a bit of a sleeping problem. I’m fortunate if I get 4-6 consecutive hours these days.
I was feeling very sorry for myself until I recently met a school teacher here in Seoul who told me that the kids she teaches in primary school are getting about the same amount. Reflecting back on my pre-pubescent school days I remembered a strict 8pm bedtime and a 7am alarm clock. That’s 11 hours of sleep. After school I had to do my homework and chores, and then I was free to play until dinnertime.
Here in Seoul and in other parts of Korea parents are incredibly invested, monetarily and otherwise, in the education of their children. Academic success is crucial. Many children attend public school from early morning to mid-afternoon, after which they go to an academy, called a hagwon, where they often stay until 9 or 10pm. Yes, you read that right. (more…)