Friday, September 30, 2011

Free Friday

photo by Joy Newman

Friday already!  Remember to be Free by 5 o'clock and turn off your electronics and be really present with your family. It is often so easy to be together but not be mentally present. Let's make an effort to be in the moments together.

This weekend, Morro Bay is hosting their annual Harbor Festival from 10-6 Saturday and Sunday. There is a ticket price.  The Dinosaur Caves park in Shell Beach is having an ArtWalk on Saturday from 11AM to 4 PM.  Or perhaps a nice drive or a picnic lunch is more your thing.  Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Math Fact Album

Today we have a great math tip from Jenny Bischoff.  Jenny and her husband, Paul, have three kids--Kate (Lower Middle School), Georgia (Primary), and Calvin (Jr. Kindergarten).  This is their sixth year at SLOCA and Jenny is also the Wednesday NOL (Nice Office Lady).

We are in year 6 of our SLOCA journey, and I am finally getting around to making some of those fun extra things that I always wanted to make. Slowly, but I'm getting there. Here is a little booklet I put together for my Primary student to practice her facts as fact families. I had one of those cheap plastic 4x6 photo albums that I was about to throw away, then I decided to make some fact family cards to insert in the photo slots. Each homeschool day she writes out the equations for one fact family with a white board marker, and we work on memorizing that set of 4 facts throughout the day. It's quick and systematic, and I like that she's learning them as families, memorizing 4 facts at once by knowing how those three numbers go together. And yes, it works great in a workbox! :) I was able to get 36 cards in there (that's how many slots there are in the album I have), which is everything from 2+3 to 9+10, except 0s, 1s and doubles. (We have worked on memorizing the doubles separately, so I decided it was okay to leave them out of this book, plus they all fit perfectly that way, so it works for me!) I included some photos so you can see what I did, and I also attached a pdf of the fact family cards that I used, if you're interested in printing them and making your own booklet.

Have fun with those math facts!


photos by Jenny Bischoff

Thanks for the great idea, Jenny!  If you'd like a copy of the pdf, please email  Remember tonight, Rea Berg is leading a parent training covering our literature. You won't want to miss it! Meet at 6:30 in the Lewis Library. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's for Dinner?

photo by Joy Newman

Our good friend John introduced us to this easy, delicious recipe.  Just remember if your meat is frozen to thaw it first.  We like to use chicken thighs, but chicken legs would work as well.  Boneless is harder to cook this way as it tends to dry out.  Don't be mad at me, but there aren't really measurements with this recipe. Trust me--it will turn out!

chicken thighs or legs, skin on (we usually buy them at Costco)
seasonings such as Santa Maria style, Lawry's or Susie Q
your favorite BBQ sauce, we like Mo's Sweet Carolina's

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a large pyrex or lasagna pan (your largest, deepest dish works best) lay out the chicken in a single layer. Sprinkle liberally with your seasonings; turn the chicken over and sprinkle more seasonings.  If your chicken isn't completely thawed, this will still work.  Pour a little bit of sauce on top of the chicken--it doesn't need to be even and can be as much or as little as you like.  Cover tightly with tin foil and cook for at least 2 hours, until the chicken is falling off the bone.
2. When ready, heat BBQ and baste chicken with BBQ sauce. BBQ chicken just long enough to give it that barbecued flavor and leave grill marks.  Serve with cilantro rice and a side salad.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nature Table

You probably decorate for the holidays your family celebrates already, but have you ever considered having a seasonal nature table? It's such an easy way to bring some of the outdoors in and allow your children to take their time as they interact with various natural elements.  Keep some identification books nearby and learn the names of the trees and plants growing right in your neighborhood.  Or, perhaps setting up a corner with things collected on walks serves only as a reminder that while we are inside diligently studying Latin declensions, the quadratic formula or our ABC's, there is life outside --life that continually changes and isn't dependent upon anything we are doing.  It is exciting and invigorating to see the seasons come and go.  Perhaps a little more exciting in places where the seasonal changes are more distinct than here but still, there are changes.

