Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu
Its the start of a brand new homeschool year for us, and we are slowly transitioning from easing into school to implementing a full homeschool schedule.
So what does a full homeschool day look like for us? Well, it doesn’t have any rigid timings that’s for sure. You see, when I first began homeschooling one of the first things I did was print off a daily timetable, and I furiously began filling up the slots with not just what we needed to get done academically, but also LIFE! From cooking dinner, to teaching phonics, everything was timed.
And what happened?
At first, I felt great. Every tick box felt like an achievement. But slowly those days became less and less, because I wasn’t able to keep up with such a strict regiment.
Because schedules are based on time. They bring about a ‘military’ atmosphere. They can make you feel like you constantly need to be doing something or you’ll end up falling behind.
In a nutshell – schedules can make you, well, sad.
So out went the daily time table, and in came our routine, bringing back with it my sanity, Alhamdulillah.
See, having a homeschool routine works great, rather than a strict schedule, because it creates order and expectation without the pressure. My children thrive on routine, Allahuma barik, and they like to know what the day has in store for them. And as the children get older it helps to create a sense of independence, as they can get stuck into whatever they need to do and this is especially beneficial when it comes to homeschooling.
So why are block schedules useful compared to timetables we’re all so used to?
They take pressure off you and the kids to get things done within a particular time frame. Because lessons can sometimes take longer depending on what you covered, how quick the kids grasped the concept and even just delving off into you didn’t have planned but did it anyway (yay for homeschooling!)
When the days starts a little rocky, you can get into the groove a lot quicker. Rather than thinking its 10 AM and we haven’t started English and its almost time for Arabic, you can instead think, its time to get Block one started and then take it from there. It makes a HUGE difference because it creates that flexibility in your day which is key to a consistent homeschool. Even if the time has passed, it doesn’t stop you get starting and making a dent in it.
It allows the room for spontaneity. So imagine its a nice day and you all want to get outside and enjoy the Weather. You don’t need to think that you can;t because its time for English. You can just choose to get that block done when you’re back. Because again, you’re not bound by time!
Its easier to get it all done. I truly believe this. There’s something about flexibility in our homeschool that breeds consistency. Because when you know that Maths can be done in the morning or on some days the late afternoon, you’ll get it done. Its harder to feel that way when you feel like you’ve ‘missed Math’ because the mornings over.
Not having timed subjects has allows you to explore further into a subject area when your childrens interests are sparked, or wrap up things quickly when you feel concepts have been grasped and there’s no need to just hang in there to reassure yourself that enough was done. They are also great because as you change up things throughout the year, such as adding in activities, you don’t need to redo your entire timetable all over again. You can just slot them in, and keep everything else the same.
So here is my basic daily and weekly schedule which is split into 3 blocks. Block 1 is our main priority subject, which for us is always the same (Quran memorisation and revision). Block 2 then is for our core subjects and Block 3 is for subjects we rotate such as History and Geography. Simple!
I jot everything down, and then we take each day as it comes, using salaah timings to give our day structure. Some days we get Block 2 and 3 done without much of a break in between if there is something we need to do such as an outdoor activity. On the days we don’t have anything planned outside, I’m much more relaxed with the time, but we aim to be done before Asr time as the evening is more to wind down and have family time.
Alhamdulillah, routines have been a step in the right direction for us and brought the happiness back into our Happy Muslim Homeschool!
If you would like to print out a weekly routine template for yourself click here.
Have a wonderful day!
NOTE; TWO YEARS LATER AND IT WAS TIME FOR A REVAMP. REVAMPED BLOCK SCHEDULE PLANNER CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE!