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Could a Loop Schedule Make Your Homeschool Day Easier?




Have you frequently run into days when you have more subjects on your to-do list than time in the day to actually teach it? Have you wished there was an easier way to carry things over to the next day instead of trying to cram it all in one? Do you like to spread your curriculum out over a longer time period? If so, a loop schedule may work for you. Loop scheduling may look complicated, but once you understand the concept behind it, it’s easy to implement. To demonstrate the concept, let's take the easy-to-understand example of color-coded clothes. The Color-coded Sequence of Clothes Let’s pretend you are tired of deciding what your children will wear each day, so you buy 8 outfits for each child in each of the following colors and hang them in the closet in this order:

  1. red

  2. blue

  3. green

  4. orange

  5. black

  6. purple

  7. yellow

  8. white


The first day, you get your children up and dress them in red. The next day, they put on the blue outfits. Maybe that day they need to go with you to the grocery store, but they’ve gotten their blue clothes a little dirty. No problem! You go to the next set of clothes in the sequence—the green ones. Later that night, they ask to change, so you dress them in the orange outfit next. The next morning you're down to the black clothes and so on. Eventually, they’ll come around to the yellow clothes and be out of clothes to wear. Presumably, by then you will have done laundry, and the red clothes will be ready to wear again. So, you start back up the top of the seven colors again with red. Making the Parallel to Your Homeschool Schedule Now let's apply that same principle to your homeschool schedule. Make a list of each of the subjects you would like in your loop and list them in order.

  1. History

  2. Language Arts

  3. STEM/STEAM

  4. Science

  5. Math

  6. Art

  7. Critical Thinking

  8. Foreign Language

When you begin your homeschool day, you start at the top and move down the list, doing each subject in order. Whenever you stop for the day, you mark off the last subject you completed. When you resume lessons again the next day, you simply pick up where you left off. Eventually you will reach the end of the list and start again at the top.

Wearing Jeans Everyday (Adding Block Scheduling to Your Loop) What if you don’t want your children to be dressed from head to toe in red? Maybe they want to wear jeans each day just like I want to cover Math every day. Well, that’s simple. The jeans are a constant every day, but your kids still cycle through the different colored tops. For the homeschool equivalent, you put Math into a block schedule by itself and then cover the rest of the topics on a loop once Math is done each day.

DAILY

  • Math

LOOP

  1. History

  2. Language Arts

  3. STEM/STEAM

  4. Science

  5. Art

  6. Critical Thinking

  7. Foreign Language

Fancy Schedules with Multiple Homeschool Loops Let’s say your children don't want to wear jeans every day. They want to vary their bottoms on a loop schedule as well as their tops. You can make a second loop of bottoms:

  • jeans

  • slacks/skirts

  • shorts

In this case, you use both loops at the same time. So your child would follow this sequence:

  • jeans with a red top

  • slacks/skirt with a blue top

  • shorts with a green shirt

Once you complete a loop, you repeat it. So the pattern continues for the bottoms while you keep working through the original list of colored tops:

  • jeans with an orange shirt

  • slacks/skirt with a black top

  • shorts with a purple shirt

Now let's apply double loops to homeschooling. Maybe you want a loop that alternates history and science every other day. Math is still your daily subject. Here's how that looks in list form: DAILY

  • Math

LOOP #1

  1. History

  2. Science

LOOP

  1. Language Arts

  2. STEM/STEAM

  3. Art

  4. Critical Thinking

  5. Foreign Language

Each day you cover Math. Then you study either history or science. And finally, you work through the original loop.

Customizing the Loops These loops can work however you want because they are easy to customize. Some people like to study Bible, Math, Foreign Language, and Reading daily while looping History and Science into an alternating schedule. Other topics are covered three times a week on a separate loop. As you can see, loop schedules can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. The loop gives you the order to cover topics so you know you are making constant progress in each subject.

Keeping Track of the Loops Keeping up with where you are in your loops is simple. I have a written list of my loops, and I use those repositionable arrow tabs—the ones used to indicate where to sign a document—to keep my place. I simply place a tab on the square I need to cover next in the loop.

Getting Off Schedule Sometimes our loop schedules get thrown for a loop! But it's not a huge problem. Back to our clothing analogy, let’s say your children were supposed to wear orange today, but instead were invited to a ceremony where they had to dress up and their clothes didn’t match what was on the loop schedule. The homeschool parallel may be that your dish washer broke down halfway through Handwriting, so you gave your children an Art project to keep them busy while you try to figure out the appliance issue. Your child has a practice or competition out of town that requires you to shorten or not have school at all a specific day. Here's the solution. When the odd situation is over, you pick up where you were as if nothing took you off your schedule. There's no need to stress if it takes a day or two (or twelve) to get back to your schedule. It’ll wait for you.

Benefits of the Loop Schedule Loop schedules are great because they relieve the pressure to finish everything in one day while still keeping you from falling behind in any one subject. You can have one child on one set of loops and another child on a different set of loops. These schedules help you keep track of what you’ve done and what needs to be done. If you need to change your schedule or switch up how it works, simply make a new list, and you’re ready to go again. There’s really no wrong way to do them.




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