Thursday, September 2

Our Loop Schedule

Loop scheduling is a trendy little idea making its way around the WTM boards right now. Essentially, you schedule your subjects in a loop instead of a linear schedule. While not everyone does it this way, I like the model in which you rotate students. So, first I work with one child on Latin, then I work with the other, and so on, (although we still do Logic and Geography together). The child I am not with works on independent assignments, like copywork, memory work, and online phonics. I like this approach because it gives me greater opportunity to work one-on-one with each child uninterrupted.

I did find the need to tighten up the "independent work" expectations as this week (our first after a two week break) unfolded. So, there's a checklist floating around that has "daily", "weekly" and "when daily and weekly are done" categories, with room for the kids to initial what they've completed so I know what to check (our online phonics has parent tracking).

Some homeschoolers find that this approach reduces the pressure to get everything done each day. Because they use a loop, if they don't get to, say, math, they haven't "failed" to do math that day. They just begin with math the next day and follow the loop from there. I'm a wee bit paranoid about that approach. It feels like a slippery slope to me, mostly b/c we have been alternating Latin and Greek Mondays through Thursdays. If we don't get all the way around the loop most days, we could get seriously off the rails. On the other hand, Will and I got great stuff done today, but we didn't make it to Michael Clay Thompson. I looked at the clock and decided I didn't want to rush through a lesson just so I could say we'd done it. MCT really demands attention and appreciation for the subject matter. So, we'll start with it on Monday. Tomorrow we'll do Science and History in extended blocks, although I'm working things around so that we can do History two or three times a week and NOT do it on Fridays.

So far, I like it. The only real wrinkle is that the child I'm working with tends to feel like a spectacle if the other kids are in the room, but out-of-sight kids sometimes have trouble being accountable for independent work. I think it will smooth out after a period of adjustment, but I'm going to need a bag of tricks for Graeme, who does not like going upstairs alone because it's "creepy", but who now finds himself confronted with people trying to work quietly in multiple downstairs rooms.

On the other hand, he is getting dedicated alone time with me every single day. Someone (I can't think who...Gretchen?) posted the fantabulous idea of having 30 or so minutes of quiet reading time for the olders at the beginning of the morning while you work with your youngest. This neatly solved the problem of getting Will to dedicate time to his new reading list while also ameliorating the temper of a four-year-old demanding "me too school".


Tatiana said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm going through very similar stuff here right now, too. I'm so grateful for people like you who post stuff like this that lets me understand how other people manage their homeschooling - and how other people are learning on the job, too!
The loop scheduling works for us so much better than no looping, but I'm struggling with ironing out some of the kinks. We do a daily list and a weekly list, too, and I'm constantly reshuffling. My biggest challenge is how to handle my kid when he doesn't buckle down and get the dirty (math) work done.
Anyway, thanks again for sharing your experiences and I hope you give an update on how it goes next week!

Gretchen said...

I set my two olders up with math (introduce any new stuff, work a few problems with them if needed, then leave them to it) and then Milo goes from math straight into reading (Ari has a few more independent things and then he reads 45 min. this year). So I have 30-40 min with Gus, which is plenty of time for reading, math, and a couple of library books. It's working really well so far. I LOVE having two independent readers this year!

Loop scheduling intrigues me, so I'll be interested to follow yours this year and see how you like it!