The beauty of block scheduling lies in that chunks of time are carved out for chunks of school, so if keeping to a strict "to-the-minute” schedule isn’t your thing, you’ve still got a working plan in motion that sets expectations for everyone on when school subjects will happen. This block schedule is for your ideal day - the ones that will run as a “normal” school day at home without the interruptions of extracurriculars. For us, this is three times a week. Our other two days are modified for co-op day and Bible Study mornings. Remember, you’re homeschooling, so you get the joy of setting parameters and working around what you choose.
Here are some ways you can begin to categorize and break things down before working on timing:
-individual subjects vs. mommy-led subjects
-grouping table/together subjects in one block (such as morning time, devotional, character study, any subject that is done as a family)
-identify subjects that require your student at their sharpest point in the day, such as math
Now you can begin looking at your day, your family’s typical flow (or maybe the flow you hope to instill!), and use your categories above as to how you can group subjects + time of day together. For us we grouped school into two main chunks of time in which all our attention is focused on completing our work:
10am-12pm Morning Subjects
1:00-4:00pm Afternoon Subjects
(Call me crazy, but these are also hours I try to keep my phone usage to a minimum, if at all. Turning it on silent, do not disturb or leaving it in another room helps me stay just as focused as I expect the kids to be).
Now that this is established, let’s begin to break things down into a little more detail:
Which subjects take the longest?
When do you, the teacher, have time for each child’s mommy-led subjects?
Is there a point in your day where everyone is a little cranky or needs more movement?
Is math especially hard in the early morning, or does it take four times as long at the end of the day?
What needs to happen before morning and afternoon school start?
What are things I’d like to include in our day for enrichment but not grouped into our morning and afternoon school blocks?
With answers to the above questions in hand, here is how we plugged things in and around our Morning and Afternoon Subjects:
Block one - (8:30-9:00) morning time, including character, Bible, poetry, read aloud
Block two - this is about 30-45 minutes long for us and it’s when I get to do preschool & books with the 4 year old, while the older two can work on subjects like handwriting and explode the code which does not often require my help.
Block three - (10:00 am- 12:00 pm) Morning Subjects! By this point everyone is hungry which is a great segway into doing a few things that we try to do together, such as history, science, etiquette, music. Then we split up and work through the rest of our Morning Subjects which also include a few mommy-led. Everyone knows that their list of morning subjects must be complete by the end of our block, and whatever is not complete turns into…homework! The motivation? If they’re finished before noon, *F R E E T I M E *
LUNCH & RECESS
Block four - (1:00pm-4:00 pm) Afternoon Subjects! Nappers nap, others that need quiet time get quiet time or the option to work on stuff on their own that didn’t get finished earlier in the day. And we work through the last few subjects of the day before - free time!
For more information on planning your day and year, visit Pam Barnhill’s homeschool solutions - she has a wealth of resources!!
And if you’d like to see a more detailed schedule, check out last year’s round up for Pre-Pre-K, Kindergarten and 2nd grade here, or this years’ round up for Pre-K, 1st & 3rd here.