Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter Academy Classes now posted

This trimester, for the first time, we are opening Academy Classes to friends and extended family members of currently enrolled families. Enrollment for current families began on on November 17 and 18. Enrollment for friends and family begins on November 24. To learn more about Academy Classes and see this trimester's amazing line-up, go to our Academy Classes page at . . . .


If you have any questions, contact our Academy Class Coordinator, Kateri, at academyclasses@sloclassicalacademy.com

Let's Eat, Nov. 08 issue

The November issue and all past issues of Let's Eat, our recipe newsletter for busy Classical Academy families are available here. The November issue features recipes for Orange French Toast, Pulled Pork, Corn Chowder and more yummy stuff. Check it out!

Joy Newman and Jenny Bischoff are the creators of Let's Eat.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Middle School Art

The Flickr site is starting to go crazy! There are now 477 Market Faire pics posted and I just noticed these scans from one of our middle school art academy classes . . .

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

By the way, 2nd trimester Academy Classes enrollment is happening right now and spots are filling quickly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Story Wisdom

We are all about great stories and the wisdom of the ages here at SLO Classical Academy.

Suzette Harbour-Novak, one of our Classical Academy parents and a skilled, engaging professional storyteller has launched a fun storytelling blog at storywisdom.blogspot.com

Give it a look and enjoy. Leave a comment and encourage Suzette in this valuable endeavor.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Parent Reading Group this Friday, 11.14.08

A month from now many of our Classical Academy students will be reading Esther Forbes' Johnny Tremain. This Friday our Parent Reading Group will be getting a head start as we discuss this fun and engaging book together. Its always a great time with great food and even a little wine. Hope you can join us.

Fall Colonial Market Fair Day

At the end of every trimester at SLO Classical Academy, we have a special day that encapsulates all that the students have learned over their past term. Every day is different and unique. Last Friday was our wrap-up for the Fall 2008 trimester . . . a Colonial Market Fair Day featuring hands on activity booths created by every classroom, our very own colonial classical quartet, and even colonial dancing. It was an amazing day for students, families and guests.

Below is a growing slide show of pics uploaded to our flickr site . . .

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

If you have your own pics to upload, email our flickr mama, Penny Malley at photos@sloclassicalacademy.com.

Our next trimester wrap up will be "An Invention Convention" focused on science learning. Stay tuned for the date. . .

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rea Berg: History at Home

Our very own Rea Berg spoke on the topic, "History at Home" at our last P.I.E. meeting. We have posted the video on YouTube in six parts and posted it here for your inspiration and encouragement . . . .

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here's a lengthy, but "worth it" article entitled, "The Death and Life of American Imagination" . . .


British historian Arnold J. Toynbee said that apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and that enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: “First, an ideal, which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.” That kind of imagination is the cognitive fuel that put a man on the moon, and that could help forestall the wreckage of another Katrina. But the fate of the American imagination seems also to be governed by an old adage—one that is tricky for cognitive scientists and brain researchers to prove in context, even though it’s simple enough for any first-grader to grasp: If we don’t use it, we may lose it.

SLO Classical Academy aims to foster and stimulate the imagination of our children. Its hard work!

Hat Tip: Teri Brown, one of our amazing parents!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Sign of the Beaver

The next meeting of the Classical Academy Parent's Reading Group is coming up quick. . . .this Friday. Still its not too late to read the book we'll be discussing, The Sign of the Beaver, since its a small, quick read.

One of the purposes of the group is to help us all in the important task of literary analysis as we look elements of setting, plot, conflict, theme, etc.

We always have a great time thinking, laughing and snacking together. See you on Friday at 7:00 PM?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Attention Bloggers, Facebookers and Social Networkers

If you write a blog or have a presence on Facebook or another social networking site, don't forget to post a link to both the SLO Classical Academy website (http://sloclassicalacademy.com) and this blog (http://sloca.blogspot.com).

When you post about the joys and struggles of being involved in your kid's education, don't forget to mention the school by name with a link. Some of you have done this already and you are driving traffic to the site. People are clicking to the school site from your blog!

If you know others who blog or social network who might not be reading this blog (what are they thinking?), refer them to this post and encourage them to add links.

Any and all promo helps get the word out about what we're trying to do here. As we seek to make a difference in our community, name recognition is often the first step. Our desire is that folks in our community would be asking, "Who is SLO Classical Academy and what's going on over there?"

Thanks for the help!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Parents Reading Group Meets September 26

Join us on the evening of Friday, September 26 for this year's first gathering of the Parent's Reading Group . . . one more way to connect with others in this adventure of education.

Come prepared to discuss The Witch of Blackbird Pond, one of the books our Intermediate and Middleschool Students are reading this year. The rumor is that our parents can't put it down . . .

The refreshments are always tasty and the conversation is always fun.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Academy Class Upate, 09.02.08

New Art Classes:

Teri Brown is teaching a second Middle School Art class from 1:30-3:30. This time the class is opened up to Intermediate as well as Middle School students.

From 11:30-1:30, Raquel Meinke, a wonderful new art teacher who has taught in the local schools and even for some of our own students, has joined us to teach another Intermediate Art Class. She is happy to include Middle School students as well.

Canceled Classes:

Classes that do not make their minimum, will have to be canceled.

We have decided that it is unlikely we will have enough enrolled in our Kindergarten Classes. We have, therefore, canceled - Kindergarten Explorations, Kindergarten Art and Kindergarten Kindermusik. Kindergarten students may join the Primary Classes instead.

Full Classes/Waiting Lists:

Middle School Elections 2008 is full. Those students on the waiting list are in. Mrs. Hawkins said she is up for 20 students in the class!

Middle School/Intermediate Drums and Percussion is full. Waiting to hear if those on the waiting list have been included in the class. Here is a link to the drums that each child will need:
If anyone wants to look into a group discount on the drums, let me know.

