Free Friday: March 27, 2015



Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes. 

~ Benjamin Disraeli


Huzzah! Our Heroic Quest comes to a close today, as we all meet in Mission Plaza from 1:30-3:00 pm to celebrate our fundraising efforts and complete our final quest! Down Home would like to congratulate and thank all of our families – we know you’ve worked hard, gone a bit out of your comfort zone, and cheered your kids on as we’ve quested together over the past 2 weeks. 


While you are all certainly heroes for making our fundraiser a success, we also want to recognize your heroic efforts each and every week as you follow the grids, read with your kids and learn alongside them. You are nurturing your children’s minds with great thoughts. Let the above quote encourage you in this most important and heroic quest! 


We will see you in Mission Plaza at 1:30 this afternoon…



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Categorized: Archive, Community

Middle Ages Trimester 3 Book Reviews


To Pastures New (1883) by Sir James Guthrie, Public Domain

{image credit: freeparking}


Our favorite book reviewer, SLOCA librarian and parent Emily Ferrarini, is back with a few more excellent literature suggestions for just-for-fun reading. Perhaps you have a bookworm who can’t get enough, or a reluctant reader you’re trying to entice with interesting options, or maybe you’re looking for a read-aloud that relates to this year’s history… read on! 


If you missed Emily’s first set of reviews earlier in the year, you can read them here. And of course you can always find many more quality literature choices on our Supplemental Literature list for Year 2 - The Middle Ages, which can be found on the parent resources page of our website. 



{image credit:}


The Iron Ring

by Lloyd Alexander


When picking out supplementary literature to read with my children, I sometimes like to look to the peripheries. We have been learning so much this year about Europe in the Middle Ages, but sometimes it’s fun to take a step back, and see what might have been going on in other regions during the same time period. In The Iron Ring, Lloyd Alexander takes us to a fantastical kingdom in India. Alexander is an author I return to again and again. He has such a gift for drawing inspiration from the mythology and culture of a particular region, while weaving his own tale into that setting. The Iron Ring opens with young King Tamar, awakened in the middle of the night by a surprise visitor, the mysterious King Jaya. King Jaya challenges Tamar to a game of dice. At first Tamar seems to be winning, but his luck turns, and the young king loses. Tamar is bound by honor to serve at the behest of King Jaya. An iron ring is placed on his finger as a symbol of his indebtedness. When Tamar wakes up the next morning, he is surprised to learn that no one in his palace remembers the visit of King Jaya. The iron ring, however, remains. Although the apparent use of sorcery makes all of his advisors nervous for his safety, Tamar is an honorable king. He heads off on a quest to find the elusive Jaya, and along the way, encounters magical beings, strange and funny characters, and even a love interest. This adventure shares a theme with 1,001 Arabian Nights – a ruler whose eyes are opened to the plight of the underprivileged in his kingdom. It also invites comparisons with the noble and honorable principles of the knights. This lovely story utilizes complex language to describe the caste system and other important elements of Indian culture. 



{image credit:


The Trumpeter of Krakow

by Eric P. Kelly


The next book, which won a Newbery Medal in 1929, turns our attention to medieval Poland. The Trumpeter of Krakow involves the Mongol invasion of the city of Krakow in the 13th century. It takes its name from a historical event, in which a young patriot, sounding his warning trumpet from a church balcony, is silenced by the arrow of the invading enemy. Ever since that event, trumpeters in Poland stop at the same point in the song, as they sound their trumpets four times on the hour, signaling that all is well. This book offers a glimpse into the lives of those affected by the dramatic expansion of Mongol empire. The terror wrought by the invaders is palpable: “The Tartars came through the world like a horde of wild beasts. They left not one thing alive, nor one green blade of wheat standing. Brave they were as lions, courageous they were as great dogs, but they had hearts of stone and knew not mercy, nor pity, nor tenderness...” This is a beautifully written book, filled with adventure and excitement, which will give young readers a vivid picture of Poland in the late middle ages. The elevated vocabulary – more common in children’s literature in 1929 – makes it an excellent book to read aloud. 



{image credit:}


The Goose Girl

by Shannon Hale


In The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale brings new life and depth to one of Grimm’s somewhat odd fairy tales. The princess Anidori can communicate with birds, but she is not quite so gifted when it comes to people. She is painfully awkward, and has a difficult time asserting herself in her royal family. She lives in the shadow of her imposing regal mother. When the journey to the far country of Bayern turns into an unexpected series of trials, Ani is forced to grow in strength and determination to face these challenges. As she is betrayed by her friend, unjustly dethroned, rejected, and hunted down, she slowly sheds her insecurities, and learns to depend on her own grit. She disguises herself as the goose girl, and forges new friendships without the benefit of regal airs. With the help of these new allies, and the power of her mysterious abilities, Anidori eventually gathers the resolve to make her stand against the traitors, and reclaim her rightful crown. The Goose Girl is an excellent read. Shannon Hale’s descriptions are eminently relatable – young readers are sure to identify with Ani as she finds the courage to be herself. Numerous times while reading it out loud, I had to put the book down in order to laugh, but I never had to put it down because the plot was lagging. The Goose Girl is the first of the series The Books of Bayern, and is followed by Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born, respectively. Also be sure to check out Hale’s Newbery Award winner, Princess Academy.



Wonderful! Thank you Emily, for taking the time to read these selections and then write about them for us. They all sound fantastic!



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



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A Heroic Plea to Our Readers



SLOCA students playing bocce ball with residents of The Manse


Normally we post a recipe on Wednesdays, but we are interrupting the normal schedule for this very urgent and important request:


Our Heroic Quest fundraiser is wrapping up in a few days and we need to generate some excitement and heat around it! 


