Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Loop Scheduling Using the Reminders App

I'm really not all angst and navel-gazing in my real life, and to try and give some evidence of this I thought I'd share how I manage loop scheduling.

If you haven't come across the term, loop schedules are the brainchild of Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things.   She has a great explanation on her blog, but in short you take a group of things you don't do every day but you'd like to do regularly and put them in a running todo list.  Then you have a spot in your daily rhythm where pick up the a thing on that list and do it.  Then you don't do anything on that list again until you've crossed all the items off.

When I read about this last year, I immediately recognized the brilliance of this idea.  No more missing the Tuesday read-aloud because Tuesdays were frequently a tough day!  No more skipping a particular activity for week after week because I just didn't really feel like tackling it with the kids that day!  (*ahem*)

Through the late spring, summer and fall last year I played around with how to best implement this in my home.  I started with a paper list, but that was not a good solution for me.  The paper always ended up in the wrong location when I needed it, got mangled, or I would forget to print a new one when I finished the old one.  And really, paper just drives me crazy.  The less paper in my life, the better.


Around the beginning of the year I hit upon a solution that is working extremely well for me.  I have two lists in the Reminders app on my phone.  One is for our morning read aloud, and the other is for our weekly work.  The weekly work might happen in the morning or afternoon, depending on how squirrelly the younger kids are and how much sleep I've had the night before.  But it generally is something that requires a bit more oomph from me than simply sitting there and reading aloud.


 During Morning Time, I open up the Morning Read-Aloud list and pick something.  I use this list non-linearly, picking whatever I feel like reading.  Then when I'm done, I check it off.  Sometimes I'll do an extra one if time and attitudes permit.  You might notice that I have one that says, "Longfellow each day".  I never check that one off, it is there to remind me that I am supposed to read that everyday.  It probably isn't where this belongs, but it helps me to remember to read our poetry selection before diving into the read aloud.

The same goes with the Weekly Work list.  I don't let myself reset the list until I've completed everything on it, which is very motivating for me.  And resetting the list is very easy:  I touch "Show Completed", uncheck everything, and I'm right back at the beginning of the loop again.  Very simple, no paper or printer needed.

I love how this keeps me moving through the different books, accommodates schedule changes and derailments, and keeps me from "overlooking" subjects or tasks that I might otherwise skip occasionally because I just can't quite work up the gumption to do it.  I know I have to pick one of them from each list on a day when we're home (or one from one list, if it is a half day at home), and somehow seeing that one last item on the list makes me screw up my courage and go ahead and tackle it.

There, practical and very little angst.  Hooray!

10 comments:

  1. This is absolutely brilliant. :)

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    1. Thanks, Mystie! I really liked your Evernote solution for looping too. I'm thinking of looping some more complex subjects next year, and if I end up doing that I'm definitely going to use your idea.

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  2. I love this. LOVE love love this. I've been trying to decide how to track our loops for next year, and I think you just showed me! :)

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    1. :-) Thanks for your comment, you really made me smile this morning!

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  3. Great idea! That app has been sitting neglected for so long. im thinking a chart on the wall so it's visible to kids (and mama) but the app for checking off/use so there is less printing and paper trail.

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    1. I tried having something the kids could see too, but they quickly started overlooking it and it became one more piece of visual clutter. I don't know what that is, but there's very little that I put up for the kids that they actually will notice for any length of time!

      Thanks for your comment, Amanda!

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  4. I now have 5 new loops - you inspired me to go back and reread Sarah's articles! Mom's deeper cleaning - i.e., things that take more than 10 minutes but really need to get done more frequently, family read alouds, family weekly work (picture study, Shakespeare, etc), year 1 read alouds, year 3 read togethers, kids bedroom cleaning loop. (For afternoon bedroom tidy- floor, fix drawers, vacuum, dust, windows, toys, etc)

    I think that's 6, actually. Did I overdo it?

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  5. So long as you don't look at it and find it is driving you crazy, I think it sounds great! I know I have to be careful not to do too many, otherwise I look at the app and just want to switch away from it, which is decidedly counter-productive.

    Right now my other loops are Afternoon Read alouds (a combination of Y1 & Y3 books - I gave up trying to separate the two boys early on and just read out loud both years to both of them) and pre-reading. These ones aren't quite loops though, because they change week by week, depending on what I have assigned. But I use them in the same way, I just check them every weekend and update them so they will be available for use in the upcoming week.

    I like your Mom's deeper cleaning list, that's a great idea! I think I'm going to try that.

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  6. This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks. I wanted something to easily track what I'm reading, what afternoon activities I'm going to do with the kids, and what read aloud book I'm rotating in morning time. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for your comment!

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