There is one spot left in the Middle School Art from 11:30-1:30 with Teri Brown. Middle School students can also take Raquel Meinke's class at 11:30 or Teri Brown's class at 1:30.


Why are so many classes year-long commitments?

Our teachers want to be able to take our students beyond the beginner stages. They have requested having the students all year in order to provide a deeper learning experience. In our efforts to provide a quality enrichment program, we wanted to have this opportunity for the students as well. If the year commitment is too much to consider, sign-up last if there are still spaces available and give it a try for the first trimester.

Even Robotics?

In talking with the robotics instructor, he was excited to teach the students more than just robotics, he also includes computers, physics, electricity, etc. He is also hoping the Middle School students can enter a competition in the spring. So yes, he would love a year-long commitment; however, we have contacted him to talk about a trimester commitment option. Email Kateri if this is an option you would prefer. We also recommend that you do this first trimester, if you have an interest in the robotics classes.

What if my child is unhappy in a class?

No one will make anyone stay in a class when they are unhappy. You are committed to pay through the trimester because we still need to pay our teachers, but you are not obligated to pay through the year.

Can my child switch grades in some of the classes?

First priority is given to those in the class grade, but once the sign-ups are initially done and both tracks given a chance to fill any leftover spots, then those in other grades may sign-up with teacher permission.

Family Discounts?

If having a family discount would allow your family to participate in Academy Classes or would allow your children to take more than one class, please email Kateri. We would like everyone who is interested be able to take Academy Classes.

Between classes volunteers?

We need volunteers to make this happen. There will be a sign-up sheet if you are interested - please include your email address. There is no obligation to do this, but you are responsible for your children between classes.


Sign-ups continue this week through the end of school on Sept 4. On September 5th, spots are opened up to both tracks on a first come first serve basis (i.e. if we have a waiting list for one track, those students will fill the open spots on the other track). If you want to have your child switch grades, email me so that we can talk to the teacher.

Please note - as of Sept 9, if your children are signed up for classes, you are obligated to pay for those classes. We need to have final numbers in order to secure the classes and pay the teachers. Thanks for understanding!

We are always open to questions and feedback. We have made some changes in our program this year because we want to see Academy Classes provide more than just a taste; we want them to be truly enriching.

Please email Kateri at academyclasses@sloclassicalacademy.com

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Academy Class Update

Due to popular demand, two new Fall Academy Class offerings have just been added . . .

Teri Brown will be teaching her Middle School Art class twice - 11:30-1:30 and a second class from 1:30-3:30. This second art class is open to both Intermediate and Middle School students.

Raquel Meinke will be teaching an Intermediate Art Class from 11:30-1:30 -

Intermediate Art - Exploring Media and Artists:
This class will be learning about different artists and art styles while dabbling in a wide variety of mediums. We will be using varied approaches and media to improve drawing skills, painting with tempera and watercolor, trying different printmaking techniques, and working in a variety of two dimensional and three dimensional formats. We will be looking for art connections to core history and literature. Students will learn to plan, create and reflect on their artworks.

The website has not yet been updated, but it will be this weekend.

Did you get your weekly update yesterday?

Here's your friendly reminder to enrolled families to sign up for the google group for the weekly update emails if you haven't done so already. We sent out the weekly update yesterday, so chances are if you didn't get it, you didn't sign up yet.

Please use your invitation to sign up.

If you did not receive an invitation, please go to the group to apply for membership. You will be approved within 24 hours and will be able to receive future weekly updates. For those who missed today's it will be posted on the slo classical blog later this week.

google group for weekly update emails:


Just in case you missed it, here's this week's Weekly Update . . .

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to BREATHE, to think, to enjoy, to love. - Marcus Aurelius

Dear Families -

We made it through our first days of school! Congratulations to all of you, and all of us (staff) hope that you and your children had a really wonderful experience. Now, we have all worked hard and taken a ton of information in - and it is time to BREATHE. Breathe in, breathe out, and on this long weekend ahead, make sure to find time to enjoy your life. There is much to be done, for sure. But breathing is going to help, as will some rest and reflection. Go easy on yourself as you gear up - and go easy on others as well (including your kids!). Taking time to adjust, organize, and figure this thing out is as necessary part of the process. Remember - think on what is important (moving towards our common goal of offering these children a rich education that will develop their minds and their hearts) as you need to for inspiration, but don't expect it all to happen by October 1st. Breathe, enjoy and move towards that goal - one small step at a time.

A huge gigantic thank you to all of you who made these first days so rich! The PIE team, the office staff and a few others have put in much love and many hours - I was proud to be alongside of them celebrating the start of the year. THANK YOU! (And now you get some rest as well!)

Okay, here's some business for the week! I will try to keep it short for a change...

Parents at SLO Classical Academy

Forms - thanks to all of you who have handed in your Emergency Care Cards and Directory forms - make sure to hand these in by the end of the week if possible.

Medication Consent forms
- if your child has a medical condition (i.e. dangerous allergies) that we should know about, or if you need to arrange for medication dispensing, please see the office for a form to fill out. We have some limitations on what we can provide, but will try to work with you.

Tuition - a reminder tuition is due on the 5th of the month (even if that's a day the office is closed). So plan ahead when necessary, send in the mail (we go by postmark date) or drop off in the drop box in the office. WE ARE GOING TO TRY SENDING STATEMENTS VIA EMAIL THIS YEAR and see how it goes. It saves time and paper, so be looking for that.

Family files - don't forget to check these at least once a week!

escrip - thanks for responding so positively to our request that you take time to sign up for escrip. You can get online and sign up anytime. E-scrip school Id # is 500006538 (when on the site you can also look up the school by name.

You can also sign up for a program with Albertsons - Albertsons Community Partners # is 49001014048 and the site is www.albertsons.com. click the community partners icon
to get going.

Volunteering! We got a few more spots filled for playground - keep them coming. I also want to encourage you to sign up for our History Day Committee. It is a super fun and very rewarding group to serve on, and some of the work can be done at home.