As you know, all schools fundraise (in fact after conducting some research we have discovered that most schools raise 17- 20% of their budget through fundraising.  We here at SLOCA only allocate that 12% of our budget comes from fundraising).  It’s THIS MONEY that keeps our tuition palatable and our class size small—we all know that it’s a different ball game when you’ve got 35-40 kids in a single classroom.


The good news about this fundraiser is that it’s a collective—when everyone participates from Preschool through High School the responsibility is spread and shared.


So, we are reaching out to you today to make sure that we can count on your participation in helping to raise money for our Heroic Quest. 



Our school excels at accomplishing great things together, and we can do this! A little extra push during these last few days can make all the difference, allowing us to meet our budget. Let’s end this fundraiser on Friday with our goal met – we appreciate all your efforts!  



Click here to go to Heroic Quest 2015!


Creating character trait posters


Collecting books for the Ajara Project in Africa



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Categorized: Archive, Community

A Day in the Life of a sloCAHS Student - Part 2


{photos by Eden Theule}


Welcome to another High School installment in our Day in the Life series! Last time we heard from sloCAHS junior Haley Haynes Carstens (click here if you missed that one!), and today we get a glimpse into both a home day and school day from Eden Theule. This is Eden’s 10th year here – she has attended SLOCA since its very first year, when she was in first grade, and is now a sophomore thriving at sloCAHS. 


High school students attend classes Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and then complete assignments at home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Eden has recorded a bit of both to give you an example of how our students can organize their time and enjoy the flexibility of the program:






Wake up, read a Bible chapter, get ready to start the day.



Kind of eat breakfast, help feed chicks, and talk to Haaken (little brother) for a while.  Also, we all try to figure out what to bring to science night for the bake sale.  We decided on muddy buddies, rice crispy treats, and lemon bars.



Mom goes to the store, and I finish a poster from class for science night on the electrolysis of water while listening to an audiobook of Napoleon’s Buttons, also for science.



Make some rice crispy treats while listening to yet another audiobook, this time, Canterbury Tales for literature.



Haaken and I make muddy buddies together and clean up the kitchen with mom.



Head to the schoolroom and evaluate the rest of my day and work on this blog post.



Help with lunch (pesto pasta), cut up rice crispy squares, and bag muddy buddies, hang around, etc.





Eat lunch with the family (besides dad) while we listen to comedian Brian Regan talk about science fair projects.  ;)



Practice banjo and a bit of guitar.



Is it really 1:30 already?  Good thing I have a pretty light day.  



I go outside to take notes on the Canterbury Tales story I listened to earlier.





Check my email, then its time to start math.  Yay.



Finally done with math!  Time for a snack.  I put frozen bananas in the blender with cocoa powder and protein powder.  It’s healthy “ice cream!”



Get dressed (I’ve been in my PJs all day!) and ready to go to science night.



Leave for science night.



Yay science!  I eat a grilled cheese sandwich and tell people about the electrolysis of water and buy baked goods.



Finally drive home with my sister and brothers, listening to loud music.



Home at last!  I guess I should start on my weekend homework, but I have a headache, so I don’t feel like doing much of anything.  I make some peppermint tea (with lots of honey!) and take advil.



Finish up an art project for art class tomorrow.





Well, that project took a bit longer than expected. That’s ok, but now I’m ready for bed.



After getting ready for bed, I read another Bible chapter and hit the hay. zzz







Wake up, read a Bible chapter.



Take a shower, get dressed, brush teeth, etc.



Pack up school stuff and pack a lunch and eat breakfast.



Leave for school.



Friday classes are math, science, literature, art: review homework, get ready for tests, discuss Canterbury Tales, and critique art projects.



School is over so Sage (big sister) and I load up and, after dropping a friend off at her dad’s office, go home.





Back at the ranch, I evaluate schoolwork for the weekend.



I decide that, this week, it would be a good idea to start my homework tonight (I rarely do this, but science night threw off my schedule).  I listen to some more Canterbury Tales.



More banjo practice.



Make dinner and watch a movie with Sage.  She was learning about the Declaration of Independence in Government class, so we watch National Treasure.  Mom and Dad are at the Tech museum with the boys, so Sage and I have the house to ourselves.



Sage persuades me to watch National Treasure 2.



Get ready for bed, then sleep.


The weekend will include studying for a history test with a friend, banjo lessons, writing an essay, going to church, and probably some random sitting around.  One of the greatest things about the sloCAHS program is its flexibility.  We all learn how to manage time and organize priorities by juggling things like science night and study time, movies and math homework, and banjo practice and book-reading.  My schoolwork does take hard work and lots of time, but the priceless wisdom and experience gained is so worth it.



Big thanks to you, Eden, for taking the time to write this down and share it with us. Our high schoolers lead full lives, and we appreciate you letting us into yours with this post! We know other students and parents will enjoy this glimpse into the day of a sloCAHS student. 


If you have any questions/want to know more about our high school, or want to sit in on some of our classes, email our High School Director Kateri Rein at



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Magical Moments: The Music Van Visits Intermediate


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


Almost every year the SLO Symphony Music Van visits our Intermediate classes to give an entertaining and educational presentation about the instruments of the orchestra, and to give the kids a chance to try out their collection of musical instruments. The kids are thrilled to try the different instruments, and it’s so fun to see the joy and concentration in their faces! Thank you, SLO Symphony, for giving our third and fourth graders this special opportunity!


Here are a few of the many photos captured recently on both Track A and B this year. We will start with Track B for a change:


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


{photo by Jaime Mickey}


And here are photos from Track A:


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}


{photo by Michelle Dorman}



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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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