Sunday, July 24, 2005

SLOCA Weekly Update, 7/21/05

Greetings to all,
I hope this finds you all enjoying your summer and hopefully finding time for reading, relaxing and renewal! Susie and her family are away this week. It is my family's turn next week. In spite of vacations SLOCA has had a productive week with many pieces of news.

We are pleased to announce our enrollment is now 25 students strong! We welcome the three children of the Scott Marcum family to our SLOCA family! We have only two spaces left for first grade and then we will need to establish a waiting list! We are still accepting applications and will do so until we reach our class size limit of 12. This is all happening via word of mouth, so thank you all so much for your enthusiastic approach to those you have in your circle of influence. We are really looking forward to this new school and school year!

School Site
We toured two potential facilities this week, each with pluses and minuses. Unfortunately we can't report that we have a site at this time, but we are making headway! We have also been able to follow up on other suggested leads. Again, please pass along to us any spaces that you become aware of that might work for our school even on a temporary basis.

As you are looking for literature titles, if you haven't already found this, Amazon will list sellers of a used copies of a particular title. I have had great success working with this method and saved a few dollars in the process. We have happily answered many curriculum questions either via email or telephone. I want to reiterate that we are happy to talk with interested families about what curricular choices we have made for the school. Please direct those you may know to our contact information found at the bottom of each weekly update as well as the blog.

The Feature Article this week-

How Much is Enough?
I have been asked a great question many times, "Are we doing enough?" More often than not those who have asked that question are doing more than "enough". Let's explore what might be an adequate measurement of what is enough when you are home schooling. First of all there are several considerations that we must identify. What is the age of your student (or students)? How much is enough varies from age and stage. Developmentally, enough is determined by focusing stamina. A young child usually has the staying power of 20 - 30 minutes per subject area. This focus time is not included in the time for a hands on project, it reflects their ability to attend through listening, their ability to process the information heard and retain it. If you planned a 20 minute period of instruction in one curricular area and then allowed about that much time additionally for an activity to reinforce the instruction, then you would want 30 - 40 minutes per subject for your time with that one child. Charlotte Mason recommends short, focused times of learning throughout the
various stages. I have found that to be best with my sons as well, even as they have grown older. We typically spend only the morning doing what one classical educator, Sally Clarkson, refers to as disciplined studies. These would include, math, language arts, science and history and Scripture (for those who study the Bible). The afternoon time is spent on discretionary studies such as art, music, crafts, building, and other pursuits in a particular curricular area. For example, our son loves to learn more in a subject area such as history, so afternoons are for reading the history encyclopedia or searching the internet for the recommended sites for the interest he is pursuing. Another consideration for knowing if you have been doing enough is the response of your students. Are they willing to work or are they over-whelmed with the amount or challenge of the material? The best skill a home schooling parent can develop is the skill of studying your students. You will learn if they are doing enough or if there is a character trait that needs to be developed such as diligence and perseverance. You will also know if they are desiring more than what you have been giving by the responses to the topics. Something else to consider is the reality of your family's season of life. Are you caring for a new baby, or for an aging or ill family member? What is enough may need to be adjusted to the various seasons of life. Keep in mind the core curricular areas of math, language arts, history, and science as you map out your time frames. Make time for those areas of study, perhaps trimming off time from other courses of study for a while until your available time is increasing. Sometimes forming a teaching co-op for a short period can help you with time management while you are being a care giver. All these elements are important considerations when you evaluate if you are doing enough. One important caution: don't compare your home school with another family. They are choosing their method and it may not fit with your student's learning style or age and stage. It saddens me to hear parents bemoaning what another family is doing that they are not. There are many ways to approach educating your children and the right way is the way your family has arrived at and feels peaceful about. This includes whether or not you choose to join a group or part time school like ours. The beauty of home schooling is that it can meet the needs of diverse students and families because it can be tailored in a variety of ways. Enjoy the journey!

We so appreciate all the great questions and suggestions that have been shared. Please keep them coming!

Until next week,
Susie Theule and Lisa Lewis

Contact information:
San Luis Obispo Classical Academy
P.O. Box 3601,
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403-3601

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

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