Some homeschool days flow just like clockwork and other days unexpected things happen: someone gets hurt, the baby is fussy, a friend calls needing prayer and encouragement. And we end up feeling frustrated and discouraged at the end of the day because we didn’t get all we had planned done. We wonder how other homeschool moms fit everything in. How do they handle the unexpected interruptions? Some homeschool moms are turning to loop scheduling to help them feel less frustrated by the inevitable interruptions in their homeschool day.
What is Loop Scheduling?
Loop Scheduling has become more popular among homeschoolers over the last few years. It’s a variation of scheduling and planning that helps the homeschool parent feel less ‘behind’ or frustrated when life interrupts school and they miss doing a subject that they had planned to teach on a given day.
A loop schedule is basically a schedule that doesn’t list specific days in which each subject will be taught. Instead, the subjects are listed in the order they will be done and the subjects listed in the loop schedule are taught over the whole week, following the order as listed each day until it’s time to end the school day. Each subject in the loop will likely take 15-60 minutes of the day, depending on the ages of your children and how long you want to work on them. You don’t have to feel pressured to finish the list in one day. (In fact, you shouldn’t finish the list in one day!) The next day, you begin with the subject on the list that follows the one you finished the day before. When the last subject on the list is completed, you start back at the top again and repeat the cycle.
You decide how often you want to teach each subject. (Every day, three times a week, etc.) Subjects that you want to cover daily are not included in the loop schedule, only subjects that you don’t need to do every day go into a loop schedule.
For example, you may wish to teach Bible, Language arts and Math every day. These subjects would be first in your day each school day. Then you would have all other subjects listed in your loop schedule and you would begin the loop subjects once the daily subjects were completed, working through the list until you need to be done for the day. If you wish to have one subject taught a bit more frequently, you’ll list it in the loop more often so that it comes up more often.
You’ll want to make lesson plans for each subject so as you come to them in the loop you’ll be prepared for what you’re going to teach that day. There’s a sample loop schedule lesson plan and a free loop scheduling lesson planning document to download below.
Different Types of Loop Schedules
You can also make loop schedules for specific subjects. For example, language art has many facets to it, and some of those aspects of language arts don’t need to be taught every day. So you might have your child read every day, but for spelling, writing, literature study, etc. you might create a loop schedule so that you are doing all these other aspects of language arts, but you aren’t specifying which day you’ll be doing them. You plan for 45 minutes of language arts in a day, and your child does their reading, then they start the loop schedule and get through whatever they can that day. The next day they pick up where they left off on the loop schedule list of studies.
You can do a loop schedule for any subject you wish. For example, for Science, you could loop reading the text, doing an experiment, notebooking, a nature walk, watching a DVD, etc. For History, loop the following: read the text, read a historical fiction book, watch a DVD, work on a timeline, etc.
You can even create a loop for your housecleaning or meal planning! You can really loop almost anything!!
Here are some documents showing how you organize a loop schedule for school:
|Subjects included in the loop schedule||Frequency|
|Loop (List subjects in order you want to do them)|
|Geography (go back to top of loop)|
Example of lesson plans for loop schedule:
|History||Read chapter 1, add events to timeline|
|Science|| Read about pyramids, learn how they were built,|
|Geography||Map of Middle East|
|History||Read chapter 2, timeline, make pyramid|
|Science||Read about aqueducts and build one with clay|
|Geography||Middle east cultural geography|
|History||Read chapter 3, timeline, watch DVD on Pharaohs|
|Science||Learn about rivers, lakes how they are formed|
|Geography||Middle east physical geography|
There are pros and cons to this type of scheduling.
|Reduces stress when life is busy||Could still lead to not getting subjects done if you’re not diligent to work through the loop|
|Gives some flexibility to your week||The uncertainty of what will be covered each day may cause some anxiety|
|If your family is really enjoying studying something, you don’t have to rush to the next subject to be sure you finish all||Lesson planning could be more challenging when you aren’t sure what day you’ll be doing each plan|
|The spontaneous child would enjoy this method much more than a rigid schedule||Children who like to know the plan for the day would be frust-rated by this|
If you’re having trouble with getting everything done each day and are always feeling behind, this approach might be the one for you!
Free Templates to try Loop Scheduling!
Give it a try by downloading these free templates to create your own loop schedule. As always, I encourage you to seek the Lord for wisdom as you plan, He knows what will work best and wants to guide you!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
For more ideas on loop scheduling, check out this You Tube video, “Quick Start to Loop Scheduling” by Sarah MacKenzie and Pam Barnhill.
Do you need a homeschool planner?
Check out The Homeschool Life: All-in-One Planner for more ideas on planning and scheduling and record-keeping. It’s the only planner you’ll ever need because you get the templates for all consumable documents!
Please comment below if you’ve used this approach and have some advice or ideas for others!