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Have you discovered the Loop Schedule? It’s a life-saver, a grace-giver, and an all around family favorite around here. When we’re not sure what to do about chores – loop them. How am I going to fit in all this amazing stuff we want to learn? Oh, I’m going to loop those books, too. Am I stressing about fitting in the dentist + grocery shopping + foster care caseworker visits without missing a ton of lesson work? Well yes, actually, now that we’re talking about it but that’s not because of our scheduling style. That is a totally different article.
I first learned about the idea of a loop schedule from Sarah Mackenzie in her book Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace. Since then, I’ve been looping everything. The beauty of the loop lies in the simple fact that it’s part of a rhythm, not a rigid schedule – which is something my family has found extremely helpful. When we flipped our mindset from having a schedule to pursuing a rhythm something clicked + the loop became the basis of our family scheduling. The idea of rhythm rather than schedule is also the foundational idea behind my Charlotte Mason Inspired Home Education Planner.
In a traditional weekday schedule, you’ll miss an entire day of lessons just because everyone needs a haircut, or there’s a great class at the local environmental center but now you’re always missing your Wednesday lessons. The schedule gets “off” – the days aren’t lining up with the weeks anymore – you’re left feeling … behind. Oh, the horror! Shake it off, mama. Ditch the weekday titles + opt for an A-D rhythm. Now if Tuesday was a “B” day, Wednesday was a field trip, you can pick right up on Thursday with day “C.” For us, an A, B, C, D, Flex loop has been working really well, where our flex day is a little lighter for when the sun is shining and fishing, hiking + nature journaling come calling.
Confession: I’ve got several different loop rhythms for our family. Shocked? Didn’t think so. Here’s the run down:
Every week, I place a new Independent Loop out for each of my students. This has helped them shift from a total reliance on me to taking responsibility for their own work as they are ready to handle it. They can clearly see what lessons we hope to accomplish that day and start on their independent work as soon as they get to the table.
I also utilize a “Master Loop” that gives me a complete picture of what all of my students are working on + includes our morning gathering studies (the lessons we do altogether).
We also have a family cleaning rhythm and I have to confess – it’s built on your regular ol’ days of the week. This is just what works best for our family right now but by all means, loop those chores, mama.
As for meal planning (because I get this question frequently) I use a rotation schedule. It’s basically just a list of 25 meals that I rotate through from top to bottom. Think of it as a mega-loop. I am currently testing out a few new planning sheets for an upcoming family planner so maybe you’ll see that in there!
You can see lots of examples of the loop schedules I utilize on my Instagram account or under the hashtag #CMminimalistplanner. Happy planning, friends!