“There’s no one with more false hope than a homeschool mom with a detailed plan for the year.” Haha! It’s funny because it’s true. It’s also a little depressing… because it’s true. Of course, some homeschool mamas thrive with a detailed schedule and fully formed lesson plans. I’m just not one of them. I know I’m not alone in that!
I remember during my first few years of homeschooling how I desperately tried to find a scheduling system that would help me get my act together. Well-meaning, “Type A” homeschooling friends kindly offered me their plans and resources to try out.
Let me tell you, ladies, I came up with some gorgeous color-coded schedules with 15-minute increments and everything. Unfortunately, they lasted about 15 minutes total when I tried to actually implement them.
So I tried block scheduling, putting different subjects on different days. But it would stress me out to no end when the blocks kept getting skipped. When sickness hits or toddlers have other plans for the day, lessons don’t happen.
Life skills and character always happen, of course, but you know what I mean… whole subjects were falling through the cracks. It was driving me crazy and made me feel like a failure!
Then I had a lightbulb moment. Maybe I wasn’t failing… maybe the typical scheduling approaches were failing me! I decided to roll with that and see where it took me, and that was through homeschool loop scheduling.
Homeschool Loop Scheduling
When Detailed Plans and Block Schedules Fail
The problem with detailed planning and block scheduling is that that’s not really how life works. A busy homeschooling mama’s life is not going to start and stop in 15-minute increments. Our daily life is more fluid than block schedules.
Each person in our family, not to mention external events, is likely to throw a wrench into our best-laid plans.
But isn’t that what we actually want? We want to embrace the wrenches! We want to appreciate our family, work around the unexpected, and enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling.
To be able to slow down and watch snails cross a path without worrying about our schedule. Or to pause everything and spend precious time focusing on the heart when a character issue crops up.
Truthfully, this is an issue of priorities and flexibility, and any type of scheduling can be used if we adapt it to real life. But for me, a self-proclaimed “Type B” homeschool mom, a more relaxed approach to planning and scheduling has been key.
And the easiest way for me to make that happen while (mostly) retaining my sanity is with loop scheduling my homeschool.
What is Loop Scheduling?
Loop scheduling is fairly uncomplicated. It’s basically a way to organize your work into a rotating list.
It works a lot like this:
- Write out a list of the tasks you want to accomplish over the course of 1-3 weeks
- Do a certain number of those tasks each day (however many you decided ahead of time)
- The next day, move on and do the next tasks!
- Tasks that need to be done more than once in that timeframe are listed multiple times
- When you’ve gone through the entire list, start over!
That’s pretty much it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Of course, you can get pretty creative with your looping, but even a basic loop schedule or two like will cover most of the work in your homeschool.
Loop Scheduling in your Homeschool
Loop scheduling is a fantastic tool for creating flexible homeschooling rhythms and routines. We have used it for years! For me and each of my children, I have a checklist set up.
Each checklist includes a short list of 5-7 daily items that (Lord and toddlers willing) MUST be completed by the end of the day. Then it includes a list of “looping” items that we rotate through and do one or two each day.
This simple approach gives me maximum flexibility in my homeschooling. We nearly always get the most important things done, such as Bible, math, and reading aloud. But we also keep making steady and consistent progress on everything, even the things that always fell through the cracks before.
If we have a day or two that just fall apart — because that happens, you know — we simply pick up where we left off!
How to Start a Simple Homeschool Loop Schedule
Start with the homeschool tasks you do together as a family. Identify 3-7 tasks that MUST get done each day. Do those first. Then identify more tasks that you want to get one once a week or so and put them into a looping list.
When you get done with your daily list each day, do the next item on your looping list.
It might look like this:
Our Regular Homeschool Loop Schedule Day
- Memory work
- History read aloud
- Looping tasks
a. Nature study or experiment
b. Poetry and music
c. Art project or picture study
d. History project
If you have children that can work independently (loop scheduling is actually a great tool to help students complete their work and habits independently) it could look something like this. Note the duplicate of typing so it’s done twice a week.
Jackson’s Homeschool Work
- Personal prayer and Bible reading
- Responsibilities (make bed, brush teeth, get dressed) and morning chore
- Piano practice
- Literature/history reading
- Looping tasks
a. Science – read and labs if applicable
These are super simple daily and looping schedules, but most of ours look very similar. If you want to dive deeper into loop scheduling and find more creative ways to use it, you can check out my Loop Scheduling Workshop.
More Than Just Homeschooling
Loop scheduling definitely became a game-changer for me. It just works with how I think and how I work. It was so successful, in fact, that I realized I could use it for other areas of my work. Consider how you might try it in these ways, too!
- Homemaking – I have a short list of things I’m working on being consistent with daily and then a loop schedule where I rotate through all the sporadic, “spring cleaning” type tasks and seasonal work.
- Prayer – I have a list of people/topics I pray through daily, a rotation I work through, and a list of specific prayer requests I cover.
- Kids’ chores – The kids have their daily responsibilities, a set of chores they rotate through together morning afternoon and evening, and commission chores to choose from each Saturday that they can get paid for.
- Big projects – Moving? Gardening? Home maintenance? Big work projects? They can all use loop scheduling!
- Dates with the kids – My husband and I each have a list posted where we mark which kid is up next for a 1:1 date with us. That personal face-to-face time is precious!
- And more!
Really, the sky is the limit when it comes to how you can use loop scheduling to create flexible routines and schedules for your life. I challenge you to give it a try!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about homeschool loop scheduling! Are you doing it, tips, would you try it?!
This post was written by….
Tauna Meyer of ProverbialHomemaker.com is a speaker, author, and homeschooling mom of 6. She has a passion for providing simple solutions and relatable encouragement that help moms overcome the hurdles that keep them from homeschooling successfully, all while pointing themselves and their children to Christ. You can find her on Facebook or in her Homeschool Successfully FB group, on Instagram, and on YouTube.
This article is a part of our How We Homeschool Series; a collection of content from full-time, veteran homeschoolers sharing their own experiences on the versatility and diversity of homeschooling. You can read more about the series, and see all of the content, by clicking the image below.