To set up your own nature table find a corner, or an unused table or shelf.  Start collecting things to add--young children are especially good at finding things such as rocks, leaves and branches.  Try for items that can stand lots of handling by young hands.  Add a seasonal book or some reference material, if you wish, or just make it a place that is visually appealing.  Here are some examples from the web:

                                            1.  Winter 
                                            2. Autumn 
                                            3. Summer 
                                            4. Spring 

What items will be on your nature table this fall?

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above sites.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Magical Moment

photo by Joy Newman

Today's Magical Moment is by Joy Newman.  Joy and her husband, Cade, have three kids: Eli (Intermediate), Abraham (Kindergarten) and Esther (age 4).  This is their fourth year at SLOCA.

“Mommy, can we PLEASE read tonight?”  Before dinner is even over, this familiar plea is issued by one of our three children.  This last school year we began reading a chapter book aloud together as a family. We had heard of other families doing this and always wanted to, but it was difficult finding material suitable for all ages. Our then two-year old barely sat for books with pictures on every page, but pick a novel, even a children’s book with far fewer pictures and it became a chore.  We struggled through Charlotte’s Web, Winnie the Pooh, and Stuart Little.  It definitely wasn’t time wasted as we had never read A. A. Milne before and our oldest was certainly engrossed in the stories, but this year, we were engrossed as a family.

After much discussion between my husband and I, we decided on beginning the Little House series. My husband’s only impression of Little House was the TV series he was forced to sit through as a child when his sister insisted on watching it. We both were a little concerned that it was too “girly” for our boys and perhaps wouldn’t capture their attention and our daughter, aged 3, was too young to care. It was with trepidation that we began it and we fell in love. All of us.  My youngest may stop and interrupt every other sentence to ask for clarification or to point something out, but she is listening. She still remembers that in the second book Jack, the Ingalls’ dog was lost when they crossed the river but he found his way back to their family. She is making connections and in some mysterious way, that scene is memorable for her.  My younger son, age 5, may look like he is not listening, but when he asks questions, it is clear that he is constructing a picture in his mind, his own picture of the prairie, a place he’s never seen. My oldest at 7, can read now and he sits beside me and follows along. When I stop to answer a question, his little finger points out the exact word where I left off. My husband and I are awed reading about life on the prairie. Every morsel of food, every stitch of clothing, the chairs, everything they used or touched was the product of what we would consider physical labor.  My seemingly incessant trips to the grocery store have taken on new meaning for me as I am realizing anew the contrasts between “then” and now.

Reading together as a family on a regular basis has created an oasis for us. It’s almost sacred, our time together huddled on the sofa dirty with crumbs and fingerprints, sharing the story from a book bearing a slightly musty odor and sporting a well-loved cover.  And, it’s magical.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Free Friday

Take a deep breath.  It's Friday--the weekend is here and what better way to relax and rejuvenate than by spending time together?  Don't forget to be Free by Five--turn off your electronics by tonight at 5 o'clock!

Today is the first day of fall and Arroyo Grande is hosting their annual Harvest Festival. To experience a piece of small-town America, it's definitely worth checking out.  Have you read Lentil by Robert McCloskey? The kindergarten classes read it this week and the story takes place in a small town similar in feel to Arroyo Grande. The Harvest Festival starts tonight and continues tomorrow with a parade, food, games and lots of fun for all. Happy weekend!

photo by Joy Newman

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Singapore Math

photo by Joy Newman

Today, Lisa Ann Dillon, a Primary teacher on Track A and the Math Curriculum Coordinator, addresses questions parents have about our new math curriculum.  Lisa Ann has been teaching at SLO Classical Academy for six years.

"How are things going with the adjustment to Singapore Math?"  Ask this question of parents and students from the same class and you will get as many different answers as there are students – and then some! 

We hear you.  We understand that the transition is tough at times, that the program seems amazing but you are unsure how to best help your child, that it’s moving too quickly or not challenging your student enough.  Don’t find your answer here?  I could never fit them all in.  How then do I help each of you make the most of this transitional time?  I have tried to create a list of universal helping points but that turned out to be impossible!  Instead, I have tried to address a few issues from each level.  You can apply some or all of these tips and I believe you will find them helpful.

