Loop scheduling is great way to reduce stress and minimize guilt in your homeschool.

  • Have you ever steamrolled your children in order to check every item off your list for the day and then felt guilty for prioritizing tasks over relationships?
  • Do you feel a nagging sense of frustration over never quite getting around to certain subjects?
  • Have you ever made your kids double up on schoolwork regardless of their capacity to absorb the information because yesterday you had to deliver a meal to a sick friend or run to the emergency room and now you feel like you’re behind?

If so, loop scheduling may be the sanity saver you need!

What Is Loop Scheduling?

Loop scheduling simply means instead of assigning subjects to certain days of the week, you list out the subjects or tasks and then work through them in order.

Loop scheduling works best for subjects that you don’t need to do everyday, but you’d still like to cover on a semi-regular basis. Write a list of subjects you’d like to loop through (I think 3-5 items is the ideal number) and set aside some time in your daily or weekly routine to work on your loop. When it’s loop time, work on the next item on the list. Then when you reach the end of the list, go back to the beginning and start looping through again.

It doesn’t matter if it takes you one day, one week, or one month to get through your loop. You’re still moving forward in each area.

A Few Examples

Looping Different Subjects

In our homeschool we have time at the beginning of the day for individual subjects like math, spelling, and grammar. Then right before lunch we set aside time to work on our loop. This past year with my 4th and 6th grader, our loop list was science, art, science, logic, science, grammar. I wanted to make sure science happened more frequently so I put it on the loop several times. Some days we made it through 2-3 items on the list, but most days we only accomplished one, and some days we didn’t get to any at all. When we got derailed for a day (or longer), we just picked back up where we left off. No guilt, no stress!

Looping Within a Subject

You may want to cover a single subject in several different ways. Put the items on a list and work through them in order in the time available. For example, a middle schooler using a loop schedule for language arts might use the following list: grammar, dictation, vocabulary, creative writing.

Looping as Part of Morning Time

In our gathered read-aloud time, we always begin with singing a hymn, reading the Bible, and praying. After that, I add on more activities as time allows. We usually do 1-2 items from this list (folk songs, poetry, catechism, Plutarch, and timeline), and 1-2 items from this list (history, literature, and Latin).

Benefits of Loop Scheduling

Loop scheduling allows you to stay present with your children through all the messy imperfection of a typical homeschool day. Regardless of what life throws at you, you know that every subject will eventually get the attention it deserves.

Loop schedules add a layer of variety. For moms and kids who thrive when things feel fresh and new, loop scheduling can help you break out of the monotony of doing (or not doing!) the same subjects on the same days of the week month after month.

Loop scheduling keeps certain subjects from falling by the wayside. We all have favorite subjects that we’re excited to pick up, and others we find less thrilling. Loop scheduling protects against neglecting certain subject areas. You won’t get to your favorites again until you do the rest of the loop.

And best of all, loop scheduling eliminates unnecessary guilt. With loop scheduling, you are not a slave to your daily timetable. Your curriculum serves your family, not the other way around.

Learning More About Loop Scheduling

If you’d like more help implementing loop scheduling in your family, I highly recommend you pick up Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie and Plan Your Year by Pam Barnhill.

I love this reminder from Sarah Mackenzie:

We get so distracted by pacing. We’ve got to get through three more math lessons by Christmas, we say to ourselves, or else we’ll get behind! It is wise to evaluate our pace in light of our child – the trouble arises when we value the timeline over the child God gave us to teach. 

Whether or not you finish your curriculum by May, get through all the lessons in the book, or do as much as you set out to do doesn’t really matter, especially if you are merely “covering material” while diminishing your child’s love of learning. Pacing doesn’t matter if you are sacrificing mastery and love for truth, goodness, and beauty. Change the way you assess your success. The quality of study matters far more than the quantity of learning.

Have you given loop scheduling a try? What benefits have you seen for your family?

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Aimee grew up in rural Michigan, where she was captivated by Jesus as a teenager and married her high school sweetheart. Together they moved to New England where they homeschool their two children together. Aimee has a Master's degree in Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She enjoys exploring new places, reading great stories, and enjoying the outdoors with her family.