Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Considering Loop Scheduling

I spent some time this morning dutifully entering lessons into Scholaric, which is a really great, really easy to use online planner. I really and truly have enjoyed entering lots and lots of lessons in it and working down my planning list. Is there really anything more satisfying in homeschooling than having a bunch of prettily laid out plans that you really, truly believe you will actually follow?

Don't answer that. I will admit, I went a little overboard in thinking I could and should have everything planned out. I do want to step up the rigor of our homeschool, and that was my reason for trying to schedule every last lesson and have a perfect plan that I could dutifully check off each day.

Today though, I got a bit of a reality check.  After I entered some grammar lessons for James, I started looking at the long list of planning still to do and the rapidly filling boxes on my Scholaric screen. And I decided to roughly plot out a weekly timetable for getting all this done.

When I took a look at my current Scholaric plans and estimated the time requirements of the plans not yet entered, I realized we will have to increase our school day from about 3-4 hours to more like 5-6 hours to fit everything in. And even then, it would be tight.

Big reality check. If we start at 8:30 there is no possible way we will be done until 2:30 at the earliest (with a short lunch break). I don't think that's bad- I don't think it's unreasonable. It's just that we are also involved in extracurriculars that have us out of the house at least 3 afternoons a week-2 afternoons by 12:30! Plus there are all the animals to take care of, exercise to be done, a house to be cleaned, appointments, errands, and oh, yeah-time for the kids to just be. I don't think I can handle such a long schedule all written out for me each day-especially when I know each day will have it's own issues and I'll always be behind on that "perfect" schedule.

So, I need a new idea because I can see now that having everything written out and assigned to days is a lovely idea, but one that is going to drive me to burnout. Fast. That idea might be loop scheduling.

I tried loop scheduling once. It was a complete failure. We ended up way behind in math, our writing program, and a couple other things that needed to be done every day. But I did a bit of reading about loops today, and I have a new idea of how to approach it. I think we could pick certain things that needed to be done every day (like math) and do them first. Then we could loop through the rest of the subjects.

The basic idea of loop scheduling is that you make a list of all the things you want to work on and you start with the first one, working your way through the list until you are ready to stop for the day. The next day, you pick up wherever you left off on the list (whether that is middle, beginning, or end) and continue on through, looping back to the beginning when you finish the list. This means that subjects like art don't get pushed off the schedule.

This is probably clear as mud, but here are a few links I have bookmarked to read as I try to come up with a possible loop schedule of our own.

Using a Loop Schedule
Long Loop Schedule
Lesson Plans with Loop Schedule
Loop Schedule and Subjects
Loop Scheduling is Great!
Anyone Using a Loop Schedule?
Loop Scheduling

Linking up:

1 comment:

  1. That's a neat idea. I am thinking of doing things a little differently next year too. I have never heard the term loop scheduling before. I was thinking of doing history and reading/writing every day and then having a master list of everything else (art, math, music, science, etc.) that we can pick from and check off as we get done. That would give us the freedom to spend all day doing art one day if we felt like it, but then when all the art was done for the semester (or month, or whatever I finally decide) then we are done and have to choose whatever subjects are left. I think I'm being clear as mud too =) Anyways, I like your idea and am thankful that you shared it with us at Trivium Tuesdays! I hope you will come back and link up with us again! I'll have to browse you blog a bit now =)


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