Education at SLO Classical Academy

Academy Class Sign ups start today, Wednesday the 23rd. Because this is the first time we are structuring the program like this, we really have had no idea about what to expect - many are concerned with there being too little space - that could be a problem, and if it is, we will try to find more options, but no promises! It is exciting - bear with us as we grow these opportunities for our kids! And if you find yourself moved to offer a class, let Kateri know at academyclasses@sloclassicalacademy.com. Thanks!

Enrichment classes
will commence the 3rd week of school on September 10th. We will keep you posted, but it looks like we will have both CA history and Latin Primer available for intermediate levels at 1:30 on Wednesdays and Thursdays - CA history will be $35/month for 10 months, and Latin will be $30/month for 10 months. If you have some ideas for primary children, let us know (it's Kateri again - see above for email). The best ideas are ones in which you can provide not just the idea, but some help putting it together (like offering to teach, having someone contact Kateri about teaching, etc.). Thanks for working with us!

Events at SLO Classical Academy

PIE night is coming! Earmark the night of Sept. 18th for our first PIE night! Remember, you can get volunteer time for this! 1.5 hours per trimester will count.

Did you know?

We have a blog! There's a bunch of fun stuff on there - find out about our pictures, our yahoo group, great articles, etc. Check it out at http://sloca.blogspot.com/

Thanks to all of you for being in this together and for a great first week!

Susie Theule

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Days Photos

Since the Classical Academy consists of both M/W and T/Th tracks, we've had not one, but two, great first days of school. Its like drinking from a firehose for new families, but questions are getting answered and things are becoming clearer. Besides that, the kids are having a great time. . . .

Here's the slideshow from the Flicker site. As more photos are added, this slideshow will automatically update. . . . to go faster (there's almost 170 photos!), rollover the top and adjust the speed slider. Enjoy!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, August 25, 2008

don't tell the students, but . . .

. . . several of the assigned books for the year are available as public domain audio books . . .

At SLO Classical Academy, we believe there is great value in the experience of reading. Audio is no substitute for reading. And yet, not all of us have the time to read. These audio books might be a great resource for busy moms and especially dads who want to keep up with what their kids are learning at home.

Hat Tip: Steve Rein

Join the Yahoo Group

Did you know that there is a SLO Classical Academy Families Yahoo Group? This is one more way to get and stay connected at SLO Classical Academy.

To check it out and jump in, go to


Here's a pic of the front page that will give you sense of posts and topics. (Click to enlarge!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

3,745 and counting

that's how many photos have been posted to the SLO Classical Academy Flickr Site . . . so far.

To get there and browse go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/sloclassical/

Here's a shot from one of last Spring's Academy Classes . . .

Sign ups for this Fall's Academy Classes happens all this week.

Let the 2008/2009 photo posting begin!

Friday, August 22, 2008

2008/2009 Classroom/Teacher Lists Now Posted

Finally what everyone has been waiting for . . . 2008/2009 Classroom/Teacher Lists are now posted on the Downloadable Forms page of the website at


If you've got questions, email info@sloclassicalacademy.com

Academy Class Schedules & Descriptions
Now Posted

With the 2008/2009 school year upon us, its time again to crank up the Classical Academy Blog and get our website cleaned up and updated. There are so many exciting things happening, its really hard to keep up with it all. . . but let's go for it. . .

Fall session Academy Class schedules and descriptions have now been posted on the website at


You've got to click over and check it out. We think you're going to be blown away at the amazing line-up our Academy Class Coordinator, Kateri Rein, has put together. It is undoubtedly the best and broadest Academy Class session ever.

Stay tuned for additional cost and sign-up information.

If you have questions, you can contact Kateri at academyclasses@sloclassicalacademy.com .

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Job Opportunities at SLO Classical Academy

Dear friends -

We are working to fill some jobs here at SLO Classical Academy and would love to have your referrals for the following positions:

1. Dean of Families - this person will be working 4 days a week this year, 3 hours a day with the potential for more hours in future years. We are looking for someone to provide a daily presence with our families and who would work toward accomplishing the following: 1. Establishing relationships with parents and students 2. Providing support and encouragement to these families, and 3. In the context of relationship, would serve to establish accountability and discipline within the school's guidelines as we seek for all to experience the school as a place of safety, consistency and success.

2. Playground Monitor - this person will be working 4 days a week for the duration of the school day. He or she will oversee the playground happenings, playground volunteers, playground safety, playground activities, etc. while providing a consistent relationship with the students, upholding consistent playground expectations for them as well.

3. Playground Lunch Support - this person (or persons, as we are willing to have one person for each track) will provide additional supervision on the playground/s during the lunch hour to provide increased safety for our students.

4. Accountant - we are still looking for someone with experience and flexibility to fill Karen Morton's shoes as soon as possible. Work load averages 4-8 hours per week.

5. Substitute teachers - we are working to increase our list of people who can sub for us and are still working on a long-term sub for Mrs. Dillon (primary, track B). If you are interested or know those who might be, please let us know.

We appreciate you keeping us in mind - with all of the contacts and resources our parents provide, we are sure we can successfully fill these positions soon!

In addition, we have need of the following items as we seek to outfit our office and classrooms. If any of you are getting rid of the following items or perhaps your business is, please let us know!

2 round tables - approx. 4-5 feet wide
2 tall file cabinets
1 low file cabinet (locking)
rolling tv carts – 3 or 4
large rolling cart (for chairs, etc.)

Hope you are having a great week...

Susie Theule

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

Blog: http://sloca.blogspot.com
Website: http://sloclassicalacademy.com

Monday, June 16, 2008

Is Google making us stupid?

GREAT thought-provoking article in The Atlantic recently. . .


Warning: Its long and you're not going to feel tempted to skim it or skip it, which will prove the author's point!

