How I Plan: Part 2
You’ve just sat down with all of your exciting curriculum, sticky notes, crisp new planner, pretty pens… when you have a terrifying realization.
You have a lot of things we want to cover in a year, but when you write it out every day… well, you might need to skip meals and sleep to get it all done!
That is where looping comes in to save the day!
What is looping?
Looping is where you take subjects that you don’t need to cover every day, and put it on a cycle. I actually have a few loops. For example, I have a “weekly” loop which includes things like composer study, art study and a few other parts of our curriculum that I don’t need to do every day, but want to hit ‘roughly’ every week. I make a list of those items. Here is how I would set that up:
1. Pull out the core material you need to cover daily. Things like foreign language, math, reading. And put those on your daily plan.
2. Now, set aside a time in your daily schedule for LOOP
3. When you get to “LOOP”, start at the top of your LOOP list and get through whatever you can on that list during the time you set aside for LOOP. When time it up, stop.
4. The next time LOOP comes up on your daily schedule? Simply pick up on your LOOP list where you left off! When you hit the bottom of the list “loop” back around to the top item on the list and keep going! Have more than one loop? Loop your loops – weekly loop, stem loop, arts loop, weekly loop, stem loop, arts loop… you get the picture!
Pam Barnhill does a fantastic job of explaining it all here:
Real Life Example
We use AmblesideOnline for our curriculum. They provide these amazing, editable, schedules for the year, like this one for Year 1. I use this as my starting point and my “Master Sheet”.
Then I begin the work of planning out my weeks into my planner.
First I need to decide what will happen daily:
- Bible/Hymn/Folk Song
- Literature, History and Tales
- Foreign Language
That leaves everything else up for looping! Last year I only had one loop – we were just introducing formal learning and it was very low key. This year continues to be low key, but we are beginning at add more topics into our schedule. If I put it all into one loop, it would make for an extremely large loop which means I might hit some of those topics only once a month. I want to make sure I’m hitting them more this year, so I’m creating multiple smaller loops.
WEEKLY: Nature study, timeline, recitation, geography, picture study, drawing, handicrafts, composer study
STEAM: BitsBox, Engineering Kit, Lego Challenge, Science Experiment, Cooking, Gameschool, Art Class
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL: Big Life Journal Podcast, Big Life Journal Activities, Social Detective Curriculum, Calming Practice
We have co-ops on Monday and Wednesday, so we only do daily work on those days. But here is what my plan for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday would look like…
Keep in mind this will all take less than 3 hours to complete – we stick with short lessons while working on focused attention. And we alternate types of work so we don’t fatigue the kids’ focus and attention – so the order may change based on how we are feeling that day and what task may have been more difficult than expected. Don’t be afraid to change the schedule until you find what works!
Double Check Your Work
We can go to some big extremes with our schedules.
Are we trying to make it look just like Suzie’s from church?
Are we trying to cover too much in one day?
Are we stressing ourselves, and our kids, out?
Are we using our schedule and curriculum to bless our home and children?
Are we using our schedule to prove ourselves to others?
A great way to double check your work: