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

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.

Friday, January 25, 2008

2008/2009 school year tuition schedule now posted

New Student Registration for the 2008/2009 school year opens March 3rd. Our desire is to make San Luis Obispo Classical Academy as affordable as possilble for all who might be interested. At the same time, we are committed to not only surviving, but thriving here in our Central Coast community. With both these aims in mind, the Board of Directors have announced the 2008/2008 Registration Fees and Tuition Schedules, which have now been posted on the website HERE.

a full-contact sport

We are learning to explain participation at SLO Classical Academy as "a full contact sport" and "a lifestyle." Those who surrender and see it as such have a much richer experience.

Here's a great example of what we mean. . . this is our living room, being taken over with giant Sticky Notes filled with character descriptions and sketches, and unknown vocabulary words from our latest historical fiction book I, Juan De Pareja, based on the real-life relationship between the Spanish artist Diego Valazquez and his slave Juanico.

And so, our kids not only are reading great literature, they're surrounded by it. . . . and so are we. Along the way, they are learning history and vocabulary, but also thinking about character. . . who these people are, and who they themselves will be. And so are we!

Its taken a while to get used to this kind of thing around our home, but the impact and life integration are undeniable.

Every family has got to figure out how the SLO Classical Academy lifestyle looks and works for them, but surrendering to the process is vital.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

1.23.08 Weekly Update

Each week, enrolled families receive a Director's Weekly Update email. Here is this week's Update . . .

"Why do you do this, Master, this copying?"
"Why, the King has ordered some copies. And besides, I learn from them. How better? It is like taking a lesson from a master of the past. I copy his colors, his shadows, his draperies. It is as if he were there, at my shoulder, guiding and teaching me."

~ From I, Juan de Pareja

Dear Parents -

In a nutshell, the above quote represents our belief that things like copywork and reading great literature is so important in a child's education. We are providing opportunities for our kids to learn from masters - master writers - by copying their work literally and in their own writing as they develop. What they take in, what they hear and read and copy, will all affect what comes out of their minds, their hearts, and their pens! How exciting to have so many great teachers available to us!

Here's the news of the week. Thanks for taking time to stay updated!

Parents at SLO Classical Academy

Kate Scott is doing well in her recovery, but has a long way to go! If you'd like to send a note of encouragement and support, you may do so at Tiverton House, 900 Tiverton Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024, c/o Kate and Mike Scott.

Parent Partnership Meeting - just a reminder we have a mandatory meeting this Thursday, January 24th from 7:00-8:30 p.m . Only one parent representative from each family needs to be there. We will cover registration for next year as well as some ongoing vision and "family" business. There will be time for Q & A. We appreciate your partnership with us and really need you to be there in order to maximize this partnership. If you cannot attend, please let me know at my directors email address. Thank you!

Tuition Exchange - We are looking for a qualified parent or individual to provide enrichment to our Track A Kindergarten class from 11:50-1:30 each school day in exchange for tuition. We have had a parent doing that on Track B for a year and a half and it has worked wonderfully. If interested, please contact me at as quickly as possible.

Volunteer opportunities - Wow! What a great response we got to helping out with the parent meeting! Thank you!
• We could use a father or father/mother team to load up some extra computer and electronic equipment we have laying around before next Tuesday.
• We are still looking for 1-2 parents to help with our Parent Information Nights for potential parents starting in February. We will need help with set up, take down, and we would truly love to have a parent testimony or 2 at each as well. We have found that parents really appreciate hearing from parents. Doesn't have to be fancy or perfect - just sharing from the heart.
• One more need for those parent info nights is someone who knows sound a bit. We need to record one of the evenings. We're looking to borrow the equipment as well - if you have the equipment or the expertise, we could use your help!
If interested, let Camille know at . Thank you!

Receipts for deductions - We have sent out receipts for all donations of $250 - if you have not received one, please let us know and we will get one to you. If you want a receipt for smaller donations, we can provide a receipt, but keep in mind that you may claim donations under $250 w/o a receipt as long as you have record of the donation with a back record or cancelled check.

Education at SLO Classical Academy

School holidays - I apologize for the school's mixed messages on the President's holiday dates. We are taking off the official national date of Feb. 18th, and thus the 19th as well. We will be in session the 11th/12th.

Correction! Because school is not in session on Feb 18 and 19 - Enrichment Classes will not meet on those days.

Hip Hop - 4 weeks - Jan 28/29 - Feb 25/26 (no class on Feb 18/19)
Monart - 6 weeks - Jan 28/29 - March 10/11 (no class on Feb 18/19)

Sign-up sheets are in the office. Please note that payment for Anam Cre' pottery classes should made to Anam Cre', all other payments to SLOCA with a note "Enrichment Classes" on the check.

Academy Classes:
Academy Class Session 3 starts this Friday 1/25 (except for Monart which is a 5 week class and begins on Feb 1).
There are a few spots left in a few classes, if still interested, e-mail

Events at SLO Classical Academy

SLO Classical Schwag is back! We will be selling that great school apparel on the 30th and 31st after school. Some items will be available for purchase and orders will also be taken!

The Art of Storytelling, February 9th from 9-12 at school with Zette Harbor! Suzette (Zette) Harbour, one of our parents, is a traditional storyteller who has shared and taught storytelling for over 15 years. Drawing from the abundant reservoir of multicultural folktales, Zette has been a featured performer at festivals and a guest speaker for conferences and retreats whose stories have been aired on NPR, KCBX and KVEC. Her teaching experience includes Cuesta College For Kids, Cal Poly Extended Education, Arts in Social Studies - Lucia Mar and various independently produced workshops. She has been an Artist-In-Residence with the Children's Creative Project and her solo performance, Full Moon Stories & Beach Walk, was reviewed by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Parent Information Nights - Please let your friends know that our first informational night for prospective parents will be on February 5th. In addition, packets for new parents will be available mid-February and open registration begins at the start of March.

