|Loop Schedule hanging on the bookself|
If you're still reading, your first question is probably, "What is a loop schedule?" The most basic definition is that it's a repeating (looping) list! Basically, make a list of work that needs to be completed each day. At the beginning of the day you start working through your list and finish wherever or whenever you have decided. The next day you would pick up at that spot (instead of starting at the beginning again) and continue through to the end of the list before going back to the top and repeating through it again.
Now, in true homeschool-tweaking fashion, no two lists will look exactly the same. Some people like a flow chart (I've seen a few neat ones on the message board!), some just make a list, others make an excel form, some have quite a few kids so they make a few loop schedules by subject or child. If you want to find out more about all those different ways of loop scheduling, just do a search on the K-8 homeschooling board for loop schedules and you'll find lots of information.
I made a list of things that needed to be completed (some things daily, some a few days a week, some things just once a week). I then typed it out, put it in a 2-column format, printed it, and put it in a dry-erase pocket (so all we need to do is wipe it off at the end of the week. No need to reprint a new schedule). For our list, I listed everything for the week instead of by day. So, spelling and Latin are on the list four times each, Chemistry is only on their once, grammar is listed three times, etc. You can download our loop schedule for a better look.
Now, a few notes about how this is working:
- I still have a weekly lesson planning page on my clipboard so I know what we're doing each day in each subject. The loop doesn't replace lesson planning.
- I assign homework. I have a basic idea of how much time I want to spend on each subject. If I find that TJ is dawdling over a worksheet, it gets set aside and becomes homework so we can move on to the next thing. Our rule is no screen time before school is complete. So, if she wants to watch PBS or play on the Wii before dinner she knows that homework better be done!
- When I made the list, I listed each day's work first and then put it into one long list. I put Latin as the first subject of the day for each day, so I always have a reference point for how much we've accomplished (or not accomplished!) each day. If we're working quickly and we get to Latin twice in one day I know that we are ahead of schedule! ;-)
- We are working on a six weeks on/one week off schedule this year so I use that week off to plan the next six weeks (as well as catch up on housework!).
- I have to be prepared. Those little subjects (music, hand-crafts, art) need pre-planning! Hence that week off every six weeks. It gives me time to plan what we're doing and make sure I have the necessary supplies.
- What happens if you don't finish the loop by the end of the week? I have no idea, it hasn't happened yet. Fridays even end up being light days for us. I'm not sure what we'll do if/when that happens. I'll let you know!