Because I always want to do ALL THE THINGS for ALL THE SUBJECTS in homeschool, and make elaborate plans and then crash and burn about week 2, this year I'm trying something different that will allow me to still hit the subjects that I want to teach, but make it much more relaxed and do-able. I'm going to Loop Schedule!
I first heard of loop scheduling from MacKenzie at Bold Turquoise and Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things and I loved the idea because one of the most beautiful things about homeschooling is that I can teach subjects that aren't necessarily considered core subjects, but are important. Having a public school education myself (and not caring about it at all as a student) I now realize how much richness I missed out on because I was trying to do as little as possible to get the grade I wanted. I want so much more for my boys, but it has to be realistic too. That's why I'm really excited about loop scheduling.
How do you loop schedule?
First, I made a list of the elective subjects that I'd like to hit about once a week. I write them on a list and we move down the list, one item (maybe two if we're really together) a day. When life gets crazy and we miss a day, no big deal, we'll just pick up on the loop where we left off when we can. No pressure. No behind schedule panic. Just going with the flow.
Here's our homeschool schedule for Middle School and how the loop will fit in. (I also have a high schooler and he'll join us for Bible and read-aloud, but he can leave before the loop subjects if he needs to, because he has a pretty heavy load this year).
8:00 Boys up and do chores/shower/eat
9:00 Boys do math and other subjects they choose that don't require much help from me because this is my writing time. (This year we are doing Teaching Textbooks, so they are pretty close to on their own there.)
10:30 Morning Bible and Loop time. Every morning we will do Bible reading, memory work, prayer, and read-aloud. After that we'll start the loop, I figure it will be about 15-20 minutes each morning.
Our Middle School Electives Loop
SQUILT (Classical Music Appreciation) -- I added this because I want to learn more about classical music because none of us play any instruments, and to me all classical music sounds the same. I know there is great benefit to the brain in playing music, but since that doesn't look like it will happen, I'm hoping we can at least learn more about music and stretch our brains that way.
Shakespeare from How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare -- I reviewed this book quite a while ago and I still love it. Like I said before, we started strong, and fizzled out too quickly because we got behind. Excited to get back into this. Again, because Shakespeare is such a part of our history, and the little bit I studied of him in High School really interested me. Plus, as heard on Your Morning Basket (excellent EXCELLENT podcast you NEED to listen to) memorized scripture is important for life, and memorized poetry and Shakespeare is important for college papers. :)
We'll also add in Charles and Mary Lamb's Shakespeare translations for children in Tales from Shakespeare.
Poetry -- We'll do one loop of poetry, Charlotte Mason style, which is very gentle and relaxed. We'll read until we find one that really captures us, and take time to stop and memorize when we want to. We're starting with Great American Poems, Great Short Poems, and Poems to Learn by Heart.
Nature Study -- I LOVE nature study, but it does require some planning and time outside and usually falls by the wayside. Really want it keep it in the loop because of all the good it does to get out in nature, learn more about creation, and praise the God who made it all. We'll continue to use our old and falling apart but much loved copy of Handbook of Nature Study.
Logic -- We'll keep working through The Fallacy Detective, then move on to The Thinking Toolbox. These books are very friendly and make logic less intimidating and easy to teach. Logic and critical thinking are skills I definitely want my boys to have.
Like I said, I plan on each one of these loop subjects to take no longer than 20 min, and if we miss a day, we miss a day. Hopefully the easy and relaxed way of looping will help make it more reasonable to stick to. I'll let you know!
If any of you are studying other elective subjects that you love, please let me know in the comments, I love learning about awesome homeschool stuff!
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