  1. Singapore Math is a conceptually based program.  Students must spend a lot of time with the most very basic ideas in order to develop a solid understanding which can be expanded upon in coming years.  Only by spending a great deal of time in the early years with beginning concepts, do students come to own the ideas enough to apply to many different situations.
  2. Singapore Math can’t be rushed through and lessons/levels shouldn’t be skipped.  There is not a wasted lesson!  Students should be counting constantly and should be quizzed about math facts (especially subtraction) on a constant basis.  Try making this your driving routine or what you do with your kids at the grocery store. 
  3. Once students have their facts memorized, they must begin to extend that knowledge to the tens and hundreds.  So whenever you practice a number bond – 3+4=7 for example – extend, extend, extend.  30 +40 = 70.  300 + 400 = 700 AND 33 +4 = 37, 43 + 4 = 47 AND 643 + 4 = 647  OR 643 + 14 = 653!  There are always ways to take the concept and go deeper without moving on to a new concept.
  4. When students begin working in the hundreds and thousands, it is important to use Singapore strategies rather than borrowing and carrying in the mind.  As the numbers get larger, Singapore strategies teach children to hold the concept of the number in the mind and so they can more successfully manipulate those large numbers.  Some of the strategies students will learn are called compensation, branching, composing and decomposing numbers.
  5. As students at the higher levels work to understand concepts they may not have clearly understood in younger grades – be sure to get out the manipulatives!  Don’t skimp when it comes to following the Home Instructor’s Guide on the lesson of the day.  The older students will greatly benefit from using the place value discs and base 10 blocks.  If you haven’t gotten your manipulatives yet, please see your teacher about what sets you most need at home. 
  6. Finally – read through your Home Instructor’s Guide – cover to cover!  I don’t mean that you should read each lesson in one sitting.  But you should read all of the great information that comes before the lessons, and familiarize yourself with all of the appendices so you know where to find all of the things you need.  Please be sure to print out your grids and follow them exactly to ensure that your child is ready for class each day.

I am amazed by the tenacity and sagacity of the parents at our school.  Your commitment is evident and the faculty are grateful for your patience and determination as we forge a new pathway as a community.  We really believe in you and although we know this change poses its challenges, we trust that our students will be the stronger for it.  It is apparent that as teachers and parents we are all growing too!   Here is a quote from a parent of a level 5 student:  

“I must admit, it is somewhat different from last year’s curriculum, and there has been a bit of a learning curve, but it is time well spent.  I suppose that some of the challenge was self-induced, in that I’m comfortable with numbers, having had numerous finance courses while completing graduate studies.  However, once the realization that teaching a fifth grader, was different from analyzing an equity valuation, things became much easier.  In fact, the instructor’s guide, has now become part of my reading list (my new best friend), and I know that [my student] appreciates the changes I’ve made  in presenting the information. “ 

"The growth and development of people is the highest 
calling of leadership."  ~ Harvey S. Firestone

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Skirt Steak with Warm Bean Salad
serves 4, Everyday Food June 2011

I didn't actually make the skirt steak, although I'm sure it's delicious. I can vouch for the salad that it is quite tasty and quick.   I'm sure it would be great served with a different protein, or doubled and served as a vegetarian main course.

3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces and patted dry
salt and pepper
3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 oz. grape tomatoes
1-15.5 oz can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 T plus 2 t red-wine vinegar
handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

1.  In a large skillet, heat 1 t oil over medium high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook (in batches if necessary) until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a cutting board to rest.
2. Rinse out skillet and return to heat, adding 2 t oil.  Add green beans and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to burst, about 3 minutes.  Add beans and vinegar, stirring until beans are heated through, another 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with basil.
3.  Thinly slice the steak against the grain and serve with the bean salad.

Do you plan a weekly menu? If you do, here's a fun printable for your menu.

posted by Joy Newman

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above mentioned businesses.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Parent Perspective

Parent Perspectives will show up on the blog from time to time. They are written by parents for parents to offer encouragement, tips and perspective on various aspects of home schooling.  If you'd like to participate, please email

Michelle and Tom Israel are a founding family of SLO Classical.  They are Track B and have four kids: Lucy (Freshman), Finn (7th grade), Ivy (Intermediate), and Coco (Primary).

