Throwback Summer: What’s On Your Nightstand?


{image credit: Marty HaddingCC BY-NC 2.0}


Who remembers the series, “What’s On Your Nightstand?” We are a book-loving community, and we really enjoyed this look into what other SLOCA parents are reading outside of school. In fact, we would like to revive this series this year! So although the concept of “What’s On Your Nightstand” is a throwback, today’s post features a few of today’s parents and the books they are reading (or hoping to read!) this summer. 


Summer is typically a time when many of us try to catch up on a long list of books that we’ve been wanting to get to, so the lists of current books in this group does seem a bit longer than what you might normally find during the school year! But most of us are in various stages of reading various books at any given time, right? 


Here’s an honest look at the big stack of books these three parents have been reading, or are hoping to get to over the summer. Perhaps you'll see something that interests you and discover something new to add to your own nightstand! And we’ve added something new - audio books! We know that sometimes (like when you have a toddler), audio books might be the most effective way to “read” and one of our parents sent us a screen shot of the books she’s been listening to lately. Fun! 




Joy Newman, Track A

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

Sherlock Holmes

Raising a Trailblazer

How to Teach your Children Shakespeare

History of the Renaissance World

Holy Bible

The Outermost House



Annie Dillard—Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood, The Writing Life

Flannery O’Connor Short Stories






Jenny Curzan, Track B

The above audio books are what I’ve been listening to this year, and this summer at the lake I plan to dive in to the stack of lifestyle magazines from the past few months. :) 


Above (minus the SLOCA books):

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

The Happiness Project

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

It Starts with Food

Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All


Not shown:

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom (a real book).





Jenny Bischoff, Track A:

Robinson Crusoe

Issue #3 of The Hanging Lantern Review

Go Set a Watchman

8 Great Dates for Moms & Daughters

Bringing Up Boys

Jubilee Trail

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

Castaway Kid

Eric Liddell: Pure Gold


Current audio books:


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall



Do you have an ongoing stack of books on your nightstand - literal, or figurative? Whether audible, kindle, or real books, we love to share what we are reading with other parents. If you are interested in participating in this series at some point in the school year, please email Down Home and let us know. We would love to contact you and find out what’s on your nightstand!



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


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Categorized: Archive, Community, Home Life

Throwback Summer: Back to the Renaissance


{all photos taken from SLOCA’s Flickr site}


We are looking forward to diving into the Renaissance this school year, so today we are looking backward at how we have celebrated this time period in past years! Enjoy the following photos from when we studied the Renaissance years ago:


From our Renaissance Faire in 2007:



From our History Day in June 2012:



From our Runaissance in 2012:



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Categorized: Archive, Community, On Campus

Throwback Summer: Captivate Your Kids


{photo by Carol Dichman}


NOTE: This Thursday evening, July 30th at 5 pm, we are hosting a parent book club to discuss Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. All SLOCA parents are invited to attend this workshop-style book discussion led by Jenna Burns and Jenny Bischoff. Come explore ways to inspire imagination in your children! This leads nicely into today's topic...



Today’s throwback is a 2-for-1 special! Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you think about your home days for the upcoming school year. We hope you'll enjoy these tips for nurturing a positive home learning environment! We found this first gem back in March, 2011:



A little something to spice up your school day

By Lisa Wallace, Intermediate Teacher 


When homeschooling my boys, I would occasionally try to add some fun into the school day. This only takes a few minutes of your time, but works wonders on lifting a sluggish spirit from the drudgery of routine. The night before, try hiding your child's literature book, math book, history book, etc. Then leave a short note in the spot where the book is normally kept, describing where to find the absent book. "Your book might be taking a nap where Fido finds his food." or "If I were Genghis Kahn, I would be hungry by now. Maybe he's looking for some oats" You can be creative and try some poetry or some multi-level clues. Bottom line, anything out of the ordinary adds excitement to our day.



Thanks, Lisa - this is such a great idea to tuck away and use on a day when you just need to infuse a little adventure into your home day. And here’s another inspiring post along the same lines:



Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer 2013: Prepare - Captivate your Kids


As we have said before, in many ways the heart of what happens at SLO Classical happens at home. So our Prepare tip for today is to spend a little time thinking about how to Captivate your Kids, which will help you create a warm, inviting, engaging atmosphere for home learning. There is so much to be said on this subject, and Down Home will post articles and tips throughout the year about it. For now, here are three ideas to get you started:


1. Pay attention to what your child likes. Do you have a super active child? An avid reader? A kid who loves to draw, act, or put things to music? Do they like to follow specific directions or prefer to be a little creative? Do they have a vivid imagination? Do they listen better if they have something to keep their hands busy? Do they like to build or take things apart?


This is similar to knowing their learning styles, but maybe not as formal. Knowing a few key interests for each child can help you work with them at home in a way that is well suited for each one. For example, if one child comes alive when they can make a puppet show out of a narration, go for it! And if you have one who struggles in a particular area, you can use what they love to help them practice the skills they need to work on. 


{image credit: Plum Pudding}


If you’d like to know more about learning styles - here’s a basic overview and here’s another site with additional learning styles. Or you can pick up one of many books on the subject, such as The Way They Learn.


It also helps to understand how your own learning style differs from your child’s. We can’t expect them to learn things in the same way we do! 


