Friday, December 11, 2015

Loops for the Good, the True, and the Beautiful on the Range

I'm trying something new this year: loop scheduling. I read about it first at Amongst Lovely Things and after some consideration decided it might be the perfect solution to our Friday-problem. Our problem was that there seemed to be a day or two of the week that was always being "missed." Fridays, for example, seem to be the day-of-choice for organized field trips. Mondays or Tuesdays seemed to be appointment days. Given a few of those weeks in a row and I'd find us woefully behind where we wanted to be in something like Shakespeare (scheduled for Fridays) but comfortably moving along in other subjects.

I've developed loop schedules for my preschool student (Second Son) and my first grade student (Second Daughter), both of whom need plenty of "you-and-me" time. (The independent work seems to get done even when we're running around like crazy, so no loops for that yet.)

I call our main loops the Cultural Loop and the Listening Loop. After reading this post over at Wildflowers and Marbles (a fantastic blog, but be prepared for serious food for thought!), I realized these loops include the Good, the True, and the Beautiful of our homeschool plans. Other than our read-alouds, these are the subjects around which we gather at the dining room table, often with food or handicrafts in front of us.

Second Son not memorizing Shakespeare
The Cultural Loop
Fairy Tales
Picture Study

Every day, we begin our lesson time with morning prayer and read a psalm. Then I see what's next on our cultural loop. We started the year with Fairy Tales. On the second day we read some Poetry. On the third day we did a picture study. On the fourth day we memorized some lines from a Shakespeare play. Then, we started all over again. If we have time for our cultural loop five days a week, we double up on one of the subjects. If we have a bunch of appointments or illness or craziness, we may only get through two or three of the subjects but no single subject is suffering from a lack of attention. Or, rather, we're not suffering from a lack of any one subject week after week.

The Listening Loop (2015-2016)
Composer Study
Science Songs (not during Advent)
Making Music Praying Twice
Folk Songs (not during Advent)
Patriotic Songs (not during Advent)
Songs of the Liturgical Year (Advent, Christmas, and Lent only)
[updated later to add links to the posts for each playlist]

Using my awesome speaker, I'm able to fill our home with beautiful and sometimes playful music from my laptop, but we don't always have time for listening. On days when we're all working on chores at the same time or are all at the table with busy hands but available ears, I'll check my list to see what's next and start a playlist. If we don't finish the playlist before it's time to move on to something else, I make a note of where we stopped and we pick it up again the next day we have time. The only one that doesn't always fit into the schedule as neatly is Composer Study. If the scheduled composer study for the week is listening to the composer's music on Spotify, we often do that during dinner instead of during the school day, so we might listen to a bit of it every night.

We're a few weeks into our second term of the year, and I love the loop schedules. If we're home and at the table, we always have a bit of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful to share together. If all goes as planned, I'll share our listening loop playlists over the next week or two.

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