Taming the Timetable

If you’ve ever felt like ‘Mum’s Taxi’ or ‘Dad’s Uber’ it just might mean you’re a parent of a student with a busy schedule. Most of us handle the school drop offs and pickups, Saturday morning soccer practices and weekly drama classes with ease, but what happens when your child’s schedule starts to interfere with their work/life balance?

Do you cut back on their time spent doing something at which they’re clearly gifted and passionate? Few parents of remarkable students want to risk denying their child the chance at greatness in their chosen field. Fewer still want to see their child overstressed or failing high school.

“The mainstream curriculum is very full and very rigid,” says Janice*, the mother of a student who excels in the performing arts, “They say to students, ‘You’ll learn this at this time and that’s all you’ll do, and we’ll take up your every waking moment’ and for creative kids this is like death, I think. It’s designed to cater to the majority, so more advanced students can be left unchallenged.” 

Many mainstream schools require a lot of commitment outside the normal six hours a day of class contact. Aside from homework and assignments, students are expected to attend morning, lunchtime and afternoon rehearsals and training sessions, where often their special requirements aren’t met.

“Talented kids can be left playing and performing at levels that are too elementary,” says another parent, David, “They get bored and end up quietly dying inside. Mainstream schools often don’t have the flexibility, resources or willingness to cater to students with specific requirements.”

Advanced sportspeople and artists need to fit in between one and three hours a day of practice and training, often on specialised equipment not available at high schools. Also, time to think freely is vital for many creative kids. The combination of long school hours, limited time to focus on the disciplines that actually stimulate them and having to squeeze in time to commute to access the equipment needed, can negatively impact the family’s home life. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

“At normal school, before Hubbard’s, we were almost at the point where we didn’t have time to even eat dinner together as a family. One would go off to do homework, the other to something else. Our interactions with our kids were always ‘Hurry up, we have to go. “The mainstream school timetable comes with extracurricular activities that can take up all of the free time.”

Janice noticed some surprising changes when she decided to enrol her children in Hubbard’s School for years 11 and 12.

“At Hubbard’s if you turn up and concentrate in class, there’s not a massive homework overload. It’s not like at school where the assignment load and out of class homework killed our night-times as a family.”

Plus, the depth of her children’s knowledge on topics in the curriculum was deeper than before.

“We would sit at dinner post Hubbard’s and the kids would talk in depth about their classes and what they learned that day. They were animated about these topics.” 

“The mainstream curriculum is rushing kids through information and they’re so focussed on what’s yet to come. They don’t cover topics very thoroughly,” she adds, “At Hubbard’s there are very small class sizes and a focus on really learning the curriculum, rather than just lots of assessments and assignments. The students are not just ‘getting through’ the curriculum, they’re there to actually learn it.”

Hubbard’s is the only school of its kind in Brisbane. Each student is provided with a flexible learning schedule that fits in with their extra-curricular requirements. They can learn at their own pace, and with smaller class sizes than traditional schools, they can get the extra attention they need if they do have to catch up on a topic. The more compact and efficient timetable allows the flexibility to fit extra educational activities such as practice or training into the working day. Students can move freely between school and practice facilities, with handy access to public transport. It’s the kind of flexible schooling that’s perfect for students who are taking a non-standard path through their education.

Hubbard’s School Principal Cathy Pappalardo explains, “When a new student is considering enrolment, we meet with them to find out about their unique challenges and training schedule.

“Once we discuss their goals, we work together to plan a way in which to achieve them. So, for example if a student has two hours of training in the middle of the day, they might be able to start their classes in the morning, leave school to practice their passion and come back to finish classes in the afternoon."

“Every plan is developed to give the individual student the support and timetable they need for the best possible chance of success. If we ever see a student is falling behind or struggling, we spend time reassessing their plan, finding ways to work around barriers and solve challenges together.”

Flexible scheduling is just one of the ways in which Hubbard’s School offers a different kind of learning. Unlike mainstream schools, Hubbard’s also has ongoing enrolment intakes. If you’re a parent of a gifted student, get in touch with us to find out more or to apply to enrol.