Home Schooling Multiple Children
by Michelle Israel

Homeschooling different ages and abilities is challenging. Some folks already know the story of how I opened the front door and hurled our spelling books out because everyone hated them so much.  That was way back in the beginning, almost 7 years ago.  I wanted to check things off my list so much that I was frustrating myself and my children.  I have since learned to avoid approaching the boiling point, and tweak as I go--the list does not matter as much as I thought.  

I found it helpful to speak with each of my four children and talk about what their day might look like.  Everyone likes to know what to expect. They are all much more capable than I had given them credit for!  The younger ones start getting instruction as soon as I can get to them.  This usually means we get our 20 minutes of reading done with coffee on the couch.  Older kids can help get breakfast going in the meantime.  The poetry book, music flashcards, and memorization pieces all stay in the kitchen where we can keep it going through breakfast.  Routine is important.  Next everyone gets ready for the day and chores are done. Everyone needs to know the 2 or 3 things they can do independently.  This saves my bacon over and over again.  For my youngest, this means she can do her copy work, illustrate it, and do typing instruction while I get math going with my fourth grader.  Then we switch and I focus my Mama microscope on the next child.  The older two have plenty to do by themselves while I work with the younger two. I help the older two now if they need it. Everyone knows how to read their grid and what their independent strengths are.  If a child ends up spending more than the usual amount of time on Typer Island while I finish math or language arts with another child, the world does not crumble.  It helps to get out of the house and go for a little adventure, (my favorite).  You may not feel like it, but playing with your kids turns out to be great fun and everyone usually laughs.  Sometimes we just do errands (boring!).  Sometimes we have friends over (super fun!).

We do some of our history reading during the weekend, usually Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes we are busy and read history the next night.  This is something my husband Tom can do.  We try to talk about our history at the dinner table, maybe tie it in to something relevant in today's world.  It's all about those great conversations that occasionally happen when the children are all engaged that really hits home.  Those are special moments.

A word to all the moms out there who so naturally nurture everyone else, but themselves.  Make time for something you like to do. There really is not a knight in shining armor that will swoop you off your weary feet and take you to Calgon-land.  You must treat yourself well because you know how to better than anyone else.

Finally, the more I relaxed and surrendered to the process of being with my children, teaching them without holding on to the 'to do' list too tightly, the better it all is.  Maybe it's the passing of time that has mellowed me, but I have grown to be a more patient person with the understanding that most of the burrs under our saddles aren't worth a hoot.  It's people, relationship, and love that are worthy of our fleeting time and energies.

Thanks, Michelle, for sharing!  Tomorrow is the first campus tour of the year.  Have you invited someone? Remember that if your hair stylist or barber attends, you receive credit in the school store.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Magical Moment

Today's Magical Moment is by Mailee Sciocchetti, a Track A Intermediate student who loves reading, gymnastics and playing piano.

Mailee and Makena Sciocchetti

On Friday, September 2nd, I went on a fieldtrip to Avila Barn.  I had such a blast!  One of the first things we did was go on a hayride with my sister’s kindergarten class.  The ride was cool, looking at all the pretty plants and flowers.  Then the hayride dropped us off at the apple orchard.

At the apple orchard, we plucked dozens of apples.  We ate a few along the way.  They tasted delectable!  While we picked, my mom climbed the apple tree to get the sweeter ones.  Then my favorite part happened…

We got to make an apple pie!  And had it with ice cream on top!  It tasted so delicious!!! 

by Mailee Sciocchetti
Intermediate, second year

Friday, September 16, 2011

What We're Reading

photo by Joy Newman

Did you know that we are a community who reads?  Our reading extends beyond what is assigned for history and literature on the grid.  Our school board, leadership team and our teachers as a group are reading as well.  Isn't it encouraging to see the life-long pursuit of learning includes everyone?

The teachers, as a group, are reading either The Core by Leigh Bortins or The Great Conversation by Robert Hutchins.

