How to Use a Loop Schedule in All Arenas of Life & A Free Loop Schedule Printable
Preface: The Loop Schedule is so versatile! I use it for my personal schedule, homeschooling, homesteading, et. al. For the purposes of illustration, I will speak on how we use it for homeschooling, but toward the end, I will show how I customize it for other areas of life. ‘Cause it happens! Read on, my friends.
We’ve been homeschooling for nearing a decade now, and one thing I know well, simply by being human, is that LIFE HAPPENS! And, it doesn’t even ask for permission.
So, those well laid out plans and schedules that keep life perfectly adhered to (in our dreams) sometimes go out the window with the bath water.
As our experience in homeschooling and scheduling has developed over the years, when “life happened”, typically we have been able to adjust and pick up our studies rather unscathed by time and circumstance. Sometimes, I have had to completely revamp our schedules because of something bigger, such as a book not working out, over scheduling, a scholar not showing readiness, or a big life event (illness, birth, death, etc). Other times, there has just been too much “life” to keep my head wrapped around and I ended up feeling like a big failure when we blew our schedules consistently.
And, homeschool scheduling, especially if you’re dealing with multiple scholars, can be downright daunting, not to mention time-consuming. Am I right? Truth be told, I have a love/hate relationship with scheduling. I am a master planner (especially on paper); but, really, homeschool scheduling – no – in reality, it hasn’t always turned out, well, successful.
That’s because our schedules never allowed for life to happen!
Since this past summer, we have had a string of upheavals to our “normal” routine: some job changes, a spouse/parent being out-of-town for an extended amount of time, a death in the family… one thing here, another there; I could go on, but there’s really no need.
It’s just been tough to keep on schedule.
I felt that tension (you know the kind) arising as a couple of subjects were slipping by the wayside too often. We all felt the joy draining as were constantly playing catch-up which was consuming our leisure time commonly used for afternoon occupations and interests.
We had become enslaved by our homeschooling schedule, instead of having the schedule work for our life.
I wondered: What can I do to make sure we are hitting all the independent learning that needs to happen every week and still enjoy all the other pursuits that make a well-rounded life beautiful?
So, I made some drastic changes to our scheduling, one of which I am highlighting today: Loop Scheduling.
(And, I’m giving you the form for free.)
As you can see in the blank Loop Schedule below, there are three main areas of the Loop Schedule that I created: the Daily section on top, the Weekly Loop, and the Afternoon Occupations area.
We still have our daily times of learning together, but when it comes to each scholar’s independent studies, we jump to the Loop Schedule; for it was in this area which needed the most attention.
And, after a few months on our Loop Schedule, we are all smitten with its gentleness.
Let’s take a look at a sample Loop Schedule (this sample being for an older scholar), and I will quickly explain the three areas.
The Daily area is where the subjects go that are required every day. The actual assignment for that subject may vary for each day (for example, the Recitation subject above). There is a column for the Subject (which remains constant), a column for the time for each assignment for that day (may vary day-to-day), and the assignment/book/task for each day for that subject (may vary day-to-day).
Every Daily subject under that particular day is studied that day.
The Weekly Loop area lists each subject, its assignment/book, how much time the scholar has to attend to it, and what is required for narration/assignment. You will determine for the scholar how many Loop subjects they should do every day; whether it be as many subjects as will fill, say, two hours, or the number of subjects divided by the number of days you do school in a week. Nevertheless, the entire Loop and all subjects listed are completed, in order, within a week’s time.
But, here’s the beauty: if, and when, life happens, your scholar will simply pick up where they left off! Brilliant!
The scholar will do the required amount of Loop for the day, and pick up where they left off the next day of study (we use sticky-tabs to keep the place where we left off).
And, if you have a subject that must be studied more than once per week, but not daily, you simply include it in the Loop as much as needed. So, for instance, while Spanish is not studied daily, it is required three times a week. Therefore, it is in the Loop Schedule three times.
Finally, the Afternoon Occupations area holds the list of activities, handicrafts, extracurricular tasks, and other important leisure where skills should be practiced every week. It is similar in function to the Weekly Loop area, but with more flexibility.
Now, For an Important Message from Your Scholar’s Mental Attention Bank
When setting up the subjects and tasks in any part of the Loop Schedule, it’s important to be mindful as to the rotation of mental load and attention. You don’t want to put in direct succession subjects that are strenuous and mentally taxing; such as Math, followed by Studied Dictation, and then a heavy reading subject. (I’ve done this.) Heavens no! Help that withering scholarly soul. Instead, do your best to rotate the subjects so that an arduous subject is followed by an opposite specialty; such as Math and then Poetry.
I hope you can see how the Loop Schedule has been a boon to our lives as homeschoolers, but HEY! …it would probably work well for a personal schedule as well. There’s an idea!
In fact, let’s talk about that quickly. I do Loop Schedule personally. I put my Daily Responsibilities (dishes, online tasks, daily act of charity, bills, daily read, etc) under the Daily Section, then my Weekly Tasks (mopping, letter writing, pulling weeds, naturalist tasks, planning, etc.) under the Loop Schedule area, and, then, my Leisure Activities & Interests under Afternoon Occupations (painting, free read, handicraft, idea research, etc.). A-mazing!
The Loop Schedule has been a freeing way to make schedules work for us, and thus easing the tension of being slave to a master.
We’re back to the lovely in our schedules.
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