During the summer months, I tend to dream big when it comes to our upcoming homeschool year, and by dream big, I really mean dream ridiculous! What I *want* to do is have a schedule that looks like this:
7:00am: Quiet time while kids do their morning chores
8:00am: Delicious, healthy, home-cooked breakfast
8:30am: Cheerily clean up the kitchen while reciting this week’s memory work
9:00am: Math, while the toddler plays with carefully crafted busy-bags
9:45am: Grammar, while the toddler quietly traces his letters into a zen garden
10:30am: Delightful, hands-on history project that simultaneously engages the toddler, 1st grader, and 6th grader
12:00: Delicious, healthy, home-cooked lunch that we eat while taking turns reading aloud
1:00pm: Creative Arts, while the toddler naps
2:00pm: Instrument Practice, with smiles on their faces
3:00pm: Engaging science demonstration or experiment that leaves the kids cheering “You’re the BEST mom ever, thank you for all of the effort you put into this productive and enriching day!!
If this looks like your homeschool schedule – PROPS TO YOU, seriously! I do not begrudge anyone who can pull this sort of thing off in their homeschool day, quite the opposite, I am in AWE. That having been said, in seven years of homeschooling, I haven’t been able to pull this off ONCE. Why? When I am saddled with a rigid schedule like this, life tends to come in, like a wrecking ball, and push me off track in a big, big way. It’s just who I am. If I’ve got a lovely day planned out, and we get too far off the written schedule, I tend to just pitch the whole thing. For years, I tried to fight this, but this year, I decided to work WITH my tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses, rather than against them.
So this year, I’ve decided to try loop scheduling, or at least a version of loop scheduling. If you search Pinterest for “homeschool loop schedule”, you will get lost for approximately 1,753 hours. There are so many fabulous, intriguing, and clever ways to approach loop scheduling, it really is very easy to tailor the concept to your family’s needs. Here is what it looks like for my family:
First, I thought about which subjects needed to be mandatory daily subjects, and which subjects could be put into a “loop” to be visited on a rotating basis.
The things we do every day are math, reading, memory work, and piano practice. Math is non-negotiable, reading usually happens at bedtime, memory work usually gets done during breakfast, and piano gets done while the toddler naps. No matter what, these four things get done every day -they are our highest priority.
Next, I created three loops – GHS (geography, history, science), English, and Arts
We hit two things from the GHS loop and two things from the English loop each day.
We do one thing from the arts loop on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days we have the most time at home, so I find that we can work in art without too much chaos on these days!
Here is what it looks like on paper for my sixth grader:
I do not write assignments in ahead of time. Instead, I have this sheet available, and I write things in as we go along with our day. This helps me keep careful track of the work we’ve done, as well as quickly spot any big gaps.
We usually start the day with math, because both kids can work fairly independently while I get some laundry going, clean up the kitchen from breakfast, or amuse the two year old for a bit. After that, we usually move on to the English loop, and tackle the GHS and Arts loops after lunch, while the toddler naps. So far, this method has resulted in a steady stream of very solid school days! It gives me flexibility each day, since I can switch the timing of the subjects around based on what we have going on.
I do have more things that I would like to add into our loop schedule at some point, such as Bible study, computer programming, and formal logic, but I wanted to really get a solid handle on the basics, and not get too far ahead of myself. Baby steps, right!? It’s not final, it’s not perfect, and it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely working for us at the moment!
So there you have it, my “loop-ish” schedule… for now.