Raising Friends As Well As Funds


{all photos taken from SLOCA’s Flickr site unless otherwise noted}


Happy Monday! We are veering slightly from our usual Monday Magical Moments to discuss what is sure to become a Magical Moment later this week:


As many of you know, our big Fundraising Event of the year is happening THIS Thursday, October 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 pm at the Madonna Expo Center. This exciting (and FREE) evening with award-winning author and medievalist Gary Schmidt will be centered around a very relevant topic that we believe will resonate with many folks in SLO County — the importance of reading WHOLE, great literary works and the unfortunate trend of deconstructing literature in our country. 


{photo by Rachel Neumann}


We know you’ve been hearing a lot about this event, but please keep reading and think about it from a slightly different point of view…


This will be the first time we’ve offered our entire Central Coast community a taste of what makes SLOCA unique and what we have to offer — a chance to show how we value learning together. We regularly come together to educate and inspire our own parents in our SLOCA community (think parent history/literature trainings, Andrew Pudewa, Adam Andrews, Singapore Math training, etc.), and this night will demonstrate our own love of learning to our greater community, in the hopes of educating and inspiring as many others as possible. 



Along with being our main fundraiser of the year, with the goal of generating the funds needed above and beyond tuition to keep our program running strong, this event is also intended to reach another equally-important goal: to raise friends. It’s our desire to reach people with the mission of SLO Classical Academy, communicate the “why” behind what we do, and give people inroads to learning about and connecting with our school.  And we want to invite others to become a part of our learning community! 



You may be thinking that you don't really want to invite people to another fundraiser. We get that. But we encourage you to invite friends and neighbors to this free dessert event, with no expectation to give financially, just so they can hear the message of what our unique school is all about. If you know people whose children go to other schools, invite them! If you have a neighbor or co-worker with grandchildren, invite them! You never know who will be touched by what they see and hear — some may be seeking educational options, while others may be inspired to support our school in some way, or to simply spread the word to others in their circles of influence. 




Support from families, staff, and our greater community is needed to ensure a solid future for SLOCA. Please stand with us to make a lasting impact on those around us and our world. Our heartfelt belief is that SLO Classical Academy offers the best education on the Central Coast, and we want others to experience our school as a community who loves to learn together — semper discentes!


We know that this incredible evening, learning together from Gary Schmidt, will be a powerful testimony to what SLOCA has to offer. Will you invite others to experience it? It's not too late! 


One last time, here are the details:


Date:  Thursday, October 23


Time:  6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Place:  Madonna Expo Center


Cost:  Free of charge - is a benefit for SLOCA.  It is open the general public so please share!


Click here to RSVP (or share this link).


We will see you there — we look forward to a rich evening of learning together from Gary Schmidt, and showing others what our learning community is all about!




{photo by Rachel Neumann}








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Free Friday: October 17, 2014




I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.

~ Steve Jobs


Happy Friday! We’ve used this quote around here before, but it’s a great one to get us back into our “Free by Five Friday” routine. In this digital age, we encourage our families to make some time to spend together, device-free. If it so happens that Friday evenings are a good time to implement this strategy, go for it and let “Free by Five Friday” be a special tradition for your family. If it doesn’t always work to keep the same day and time (although it often helps to keep it as consistent as possible when developing a habit), be flexible but do your best to focus on spending a chunk of face-to-face time interacting with each other. It’s not easy, and it’s not getting any easier, but it’s worth it.


We think Steve Jobs would agree. Here’s a recent article from the New York Times that you might find interesting (click here or click on the image below to read the full article):



The last paragraph is especially compelling:


“Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” he said. “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”


Perhaps that is a little surprising, but definitely encouraging and thought-provoking! Let's keep discussing books and history and a variety of things together...


Have a wonderful weekend, and love on that awesome family of yours!



SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above mentioned websites or businesses.




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Categorized: Archive, Home Life

Online Flashcards Learning Tool




Today we want to let you know about a couple of websites that you may find useful for certain subjects and purposes. 


Although we don’t measure student learning by standardized testing, and aren’t the kind of school where kids routinely memorize information just to pass a test, we do encourage the memorization of math facts, latin vocabulary, grammar definitions, and other fundamentals in any given subject. It’s part of the Grammar stage in the Trivium. Older students in the Logic and Rhetoric stages are also memorizing math terms, conversions, and formulas, vocabulary in Latin (or another foreign language), art, and science, as well as taking in and processing literature and history in order to participate in Socratic discussions with other students, and to express their understanding in both writing and speech. 


