From Type A to Scholé: Creating Table Time

After starting our new and improved Morning Meeting time, I now needed to address one of the main sources of stress for me in our homeschool. During my introspective time of the scholé journey, I quickly realized that the content subjects {history, science, geography, etc.} and the way that they are typically scheduled were causing me a lot of tension. I had followed a typical pattern of studying history three days a week and science two days a week, and I had even attempted to study both history and science every day of the week. The problem for me with these schedules is that if life intervened or something happened where we couldn’t get to science on one of our two days that it was scheduled, then I immediately felt behind and trying to play catch up. And I’ll be honest, “getting behind” usually happened in our first week of school! So now I kept trying to find a spot where I could stick that missed science lesson. As I considered how I could change this cycle into something more restful and less anxiety ridden, I pinpointed my major problem: certain days of the week for certain subjects. Obviously I didn’t want to give up on teaching content subjects {I majored in history in college for Pete’s sake!}, but the current system was broken. And then I remembered about block scheduling. Basically block scheduling is where you focus on one subject for a specific amount of time. If you were in public school you probably had some block scheduling at some point in your school career. I remember one year where I took economics the first semester and government the second semester.

Alarm clock and books on wooden table.

My first step was to decide exactly which subjects I wanted to focus on as our content subjects. Obviously I would include history and science, but since this was kind of a trial run I decided I’d pick a couple of more things that I’d always wanted to fit in, but never felt I could.

My final list of content subjects was:




interest led learning

For my mini-experiment with block scheduling I decided to try focusing on each of these areas for one week after lunch every school day during what I called Table Time. For our history week we studied Ancient Egypt, for science week we studied the Amazon rainforest and the animals that live there, for geography week we learned about Brazil, and for interest led week, Grace studied mermaid legends from around the world and Sophia compared original fairy tales with Disney movie versions.

Basically Table Time turned into exactly what I wanted. We were able to really dig into a topic without me stressing if we missed a content subject because we were busy or unable to finish the day. It also turned into a shared learning experience that I never thought my girls would be able to do together. For about 20-30 minutes I would read from a spine or overview book on the topic. Then I would pull out a bin of books I had collected from the library, project supplies and ideas from the internet, and documentaries or movies about our topic. I have four of these bins, one for each week, and collect items to put in them for that subject. 

Science Table Time  Resources  Over the course of the week, we go through what I have collected in the bin. After I read to the girls together, we split up. Grace chooses a book to go off and read while I read a book of Sophia’s choice to her. We do this independent reading for about 30 minutes, then each girl has to report to me something they read about. After this we would generally begin to do more hands-on type of things, play a game, watch a movie, work on our notebook pages, experiments, crafts, etc. I only had this hands-on time planned for an hour, but often the girls would go over. We followed this basic rhythm for each subject for one month.

What I LOVE about Table Time:

The single subject focus every day {No more anxiety about missing a day and the ability to really dig deeply into the subject.}

Learning together {I NEVER thought this would happen!}

Finally being able to dabble in interest-led learning {It was such a great experience}

One part of Table Time that I’m reworking for our upcoming school year is the length of time spent on each subject. One week just wasn’t enough so I’m going to try doing three week blocks of time on history, science, and geography and a two week block for interest led learning. So basically our content subjects will look like this, geography (3 weeks), science (3 weeks), history (3 weeks), interest led learning (2 weeks), history (3 weeks), and then start back over with geography again and repeat this cycle three times in a school year. {The reason I’m repeating history twice in this cycle will be explained in a later post since it really has nothing to do with scholé  learning, but more how I wanted to set up our history studies this year.}

So what was the point of all this? Well, I’m trying to show you what scholé learning and teaching from rest looks like in my home. I recognized that the traditional scheduling of content subjects was stressful for me. It made me tense and cranky. It caused these words, “Hurry up so we have time to finish ___________,” come out of my mouth way too often. When you begin to look within yourself for sources of stress in your homeschool, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box for a solution.

Play around with ideas.


Blaze new trails.

You can do this.

You can have an abundant homeschool that encourages leisure and contemplation for the teacher and the students.

From Type A To Schole Series

I’ll be wrapping up my From Type A to Scholé series next week by talking about what the results of pursing leisure and rest in our homeschool by focusing on truth, goodness, and beauty. In the meantime be sure and catch up on any of the series that you might have missed: Exorcising School, Seek and You Will NOT FindStarting with the Woman in the Mirror, and Morning Meeting Makeover.

One less stressful thing off my plate in the tree house,



  1. I have been thinking about this since you wrote about it on WTMForum. I'm going to try it when school starts here (September 1st), alternating History week and Science week.

    I would love to do a interest led learing Week, but I'm not sure my dd8 and dd6 are ready for that unless it involves doing cartwheels outside or making loom bracelets :).


    1. LOL, Tess, I totally hear what you are saying about interest led learning! It was definitely much easier for my 10 year old to figure out than my 7 year old! Good luck with your new school year!

  2. Love this series! This summer has been an eye-opener for me and I'm excited about the transformation in our homeschool. I've decided to do our content subjects once a week (geography, history, science, and art) so that we can spend our afternoons enjoying these subjects. Much more restful. Thanks for all your help!

    1. Sounds like a great plan! I'm loving the transformation in our homeschool as well. In fact my next (and last) post in the series is all about that!

  3. I have so enjoyed reading about your journey. Between the messages on the WTM board and the audios and videos I've been listening to our upcoming year will be very different from previous years.

    The 3 days of history/ 2 days of science has also been one of those things that has kept me from that 'place of rest' so we'll be trying a similar schedule. For us that will be 3 weeks of history interspersed with 2 weeks of science and 1 week of interest-led (we school in 6-week terms).

    1. I loved reading your plans on your blog the other day! Your schedule sounds great!

  4. after years of struggling with this I decided just this year to do half a year of history and the other half science it was kind of a duh moment for me and why didn't I think of this earlier not only will it help me but will help my child focus on one thing at a time

    1. I felt the same way when I decided to do a single focus! Why hadn't I figured this out before?

  5. I like your outlook. I think every family and homeschool is different and you have to find a method that works best for you. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are so right about the method having to fit the family. There is no one size fits all when it comes to homeschooling!

  6. Coming over from WTM and I love your blog! I do have a would you handle block scheduling with something like Tapestry of Grace? Is this even possible? My girls wanted to try TOG this year, but I'm wondering how to get it all done. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much!

    1. TOG is so full that I think it would be pretty difficult to par down so you could block schedule it. From what I understand you are expected to do something from TOG every day for the entire school year {if this is not the case please correct me}. IMO, it would be virtually impossible to take a curriculum as full as TOG that is to be used every day and condense it into 18 weeks of lessons. I've considered using Wayfarers for next year {just the history, science, and geography} because I think you could actually block schedule it since the history is only scheduled for 3 days a week and the science 2 days. It would just require some flipping back and forth.

    2. Chelli,
      Thanks for replying so fast! :) That's what I was afraid of. I have one daughter that I have to drag along with school, so I was hoping the block schedule would work so we could focus on one thing at a time. Oh well! Since she helped pick it out, maybe she won't give me such a hard time. :) Thanks again!