Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Loop

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.


Urban Mom said...

It sounds like a good plan! Looking forward to seeing how it works out. We're still new at this, so I'll keep this idea in my back pocket for the future.

The "J" Jungle said...

This sounds very interesting... but, I'm not sure I quite grasp how it works. I'd like to know, because I need a system, too...

:) Jessy

my5wolfcubs said...

My little ones get left out a lot more then they should, so I really like the concept! I've read Joyce Swann's articles in the past...wish I was more like her (except the dusting at 6am).

What will you do if you get to Friday and everything isn't done? Continue on Saturday or on Monday? Or wait...anything that isn't done prior to lunch will be done during free time? I think I need to go back and re-read your post!


Jenny in Ca said...

I'm very interested in this, too.

So, how has the loop worked for you so far?

I have 5 students, and I am really a go with the flow person..I like to just open the book and do the next lesson, but I am realizing that system doesn't insure that we will actually finish a book in a school year. I need some kind of plan with goals that I can wrap my mind around. Your system has me going, hmmm, think-think-think to myself.

Kristenph said...

This is a very interesting idea. I wish I had seen it earlier :-) I've spent quite a bit of time planning out my next year's school schedule. I have experienced what sounds like a similar problem getting around to teaching all my children and managing to work in all the subjects I want to teach. My K boy got left in the cold this year. I did well with my 4th and 2nd graders, but I've absolutely got to add in my K boy and figure out what to do with the almost 2 year old this year.

Kristenph said...

I meant to add my blog address

Jones Academy said...

I would like to know how this is working out too, sounds like a great plan!

~A.J. at J.A.