San Luis Obispo Classical Academy exists because we believe that reading good books is a necessary prerequisite for deep thinking and deep thinking is a necessary prerequisite for wisdom and wisdom is so desperately needed in our world today.

The pull of the electronic is so, so strong. This summer discipline yourself and your family to sit down and read some good books.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SLO Chamber Ribbon Cutting

Just love this pic of the recent ribbon cutting to commemorate SLO Classical Academy's joining the SLO Chamber of Commerce. That's Mrs. Ingham's precious kindergarten class.

Latest Andrew Pudewa Lecture Now Posted

On May 1st, Andrew Pudewa again gave an excellent and thought-provoking lecture entitled, "Mastery Learning, Ability Development and the Trivium."

The audio has finally been uploaded and is available for your listening enjoyment HERE.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Andrew Pudewa on Thursday, May 1

Dear Friends -

Hot off the press, here are the details for our evening with Andrew Pudewa, coming up Thursday, May 1st.

Andrew is a gifted, entertaining and enlightening speaker - well worth the effort of getting out that door. Please join us for a wonderful evening and a bit of dessert at 7:00 p.m. on our campus, 165 Grand Avenue, SLO (the old Pacheco school).

"Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and the Trivium"

What is "mastery learning" and how does it relate to classical education?
Andrew Pudewa, director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and
graduate of the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, will
explain the methods, goals, and benefits of the ability development model as
developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, and applications to disciplines other than
music, along with potential obstacles to successful implementation. Come
and hear how, as Dr. Suzuki puts it, "Every child can learn."
Hope to see you there, and have a great weekend!

Listen to other Andrew Pudewa lectures here.

What Coby Jackson & Laura Skiff like about SLO Classical Academy

Monday, April 14, 2008

what Sandra Ronda likes about SLO Classical Academy

Here's another great parent sharing what they like about SLO Classical Academy . . .

Friday, April 11, 2008

what Amy Callarman likes about SLO Classical Academy

We caught some great parent testimonies on video today at the walkathon. Many thanks to all the parents who went for it today.

It will take a while to edit and youtube them all, but as we do, we'll post them here first and then eventually on the website.

Here's the first from Amy Callarman, a relatively new mom to the SLO Classical Academy community, but undeniably excited to be here . . .

add your pics

Our 2008 Walkathon was so much fun today. Already folks are adding their photos from the site. Here's the slideshow for you viewing enjoyment. As more photos are added to the 2008 Walkathon set, the slideshow will automatically update.

Academy families, email the webmaster for the username and password to the flickr site if you're ready to upload your photos. We'd love to see them.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Did you see this article in the March 14, San Luis Obispo Tribune? Its a complicated mess, with no easy fix.

This crisis highlights the need for a free market approach to education and the exploration of school vouchers. Wouldn't it be nice and helpful to be able to direct the tax dollars you pay to the school of your choice. . . like SLO Classical Academy? Sadly, it probably won't happen anytime soon.

Governor's Study Says California School System Flawed

SACRAMENTO (AP) ― California's public schools are fundamentally flawed and need deep changes—as well as more money—to properly serve the state's 6.3 million students, according to a report released Friday by a panel advising Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The report comes as the state is struggling with a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall and as schools are issuing thousands of layoff notices to teachers to cope with the $4.3 billion education cut Schwarzenegger proposed in next year's budget. Appearing at a news conference in Santa Monica on Friday to announce the long-delayed report, the governor agreed that education needs more money but said any increase would have to wait until the budget was back in balance. "Everyone in this room knows that education, like other state programs, is going to face severe cuts this year," Schwarzenegger said. He later added, "I realize that providing a first-rate education system means having adequate resources." Schwarzenegger had intended the report to begin a yearlong focus on reforming California's K-12 system, which he says is failing the state's students. But his efforts have been derailed by his inability to achieve the health reform goals he set last year, as well as the swelling budget shortfall. Among the high-priced recommendations in the report are universal preschool, full-day kindergarten and more funding to help poor students and those who are still trying to learn English. Half the state's public school students are either poor or struggling with English or both. The report says the state education bureaucracy should be more efficient and accountable, and that schools should have more autonomy. Teachers should get better training and their pay should be linked to their students' performance. And the state should create a statewide data system to track how well students are learning. Michael Kirst, an education professor at Stanford University who was not part of the governor's panel, said the report was thorough and filled with innovative ideas. He said state leaders should keep it handy for when the economy rebounds and declining K-12 enrollments are expected to make more money available for education. "It should be the first place the public should go to understand what is wrong and how to improve the system," Kirst wrote in a critique of the report. "It is clear, compelling and specific. But it advocates coherent, comprehensive state legislation in a year of large deficits and leftover legislative priorities from 2007." Saturday is the deadline for school districts to notify teachers and staff they could be laid off later this year. Teachers and school employee unions expect about 20,000 notices to go out, although they are only preliminary. Districts have until May 15 to tell their employees whether they will have jobs next year.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

2008 Walkathon is happening this Friday

Can't believe its here again. . . here's a slideshow from last year. Hope you're coming. Its always a great time out there and this year is going to be better than ever with the Avila Bay Marine Institute on site.

The webmaster will have his video camera in hand to shoot some more testimonial video, so start reflecting on what you love about SLO Classical Academy.

Here's a slideshow from last year to get you ready . . .

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

website updates, 04.08.08

There is a LOT of information on the sloclassicalacademy.com website. Sometimes its a challenge to keep it all up-to-date. We do our best. We always appreciate folks who take the time to send us an "heads-up" about out of date information and typos.

In our attempt to keep up, we just completed lots of website updates, including the following pages . . .

about / who is slo classical academy?
about / how does slo classical academy support families?
about / current leadership
about / typical slo classical academy week

instruction / current teachers

instruction / enrichment classes
instruction / academy classes
instruction / can i do this?
instruction / how it all works?
instruction / parent coaching

resources / slo classical academy audio/video

admissions / enrollment openings

a great taste of SLO Classical Academy

Ron Johnston, one of our amazing board members, was saavy enough and kind enough to record and edit the SLO Classial Academy segment of Monday's Dave Congalton Show.