Flashcards can be a great tool to help with memorization or to review for general understanding. We encourage the use of real, paper flashcards that you make yourself and can hold in your hands, but here's another option to consider occasionally - for those students who can read and use a computer, below we’ve shared two websites that offer online flashcards. While we don’t want to push more time in front of a screen, sometimes it’s nice to offer a little variety. For those students who have no or limited time with electronic gadgets during the week (if that’s your family policy), this could also be a way they can feel like they’re getting a little “screen time” while actually doing school. Of course, it up to you as a parent to decide if you want to use these services and how much time you want your child to be in front of the computer or a mobile device. 


Here are two options we’ve discovered for online flashcards:


Quizlet.com – this site has been around for awhile and it’s easy to use. You don’t have to sign up for a free account to use their tools, but there are more options if you do. You can search for an existing set of information that others have already made (like “math fact doubles,” “First Language Lessons” or “Cambridge Latin 1 vocabulary”), or create you own cards. There are multiple ways to work with the information, such as flashcards and games. They also offer a mobile app.


Cardkiwi.com – this is a newer site that uses “spaced repetition” to increase knowledge retention. As you flip through the flashcards, you rate your understanding by clicking a thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs sideways. Card Kiwi will then show you the cards that you rated with a thumbs down or sideways more often than the cards you rated using a thumbs up. The idea is that eventually you’re using thumbs up on every card, and you’ve got it down. You do need to sign up for a free account to use their service, but it’s fast and easy to do. Although it doesn’t appear that you can search existing sets of cards to work with, you can collaborate and share sets of cards with friends.


So whether you’re helping your younger child memorize grammar definitions, have a middle schooler working on Latin vocab, or have a high school student who wants to study for the S.A.T., perhaps one of these services can come in handy at some point. Explore and let us know if you use them, and how they worked for you!



SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above mentioned websites or businesses.



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Categorized: Archive, Home Schooling

What's for Dinner: Avocado Veggie Panini (and an important announcement!)




Hear ye, hear ye! SLOCA will be LIVE on the air tomorrow! We urge all of our parents and friends of SLOCA to tune in to the Dave Congalton radio show tomorrow afternoon, October 16th, at 3:05 pm on KVEC 920 AM. Our upcoming fundraiser, An Evening with Award-Winning Author Gary Schmidt, will be the subject of the whole first hour of Dave's afternoon broadcast! Hear our very own Cozy Faber and AnnE Lorenzen, as well as special guest Gary Schmidt himself talk with Dave about the importance of literary masterworks, and how great stories can change the world for the better.


This is a call-in show, so keep your phones handy and please call in with your support or questions! Spread the word to other friends and family to tune in, too. This radio broadcast is promoting our biggest fundraiser of the year, and we want to generate excitement in our community and bring people to the event! That's tomorrow, Thursday, October 16th starting at 3:05 pm on KVEC, 920 AM. It will be an easy and entertaining way to support our wonderful school!



Avocado Veggie Panini

from Pinch of Yum

Serves 4


It feels a little like cheating to put a sandwich on the blog for dinner, because hey, it’s just a sandwich. But this is a fancy sandwich, and therefore worth sharing. Especially if you want a delicious vegetarian meal idea loaded with healthy goodness. You could of course adapt this for each person in your family if someone doesn’t like one more more of these ingredients, and you could even add meat if you want that option. Or if this doesn't sound like something you want to make for everyone, indulge just yourself one day for lunch! I do not own a panini press, so technically I’m not making paninis, but they are very yummy when prepared just like a regular old grilled cheese. 



1½ tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 minced shallot (onion or garlic works too)

8 ounces sliced baby portobello mushrooms

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes

2 cups chopped kale, stems removed

salt to taste

2 avocados

8 pieces thick, sturdy wheat bread

melty white cheese like Provolone or Mozzarella, if you want



Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots; saute until translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned lightly on the outside. Add the tomatoes and kale; saute until wilted and warmed through. Remove from heat and season with salt.


Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork. Spread some avocado on the surface of each piece of bread. Assemble the sandwiches by carefully arranging the vegetables on the bread. Get as many veggies on as you can because the sandwiches sink down when you use the panini press.


Add the cheese on top of the veggies if you want, cover with another slice of bread, and place on a preheated panini press. When the bread is browned on the outside, remove from heat. If you did not cut the tomatoes, be careful as they might burst when you bite into them and they will be hot! :)


AUTHOR’S NOTE: The tomatoes were a little tricky to keep in the sandwiches because I left them whole, but I liked how they'd burst in your mouth. For easier assembly, just slice or chop the tomatoes beforehand.



