April 10


Ditch That List and Block Your Time

By Anna Lowell

April 10, 2015

Do you find yourself consistently exhausted from your homeschool schedule, yet feeling guilty about all the things you didn’t get done?

Are you frequently turning into a homeschool drill sergeant while your kids remain unfocused and unmotivated?

Are you constantly stressed, grumpy, and overwhelmed? Take heart! You may have a scheduling problem.

This article has lots of helpful advice on creating a homeschool schedule that actually works! I am definitely trying some of these ideas!

The List Schedule vs. the Time Block Schedule: Which are you following?

A list schedule says: “We will finish math and then study history. If we still have time after history is done, we will do a craft project.”

A time block schedule says: “We will work on science from 10:00-10:30 and history from 10:30-11:00. At 11:00, we will start the craft.”

The difference between these schedules is in the specific allocation of time blocks. While a time block schedule seems restrictive, it can actually give you greater freedom to accomplish your homeschooling goals and to introduce some enjoyable activities into your homeschool day. Take a cue from the traditional school classroom and consider why a time block schedule may be beneficial to your homeschool routine.

ditch time block 3

1. Get Started!

When you are operating on a list schedule, you can easily postpone getting started because you feel like you have “all day” to accomplish your list. A time block schedule helps you to have a good grasp on what you have to get done in a day plus how much time it will actually take to accomplish your goals. When you can visually see that time is limited, you will be much more motivated to get started on time.

2. Time Is Limited

A time block schedule will help your student to grasp the reality that time is limited, and that he needs to take some responsibility for his own time. A list schedule tries to motivate a student to “get math done so he can get science done”. In reality, the student may not want to get science done.

A time block schedule gives the student a time limit in which to get a particular subject done. If, at the end of the allocated time, the work is not done, it must be completed later in the day during the student’s free time. This schedule style gives the student actual motivation to get the work done during the allocated class period.

This article has lots of helpful advice on creating a homeschool schedule that actually works! I am definitely trying some of these ideas!

3. There Is a Stopping Point!

If you studied in a traditional school classroom, you probably looked forward to the bell that signaled the end of your least favorite class. In the same way, a time block schedule offers a concrete stop time. When a subject is getting tough, it is nice to know that there is a predetermined stop point when both you and your student can take a break.

4. A Reality Check

List schedules can quickly take on a completely unreasonable existence of their own. The reality is, you probably won’t be able to accomplish the 25 essential, cool, creative, and fun activities, crafts, and science projects that you found on pinterest in addition to your core curriculum. In fact, trying to do so will probably only yield frustration, exhaustion, and hurt relationships. Transferring your to-do list into actual time slots provides a reality check on how much you can realistically expect to get done in a day.

ditch time block 2

5. Make Time for the Extras

You can’t possibly do all of the extracurricular activities, but you should make room for some! A time block schedule enables you to make time for a few carefully chosen extra-curricular activities. You might even find it beneficial to schedule these activities in the morning or interspersed throughout the day to provide mental breaks from the difficult academic subjects. Traditional schools do this by having kids bounce between academic subjects, physical education, and creative/music classes.

6. Schedule Some Down Time

A time block schedule can enable you to intentionally schedule down time and bonding time. Both you and your children need “reset” times to look forward to. Make time in your homeschool schedule for a great read-aloud book, a fast and furious game of Pit, or a “nothing planned” time. It may be the most important part of your day!

ditch time block 1

7. Give Some Grace

Remember that a time block homeschool schedule is a goal, not a task master sent to dominate your life. There will be times, both planned and unplanned, when the schedule flies out the window. That’s O.K. You can get back on track tomorrow (or next week!) because you have a plan. If you find that you are constantly behind, you may have too much on the schedule. Re-evaluate and re-schedule until you find the pace that works for your family.

Do you use a list style schedule or a time block schedule? How has your homeschool schedule worked for you? I would love to hear your thoughts! Please scroll down to comment.

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