Despite my desire for the kids to listen to their bodies and self regulate they don't seem to have the ability to do so. After a few weeks of cranky kids I had to take the reigns into my own hands once more.
They were disappointed at losing their ability to stay up to all hours of the night, however we turned into a teachable moment. We discussed how they had felt, and why they thought that was. Why sleep was important for our bodies and how even grown-ups often don't get as much sleep as we should.
This leads me into a secondary aspect of this sleep experiment. Raise your hand if you fall with me in the not enough sleep category. I found that I often don't get the necessary amount of sleep either. As a homeschool parent it's easy to get caught up with lesson planning, catching up on housework, or my favorite, as an introvert, the much needed quiet alone time. This led to a secondary experiment giving myself a bed time, like it or not. I've found as a result, I am much functioning much better as a person and mentor.
So the results of my experiment were not an easier bed time routine, or self sufficient children, but they did lead to a beneficial change to all of our lives. The kids now know what happens if they get to do what they want for a bedtime and how it isn't a good thing. I learned how important my own bedtime is. Finally we all have better sleep hygiene.