View Full Version : Anyone doing Block Scheduling?

07-11-2014, 03:58 PM
I am thinking of doing a sort of modified block scheduling this coming school year. My son will be 9 years old. Having been in Waldorf school in Germany I am very familiar with this sort of schedule, but I know the system has its pitfalls and am planning on modifying it.

We will do Math and Grammar most every day, but I am thinking of adopting a block schedule for history, social studies, sciences, etc.

I was wondering if anyone has used a block system as a homeschooler. Please tell us about your system and experience!

07-11-2014, 04:32 PM
I am not that big a fan of block scheduling, but I am sort of using this method for DS because of the education pathway he's chosen for himself. He's only studying Geometry, Pre-Calc, World History, IT and Chemistry at the moment, and will be picking up Psychology (an online, one-lecture-a-week class followed by work done in the student's time) and Movies as Literature at the end of August. The Psych course is only 14 weeks, so that isn't really a full course anyway.

He's also schooling on weekends, as he wants to get through the work, so the blocking is more possible. He seems to have settled into doing about three subjects a day, and works at each one for around two hours. He *will* do some IT as well ("after school" LOL).

So...we are not REALLY block scheduling, but we certainly aren't using his ordinary timetable of six subjects in one day, five days a week. I suppose it's a hybrid.


07-11-2014, 05:39 PM
I guess we also do a sort of block scheduling, but only by default. My kids have dual credit classes either 3 or 4 days a week, so that's a type of block scheduling. Then, they just have a weekly list of things to get done; they determine when it gets done. Typically, they like to plow through a subject until it's done for the week, then move on to the next one. But it's their choice. Everything just needs to be done by the end of the day on Friday.

07-11-2014, 05:54 PM
That is exactly what we did this past year. My son was 10/11. We did Math, English, Foreign Language, and Handwriting/keyboarding everyday. English rotated - my kid reads constantly, but we did some sort of "reading" learning approach almost every day - discussing what he read, a project related to a book he was studying, or compare/contrast, that sort of thing. We did writing once a week, grammar twice a week, poetry/creative writing once a week. We alternated handwriting/keyboarding each day. We block scheduled History/civics/geography, science, art, music. One for each day of the week. Then our 5th day he had a class/outing with our homeschool group, or we took a field trip.

It worked well for us. There was less prep for me, and we could go into depth and follow rabbit trails without getting "behind" in other subjects. I felt that DS focused more and would ask more questions and come up with more projects because he felt he had more time to do so. History and Science are his favorite subjects though.

I'm not sure how this year will look as we are using Oak Meadow as a spine (which is Waldorf influenced), and it is more integrated. I like to approach his learning in a holistic way, anyway, and if we are doing something in Science and he's inspired to write a poem about snow or paint a bird or fish, we just go there and let that happen. This past year science inspired song lyrics - so I never know how what I present to him will come back out after he reads, researches, thinks, digests, and ruminates on what he learns.

I find I can give him a book to read, or a subject he's interested in and use it as jumping off points for many subjects. So that links everything we do all week long. Last year he got into football. We did football math, he read biographies of players he admired, he made maps of teams locations and divisions, he read about the history of both pro and college football. He watched endless youtube videos of college marching band half-time shows, and listened to and learned different team's fight songs. He practiced drawing human figures in action by sketching pictures of photo stills of his favorite plays from favorite games. He wrote "newcasts" about games and would play video of famous plays and would record himself being the sports announcer/commentator. This was all in addition to his regular curriculum - as extra, but he would do it happily because it was "History" day or "Art" day.

It was also a way to teach/encourage him to be mindful about the world around him. On art or science day, for example, he would be in that mindset. He'd be asking why is the sky those colors at sunset on science day and we'd look it up, and on art day, he'd be taking pictures of textures outside or the colors of the sunset as inspiration for a collage or to for painting or oil pastel. I had to sort of encourage that way of approaching the world at first, but he picked up on it quick enough. He never says he has nothing to draw or write anymore!

07-11-2014, 06:43 PM
I had block scheduling for three years in high school and sort of used it for a year or so with my son when he was younger. I loved it. Some subjects - math and writing - we did daily, and then we alternated history/science and spelling/grammar. Then we picked one 'elective' for each day of the week, which included things like swimming lessons, going to our homeschool groups, etc. So instead of trying to fit in half a dozen subjects, we never had more than five… and if we didn't have time for the elective, it wasn't a big deal. When I did it in high school, it worked out well because we were able to take 8 classes instead of the normal six or seven.

