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Block Scheduling
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Block scheduling, have you heard of it? It is used within homeschool and traditional school settings. I know this because I had a block schedule in high school. There are so many benefits to block scheduling within homeschooling!

So, what is block scheduling? Let's use 5th grade as an example. You've got all of your subjects: Bible, Math, Reading, English, Science, Heritage Studies, Spelling, and Handwriting. You have eight subjects in all, and you split those eight subjects into two blocks. Every other day, you do two lessons in each of the four subjects.

Block scheduling can also be done partially. For example, I want my children to do Bible and Spelling every day, not just every other day. So I leave those out of the block schedule and do one lesson of those particular subjects every day, leaving the other six subjects to be scheduled. Even within a specific schooling method like block scheduling, you can change the method to fit your personal preferences. This is just one of the many things that are so great about homeschooling; you decide what is best for you and your child.

How do you set up a block schedule? Combine your child's most challenging and/or longest subjects with the easiest and/or shortest subjects to create a good balance between your block-scheduled days. You don't want to make an overwhelming day and then an easy day. Your child will quite possibly dread one day and overly enjoy the next if you do this. Creating a balance will keep your school days consistent.

How is this beneficial? Children, especially elementary-aged children, can have trouble transitioning from one subject to another without becoming distracted. It can cause many distractions just because they have to stop the flow of what they are doing. That may be grabbing another worktext, textbook, setting up another DVD, or having to switch their online video lesson. All of these things sound simple, right? But they can quickly turn into an unrelated conversation that consumes too much time, or on the way, they find a toy that they want to play with instead of doing their schoolwork. None of these things are bad, but the goal is to get the work done efficiently, so we have more free time to spend in conversation or playing and exploring when the work is done.

Specifically speaking to those that do parent-led, this is extremely beneficial for the student and the teacher. As the teacher, you can combine two lessons into one to save time. This is especially helpful in math. To combine lessons, you would take what is being taught from both lessons, and whatever is alike from those two lessons you will only teach once. The goal is not to skip new concepts but to combine the repetitive parts of the lessons. This does not mean doing less of that concept if your child does not understand. Just like any other method, you can shape it to fit you and your child and what they need. If they need a bit more explanation or need to do a few more problems to get it, continue explaining or allowing them to have more practice. If your child understands the material quickly, move on and don't spend any more time on that particular concept.

Across the board, whether you are doing parent-led or video lessons, block scheduling can be very beneficial. It allows your child not to have to think about so many different concepts in a day. They focus on four subjects rather than eight and absorb the information that is being taught to them. Switching gears too many times can confuse and cause your child not to retain what they learned that day because they sat through eight completely different lessons rather than focusing on just four.

Utilizing a block schedule can reduce stress and the number of times you have to remind your child of what he is supposed to be doing. It creates a flow that is easier to maintain. If you have trouble transitioning from one subject to another and your child is becoming too distracted in those transitions, you may want to consider giving block scheduling a try. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can try so many different methods. If something doesn't work for you, you scratch it and move on.

There is no one right way to go about homeschooling, but there are different methods and practices, and it is important to find the right fit for you and your children. Block scheduling is just one of the ways you can make your homeschooling day flow with fewer transitioning distractions, more efficiency, and a more enjoyable day. If you are currently struggling with your homeschool days, I hope you are encouraged to try a new method for your homeschool! Contact a HomeWorks Consultant for more scheduling ideas!

Meet the Author

Carabeth Rahtjen - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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