We're trying something new here at the Academy. Instead of following a routine/schedule, we're following The Loop (I had been calling it a flow chart, but Cr pointed out that it's a loop).
We have been fighting two problems with our schedule this year. The first is that it is easy for me to get caught up teaching L and Z and missing more days than I'd like with J and M. The second major problem has been the difficulty of getting back to school after lunch. By the time they'd had their quiet time and started to play, it was difficult to reengage their brains for more learning.
I read a few articles by Joyce Swann. She has 10 children, and all who are old enough have earned their Master's degrees by the age of 16. Her school hours were from 8:30-11:30 every day (they school year round, as do we). Once her children finished one subject, they went on to the next. This left the rest of their days free to pursue their interests. While my goals aren't to accelerate the boys' educations to this degree, it did get me thinking. If she can school for 3 hours in the morning and have well-educated children, surely I can come up with a plan.
The plan is The Loop. I will start at the top of the list and move through in the order listed from 9:00 to 12:00. For example, I'll start with Latin and if I only get through Language Arts with J by 12:00, the next day I'll start with Language Arts with M at 9:00 and keep going down the list until noon, and if we finish History before noon I'll start back at the top with Latin and so on. J & M will only be required in the school room for their specific lessons, but L & Z will be required to be in the school room working the entire time because they have plenty of independent work they can do. We have lunch from 12-12:30, and then they all have quiet time on their beds until 1:30, where they can finish up independent work or read/look at books.
While we haven't been following The Loop, the past 2 weeks we have been following the 9:00-12:00 school hours and quiet time from 12:30-1:30 where they've done independent work. Our days have been much more peaceful, and I'm hopeful we've hit on a solution for this upcoming year.