Math Celebration! Plans are in the works for our all school event of the trimester - this time we will be celebrating math, encouraging kids and families to enjoy and appreciate math and its history. We will keep you informed as plans unfold, but reserve the evening of March 6th from about 6-8.

Community Events

Cal Poly Music Ensemble will perform centuries old music that the madrigal composed in honor of Queen Elizabeth on January 26th. Cost is $13.00.

SLO Symphony is hosting their FREE no tie concert on Saturday, February 2nd at 1 p.m. This is an amazing opportunity in our community to expose your child to wonderful, live music that they may not choose to listen to on their own. For more information, go to

Did You Know...

We have a blog? Check it out at

Have a great short week - Susie

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"People Don't Read Anymore"

So says Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, in a recent interview with the New York Times while commenting on Amazon's Kindle Electronic Book Reader . . .

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”
Though Jobs may be correct and the data seems to support his statement, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy exists because we believe reading is a vital and necessary skill for young people to acquire.

For more, check out this article entitled "Kindle That Reading Glow: Is a new technology cutting-edge if consumers are losing the skill to use it?" by Janie Cheaney. . .

E-books made their debut about a decade ago, with confident predictions that paper pages would soon be considered quaint. Imagine a device called a "reader," about the size of a Danielle Steele novel, which could hold up to 20 volumes. The text was downloaded from the publisher to a personal computer, and then to the reading device, where one could adjust the font size and glare to one's individual need or taste. The industry was abuzz: No less a luminary than Stephen King published an e-novel, to great fanfare. "In 10 years," I heard one e-publisher say, while hoisting a traditional volume, "what need will anyone have for this?"

Hubris has its cost, and e-publishing lost that round. And the next, and the next, as the future never did seem to arrive. Last year's Sony Reader debuted in time for Christmas (how many debuts did that make?) and failed to revolutionize the reading habits of America. Book lovers just love books—their feel, their smell, their appearance on the shelf in spiny rows—and most fell in love at an early age. How can a black plastic box replace those hours of sitting on a parent's lap, turning the pages of Goodnight Moon? Besides, the two-step download was awkward and screen-reading was hard on the eyes.

But that was before introduced its Kindle reader. Imagine a device smaller than a James Patterson paperback, with free wireless access, which can hold about 200 volumes directly downloadable from the Kindle store at less than half the cover price. Included are the New Oxford English Dictionary, electronic access to Wikipedia, and a keyboard for searching text and making notes in the margins. The screen glare is gone, replaced by "electronic paper" technology that's easy on the eyes. And—a bookseller, after all—boasts four times the number of titles that Sony did: about 90,000 so far, plus several top newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

Complaints from users are mostly related to design flaws, such as large buttons on the side that are too easy to push, making for accidental page turns. Still, the Kindle page at glows with warm reviews from authors and readers alike, and even book lovers are curling up with a Kindle now and then for the sake of convenience. Design errors can be easily corrected, and once they are, the perfect e-book technology may have finally arrived.

Ironically, though, the perfect time may have already passed. The real problem is that the number of readers—the organic kind, not the electronic—declines every year. According to a report released last November by the National Endowment for the Arts, fewer adults read for pleasure. And reading comprehension scores continue to fall among students, especially (and disturbingly) in high school.

Some academics at top universities have disputed that finding: What about all the time spent on the internet these days? Isn't much of it taken up with processing words, both reading and responding? Yes, but the quick skim, gut reaction, and rapid reply that forms most internet communication is not the same process as absorbing and chewing over the ideas in a book—or even the plot turns in a story.

Universal literacy is an accomplishment that only became possible with the invention of the printing press, and was only achieved within the last 200 years. Technology marches on, and the irreversible trend is toward the visual, not the verbal. The Kindle Reader looks cutting-edge, but it's still words on a page. It can't enhance or improve upon a skill that the consumer must bring to it—and fewer consumers are willing to develop that skill.

More critically for, indifferent readers aren't likely to shell out $400 for a device that doesn't even display animated color graphics. The high demand that usually lowers prices for laptops, iPods, and Blu-rays may not materialize this time—sad to think of Kindle on the shelf beside Milton and Montesquieu, a few years hence, placidly collecting dust.

Andrew Pudewa Coming Events

Andrew Pudewa, the Founder and Director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, also sits on our Classical Advisory Board and has one of his children enrolled at SLO Classical Academy. Andrew has been kind enough to lecture on a variety of topics here at SLO Classical Academy. (CLICK HERE to listen!) He is an excellent communicator and worth the drive to these nearby Southern California events where he will be speaking. . .

1. Ventura, CA - February 23, 2008 :
The Catholic School and Classical Education

2. Alta Loma, CA - February 28-29, 2008:
Classical Conversations - FREE Practicum on Classical Education

3. Murietta, CA - February 29-March 1, 2008:
"Freedomship" Education - A New Paradigm
High School Essay Intensive - SAT & College Application Essays

Check out the Institute for Excellence in Writing website more more information.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Parent Information Meetings now scheduled

New Student Registration for the 2008/2009 school year begins March 1st. Attendance at one of our Parent Information Meetings is required as part of the registration process. These meetings provide a thorough and vital introduction to family life at San Luis Obispo Classical Academy. So far, Parent Information Meetings have been scheduled as follows:
  • Thursday, February 5, 7:00 PM in Room 2

  • Thursday, March 5, 7:00 PM in Room 2

  • Tuesday, April 1, 7:00 PM in Room 2

Though RSVPing is not necessary, we'd love to know if you're going to join us. Drop us an email at

The Parent Information Meeting page on the website has also been updated to reflect this information.