What are Lesson Blocks?
Just what is a Lesson Block? And why should you be using them in your homeschool?Lesson blocks have a focus topic, like Ancient Egypt, Saints and Heros, zoology etc.. A Lesson Block includes things like studies and activities on the focus topic as well as lessons in grammar, writing, vocabulary, spelling and others. It could be thought of as a unit study. They can last for a week of study or eight weeks of study. Really, it’s up to you and your child how in-depth you want to explore the focus topic.
Why are Lesson Blocks Great For Homeschoolers?
Because they work! They pull many different subjects or lessons together, to make one cohesive whole. I want you, the overwhelmed homeschool parent to know that a more sane, natural way of homeschooling is attainable. Remember those mornings when you’re trying to cram lessons in math, reading, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, writing and maybe some science or history? You still have to get lunch, put on some laundry, clean the bathroom, keep the toddlers busy, get through the long list of subjects and somehow remain sane through it all! Yikes!
How do Lesson blocks work?
Let’s say you are studying Ancient Egypt for four weeks. During this time your child would read books about Egypt and write reports or stories about Egypt. She would learn about hieroglyphs and copy some into her main lesson book. She would create Egyptian artwork, draw a map of Egypt make a salt dough map and various models of items used in Egyptian daily life. Perhaps she will learn to research or possibly review grammar, she might practice outlining, spelling or vocabulary. There might even be a tiny bit of science as she creates a simple machine with an Egyptian shaduf! No more boring painful worksheets, no more frustration when your child can’t remember what she learned two weeks ago. The only thing left for you to add to the curriculum is math and a foreign language.
What does a Typical Day look Like?
My ideal typical day would look something like this:
- I wake before my kids. ( I really need that quiet space before I hit the ground running in the am)
- Breakfast and Morning chores ( nothing major here just unloading the dishwasher and everyone making their beds. I’ve also tried to implement a five-minute room tidy, though not very successfully. Still working on it:)
- The older children start their independent school work.
11-year old’s independent work:
- Independent reading of good quality books related to the subject at hand. Some of them historical fiction and others books of interesting facts or poetry.
- Life of Fred Math, times table practice, or work in the Keys to workbooks, but not all of these in the same day.
- She may be continuing research for a report, or writing a rough copy of a report or writing the good copy into her main lesson book.
- Or she may be working on an independent activity or artwork from the main lesson.
9-year old’s independent work:
- Collects weather data from our weather station outside and records it in her journal. She includes a short description of how it looks or feels outside.
- Some independent reading. Not always related to the focus topic as I need to find books that match her reading abilities.
- Life of Fred math or times table practice.
- She may or may not have a rough draft or good copy of a summary or narration that she is working on. I correct the rough draft before a good copy is hand written into the main lesson book.
- While the older two are working on independent work, I take the 7-year old and do the lesson block work with her. She is not working independently yet unless she is copying words or sentences I have written on the board for her. We also do artwork together though I will occasionally let her do that independently as well. I work with the 7-year old for 45min to 1 hour.
- We might take a break from independent work and do oral poetry work together. This is just simply reciting the chosen poem preferably with actions every day for a month until it lives deeply inside the child. This is important work. You could also use this time for Bible memory work as well.
Ok, so far there has only been about 1 hour and 20min of school time.
- Next, I will work with whichever child has the least amount of independent school work to do. Usually my 9-year old. I will work with her on main lesson activities, storytelling, and narration, and focus more attention on her weak areas.
- Lastly, I will work with my oldest child on her lesson block work. That could be activities, grammar or any number of things.
- Chore Time. Everyone pitches in:)
- The oldest may have some schoolwork to finish up in the afternoon.
- Music practice.
- You could alternate afternoons of handwork, nature walks, and foreign language, but definitely, leave space for free play.
- Read aloud in the evening. After supper, I gather the kids and read 1-2 chapters aloud to them. Yes, even the younger ones are interested in chapter books and it’s great for their vocabulary development. Just don;t make the mistake of stopping to explain everything to them or ask comprehension questions. Answer any questions they may have but don’t disrupt the story unless it’s really necessary. You would be surprised at how much children understand and learn from context.
So there is my day in a nutshell. Some days are better than others. If you are trying to homeschool with babies and young children you may have to do the bulk of your schooling when they are napping but do include them if you can with some of the activities. Most little ones would love to try the action in the poetry recitation or they can color in their own main lesson book. Have a basket of special school only toys you can pull out especially for them.
What about you?
Have you tried teaching with lesson blocks? Are you willing to give it a try? Let me know why or why not ou think this method would work for you?
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