Will Block Scheduling Work on an Online High School Curriculum?

Posted on March 06 2013

Block scheduling is new way of scheduling classes where the students do fewer subjects in a day for longer periods of time. The theory is that with more time to spend on a subject at any given time, he more engaged a student is in his lesson and the more he learns. Proponents of block scheduling assert that this type of class schedule allows a student to work only with a few major concepts, unlike a traditional class schedule where a student grapples with different concepts from a number of subjects for a shorter amount of time.

Some types of Block Scheduling

Here are some of the common types of block schedules:

  • Alternate-day schedule. Here, subjects are taken every other day. For instance, a student who is taking six to eight subjects will only go to three or four classes for each day of the week.
  • 4/4 schedule. Here, four subjects are taken up every class term. The student concentrates on only these four subjects (no need to alternate subjects). Once these are done, they move on to four more in the curriculum until they complete the curriculum for one year level. Proponents claim that these enable the student to finish more subjects/courses in one year.
  • Other variations. For online high school courses, there are some students that do one subject a day, finishing a whole week’s worth of work on that subject. If the student has six or more subjects, he chooses five “major” subjects to do in a week and the rest of the subjects are done daily.

Now, the question is, would block scheduling be appropriate for a virtual high school? Here are some things to think about:

  • Your child’s personality and study habits. Will block scheduling work, given your online high school student’s personality and habits? Is he easily bored by longer period of classes? Can he focus long enough? Does he have the tendency to dawdle on a math worksheet or science activity? Then block scheduling will not be appropriate. Is he able to immerse himself in the lesson and work on one topic for a longer period? Is he able to retain the concepts for a longer period of time? Then block scheduling is a good idea. The beauty of being on an online high school program is that you can create a schedule based on your child’s individual needs.
  • Type of subjects. Block scheduling may or may not work, depending on the online high school subjects. There are some subjects that work better if the concepts are repeated on a day-to-day basis. Subjects like foreign language or physical education need to be taken up daily because the student learns faster with daily repetition. In addition, there are also subject that you cannot block schedule, based on the nature of the subject. One example is Physical Education, where you encourage daily exercise and longer periods does not mean that you will require your child to do more physical exercises.
  • Online “classroom” schedules. Does a specific subject require your student to attend an online class? For instance, the teacher may want to offer review sessions for a certain subject. Or the student may need to ask the online teacher some questions regarding a subject he’s struggling with.
  • Tracking your child’s performance. Of course, you need to ensure that the student completes the amount of work needed for a week.

It is important to remember that what might work for one student may not work for another. As an involved parent, you can help your child by looking into whether block scheduling is a feasible option. Remember, the goal is to maximize your child’s learning and make him more ready to face the world’s challenges.