Do you find yourself frustrated because you have subjects or materials that you want to cover in your home school but they never seem to happen? Are the special hands-on activities you plan to do with your children always the things that get pushed off when the phone rings or someone gets sick or any other interruption happens to your well laid school schedule? If you find yourself stressed because subjects are being skipped or missing entirely, then you might want to consider if Loop Scheduling might be a good fit for you.
Loop Scheduling is not a way to cram more into your day — but it can be a way to not be stressed about having to skip something you really wanted to do. With Loop Scheduling, you do not find yourself “behind” in a subject. And if (when!) your school day IS interrupted, you automatically know what to do next when you get back to your school work.
For example, for a long time I wanted to include a study on hymns in our home school. On paper, I put this down as one of our Bible activities. In reality, the Bible reading and illustration we were also doing during school time always expanded to take up ALL of the available time we had for Bible things, and we were rarely if ever getting to our hymn study. As our daughter is growing and changing into a young woman, I also wanted to be spending time with her talking about her emotional changes as well as physical changes. Yet, even when we started school “on time” and worked as fast as we could — you guessed it — time for one-on-one talking about the changes she is going through just never happened … never, that is, until I learned about Loop Scheduling!
The above picture shows all the things I would currently like to include in our Bible time of our home school. We have our Bible reading, a book on character, our hymn study book, a book on emotional changes girls go through, and, finally, a book on physical changes for girls — yes, way too many things to get to on a daily basis. So, I decided I would like to test out Loop Scheduling with this pile of books. To keep things simple, for this first loop schedule I decided to just rotate through all of them. I asked my husband to make me up a simple form on the computer I could use for planning.
I went down the form and filled in assignments for each one of the books. Then when school began, during Bible time I started down the list. Perhaps in Bible time the first day we got through the first two items on my Loop Scheduling list. I would highlight that item so I knew we had done it, and when our Bible time had run out we simply moved on to our next subject. The next day I picked up with whatever item is next on my list. Maybe I would make it through five things in a day, or maybe we would only do one. Whatever it was, I highlighted what we did. If on the third day my daughter woke up sick, perhaps we didn’t do school at all that day. But, when day four rolled around I could tell at a glance what was the next thing for us to do.
There are days we do many items, and days we do just a few, but I always know we are making progress on ALL the things that I want to include in our school for that subject area. And if — as you can see in the above picture — you see on your list that you are starting to skip the same thing, you can do a quick assessment and ask yourself WHY is it getting skipped. Did you run out of a journal you were using and need to get to the store to purchase a new one? Then put it on your shopping list! Do you need to print out a form off the internet? Or is this an item that perhaps needs to be reevaluated as to it being included in your home school? Keeping a master Loop Schedule can give you a good bird’s eye view of how that subject is progressing.
Sometimes you may want to Loop Schedule something and give a higher priority to some materials over others. With Loop Scheduling, you can do this easily!
The above picture shows what we are using this school year for our language arts. Our main materials are the Institute for Excellence Writing program, which is using the four books from Holling C. Holling. Yet, I also want to include some oral reading (we are using the Peace Above the Storm book for this) and some handwriting. I also have a computer typing program I bought for this school year.
So, again I asked my husband to make me a form for Loop Scheduling my language arts materials. Since I wanted to be doing the IEW assigments more frequently than the other items, I decided to have them listed on the Loop much more often than the other materials.
As you can see from the above form, almost every day we are doing the next lesson from IEW. Some days, we do an IEW lesson, then typing; then, if we still have more language arts time left, we will do a second IEW lesson. Other days, what we are doing in IEW takes quite a bit more time, so one IEW lesson may be all that gets done that day. Days like that are just fine, because I know that by following my Loop we will not be forgetting to get to oral reading, typing, or handwriting. And, if we are gone for a few days, I know right where to pick up when we get back, and what subject should get our attention next.
I hope learning about Loop Scheduling has been helpful for you! Are there subjects that do not work well for Loop Scheduling? Yes! Anything that you absolutely want done every day should NOT be put on a Loop Schedule! For us, we have two other times during the day when we are doing Bible Study together, so it is okay with me if our home school Bible things are looped, and we are some days not getting to the Bible reading and illustrating. If we didn’t have these other two times, then I wouldn’t loop Bible. Math is something I want done daily, so I do not loop math.
Think about your day and ask yourself if a Loop Schedule can help simplify your home school like it has mine!