2. Be aware of your child’s daily rhythms. Is he/she a morning person or do they need to ease into subjects that require more brain power? For instance, maybe math first thing in the morning isn’t ideal for every child. I (Jenny) have one child who needs to start the day with easier subjects, and does best with math right after lunch. Or perhaps morning is their most alert time, and afternoons are more suited for snuggling and reading together. 


Think about practical needs throughout the day: does your child need a protein-packed snack right before tackling a challenging assignment? Do they need activity or outside time to refresh the brain? Would your student work best in a quiet room or do they need background noise? 


{photo by Jenny Bischoff}


Thinking through some of these options ahead of time may help you get a better start on your home days. 


3. Have fun with your kids! Go on dates with each of them, get silly with them, laugh at your mistakes together, and enjoy the unique person each child is. Fostering a close relationship with your children will enhance your home education experience as you learn and grow together (and vice versa!).


{image credit: Practica Program}


Do you have any other tips about knowing and captivating your kids? Please share a comment and encourage other parents as we begin the school year! 



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




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Categorized: Archive, Home Schooling

Throwback Summer: Dad’s Turn


{Caedin, Quincy, and Jonas - photo by Aaron Hilton} 


Anyone remember this? Here’s another parent-written blog post that we loved and are happy to share again. As you think about the upcoming school year, how can dad be involved? Enjoy this dad's experience as he tells about a time he took on the homeschooling role:



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Dad’s Turn at Homeschooling


Before the break we heard some inspiring words from a few SLOCA dads following Dads' Days, and today we have another dad’s perspective to share with you! While it is most often the mom doing the homeschooling, we do have some dads who take on that role, either entirely, in part, or temporarily. Today we have a first-hand account of one dad’s experience taking over the homeschooling for a time.


Aaron and Cindy Hilton are a Track A family in their 7th year at SLOCA with three children:  Caedin (LMS), Quincy (PreK), and Jonas (4th grade, public school). Aaron sent in this heartwarming account of his foray into homeschooling:



Recently my wife’s family had a medical emergency that took her away from our daily life for 2 weeks.  I was able to take time off from my job so I took on the task of filling in for her.  My normal involvement with home schooling is to check the occasional difficult math problem or help out with a costume for history day, basically not much. 


I was willing to step up to give Cindy this time with her family and… how hard could it be?


I felt confident that I could handle this task since in my job I am responsible for coordinating multi-million dollar construction projects.  


The first day: 3 boys up dressed, lunches made, hair brushed, missing shoes (but found some old ones), 1 on the bus, 2 off to SLOCA: success!   


The first afternoon: …I have to pick them up???, snack??, Violin practice (what do I do with the little guys?), dinner??, When do I get to sit down and relax? Everyone is asleep: success??


The second day: 1 up and dressed and on the bus (middle son, with special needs, goes to public school), 2 up (not dressed) ready for homeschool, homeschooling done 1hr (this is easy), clean the kitchen (the rest of the house can wait until tomorrow). Time to relax: success!


The second afternoon: Check in with Cindy, Grid??, Narrative??, I guess I can’t just ask Caedin what he needs to do, find out that there was a problem at the public school and our middle child will be home with me for a few days.


By this point I realized that I was in over my head but I put on the brave face and told Cindy that I had it all under control.  I reassured her that the few things that had slipped through the cracks would be caught up by the end of the week… or the weekend.  I was developing a deep appreciation for the work that goes into daily life around our house.  I was not prepared for the constant drain on my energy, by the end of the day I was exhausted.


By the end of the 2nd week we did have a certain rhythm, no we did not finish all of our work but I did get to hang out with my boys and learn first hand the hard work Cindy does every day.


I am used to making schedules, telling people what to do, and things happening.  I liken it to running a well-oiled army: there is the occasional glitch but for the most part it runs smoothly.  My 2 week stint running our household felt more like herding cats in a rain storm – there was a constant barrage of “needs” that drained me, and I realized that my needs were going to have to be put on the back burner.  This experience taught me that, while I do not want to trade places with Cindy and I was very happy to go back to “work”, I need to be aware of Cindy’s needs.  I need to make it a priority to take care of her, because all week long she is giving out and not getting much back.


My best quote: somewhere in this 2 weeks Cindy asked about baths… I said “if we go in the hot tub that counts, right?”



Thank you, Aaron – this both entertains and affirms homeschooling parents everywhere! You did a great job taking over the role, and thanks for sharing what you gained from the experience. Support for the homeschooling parent is so vital, and your words are highly encouraging to moms and dads alike. 


Do you have a homeschooling experience you’d like to share on the blog? Email Down Home and tell us about it!




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Categorized: Archive, Home Schooling

Throwback Summer: Medieval Feast


{all photos taken from SLOCA’s Flickr site}


This isn’t much of a throwback, unless last month is far enough back for you! Our Medieval Feast History Day in June was such a wonderful way to wrap up our year studying the Middle Ages, and we have photos from the event that we’d love to share. The location, the decorations, the FOOD, the costumes, the entertainment… our History Day team and all who helped pulled off a pretty spectacular evening! Enjoy this glimpse back at the celebration:



























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Categorized: Archive, Magical Moments

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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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