You can listen here, by clicking the headphones . . .

Susie Theule (Director), Suzette Harbour (Parent) and Caroline Rein (Student) were articulate and passionate in their representation of SLO Classical Academy.

Nice job, gals!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

the next parent information meeting

Registration for the 08/09 school year is moving along briskly. Last Tuesday, April 2, we had a 10 families join us for our third Parent Information Meeting.

Because we are still receiving calls daily from those interested in SLO Classical Academy, we've scheduled our next Parent Information Meeting for Tuesday, April 29 at 7:00 PM in Room 1 on campus. Attendance at a Parent Information Meeting is required as part of the registration process.

See you there!

listen on Monday

San Luis Obispo Classical Academy will be a featured guest for one segment of the Dave Congalton Show on 920 KVEC this Monday coming Monday afternoon, April 7.

Director Susie Theule, one parent and one student will share the vision for San Luis Obispo Classical Academy and its place here in our Central Coast community.

Not sure exactly which segment, but the show runs from 3:00 to 7:00 PM.

We'll try and capture the audio and post it on the website so you can listen later if you miss it live.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the sum is greater than the individual parts

What's so great about SLO Classical Academy?

Its true that SLO Classical Academy strives to provide an excellent and engaging education for its students through its unique hybrid partnership with parents. But the benefits of SLO Classical Academy extend way, way beyond a book education.

SLO Classical Academy is a community where the sum is greater than the individual parts.

It includes a homeschooling component, but also offers a rich, interactive classroom environment. We can do and are doing more together than we could ever possibly do alone and apart. . . . field trips, academy classes, math celebrations, history days, enrichment opportunities and so much more. This year we've laughed together and cried together and worked together and struggled together . . . and these are signs of authentic community. It's far from perfect, but it's real.

Families considering enrollment at SLO Classical Academy must consider this dimension as they weight the potential costs and benefits.

Do you really want to do this educational journey alone? At SLO Classical Academy, you don't have to . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Flickr Pic of the Week, 03.11.08

Here's a great pic of the some of the kindergarten students planting seeds in our great new planter boxes.

Lots more new and fun pics here. . .

What's up with that judge?

Lots of questions about that judge's ruling las week requiring all homeschooling parents to have teaching credentials. Below is an email that was sent out to our SLO Classical Academy families . . .

As many of you are aware, there was a court ruling in L.A. last week that appears to be anti-homeschooling. We have spent some time checking out various resources and seeking some expert opinions, and at this point, there is no indication that the ruling will have any direct or immediate affect on SLO Classical Academy. In addition, home schoolers have been encouraged to continue home schooling as usual, with experts stating that there has been much misrepresentation about the case and its effects and that there is a long way to go before home schooling would actually be considered illegal.

If you would like more information, please see the following sites:

HSC (hsc.org)
CHN (californiahomeschool.net)

There are also many emails circulating asking you to sign a petition to reverse the ruling. We will leave this up to each family who might have been sent the email, but there are differing opinions on whether or not this will actually be helpful in protecting home schoolers - some lawyers believe that it would be most prudent to wait to see where this goes before calling attention to the case.

We just wanted to let you know that we are aware of the ruling, the many different reactions to the ruling, and will continue to be watchful as things unfold and keep you posted if and when more information becomes available through reputable sources.

And here's a front page article that appeared in today's San Luis Obispo Tribune about this judge's ruling. It also references SLO Classical Academy . . .

Local home schools wonder about ruling that will require parents to have teaching credentials

by Leah Etling

San Luis Obispo County’s top education official says it will be up to the state to determine how to implement a new court ruling that parents who teach their children at home must be credentialed teachers.

That controversial decision issued last month about home schooling has prompted questions from local educators and parents who home school, but many of the answers aren’t yet available.

The court ruled that parents who home school must be credentialed themselves or hire credentialed tutors.

About 800 students are being taught at home through arrangements with the county’s public schools, according to county schools Superintendent Julian Crocker.

Judy Harris, program coordinator of the San Luis Obispo Family Partnership Charter School, said her public program has been fielding many inquiries from parents concerned about the ruling.

“People are scared and they’re wondering how, even if they’re under a public umbrella, does it still affect them. Will they be forced into a classroom?” Harris said.

Parents from the charter school, which employs 10 credentialed teachers for 135 students in grades kindergarten through 12, are circulating a petition against the ruling, she said.

Families using programs with credentialed teachers who see students a few days each week and supervise their overall progress are probably less likely to be affected by the judge’s decision, educators say.

But an unknown number of home-schooling families, considered “off the grid” by the county because they use alternative programs or develop their own curriculum, could be most affected.

Under state law, unless those families have filed affidavits declaring themselves a private school, their children are considered truant, Crocker said.

The ruling, by Justice H. Walter Croskey of the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles, states that parents who don’t ensure their kids are taught by credentialed teachers can be criminally prosecuted.

Croskey wrote that under the state’s Education Code, “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children.”

His ruling resulted from a lawsuit by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, which asked a juvenile court to force parents accused in an abuse case to send their home-schooled children to a public or private school.

The Pacific Justice Institute — a Sacramento-based law firm that advocates for parental rights — has agreed to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Crocker expects that the state will act quickly to interpret the ruling. As a published decision, the appeals court ruling sets a legal precedent throughout California.

He said it might ultimately be interpreted as requiring students to spend a certain percentage of time with a credentialed teacher each week, while still being allowed to do some studies with parental supervision at home.

The state Department of Education’s lawyers are analyzing the judge’s decision.Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken out against it, calling it “outrageous.”

At the San Luis Obispo Classical Academy, which includes two days of classroom instruction per week with students who are home-schooled the rest of the time, dean of teachers April Kemp said parents have been concerned about the ruling.