We dropped it after a while because he wanted science every day rather than every other day, but that was his preference. :)

07-11-2014, 09:24 PM
I like that you aren't stopping one thing that he is engaged in to move onto the next because of the schedule's demands. Of course, you could do this without utilizing a block schedule, but then it feels like too much to accomplish. He might be less inclined to fully explore and commit to the subject he's working on because he knows all these other tasks are waiting. It seems to better accommodate deep learning of a topic.

07-12-2014, 12:39 PM
Wow, I had to look up what "block scheduling" and whaddya know. That's what we are doing next year. Like everyone above who's tried it, though, it'll be with math and grammar bits every day.

The hopping-around we've done the last 2 years had some pitfalls with my ADD kiddo. I stuck with little bites to hold her interest but goodness sometimes we just did NOT get enough done and often--quite often--I felt we had to hurry things that were good and meaty for her in order to get all the other work accomplished.

So this year we're doing science M and F and history TWTh. Both are with Pandia Press products so they'll be the armature for all the other educational trinkets that we'll be hanging. Going deep with lots of mix-ins.

Ejsmom: we used OM last year and from what I understand about your kiddo and your teaching methods I think it'll be a good fit for both of you! We really liked how all the subjects were integrated and how she had to do poems for science, science for history, etc. This was 4th grade though where the curric IS integrated; subjects get pulled apart in the upper grades.

07-12-2014, 02:21 PM
We're also planning a sort of block scheduling this coming year; but planning on doing math daily.

Last year, our first year HS'ing, we didn't do enough schooling. I started out planning too many works per day and the kids cried, we either gave up or rushed through just to check off the boxes. After a month or two we switched to scheduling almost nothing with the hope that the relaxed lack of schedule will make learning more enjoyable and as a result they will cover more material. We also hopped around and didn't follow any one curriculum. (I was determined to not 'do school at home' and wanted the learning to flow through our days effortlessly - ha! I visited way too many rainbow and unicorn HS'ing blogs prior to taking the kids out of school ;))

I think/hope the modified block schedule will keep us on track, allow them to accomplish more, and enable their learning to be more in depth.

07-13-2014, 06:00 PM
I had to look up what block scheduling is.

We are fairly relaxed but do have a daily schedule set up.
Our schedule Mon-Fri has 3 hours set aside for homeschooling each day and we try to get 6 things done during that time. It may take more or less than 3 hours but that is what is specifically scheduled. We do 2 subjects and then there is a break because dd needs breaks to move around and such.

Math is every day for us- usually in the first hour set. I feel math is the most important thing for dd to get done each day. If the rest of the day goes down the drain at least we will have math done. The other task in that time period varies. When that set of tasks is finished we have lunch.
History and language arts are usually in the second hour set. After that set of tasks we take a break for an hour to do other things.
Science is usually in the third hour set. The other thing in that set varies.

The tasks that vary could be something we will only do for a short time period like a project or a book rotated with things we do just once or twice per week.

08-28-2014, 02:13 AM
Yes, I like block scheduling. My child enjoys it. I cover Reading comprehension, Spelling, Lang Arts/Writing every other day. The other days Math, Science, Geography, Social Studies...etc. I also have time set aside for extra curricular activities, field trips, play dates with friends, book reading, crafts, experiments and whatever else is needed to cover the assignment for that subject.

08-28-2014, 08:00 PM
We kind of do this by default. Like others, math and LA are more regular, but we'll get into history heavy for a day, then the next might be science. Unfortunately, this is how we've approached Spanish, but that isn't working well. It's just hard to get it in multiple times per week. :)

08-30-2014, 01:27 PM
This seems to be taking place naturally around here, too. We are a week into 9th grade and have a framework schedule, but after he gets accustomed to the work load, he'll be able to do what he wants when he wants, as long as everything is completed by Fridays. Block scheduling feels sort of natural. Math, biology and literature were done every day this week, rotated in world history, programming and grammar.

M - math, biology, programming, literature
T - math, biology, literature, world history, grammar
W - light day with music lessons, math, biology, literature
R - math, biology, literature, world history, programming, grammar
F - math, biology, literature, programming

More or less......:). It looks really good on paper!