This year, we tried a new homeschool schedule that has worked brilliantly for our family. It is called block scheduling. Instead of trying to work through each subject everyday, we focus on one subjects only. Monday is math, Tuesday is language arts, Wednesday is science, Thursday is social studies, and Friday is devoted to fine arts, field trips, group activities with friends and catch-up day. In addition to the scheduled subject, we do one-half hour of the Barton Reading & Spelling each day because two of my girls have dyslexic tendencies; they also practice their instruments.
We spend about 3 1/2 to 4 hours each day on the scheduled subject. Before you write me off as crazy, let me describe what kind of activities we do during those hours. On Math Monday, for example, we might spend 15-3o minutes watching a Math Antics video on a particular math concept. I will then assign worksheets (from the Math Antics website) that must be completed by the end of the day. We might also work with math manipulatives or play a math game. In the early afternoon, we have tea while I read a math story from Mathematicians Are People Too! or another fun book.
There are many advantages to block scheduling for homeschool:
Easy prep time
With block scheduling, it is much easier for me to prep for one subject each day than all of them for each child. Prepping for one subject only also helps me to focus on activities that span multiple grade levels.
Less stress & more focus
Block scheduling reduces stress caused by feeling pressured to stay on schedule throughout the day. Kids get to focus on one subject only each day. If a child is having a bad day in math, it doesn’t spill over into the next scheduled subject. We can always have a fresh start the next day without feelilng behind.
Block scheduling works perfectly for subjects and/or projects requiring more time to complete without borrowing time from another academic subject. Ir offers built-in flexibility for your children to engage in meaningful discussion or follow those delightful rabbit trails that Marcie Crabtree described so well in her blog post Delight-directed Learning: Following Rabbit Trails. Instead of being “saved by the bell,” block scheduling saves them from the bell.
In short, block scheduling has had a positive impact on our homeschooling.
What kind of schedule does your homeschool follow? Have you tried block scheduling?