But Kemp said the decision would not affect the private school, which has fewer than 150 students in grades kindergarten through 8.

Many of the school’s students were home-schooled before joining the three-year-old academy program, Kemp said.

She said the ruling highlights negative perceptions that some people have about teaching children at home.

“From my experience, most of the home-schoolers and certainly the home-schoolers that are part of the Classical Academy are parents extremely dedicated to making sure their children receive an excellent education,” Kemp said.

She expects that the ruling might encourage more parents to look into “hybrid” programs such as hers for their children.

Friday, February 29, 2008

"stunning ignorance"

Here is a recent and interesting NY Times article which shows how the emphasis on test scores can cause the unintended consequence of narrowing curriculum.

Does the "stunning ignorance" of history and literature even matter? We at SLO Classical Academy believe it does! "Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it."

Any thoughts or reactions?

By the way, SLO Classical Academy is about so much more than just teaching history. To be sure, we're committed to that as well, but we're also about fostering quality family connection, rich and rigorous classroom discussion, thoughtful integration of learning and life, character formation and so much more.

February 27, 2008

Survey Finds Teenagers Ignorant on Basic History and Literature Questions

Fewer than half of American teenagers who were asked basic history and literature questions in a phone survey knew when the Civil War was fought, and one in four said Columbus sailed to the New World some time after 1750, not in 1492.

The survey results, released on Tuesday, demonstrate that a significant proportion of teenagers live in “stunning ignorance” of history and literature, said the group that commissioned it, Common Core.

The organization describes itself as a new research and advocacy organization that will press for more teaching of the liberal arts in public schools.

The group says President Bush’s education law, No Child Left Behind, has impoverished public school curriculums by holding schools accountable for student scores on annual tests in reading and mathematics, but in no other subjects.

Politically, the group’s leaders are strange bedfellows. Its founding board includes Antonia Cortese, executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, a union that is a powerful force in the Democratic Party, and Diane Ravitch, an education professor at New York University who was assistant education secretary under the first President George Bush.

Its executive director is Lynne Munson, former deputy chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and former special assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne.

“We’re a truly diverse group,” Mrs. Munson said. “We almost certainly vote differently, and we have varying opinions about different aspects of educational reform. But when it comes to concern that all of America’s children receive a comprehensive liberal arts and science education, we all agree.”

In the survey, 1,200 17-year-olds were called in January and asked to answer 33 multiple-choice questions about history and literature that were read aloud to them. The questions were drawn from a test that the federal government administered in 1986.

About a quarter of the teenagers were unable to correctly identify Hitler as Germany’s chancellor in World War II, instead identifying him as a munitions maker, an Austrian premier and the German kaiser.

On literature, the teenagers fared even worse. Four in 10 could pick the name of Ralph Ellison’s novel about a young man’s growing up in the South and moving to Harlem, “Invisible Man,” from a list of titles. About half knew that in the Bible Job is known for his patience in suffering. About as many said he was known for his skill as a builder, his prowess in battle or his prophetic abilities.

The history question that proved easiest asked the respondents to identify the man who declared, “I have a dream.” Ninety-seven percent correctly picked the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

About 8 in 10, a higher percentage than on any other literature question, knew that Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is about two children affected by the conflict in their community when their father defends a black man in court.

In a joint introduction to their report, Ms. Cortese and Dr. Ravitch did not directly blame the No Child law for the dismal results but said it had led schools to focus too narrowly on reading and math, crowding time out of the school day for history, literature and other subjects.

“The nation’s education system has become obsessed with testing and basic skills because of the requirements of federal law, and that is not healthy,” Ms. Cortese and Dr. Ravitch said.

“You can be supportive of N.C.L.B. and also support strengthening the teaching of history and literature,” a spokeswoman for the Education Department, Samara Yudof, said. “It’s good to talk about expanding the curriculum, but if you can’t read, you can’t read anything at all.”

A string of studies have documented the curriculum’s narrowing since Mr. Bush signed the law in January 2002.

Last week, the Center on Education Policy, a research group in Washington that has studied the law, estimated that based on its own survey 62 percent of school systems had added an average of three hours of math or reading instruction a week at the expense of time for social studies, art and other subjects.

The Bush administration and some business and civil rights groups warn against weakening the law, saying students need reading and math skills to succeed in other subjects.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Join us for MacDonald's Phantastes

Our next Parent Reading Group is Friday, April 4 when our discussion will center around George MacDonald's Phantastes.

Grab yourself a copy and start reading and then plan to join us. We'd love to see a few more dads joining us

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

SLO Symphony Music Van Slide Show

The SLO Symphony Music Van visited the Academy a couple weeks back. Here are some pics of the kids having fun and making some music. It also happened to be Pajama Day to kick off our Independent Reading Program, just in case you wondering. . . .

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

2.26.08 Friends of Email

About once a month or so, we send an email to those who have signed up for our "Friends of SLO Classical Academy" email list to highlight all that's going on in our vibrant community. (Sign up yourself right now in the right margin!) Here is the "Friends of" email that was sent on February 26. . . .

"I can't believe impossible things." said Alice.
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen.
"When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible
things before breakfast."
- Lewis Carroll

Dear Friend of SLO Classical Academy -

Winter Trimester Reflections

Things are in full swing right now at school and at times, it is hard to believe how far we've come in just two and a half year! Thanks to so many people, our students have been studying 16th and 17th century European history, they began an independent reading unit with a pajama day and professional storytelling, they are studying astronomy, they've been taking a plethora of enrichment classes (Musical theatre, design, soccer, chess, healthy eating, history, scrapbooking and science), we've had the Symphony music van for a visit, have been attending a wide variety of field trips and we're making final preparations for our all school Math Celebration evening. Phew!

