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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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