The leadership team is reading  The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization by Peter F. Drucker.

The school board is currently reading
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.  This past year they also finished and discussed Machiavelli's The Prince and Dante's Inferno.   

The new dads reading group is reading and will be discussing Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.

What are you reading?  Pick one of these, or choose something else, but hop on board and join the great conversation.  

It's Friday! Don't forget to be free by five, turn off your electronics and find something special to do as a family.  There are many events in our county this weekend.  Explore the Oceano Lagoon or Black Hill Trail.  Sunday, there is the Book and Author Festival in the Mission Plaza and free concerts in the Village of Arroyo Grande and in Grover Beach. Maybe pack a picnic, bring a book and enjoy the music. Whatever you do, may you relax and refresh this weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Parent Perspective

Parent Perspectives will show up on the blog from time to time. They are written by parents for parents to offer encouragement, tips and perspective on various aspects of home schooling.  If you'd like to participate, please email

Joy Newman and her husband, Cade, have three kids: Eli (Intermediate), Abraham (Kindergarten) and Esther (age 4).  This is their fourth year at SLOCA.

What I Did This Summer
by Joy Newman

What I did this summer is read. I read two books from the summer book list (The Core and  Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America) and found myself not only educated, but inspired and convicted.  

We’ve all heard of the trivium and how the grammar stage is the time when children are easily able to memorize many facts.  I was encouraged to initiate more of this with our young children and take advantage of their spongy brains after reading The Core.  I found myself underlining so many passages in this book! (If you read it, let’s go to coffee and tawk!)

I also realized I need to be practicing, learning, challenging myself and tackling hard tasks alongside my children. Why will they believe me when I tell them hard work is rewarding when they never see me doing anything hard?  Do I try new things and model resiliency and courage?  Once I recognized my own shortfalls in this area, I determined to change--to learn alongside them, to memorize and recite poems, to learn how to draw maps, to recall the five kingdoms, to study the periodic table of elements. I should be participating with them and continuing my own journey of life-long learning.

We began simply by adding one element to our summer to-do list: memorize a poem and have a family recitation night. I felt, dare I say, nerdy for putting this on our list because who does this? We do not know anyone who has organized their own home recitation night but, we forged ahead. It took several evenings of pouring through poetry books to pick a poem of interest and of appropriate level for each person.  Then we began to memorize them. Review occurred rather sporadically, as we remembered.  Of course, the kids memorized my poem before I did because they fed me lines, but that’s okay.  We put recitation night on the calendar and had each family member stand and, with proper form, recite. Everyone had a brief moment on stage and then it was over. It took less than five minutes and we celebrated by going out to ice cream.  We have decided to carry this on and try for one recitation night a quarter.

What did I learn by doing this? I learned that memorizing is hard work! My brain does not remember as well as it used to, but I also learned that just as I tell my children, it takes practice.  Success doesn't come easily and even I felt a sense of accomplishment reciting my (short) poem.  I was also reminded of the sweetness and value in togetherness--learning together, doing together, being challenged and realizing success together.

I hope you'll forgive me but I am posting the video of my children reciting their poems. It won't take long to watch, I promise.  My husband, Cade memorized Psalm 23 from the Bible and I memorized "Afternoon on a Hill" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. We are not in the video. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday

photo by Joy Newman

Grilled Vegetables

Several years ago we tried the South Beach diet and fell in love with grilled and roasted vegetables. I don't have an exact recipe for the way we grill veggies--but you'll figure it out. I have faith in you!  Grill whatever is growing in your garden, season as you like and enjoy.

assorted fresh vegetables such as:
bell peppers, halved and seeded
zucchini or other squash, sliced into strips (thick or thin your preference)
eggplant, sliced
onion, sliced thickly
broccolini or broccoli with stems
salt and pepper
olive oil

1.  Prepare vegetables as described above.  Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper (regular or lemon pepper is great, too) over veggies and drizzle with olive oil. Mix with your hands to coat evenly.