On top of that, parents have been busy helping in all sorts of ways on campus, they are planning a trip to D.C. next April for 5th-8th graders, we continue to enjoy our Parent Reading Group, our Landscaping committee has hundreds of bulbs growing on campus for an upcoming fundraiser, our fundraising committee is preparing the best yet Walkathon and we are busy helping our children finish their second trimester well.

One of the things I enjoy most about our school - besides all the wonderful benefits I experience for our family (we have three children at the school and we LOVE it) - is the think-outside-the-box community we have. Our parents all bring something to the community, all working together to make SLO Classical Academy what it is - a wonderfully rich and very UNIQUE community of families with a thirst to provide a completely engaging and effective education for their students and to be intimately involved in this process. It truly is amazing, the resources we have as a group, and I look forward to the years to come. We believe in the impossible, and we see it happening every day at home and on campus.

We have had our trials this year, our most recent and most heartbreaking being the death of one of our Middle School students from health complications after open heart surgery just ten days ago. It has been an immensely sad time for us, but it has been also a rich time as we work together with students to handle this real-life lesson in suffering. Our hearts go out to her family, who have been a wonderful model of hope and faith for us all.

What now?

Our current families have been re-enrolling for the 2008-2009 school year and their priority registration closes on February 28th. The folks on the Waiting List will then take their places, and open registration begins on March 3rd. At this point, we expect that we will have spots at all levels, with the most openings on Track A (Monday/Wednesdays). If you are interested in SLO Classical Academy, please do three things:
1. Spend some time on our website. http://sloclassicalacademy.com/
2. Attend a Parent Information Night - this is required for a complete application. Meetings are scheduled for:
• Wednesday, March 5th
• Tuesday, April 1
We are not necessarily going to schedule more after this, so make sure to attend one of these.
Scroll down the page until you find our application forms.

What's coming up?

Besides our registration, we have other opportunities coming up.
Think Outside the Box - we really would love you to attend one of these to have you hear more about our program and to hear your feedback! We will not ask for money - we promise! It would mean a lot to have you come. They all start at 11 a.m. on campus and the next dates are:
Wednesday, March 5th
Tuesday, April 1st
Andrew Pudewa will be presenting for us again on May 1st - details to be announced.

What else?

• We have a great blog up and running - you can find out a lot about our community by visiting it regularly: http://sloca.blogspot.com/
• We have updated our sponsors list as well - so many have given generously of their time and money to make the impossible become possible. Check it out at http://sloclassicalacademy.com/partners/featuredpartners.html
• We also have a new wish list, for those of you who might have stuff laying around the house or for those who like to give very practically. You can find it on, yes, our web site! See http://sloclassicalacademy.com/resources/downloadableforms.html - look at the top of the page for our Updated Winter Wish List.

We appreciate your support and interest in SLO Classical Academy. As always, if you'd like to be removed from this list, just let us know by replying to this email with "Please remove me from this list."

Have a wonderful week...

Susie Theule

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

Monday, February 25, 2008

two new tools

We've added two new tools to enhance your SLO Classical Academy online experience. . .

  1. We've added a way for you to subscribe to this blog so that you receive posts by email instead of having to manually check the blog each time you want to check up on what's going on. With an email subscription you are always up to date with the latest happenings at SLO Classical Academy. Why not subscribe right now?

    Enter your email address:

  2. We've added a new google custom search engine to the SLO Classical Academy website. What is so cool is that it not only searches the website, but also the blog. Why don't you take it for a spin right now and see what happens? We dare you. . .

Sunday, February 24, 2008

thanks to our valued partners. . .

We give thanks for our partners, individuals and organizations who are helping keep the fire and the dream alive. We couldn't do it without them. Please support our valued partners as you have the opportunity.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What do YOU know about the Luna Moth?

Its kind of turned into Dad's week here on the SLO Classical Academy blog...

If you're trying to decide if SLO Classical Academy is a fit for your family, maybe this video will put you over the edge and suck you in. SLO Classical Academy is about the whole family learning together. . . . in this case, the Moses family, led by Zak, had the chance to learn all about the Luna Moth . . .

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dads Can Make A Difference

In this "Tools of the Trade" feature from the February edition of the Scoop, Mark Greenelsh shares some neat ways that he is striving to make a difference in the education of his daughter, Hannah. . . .

At the last Parent Inspiration and Encouragement ( P.I.E.) meeting we discussed ways that fathers can help in their children's education since in most SLO Classical Academy homes, mothers are the primary homeschool teachers. Several suggestions were shared including viewing homeschooling as a lifestyle, being flexible and creative in how to achieve educational outcomes, praising and appreciating your wife for all she is able to do and not worrying about the less important stuff falling to the wayside, making a family reading time a priority, and finding a practical subject that dads enjoy and can teach their kids (like how to build something, how things work, or physical education).


One other suggestion for dads that the group wanted to share with parents that weren't at the meeting is setting a few overarching goals for your children's education and then being intentional each day in crafting those into a noteworthy composition. Your child's curricula are like the colorful threads that form a tapestry. But the goals pull the individual threads together and weave them into a beautiful design. Addressing the goals suits fathers' schedules because it doesn't necessitate knowing specifically what their child is learning academically on a particular day. Here is a simple example: one goal we have is for our kids is to become effective communicators. So we have made a point in our family of not saying the word "like" unnecessarily. Every time someone does, we stop him and ask him to rephrase his statement. We keep this lighthearted and the kids are onboard with it. They enjoy "catching" each other when it happens. Another goal we have is to become a complex thinker. So at dinner time I might select some news or an event and ask our daughters to tell me what they think about it, and if they were in charge how they would solve it or prevent it. Work on the tapestry every day, but weave it into your lifestyle. Hopefully you can brainstorm effective methods and provocative questions at work, during lunch, while commuting, or on the spur of the moment when the opportunity arises.


