Each year that we homeschool, we use new ideas, methods, or materials. We’re simply adjusting to what suits each child the best at that time. This year we’ve incorporated a loop schedule into our routine.
What is a loop schedule? Great question. I’ll do my best to describe it.
A typical schedule might assign each subject you want to teach to a specific time. For example, you might teach math at 9:00, spelling at 9:30 then reading at 10:00, and science at 11:00.
With a loop schedule, you would list all of the subjects that you want to teach. We’ll use the same example of math, spelling, reading and science to keep it simple.
Now we’ll decide how much time we will allot to teaching. Let’s say the kids have an afternoon activity on Mondays at two o’clock and another activity on Tuesdays at 1 o’clock. So, for Mondays and Tuesdays you plan to teach from 9:00 AM until noon. You begin with the first subject on your list, math.
Today math took one and a half hours, you were doing a great project. Everyone was having fun and learning, stopping would have interrupted the flow. Once you finish math, you move on to spelling which took thirty minutes. Next, you went on to reading. It was the best part of the book, no one wanted to stop. There were great discussions happening. By the time you’ve finished it’s about noon. That’s it for your lessons that day.
Tuesday follows, and instead of starting the day with math, you begin with science because that is the subject you left off with the day before. When you finish science, you continue on with math as that would be the next subject on your list, looping around. Then you would continue on to spelling. That might be all you have time for that day. Wednesday would begin with reading, and so on.
Why I like this new schedule.
Well, to begin with I don’t feel that regimented school schedule. If we’re enjoying a math game, there’s no reason to suddenly cut it off because we’ve arbitrarily assigned one hour to do the subject.
Everyone’s learning and enjoying themselves. Doesn’t it make sense to let it continue to completion?
I don’t feel rushed while reading and discussing books. My kids love to discuss and talk and react to what we’re reading. Well, that’s what I want them to do. They’re immersed in what we’re doing. They’re internalizing and processing the topics and discussions. I don’t want to feel as though I need to cut off discussions because we have to finish reading the chapter in order to start the next subject on time.
Secondly, we don’t miss out on subjects that might get pushed aside for those core areas of study. We don’t miss out on art or music because they’re in the rotation. I don’t worry as much that we won’t cover a subject or topic because like the hands on that clock, it will come around.
Now there are many variations in the way you might choose to set up a loop schedule. After all, it has to be right for you and your children, otherwise it becomes an area of stress, and who needs more of that?
You may feel that it’s necessary that math is taught every day. You can design your schedule with that in mind. You can make multiple loops. You can get a little crazy with your loops, or keep it as minimalistic as possible.
As with anything that’s new, we’re still working out the best way to use this schedule, but I’ve been really happy with it so far.
Especially when those days come along where you just need to drop everything and get out. We can stop and do what we need to do, including a trip to the park. And when we take up our studies again, we just continue on to the next subject. Nothing gets skipped or lost in the shuffle.
I’m feeling really good about this method for us, coupled with year-round schooling. I believe we’re moving towards something that will work really well for our family. It might only work for a season or two, but it also might be the method that stays with us until the end of our homeschool journey. Time will tell.
What type of scheduling or routine do you use in your home?
What do you like most about it?