Friday, June 24, 2005

SLOCA Weekly Email Update, 6/24/05

Hi Everyone!

We have a special section for you this week in our weekly update - Lisa Lewis has written for us on how SLOCA's in-school portion of the program will work with what some of you are already doing at home. The further along we get in our planning, the more detailed and clear our answers to some of your questions can get, and Lisa's article below is evidence of that. In the next couple weeks, we will address some of the hesitations people have before deciding that home schooling is an option. If this pertains to you, we encourage you to discuss your concerns with us or other parents you know who home
school.

And now, a few other updates...

Parent Q & A
We had another rich and wonderful meeting at the Pollon's last night. It is good to see how concerned parents are about their children, their education, and the environment their kids will be in. People asked great questions, and we talked both from the head and heart about how SLOCA will work. There are no more parent informational meetings scheduled this summer, but we will plan another one in July if the need surfaces.

Registration Deadline
For all you waiting until the last minute to register your children for SLOCA, you have one week to take advantage of the lower $50 registration fee. After July 1, the fee will go up to $75. Spread the word!

We're Halfway There!
We currently have 10 committed students...half of our 20 student goal. We are hoping, though, for 27! Why 27? We'd love to see 7 kindergarteners start this fall on their classical education journey. Thus, our goal is 20, our dream is 27. A lot can happen in 2 months time (the time we have before school starts!)

What Else Do You Need To Know This Summer?
The curriculum list will be available for you July 1 so you can start shopping around and ordering your supplies for the fall. We're excited about the curriculum we've chosen, and you will find plenty of time to supplement it with your favorites. The school schedule will also be available in the beginning of July. We will commence this year on Tuesday, Aug. 30, and the schedule will follow the San Luis Coastal school district's schedule. We are planning a parent meeting for August as well, close to when school starts — the first of quarterly meetings for parent training, updates, etc. We will keep you posted on the date!

And Now, Lisa's Article...
A continuing theme in questions is, "How will the classroom/home connection work?" After attempting to answer a specific question with a hypothetical answer several times, I realized there is an underlying question that needs to be addressed. As a home schooling parent myself, I know the internal conflict that is going on; am I doing the right thing to consider having someone else teach my child? Let me attempt to speak to the hidden concerns in choosing to participate in a part time school.

First of all, our school does not take your place as the primary educator of your child. The teacher is there to assist you by
providing guidance and encouragement as well as the opportunity for your child to be in a different learning environment with a small group of learners. The types of learning that will take place in the classroom will not replace what you do at home but enhance it. The partnership of learning between home and school is the emphasis. Let's take history as an example. We will be using the Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer as our curriculum. The main book is in narrative format. The story will be read by you at home, on a schedule, coordinating with the activities and directed instruction in the
classroom. This is a simple example and not very thorough I realize. Next week's update will include a two week sample schedule for those of you who are visual in your learning style as I am.

Another of the underlying concerns that I believe may exist for those families who are already successfully home schooling is that you like what you are using as curriculum and you may not want to change. It is easy for me because what is on the required list is what I have found to be successful personally. We will have a required curriculum list and a supplemental list. The reasoning is twofold: one, to provide continuity between home and school and two, to provide a common framework to springboard from. This is where the supplemental list comes in. Say for example you are really sold on a particular spelling program. You will have plenty of time on your three days of home school to continue using your different program. What goes on in the classroom on Tu/Th will not necessarily add more work for your child but simply provide learning experiences/activities and lessons that will complement what is being done at home. We do not intend to have any "homework" from school but rather a continuum of learning skills and information that mesh between home and school all following the Classical model as set forth by two outstanding educators, Charlotte Mason and Susan Wise Bauer.

If you have done any reading regarding their approaches you will notice that they are not identical in form. Not to worry for the contradictions. Both approaches have validity. We will use their perspectives and suggestions as guides to us as we continue to establish the unique approach of SLO Classical Academy. We also will maintain as a reference the California State Standards for the individual grade levels. You may be thinking, "How can all these individual tools come together?" I liken this process to planning a trip. You may reference only one type of map to get to your destination and as long as you get there then no problem, right? But sometimes other maps have additional references such as historic sites, parks, and other places of interest. Making reference to this additional map has just enhanced your traveling experience. To follow the analogy, not every time you travel to a destination do you have the time or need for scenic side trips, but it is nice to know they are there if you should choose to enrich your trip. This is the value of several references, and the value of supplemental curriculum. I am certain there are additional questions that may come up for you even as you have read through this article. I want to encourage you to send those questions to us and we will address them as quickly as possible. It has been very exciting for us to hear the thoughtful questions and concerns and to have opportunity to address them. We are looking forward to this school year with those of you who are willing to join us in partnership in the educating of your children!

Until next week...

Susie Theule & Lisa Lewis

"Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire."
--William Yeats--

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