I could do Monday 8 a.m. to Thursday 8 p.m. if I wanted to be even, but my Sims are often in the middle of birthday parties and such at 8 p.m., whereas at 8 a.m. there is less going on. (I long ago developed the habit of pausing as soon as a lot loads and sending all children to school immediately.)
I am motivated to do this partly because a round takes SO LONG that I get bored and start to forget what happened in the early houses and such; cutting the time spent at each house in half will enable me to cycle through them more quickly and hopefully keep things fresh.
I also did it to keep my neighborhood more in sync; a week is actually a really long time when you're a Sim. It was having a negative impact on friendships among kids from my 'hood; children are only children for a week so it is hard to have a back-and-forth friendship; teens are sometimes teens for only four days. It makes dating really difficult. For example, say you have a child in House #1 who ages up to teen on Tuesday night and thus will be going to college the following Monday morning. All her peers in the other houses on the playlist are children and will remain children as long as I'm playing her house. She will still be a teen after I leave the house (I send them off as soon as I load their house again on Monday morning) but if her intended life-mate grows up to teen on Thursday night in his own house that gives them only one weekend together instead of the two they would have gotten if they had been aging more in sync. (Well, they still would have only gotten the one weekend, but they would have gotten to live it twice over, once in each house.)
That also brings me to college...if Girl Sim grows up on Tuesday night, she will be "17 years old" by my reckoning the following Monday and therefore eligible to go to college. Boy Sim, having grown up Thursday night, will only be 15 and thus will not be eligible for college until a full week later, when he is 22. So Girl Sim and Boy Sim will not be able to marry until a full week after that, when he is 29 and she is 31.
Under the new system, Girl Sim will grow up on Tuesday night and then I will leave her house on Friday morning. Boy Sim will grow up on Thursday night and I will leave his house Friday morning. Then back at Girl Sim's house she will get to spend the whole weekend with her beloved and then he will get to spend the whole weekend with her at his house. She will still leave him behind when she goes to college on Monday (boohoo), but he will leave for college on Friday and join her when she is a junior and he a freshman.
"Wait, what's that about leaving for college on Friday?" you say. "I don't remember you mentioning that!"
That's because I didn't yet. As part of this new system, I will be doing two college "calls." Monday morning, everyone who is at least 16 years old will get packed off to college. I will play them through their first two years. Friday morning, everyone who is at least 16 years old will get packed off to college. They will get played through their first two years and the other batch will get played through to graduation. After one round of this, it will mean that nobody is older than 19 or 20 when they go to college, and a range of 16-20 seems more realistic than a range of 16-22, without having to send every single Sim the year they turn 18 and having chaos.
(They will be between the ages of 23 and 27 when they graduate, which might seem weird, but I decided to do it that way because Sim college always seems like college + grad school to me, what with them graduating and immediately becoming General Practitioners and such.)
This will have the side-effect of eliminating the need for townie placeholders, since there will be a batch going Monday-Monday and a batch going Friday-Friday. Unless I have a baby drought, but I don't see that happening any time soon.
The only negative effect will be on students who want to move out and found new lots. See, if they leave on Friday and graduate a "week" later, it will be Friday for everyone else in the 'hood, but on the new lot it will be Monday. I refuse to allow that sort of discrepancy. So for the time being I am going to say that any Sim who is not permanently moving back with parents or moving in with a significant other has to temporarily move in with a sibling or friend or some such person who has a properly synced lot. 10 days later, they can move out on their own. (10 days and not 3 because part of the challenge rules says that college grads have to stay in their first post-college household for at least 7 days.)
You are probably hopelessly confused, dear reader, so I will give you a pretty picture to make you feel better.
Clicking on that should enlarge it. I made it this morning; it is an index of every playable Sim in the neighborhood, unless I am forgetting somebody. (68 living, 4 dead.) Someday I hope to have all sorts of interesting information in here, but right now it just has names and birthdates.
Right now they are sorted from youngest to oldest, except Ryker who has 0/0/0000 as his birthdate because I couldn't be bothered with giving him a real birthdate. The kids who have birthdates like 0/0/2053 are babies/toddlers and I would have to check in game to know exactly how old they are and then randomly generate a birthday for them. (Actually, with the babies I would have to wait until they become toddlers to know how many days old they are.) I don't have time for that at the moment (too busy making spreadsheets), so they have placeholder birthdates.
Then they are color-coded by when they are going to college. The Pinks are going to college at the beginning of Round 7. Most of them are currently frozen in time with their hands on the telephone waiting to call as soon as I reload their lots. There are 5 of them, which is a nice number, and they even have a good boy/girl ratio. (Their aspirations are respectively Family, Romance, Pleasure, Pleasure, and Popularity, though, so I have a feeling there will be more socializing than studying.)
Orange and Yellow would have all gone to college at the beginning of Week 8 according to the old system. There are FOURTEEN Sims in those two color categories. FOURTEEN. That is way too many to have in college at all, but if I stagger them at least I will only have to deal with 14 students for half a round rather than a full round...though before and after I will have 12 students total (Pink and Orange together, and then Yellow and Green together.)
Blue and Purple are both more modest and will probably remain so, though if Joan Pons can convince her husband to adopt 3 more children (to meet her impossible want of 10) there might be 1 or 2 more Blues and 1 or 2 more Purples. I also have a pregnant Sim who has been eating cheesecake like it's going out of style, so I anticipate another set of twins in 2054 (just in time for the Purples).
A couple of quick notes, and then I have to go cook dinner like a normal person:
1. Age is calculated for Sims kind of like it is for Thoroughbred horses: They "age up" on January 1. So, for example, Emmy Whitfill's random meaningless birthday is December 20, 2042. This means that on January 1, 2043, she was considered to be "1 year old." She is only about 6 weeks older than Landon and Ginny Whitfill, but they will always be listed as 1 year apart in age. Fortunately, Emmy will be "eighteen" years old when she goes to college, which makes her 17 1/2. The youngest Sim to attend college for the forseeable future will be Charles Riedmayer, who will turn 16 in September 2057, right around when he leaves for college. (I imagine them going to college sometime between July and September, depending on if they call the taxi before or after school.)
2. I realized when making this spreadsheet that I grossly miscalculated Caitlin and Patrick Seifert's birthdays, originally listed as being in 2033 and 2036. I calculated it out and realized I probably meant to write 2043 and 2046, so birthdates have been updated accordingly in the spreadsheet and in their family's update.