Reclaiming My Time

Four Reasons a Time Block Schedule Has Improved My Homeschooling

A List Schedule Vs. A Time Block Schedule

My family has been homeschooling for four years. In the past, I have always used a “list” type schedule. We would try to start school around the same time each morning, give or take an hour. We would tackle the hardest subjects first, then move onto the easier subjects. I always thought that if there was time left over, I would get to the “fun” stuff – Rosetta Stone Spanish, craft time, and music lessons. The only problem with this approach was that there was never any time left over. This problem was getting worse as the kids got older and the schedules became more demanding.

Far from being restrictive, a time block schedule can breathe new life into your homeschool routine, giving you permission to have fun during your day but also keep your "to do" list realistic. Improve your schedule with these cute printables to keep you on track.

 

Far from being restrictive, a time block schedule can breathe new life into your homeschool routine, giving you permission to have fun during your day but also keep your "to do" list realistic. Improve your schedule with these cute printables to keep you on track.

As I looked for a better system, I considered how traditional schools allocate their time. It looked very different from my “list schedule.”

A traditional classroom operates on a time block schedule in which specific times are predetermined for each subject or activity of the day. In other words, the class will study math from 10:30 to 11:00. At 11:00, the class will stop doing math and move on to social studies. I had always avoided using this style of schedule because it seemed too “restrictive” and I definitely did not want to come back to an unfinished subject later in the day (otherwise known as homework!). However, I was in a rut of exhaustion and guilt and my kids were becoming frustrated and increasingly resistant to school. Something had to change!

 

Here’s the exciting news: Far from being restrictive, the “time block” schedule has breathed new life into our school routine.

Four Reasons a Time Block Schedule Has Improved My Family’s Homeschool Routine

1. We are getting started on time each day (or at least, putting in a much better effort to start on time.)

2. We are making time for fun activities and “down time”. In fact, we even start with some fun activities and intersperse them throughout our school day. The kids have started enjoying school again!

3. I have become more realistic about what my family can actually accomplish in a day. Rather than forming a “list” of  goals I hope I will be able to achieve, I am actually assigning the activities to a time slot. This forces me to realistically allocate my time.

4. My kids are starting to take responsibility for their own time and work more efficiently. They understand that time is limited for a particular subject and that if they do not focus and get it done now, they will have to come back to it later in the day, decreasing their “play time”.

In order to keep track of my new time block schedule, I developed these printables, one for myself, one for my daughters, and one for my son. The PDF below contains all three styles. You can choose which styles you want to print by choosing to print only those page numbers. Each printable includes the verse Matthew 6:33 from the NASB Bible version at the bottom. These printables are cute but ultra simple with no times written in, because each family’s schedule is going to look completely different.

Far from being restrictive, a time block schedule can breathe new life into your homeschool routine, giving you permission to have fun during your day but also keep your "to do" list realistic. Improve your schedule with these cute printables to keep you on track.

Far from being restrictive, a time block schedule can breathe new life into your homeschool routine, giving you permission to have fun during your day but also keep your "to do" list realistic. Improve your schedule with these cute printables to keep you on track.

Far from being restrictive, a time block schedule can breathe new life into your homeschool routine, giving you permission to have fun during your day but also keep your "to do" list realistic. Improve your schedule with these cute printables to keep you on track.

These printables can be put into glass picture frames and written on with dry erase markers to easily keep track of what has been accomplished each day. If your frame is too big, you can “mat” the printable by placing scrapbook paper behind it.

Print Your [Time Block Schedule] 

What kind of a schedule are you currently using? Is it working well for you? I would love to hear about it! Please scroll down to comment.

If you like these printables, please spread the word by liking or sharing this article on facebook, or following us on pinterest. Thank you!

More resources from Path Through the Narrow Gate:

Has all the joy of learning flown out your homeschool window? Are you and your children enduring day after day of drudgery? Try implementing a few of these ideas to liven up your homeschool routine.    ditch time block index    Its almost time to start school! Here is a list of some of my favorite fun and essential homeschool supplies.

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15 thoughts on “Reclaiming My Time

  1. I truly can’t believe I found this article tonight. I was just in tears a few hours ago because my normally happy, easy-going son has recently become very negative about school! I have been seeing lots of people talk about blocking out certain time for subjects, etc. Like you, it just didn’t make sense to me! But your review of this practice has given me hope! I think I’ll make a plan this weekend for a big overhaul of the schedule! Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  2. Ack! We just tried this today for the first time and I. Love. It!! The kids liked it, too. Yes to all of the issues you had with a “list” style schedule. I too thought time slots would be way too restrictive, but we were so much more productive using the time slot method! My kids totally owned it, and we actually did music today and are planning on doing art tomorrow. Which are both things that we never seemed to be able to get to before. My daughter, who loves all things fine arts, is thrilled.
    I am making a full day schedule and a half day schedule and laminating them instead of using the frame idea. Then I can still use a dry erase marker. I am also including a little check box to the left of each slot so my kids can check them off as we go. The kids seemed to enjoy that. Thanks so much for the idea!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and let us know how this worked for your family, Autumn. The laminating idea is great, too. May God bless you as you continue on this homeschooling journey.

  3. i just wrote a blog about how much I’m loving our time blocks yesterday. I agree with all of your points, especially about them taking responsibility. Last year, we did work until the work was finished, which meant some days some subjects were dragging on for hours at a time and stressing us all out. I also love using picture frames for dry erase! I created a separate google calendar for ours, but that means I’m the only one that can see it, so I’m still the cruise the director, for now. 🙂 I’m definitely pinning this to keep in mind for later.

    • Thanks, Carrie. The google calendar sounds great for organizing homeschool schedules. I have never used any “electronic” calendars, but would like to try sometime to cut down on the paperwork that is always scattered all over my desk. May God bless you!

  4. I had pinned this and rediscovered this today in my planning time. This is a great idea and I plan to use it in August. I do have a question though… Do you plan in margins of catch up time in the week/day? My thoughts go to that day where we try to stick to our block style schedule but we slept in that morning. Would we just skip the subject scheduled at the top and follow the time guidelines? Then go back on Friday or in the afternoon Free Time and make up the work?
    Thank you for your ideas and providing such cute printables! 🙂

    • Great question, April! If time is really short, you might want to just focus on the essentials that day and let the non-essentials go. I think that each week is going to vary a little bit, and the schedule is a goal, not a taskmaster. I usually do plan for lighter days on Friday, which we can use for catch up work. This is something that I still struggle with, though. This year, my family is actually going to start homeschooling just math and science in July, maybe three times a week, to try and give us a little more “wiggle” room during the school year. This is the first time that we have studied through the summer, so I don’t know how it will go yet. Hats off to you for planning now for August. May God bless you and your family as you continue on this homeschooling journey!

  5. We’ve only been homeschooling for two months and I knew there had to be a better way than a list of things to do that was taking way too long. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. Thank you for this great and practical reminder. Last year was the first time I tried this block schedule approach and my daughter proclaimed that she liked it much better. I have been homeschooling my 3 children for 13 years…you might think I’d have it down by now, but though I’ve graduated one and my youngest is at the end of 8th grade, I certainly don’t feel I’ve got this down to a science. I appreciate this tip and though I have strayed from it this year, and though it is the end of the year, I’m going to bring back the blocks:-) & breathe new life into the end of the year…spring is the perfect time…getting warmer, we want to get outside! Thanks again!