Revising the Loop

This is probably not the last revision of our daily routine- it is very much a work in progress.  This loop doesn’t include the kids independent work, which they do when I am working one-on-one with someone else.

Independent work includes:

  • Memorizing poems
  • Practicing typing
  • Reading about current events
  • Reviewing Latin and Spanish flashcards
  • Independent reading from Sonlight books
  • Spelling (James only)
  • Handwriting (boys only)

This is the Old loop

And here is the….

New Loop

  • Math (done first, not in the loop)
  • Phonics with Rose
  • Sonlight Core D readings (do about 1/2 of a day)
  • Sonlight Core B readings (do about 1/2 of a day)
  • Developing the Early Learner books with Rose
  • Writing Strands or do a page for history notebook
  • First Language Lessons (James only)
  • MCT Town (Grace and Christopher only)
  • Getting Started with Spanish
  • Madlibs
  • Life of Fred or Drive-Thru Menu Math
  • Sonlight Core D (finish day)
  • Sonlight Core B (finish day)
  • The Nature Connection
  • Latin
  • Grammarland
  • Bravewriter (complete one item from this list)

Friday Loop 

  This is a short day due to our homeschool group and a late morning swim lesson

  • Art project or history project while listening to current composer
  • Picture Study

Screwed up days & rainy afternoons

 I anticipate a lot of days to be “screwed up” in that we will lose a lot of time due to appointments and other things. Since we are going to more of a year-round schedule, I am not going to try to force a full day of schooling into one of those days, because then that messes with the afternoon and our time to do other things.  Instead we will do a small amount of schooling if possible (less than one hour) and/or watch a documentary. I have lots of these on the DVR that we never get around to. 

I cut some things out of the original list. I ditched the idea of having a dedicated language arts hour, because I think it will work better to have all of our LA integrated into the loop. We are dropping La Clase Divertida, at least until we get a little further into Getting Started with Spanish.

More changes to come, I’m sure. The beginning of our year seems to be all about tweaking!

A Tentative Loop

I posted yesterday about the possiblity of loop scheduling. And then I came up with a tentative loop. I think it will probably need tweaking once we actually start our lessons. But for now, this it.

The General Plan for Monday through Thursday:

Each day we will start with math and Latin. These are going to be “outside the loop”.

Then we will do:

1 hour of work from the “primary loop”
Read-alouds with Rose while kids do their independent work (post coming on that later)
1 hour of work from the “language arts loop”
Break for Lunch (on Wednesdays our day will end here)
1/2 hour of work from the “extras loop”
1 hour of work from the “primary loop”

On Fridays the schedule will change. We will start with our “fun math” studies, followed by an art project. The remaining time before lunch will be spent going through whichever of the loops I feel we need to work on the most. At noon on Fridays, we’re done!

These are the three loops. Basically, we would just start working through each list in order, stopping when the time is up and picking up where we left off the next time we work on that loop.

Primary Loop:
Read-Aloud Literature Sonlight Core D
Read-Aloud Literature Sonlight Core B
Nature Study with The Nature Connection
Life of Fred
Sonlight History Core B
Sonlight History Core D
Grammarland
Getting Started with Spanish
Sonlight Science Core D
Sonlight Science Core B

Language Arts Loop:
Grammar
Bravewriter Plans (in the works)
MCT Town
Phonics with Rose
Unjournaling

Extras Loop:

Composer Study
Picture Study
Music Appreciation
Madlibs
La Clase Divertida (Spanish DVD)
Storybook of Science

I’m looking forward to trying this out! I can already see it will make planning much easier, as we will just be “doing the next thing” rather than trying to get a specific set of subjects done each day. The obvious question is: will this cause us to fall behind or be less productive? With math out of the loop and done first daily, this is less of a concern- so we shall see how it goes in a few weeks!

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:

Setting Up a Loop Routine

For the rest of our year (six more weeks or so), we are going to be trying loop scheduling for our lessons. The basic idea is that you make a list of all your subjects and then you just loop through them. We will work from 8:30-11:30 each day we “do school”, stopping at ll:30 even if we aren’t finished for the day. Next day (or next time we do school) we will pick up wherever we left off in the loop and continue on through. Clear as mud?

This is our loop schedule:

Sonlight Core D- 30 minutes or so of work
Math
Sonlight Core B- 30 minutes or so of work
Grammar
Latin

The kids will still have their independent work (spelling, readers, Latin chants, poem memory work) to do when I am not working with them. In addition to the loop, we will be doing art first thing on Wednesdays before picking up the loop, and picture study and Spanish on Fridays before picking up the loop. Both Wednesday and Friday are short days, so I don’t expect we will get very much of the loop done on those days. That’s okay though- it’s practically summer! So we’ll get done what we can and then go do our other stuff.

I tried looping this way once before and it didn’t work, mostly because we got too far behind in math. But since we are winding math down for the year, I don’t think that will be an issue. Loop scheduling seems like a nice way to transition into summer, too. We can stop early or squeeze in a little work on a rainy afternoon and just keep plugging along fairly evenly in everything.