Just Loop It

Have you discovered the Loop Schedule? It’s a life-saver, a grace-giver, and an all around family favorite around here. When we’re not sure what to do about chores – loop them. How am I going to fit in all this amazing stuff we want to learn? Oh, I’m going to loop those books, too. Am I stressing about fitting in the dentist + grocery shopping + foster care caseworker visits without missing a ton of lesson work? Well yes, actually, now that we’re talking about it but that’s not because of our scheduling style. That is a totally different article.

I first learned about the idea of a loop schedule from Sarah Mackenzie in her book Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace. Since then, I’ve been looping everything. The beauty of the loop lies in the simple fact that it’s part of a rhythm, not a rigid schedule – which is something my family has found extremely helpful. When we flipped our mindset from having a schedule to pursuing a rhythm something clicked + the loop became the basis of our family scheduling. The idea of rhythm rather than schedule is also the foundational idea behind the Revival Moms Planners.

In a traditional weekday schedule, you’ll miss an entire day of lessons just because everyone needs a haircut, or there’s a great class at the local environmental center but now you’re always missing your Wednesday lessons. The schedule gets “off” – the days aren’t lining up with the weeks anymore – you’re left feeling … behind. Oh, the horror! Shake it off, mama. Ditch the weekday titles + opt for an A-D rhythm. Now if Tuesday was a “B” day, Wednesday was a field trip, you can pick right up on Thursday with day “C.” For us, an A, B, C, D, Flex loop has been working really well, where our flex day is a little lighter for when the sun is shining and fishing, hiking + nature journaling come calling.

Confession: I’ve got several different loop rhythms for our family. Shocked? Didn’t think so. Here’s the run down:

Every week, I place a new Independent Loop out for each of my students. This has helped them shift from a total reliance on me to taking responsibility for their own work as they are ready to handle it. They can clearly see what lessons we hope to accomplish that day and start on their independent work as soon as they get to the table.

I also utilize a “Master Loop” that gives me a complete picture of what all of my students are working on + includes our morning gathering studies (the lessons we do altogether).

We also have a family cleaning rhythm and I have to confess – it’s built on your regular ol’ days of the week. This is just what works best for our family right now but by all means, loop those chores, mama.

As for meal planning (because I get this question frequently) I use a rotation schedule. It’s basically just a list of 25 meals that I rotate through from top to bottom. Think of it as a mega-loop. I am currently testing out a few new planning sheets for an upcoming family planner and a meal planning loop is on the list!

You can see lots of examples of the loop schedules I utilize on the Revival Moms Instagram account or on the Revival Moms website. Happy planning, friends!

Kyrie Zimmerman

Kyrie, founder of Revival Moms, is a homeschooling mama of 3 … as of today. Being a foster mom, you never know how many children she’ll have by the time you’re done reading this article. Kyrie has a heart to see moms gather, learn + do life together.

@kyriezimmerman

Uncharted Waters

I’m 7 months into the homeschooling thing and still trying to figure things out. We take one day at a time, and figure out what we can for that day.⁠
It can be a shocker to see how different homeschooling is than public school. There are pros and cons to both, but they are so very different. So don’t feel like a failure if your first week of homeschooling didn’t look like what your kids normal school day looks like.⁠
Let them learn about what they love. In their pj’s. On the couch. With their music. At their pace.⁠ They may be done in a hour. It’s a hard adjustment, I know. You feel like they’re not doing enough, learning enough.⁠ I would shush my girls’ when they would tell people they were done with school before lunch. Who needs that judgment? I do enough critiquing of myself, I don’t need help from others in that area.⁠

I’ll be so very honest with you. There have been days where we have snuggled up together and watched movies or played games because it just felt right. But then there are days where we push through and do the work, because it just needs done. Again, I go back to the fact that we take one day at a time.⁠ I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. But when I really dig into the truth of that, and stop believing the lies in my head, I realize that I DO know what I’m doing, simply because I am their mother.⁠

Mamas, you know your kids better than anyone else. You know what they need and how hard they need to be pushed. And what an amazing opportunity we have in these moments to truly get to know them better, and learn how to love them even more.⁠
I’m praying for you as you navigate these uncharted waters. When you’re feeling stressed that you’re not doing enough, or they’re not doing enough, I pray you hear the words “it’s ok.” I pray you feel a complete peace and truly know that it’s all ok.

KATIE SMITH
@katie_keepingitreal

Katie is a lover of Jesus, her hubby of 17 years, and their 3 tween/teen daughters. She is passionate about empowering others to find their purpose and raising up the next generation to love Jesus!