Click here for a printable pdf of this recipe.



SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with the above mentioned website or business.



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Categorized: Archive, Food

A Day in the Life: The Erb Family


{photos by Joy Erb}


We’re back with another Day in the Life, this time from Joy Erb. John and Joy Erb are a Track B family in their 8th year at SLOCA, with four kids in the program: Katie (UMS), Austin (LMS on B4), Cameron (Primary), and Colton (Jr. K). You can imagine how busy life is for this big family, and here’s a taste of one of their homeschool days:



A Home-School Day at the Erb House/Car:

Wednesday  September 17, 2014


6:45 - Austin (11) wakes up and begins to get ready for his school day on B4.


7:00 - Alarm goes off, and I roll out of bed.  A quick splash of water on my face, a quick prayer and I throw on some workout clothes.  


7:30 - Austin's lunch is made, backpack packed, and B4 TO-DO list reviewed.  Katie(13), Cameron(7) and Colton(4) are still snoozing...


8:00 - Austin leaves for school with the carpool - YAY for carpools!!!  Little boys and Katie wander out and eat cereal.


8:30 - We all jump in the car and zip over to the orthodontist while Katie gets adjusted and I sit in the car reading to the boys.  Cam also reads aloud to Colton and me from a book we checked out at the SLOCA library. 



(In case you missed it, click here to read last week’s blog post where Joy talks about our SLOCA library!)



9:00 - Back home for an hour, Katie works independently on history journal while I check Cameron's morning jobs (make bad, get dressed, pick up room).  So simple, yet there is always something that is forgotten.   After that Cameron listens to Story of the World on CD and colors.  I overhear Cameron saying to Colton, "Mom want us to do paper dolls."  "Humpf," is the response.  30 minutes later I spy the finished product, nicely done.  I guess they didn't mind after all. ;)




10:00 - Back in the car to run Katie over to tennis lessons.  This time I've packed a bag with Cameron's grammar, phonics, and spelling books.   We meet another SLOCA family at the courts.  We both spend about 30 minutes in the car doing school, and then it's recess at the park!  Moms chat while everybody plays.  Ahhhhh..... :)


11:00 - Back home for more work.  Katie does Algebra homework, asking a few questions along the way.  Cameron sits down to trace the Hagia Sophia, one of his favorite ways to "draw."  I don't mind, since it builds hand strength and makes for a nice journal entry.   Colton asks for some beans to put his lego guys into.  




I read Marguerite Makes a Book to the little boys and we whip up some egg white as a paint base.  Saffron flakes make a wonderful yellow, while shredded carrots stuffed into a sock squeeze out a bright orange tint.  




The excitement builds as they use their homemade paints on paper.   We pack up our paints in prep for a fun outing.


1:45 - Jump in the car and head to SLO.  


2:00 - Drop Katie off at violin.


2:30 - Pick up Austin at SLOCA.  Return library books and check out new ones. :)


2:45 - Pick up Katie from violin.  Head to a friend's house for a homeschool party! - making a color wheel with paint made out of weird stuff. (Way to go Mr. Kinnear!) 



(There’s a blog post on this too, written by another SLOCA mom - did you catch this Magical Moment last week?)



3:00 - More fun socializing with moms as the boys do their art project and littles play at the water table outside.   


4:00 - Back at home Katie finishes science journal, latin and logic.  I pencil down a narration of the Byzantine Empire from Cameron, reminding him of what he heard earlier. (We really should do the narration right after the reading!) Copywork is completed and glued into the journal.  


5:00 - Cameron sits down to work on math before dinner, because if you don't work.... you don't eat. ;)


5:30 - Daddy comes home early from work!  Leftover chicken soup is served.


6:00 - Katie and I leave for SLO – youth group for her and a Youth Symphony parent meeting for me. 


9:15 - We return home to a less that orderly house, but enjoy the sight of Daddy asleep in the boys’ bunk bed.  



So fun, Joy! There are some great ideas here for getting things done even on a busy day, and your love of learning shines through it all. Thank you for sharing a day with us! 



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About Down Home

Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy's blog! We are a classical school offering options to make education work for families. We have a full hybrid program for grades K-8, which means two days at school with three days of home education, all days following the classical model and curricula carefully laid out by the school. We also have a four day program available for grades 5-8. Our high school students attend school three days each week. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home. Semper discentes - always learning together.

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