Following are seven educational goals we have for our family that aren't tied to a core academic outcome. We have a few more, but hopefully these are sufficient to help you establish goals for your family. The first six are goals from the high school where I teach. We felt compelled to adopt the seventh in order to gratefully acknowledge
and respond to a truth and purpose beyond ourselves. Our family wants each person to become:

* AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR One who successfully receives and imparts information through speaking, writing, reading, listening, fine arts, and technology.

One who accesses a variety of resources; looks for multiple solutions to a problem; is intellectually curious; uses creative and critical thinking; applies complex problem solving processes and critical thinking to real life.

One who uses time, resources, and technology to create excellent work.

One who makes valid judgments about what to learn, how to learn it, and assesses the result; makes wise choices considering the consequences of those choices; develops significant goals.

One who uses appropriate social skills to work effectively with people varying in gender, race, attitudes, ability, and cultural background with consideration and mutual respect.

One who contributes time, energy, and talents to improve quality of life for himself, his school and his community.

One who humbly finds his greatest pleasure in God and making God known by laying down one's life to extend God's justice, mercy, and love to others.


Dads play a vital role alongside their wives in their children's education. Your family needs you as a servant leader. Diligently finding ways to support your wife and intentionally helping your children become lifelong learners is well worth the effort. Engage your kids. Enjoy the process. Equip them through your unique strengths to make a positive impact in our world.

--Mark Greenelsh, husband to Rhonda and father to Hannah (11), Grace (5) and Weston (2). This is their first year at SLO Classical Academy; Hannah enjoys being in fifth grade.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Registration Packets Now Posted!

New student registration for the 2008-2009 School Year officially opens Monday, March 3rd, but you can download a Registration Packet today and get started filling it out. For more info and to download a packet, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dads in the Game

Michael Nowak conducts the San Luis Obispo Symphony. His daughter also attends SLO Classical Academy. He is helping us integrate classical music into our classical education. Just last week, he arranged for the SLO Symphony Music Van to come to the campus, so the students could get their hands on some instruments.

Here is a recent piece that Michael wrote for the February issue of the Scoop. . .

Classical Music - New & Old --by Michael Nowak

As Music Director for the San Luis Obispo Symphony, it is not uncommon for me to be approached by a composer who has written a work for orchestra. When the request was made on behalf of composers who had been dead for 200 years, I was more than a little intrigued.

In anticipation of our June 8, 2008 concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles which will feature the music of Cal Poly music professor, Dr. Craig Russell, I asked Craig to write a new work for violin and string orchestra to feature our mutual friend, the extraordinary violinist, Kathleen Lenski.

Dr. Russell said he would be delighted, but offered an alternative concept. "What if I use music that was written for the California Missions 200 years ago - bits and pieces that can be woven together - as the basis for this composition?" Dr. Russell is the world's leading authority on California Mission music. He has spent decades exploring church archives, discovering hidden musical treasures, even realizing entire works from mere fragments.

Craig Russell is very much like an archeologist who finds a lost city or an anthropologist who can reveal human history with a single prehistoric bone. In this instance, Dr. Russell has 'unearthed' music that was extremely popular here in California in the early 1800's at the mission communities of Santa Barbara, San Fernanado, and our nearby San Antonio. Music that was once beloved by the people who founded and grew the communities we now live in. Dr. Russell has taken this exquisite music and interwoven it with his own modern harmonic and melodic structures.

The result: "Ecos Harmonicos" (Harmonic Echoes), a work recently given its world premiere at Mission San Luis Obispo. This is music rich in historical and cultural significance and classically inspired. This is music transcending the boundaries of time, bringing together in joyous celebration, old and new.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Flickr Pic of the Week, 02.01.08

The smile of this kindergarten student says it all . . . .

Monday, January 28, 2008

Introducing "Think Outside the Box"

In our ongoing efforts to reach out to our surrounding community, we have created an informative and engaging one hour introduction to San Luis Obispo Classical Academy. This presentation is not just for families interested in enrolling their children in our program, but for anybody who is curious or interested in what we're doing and why we're doing it.

"Think Outside the Box" presentations are held at 11:00 AM every 3 weeks throughout the Spring on the following dates:
Thursday, February 21
Wednesday, March 5
Tuesday, April 1
Wednesday, April 23
Tuesday, May 6
We would love to have you join us!

For more information or to RSVP for a Think Out of the Box" presentation, email our community outreach team at communityoutreach@sloclassicalacademy.com

Edie Overduin's Experience at SLO Classical Academy

This article recently appeared in the December 2007 issue of the SLO Classical Academy SCOOP, which is now posted HERE.

After spending some time talking with Edie Overduin I realize the necessity for me to step back and redefine my baseline for busy. Laughing gently this Classical parent welcomes with ease the stresses of daily life. She humbly accepts acknowledgments of respect and proceeds to then softly shrug them off. Her household, filled to brimming with five children, leaves her with little time. She’s focused on getting everyone up, dressed, fed and out the door by 8am!

Edie heard about Classical Academy during its inception. Home schooling her two eldest children, her ear was tuned for discussions about alternative educational options. Last year the Overduin’s son Lance made the transition from 100% home schooling to our integrated system. This year his sister Sara joined him and according to Edie “they just slid right in.” The transition was pretty seamless for the family and the kids “are doing well. “Classical Academy was the first time for them in a group environment” Edie tells me. They are full of smiles, laughing, having fun and loving it.

Edie enjoys personal rewards from SLO Classical Academy as well. She has the opportunity to get to know the other parents, is thoroughly cultivating her love of books and reading by participating in the parent reading group, she’s a member of the History Day Committee, works in the classroom and performs the ever present need of yard duty. Certainly time management is a skill that this woman has perfected! She and another parent carpool to and from school each day—one does the drop off in the morning and the other the pick up in the afternoon. When she’s at full capacity, her twelve passenger van has every seat filled!

Both Lance and Sara are in Middle School and attend the Track B schedule. Edie finds that Classical Academy offers “a perfect balance, interaction with other kids and direction from other teachers.” The Overduins are another proud, happy Classical Academy Family.