Saturday, June 18, 2005

Responses to Recent Questions

As many are considering the possibilities of SLO Classical Academy and whether or not its a good fit for their family, we are encouraging questions and ongoing dialogue. We sure don't have all the answers, but are delighted to answer the questions we can. Our desire is to be flexible and open and work with interested families to make SLOCA work for you. Here are some recent questions from a family considering a commitment to SLOCA and our responses at this time. Perhaps, these are some of your looming questions. . . .

1. How is the home-study portion structured?  Is the home-study homework or is it new material that we as the parents would be teaching our children? Are the parents the primary educator or is SLOCA?

It is our plan that the home school portion will be a collaborative effort between classroom and home. By that I mean they will not be two separate learning experiences but a blending of the two. The different subjects will be instructed in class by the teacher and then suggested activities, readings, or other methods to progress will be presented to the family by the teacher. This will be done on an approximately two week basis, giving opportunity for 4 class times with students and 4 days of learning at home before the teacher and parent meet to review and to plan ahead. Since learning takes place at varying rates for every child, this is a relative example. There may need to be more interaction between parent and teacher
or there may not. But the two week time frame will be our guideline. The material to be presented will vary from subject to subject as to whether or not it will be all new each time or reinforcement of what was taking place in the classroom. The work at home is not intended to be simply "homework".

2. How is testing going to be handled? 

If you mean the ongoing assessment of what has been learned, that too will depend on the subject matter and age of the learner. Some assessment will be oral, some through a project, some written as a summary format, sometimes a paper/pencil quiz. If you mean standardized testing, we have not determined if we will use a normed reference test for our students.

3. How will class work be organized? 

The methods of organizing school work have not been finalized. The teacher will establish a list of materials for the classroom, including the method of how paperwork will be kept orderly.

4. How much flexibility for individuals to go at own pace? 

This is a tough question to answer for two reasons. As a practitioner I know how challenging it is to have a student who has worked ahead in a particular book and then is twiddling their thumbs while the other students catch up. As a parent I know how deflating to learning the waiting can be So here's my best two hat response: working ahead in the required curriculum will be discouraged for the sake of both sides, but working ahead in parallel suggested curriculum will be encouraged as that will bring a richness to the learning for both student and classmates.

5. How do we get the kids at the same stage when school begins (private school, public school and home school kids all together)?  Will there be an evaluation period before school starts?  Is that necessary?

If getting students to all be in the same place academically was possible, I would market the methodology and retire! It is not necessary to try to "get the students" to be in the same stage. The teacher will do some informal evaluations as the year begins. We are hoping to have a measurement tool for incoming Kindergarteners and First graders, but that may not be in place for this first opening!

6. Will parents be able to travel and school there children on the road without missing out too much?

Every effort will be made to integrate the learning that takes place away from the classroom. We took our boys on a two month trip around the U.S. They learned and experienced so much they still talk about the trip four years later. I believe there is no replacement for actually experiencing a location that has historic significance. There will still be the financial commitment to the school during the time away though.

I have made an effort to address each of your very thoughtful questions. If you need clarification or have additional questions come up, please let me know.

Thanks for your interest in SLO Classical Academy!

Lisa

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