Block Scheduling

I call it block scheduling because we do a few subjects in longer blocks of time and it works great for us. Let me explain.

When I was preparing for high school for the very first time and thinking about the subjects and the amount of work and time involved, it perplexed me a bit. Not the work on my end, but the work for my student! I kept thinking about all the subjects in one day and it just seemed like a lot of work in many different subjects. For example reading history, then reading literature, then reading science and performing experiments seemed like a lot of transition in one day. I haven’t even added in math or spoken about their foreign language classes! (puns intended)

Homeschool boy studying

Block Scheduling to the Rescue

It isn’t for everyone. It works for us, and we really like it. Read on as it may be for you too.

We chose 3 subjects to block: history, science, and literature. We have daily subjects of foreign language, math, elective, and religion. I don’t recommend blocking those subjects since they are designed to be studied over longer periods of time. We then add on one of our block subjects to the daily schedule.

The block subject is equivalent to the amount of work that 3 subjects would be concentrated into one. Instead of switching through history, science, and literature on a daily basis, during our block we only focus on one. This allows for plenty of time to do all the reading required and experiments or projects that accompany those subjects.

Example #1

Here is a sample of a block schedule. Each quarter is 9 weeks for a total of 36 school weeks, and a block subject lasts for 3 weeks in each quarter.

  • Quarter 1:
    • daily subjects + literature
    • daily subjects + science
    • daily subjects + history
  • Quarter 2:
    • daily subjects + history
    • daily subjects + science
    • daily subjects + literature
  • Quarter 3:
    • daily subjects + literature
    • daily subjects + science
    • daily subjects + history
  • Quarter 4
    • daily subjects + history
    • daily subjects + science
    • daily subjects + literature

Example #2

Here is another way to block schedule. Each third is 12 weeks for a total of 36 school weeks, and a block subject lasts for 12 weeks.

  • Week 1-12: daily subjects + literature
    • done with literature for the year!
  • Week 13-24: daily subjects + science
    • done with science for the year!
  • Week 25-36: daily subjects + history
    • done with all our school work, yeah!!


The Ins & Outs

Obviously block scheduling can look intense, but you also have to remember that you are not spending time on the other 2 block subjects so you have that time to really spend on your block.

I’ve only provided 2 examples on how to block schedule and there are many ways you can do it. You can decide to block more or less subjects for more or less time.

An Unexpected Surprise

With block scheduling the student’s schedule more closely resembles a college schedule (5 classes at a time is approximately 15 hours of college course work.) Going down to 4 classes is an option as well. Also studying these block subjects at this pace will also be more similar to the pace of a college course. While visiting a university with my daughter, a professor mentioned to the prospective students that college courses are much faster than high school and that you will go through a whole year of science in approximately 15 weeks. We were even more rigorous than the university!

We have done block scheduling for 2 children – one of which did it all 4 years of high school and the other will be doing it for the third year now. I have 2 more students that will begin blocking this next school year. Watch out for Read Vianney’s blog on a student perspective on block scheduling.

Remember the Student’s Abilities

Please note if you choose to block, keep in mind your individual student’s abilities and personality along with the choice of block subjects and the timing. Block scheduling should be a blessing and help to your student not a source of frustration and lack of learning the material. Block scheduling has been a great experience in our homeschool.

If you’ve blocked scheduled and have a comment, please share it with us.

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