5 Tips for Homeschooling When Your Spouse Works From Home

When my husband started his new job 6 months ago, he went from working outside the home 7am – 5pm, to working from home most days. I was nervous about the transition to having him home a lot more; not because I don’t enjoy his presence (he happens to be my absolute favorite person in the world), but because, being a homeschooling family, we thrive on the rhythm and routine of our days and weeks. We had a solid routine already and I was concerned the kids would think the days their dad worked from home were “vacation,” and would not be able to concentrate or apply themselves to their school work. This is what my friend and I affectionately call “Dad Sabotage.”

Now, with government mandates surrounding the Corona Virus pandemic, many more families are finding themselves thrown into a new way of life with Dad home every day of the week. Through the last 6 months of navigating this transition, sometimes multiple times in one week, I have a few tips for the homeschooling family finding a new routine with husband home full time.

  1. CREATE A WORK SPACE. If your husband is working from home, it benefits all parties involved if he has a place to work that is removed from distractions. The benefit is two-fold: he has a (mostly) quiet space in which to concentrate and get some work done while alleviating the need to split his time helping out with the kids. And secondly, when Dad is out of sight, the kids find it easier to apply themselves to their work – and not feel like it’s vacation! We all have our own work to do during the day, and it is helpful for us to be separate to accomplish our daily goals. 
  2. MAKE ANCHOR POINTS IN YOUR DAY. My husband decided on a clear time he wanted to start his day, take breaks, and end his day and that really helped everyone know what to expect and when. 
  3. CREATE A ROUTINE around those anchor points. First we decided what was important to all of us. Then we synchronized our schedules as much as reasonably possible with a 7-person family, so we could have mealtimes and “brain breaks” together. If weather permits, we like to try to get outside all together and take a walk or throw football around. My husband and I also like to exercise together so we made that part of our routine as well.
  4. GIVE YOURSELVES TIME TO ADJUST. Finding a peaceful rhythm isn’t necessarily something that will happen overnight. It may take a few days or weeks to fall into your own unique groove. And that’s okay!
  5. EXTEND AND RECEIVE LOTS OF GRACE. Have realistic expectations and leave room for laughing at your mistakes, crying over unmet expectations, and navigating it all together. A little irritability is completely normal, but try to take it all in stride and don’t sweat the small stuff. 

MALLORY SENSENIG
@sensenigseven

Mallory Sensenig is a homeschooling mama to 5 wild + free kids, ranging from toddler to teen, and wife to her renaissance man since 2005. Her home is full of books, music, and loud boisterous children and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Hear more from Mallory on the Revival Moms podcast.

Physical Distancing for the Extroverted Homeschool Mom

Sharing a cup of coffee and conversation with the people in my life is one of my favorite, life-giving things to do – other than my sacred hour of quiet time I carve out each day. It’s been 20 days since I have been able to connect with friends or family in the way that fills me up. I always knew I needed that connection in my life, but give me 20 days without and I REALLY learned that. Apps like Marco Polo, FaceTime and Zoom have helped me so much. Getting to see their faces and hear their voices makes me feel connected again. I can’t wait until I can hug them all again and actually share a cup of coffee or wine with them. Until then, I am on Marco Polo to get some connection with the people who make me remember what it’s like to be intentionally connected with each other – because while I love alone time and quietness, sometimes you just need to be seen by a friend who can look you in the eye and just know how your doing – good or bad.

Jessica Martin
@j_mmartin

Jess is a homeschooling mama of 4 who loves chatting with neighbors while on long walks around the block, pizza + a house full of her favorite people.

Courage, dear heart

A letter from Revival Moms founder, Kyrie Zimmerman, amidst COVID-19

Friend,

As a homeschooling family, you may not feel the jolt of suddenly spending most of your days together at home, but chances are your daily rhythms have been altered.  No co-op.  Dad is working from home or has been laid off.  Playgroup + bible study have been cancelled.  The groceries you typically buy are difficult to obtain.  No one is coming over for dinner + you’re worried about the livelihood of your friends + family. Maybe at first it felt like an introvert’s paradise and a chance to add some hygge into your daily life but then all of a sudden social distancing felt more like isolation.  Courage, dear heart.  Aslan once whispered this to Lucy as she and her companions were trapped in complete darkness, surrounded only by their isolating fears in C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  My friends, take courage.  Because we know the darkness will never overcome the light, we can continue to have + spread hope during these strange, difficult days [1].

While the heart of Revival Moms remains to bring moms together in real life settings, we’re working to find new ways to encourage, strengthen + bear each other’s burdens during this time of physical distancing.

Much Love,
Kyrie

[1] John 1:5

Kyrie Zimmerman

Kyrie, founder of Revival Moms, is a homeschooling mama + foster mama of 3 … as of today. She has a heart to see moms gather, build community + truly do life together.

@kyriezimmerman

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