We have been using our new block scheduling for about 2 weeks now and we are really loving it! The boys say they like it because it makes their school day shorter. Alex Rider specifically said it saves a lot of time not having to switch subjects constantly. So much for Charlotte Mason’s short lessons concept! 🙂
As a synopsis of how we are doing this, everyday they have what counts as 6 subjects, plus evening read-aloud and discussion time with me. One of those 6 subjects is almost always a PE activity – either class at the YMCA, soccer practice/game, or the weekly homeschool sports day. So that leaves 5 subjects/day. A couple of shorter, daily subjects are scheduled nearly everyday, such as phonics/vocabulary, handwriting, and math. Then there is a floater subject each day which includes writing/grammar (3 days/week), picture study, music study, and nature study. I have in the schedule, though have not started it yet, a floater subject for Fridays called Personal Development. This will include adolescent-related topics, both having to do with their journey through puberty, as well as character development topics. Since Friday rarely has a PE activity, this subject can easily be scheduled in. On Wednesdays, they don’t do the daily subjects, so that is when they do Art. Then there is a 90-minute (or more) block of time that I dedicate to the major topic of the day. Two days/week, this is Literature (they love these days as it means they get to just read most times), 2 days/week it’s Science, and one day/week is History/Geography. (Our evening read-alouds are also covering History, so there is much more History than it looks like.)
I am loving this block scheduling because I am finding that I can create lessons that are much more engaging for the boys since they have the time to spend on their subjects. On Literature days, they are reading literature from the core curriculum PLUS I get to add in another book for them to read that is not necessarily tied to the current core unit. I am giving them a choice from a much more limited selection of good literature than when they choose books for bedtime reading enjoyment. This is how we will cover more classic literature and those books/stories that are must reads for our cultural literacy. We are covering Shakespeare and Poetry in the evenings one day/week with our other read-aloud, and we introduce/discuss grammar topics 2 days/week that they then practice on their own on Wednesdays. From our core curriculum, I pick and choose the activities that I think will be the most interesting or of the most value and I don’t sweat the rest of the activities for science and history/geography. Then I get to add in other activities that I have always wanted to do but never felt like I had the time! I actually feel like we are getting so much more done with so much less busywork just to “fill a subject box!” And I am glad that the boys feel less stressed about their school day as well not having to switch subjects so often and spread their time among so many things at once.
I would definitely recommend other homeschoolers try block scheduling at some point and see how it can change your day!