One of the most common questions in homeschooling is, “What does your schedule look like?” And what I respond is, “We use a loop schedule.” This is usually followed by the question “What’s a loop schedule?” So today I thought I would explain what a loop schedule is, the benefits of loop schedules, what it can look like in your homeschool, and how to make your own loop schedule.
What is Loop Scheduling?
Loop scheduling is a flexible way of scheduling your homeschool. I didn’t create this method and I can’t remember where I read about it, but it has worked so well for our family that I really want to share about it.
Instead of having a list of must dos or specific hours, loop scheduling leans into the rhythm. Instead of allotting a specific amount of time per curriculum and subject, in loop scheduling, you work through your list in the time you have, and wherever you finish, the next day you just start where you left off. Things go in a set order – a loop.
What Can a Loop Schedule Look Like?
In our homeschool, it looks like this.
Our loop schedules are focused on what I do together with them. Each of my kids is working on a different level so they have their own loop schedules. In addition to this, they have checklists with their independent work. But independent work is a different post for a different day. Today we are just focusing on loop schedules.
In our homeschool, we have time set aside to work on our loop schedules. When I’m working with my kids, we start at the beginning. We let everything on the loop take as long as it needs to take – whether that means it’s a ten minute thing or an hour thing. When we’re done with our overall time, we just leave it be where we ended. Then the next time we are doing learning together, we pick up where we left off. When we get to the end of the list, we simply start all over from the beginning.
Of course, this is just one way to use a loop schedule. Another way you could use it is to figure out the things that are most important to you to have every day and put those as your set schedule, with a loop schedule to rotate through your electives, doing one or two a day.
Benefits of Loop Schedules
The biggest benefit of a loop schedule is that it balances structure with flexibility. Loop scheduling gives you a framework to your days, while allowing enough flexibility to give you time to go deeper in the areas your child is eager to explore.
Say for instance you have science as one of the items on your loop schedule. If your child gets really engrossed in your science lesson and you go off on an exploratory trail where you are watching youtube videos on the topic, looking things up in books, etc, you don’t have to worry about running out of time. Because you know the next time you’re working on your loop schedule, you’ll pick up where you left off.
It also helps your children to know and understand what it coming next, without having to look at a clock or remember.
How to Make a Loop Schedule
Making a loop schedule is pretty simple. You can type it on your computer or, as you can see from the pictures of ours, you can handwrite it as well.
Start by deciding what you want to include and what you don’t want to include.
Then, think about your order. Perhaps you would like to group like activities together. Or perhaps you would like to do the opposite and make it so there is a lot of variety.
Once you have those things decided, put them in a list. You can simply write the name of the subject or the name of the curriculum. You could even use pictures for a younger child.
Then, decide where your schedule will be and how you will keep track of what you’ve done. Maybe you put it on a magnetic white board so you can move a magnet to show where you are. Maybe you keep it electronically. What we’ve found works best for us is to keep it in a dry erase pocket, then we can cross subjects off as we get to them.
Have you ever used a loop schedule?
Do you need more help getting started homeschooling? Check out my Getting Started Homeschooling Checklist.