2.  Prepare your grill (we have a gas grill so I'm not helpful with a charcoal grill) and BBQ veggies until desired level of doneness.  They are great eaten hot off the grill, or at room temperature if cooked ahead of time. I usually serve as a side with a protein and a starch.  Leftovers are great diced up and added to scrambles, tossed on a salad, layered in a sandwich with hummus, or added to pasta.

Today's kid-friendly lunch tip is from Everyday Food:  "A welcome bit of nutrition trivia: Popcorn counts as a whole grain! Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with grated Parmesan to make it even tastier."

posted by Joy Newman

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Parent Perspective

Parent Perspectives will show up on the blog from time to time. They are written by parents for parents to offer encouragement, tips and perspective on various aspects of home schooling.  If you have an idea, please email

Today we hear from Julie Theule.  Julie and her husband, Chad, are a Track A family with four kids ages 13 to 3.  

Journaling with Kids
by Julie Theule

Journaling is an important part of literacy at our house.  I love it because I have snap shots of who my kids were at particular times in their lives and I am chronicling their growing up as kids and learners.  Seeing the progress from chubby fingers, barely legible, to capable and expressive writers is heart warming for me and a blast for them to go back and read.

Around age four I started with my oldest son Kyle, who will be entering his sixth year at SLOCA as a seventh grader.   We started with simple little sentences in a sketchbook. Sometimes with prompted questions like, "Kyle, what was your favorite part of today?" would get answers like, "I liked going to the park with Ryan and riding my bike on the trail."  I would write exactly what he said.  Using both of our fingers, I could have him  "read" what I wrote by tracing over the letters.  Then he drew a picture to go with the sentence.  After doing this maybe one or two days a week,  Kyle had quite a few entries he was excited to go back and reread about himself. The pictures would jog his memory as to what the sentence was and next thing he knows he is a reader and writer and that is exciting stuff!  When kids first start learning to read and write, journals give them great confidence to move forward.

I have two other kids at SLOCA. Nate is going into 3rd grade and Julianne is going into 4th. Journaling for them is usually writing what they are excited about or thinking about at the time: what they did over the weekend, an upcoming party, sports they are into, etc. Sometimes they draw a picture and sometimes not.  Most of the time they have no problem thinking of what they want to write.  From time to time they are just not in the mood so we can talk for a bit about ideas (or attitude adjustments).   Nate’s last entry was writing an entire step-by-step itinerary for his birthday party,  including that he wanted lemon meringue pie instead of birthday cake.  I had no idea that he even liked lemon meringue pie!  Sometimes I learn things about my kids from their journals that I would have never known.

Since I want the kids to feel free to write as the words flow from their thoughts, I don’t like to critique or edit their journals.   I do however sometimes pick one thing (just one!) to point out or correct in their writing. A misspelled word, punctuation error, grammatical error, etc.  I find that pointing out only one needed correction is super helpful without deflating them as writers.
Sometimes their journals can be letters to their dad if he is traveling. I will take a picture of the journal page and email it to him and not only are they excited about sending it, but Chad feels more connected to the kids even if he is out of town.

I like the journals they sell at Lakeshore Learning Materials (I worked there in college so I am partial) because there is space both for writing and a picture. You can order them online, but any journal that has space for writing on the bottom and a picture on the top would be great.  Older kids might prefer a simple notebook or sketchbook.   I always make sure they date them.  During the summer months I don’t regularly have them write in their journals, but at least once a week the kids write letters or notes to friends or family.  I did give each child a summer journal and Julianne brought hers on our camping trip.  Each night she was up in her bunk with a flashlight writing about her days of swimming, hiking, biking, and how many s’mores she ate.  She taped on train tickets stubs and nature center stamps.  Again, it is such a delight to go back and read her entries.

Even though Kyle is twelve now he still likes to write about his life.  He is not into keeping a paper journal  but has shifted to writing entries on his blog.  Anything from legos, cooking, roller hockey, what he did over the weekend--same idea as paper but now he can share with family and friends with his own style.

I have a “barrel of monkeys” three year old in the mix as well. His chubby fingers are primed for his new journal.  Just scribbles for now, but I better get to writing down all of the hilarious things that Brady boy has to say!

Start journaling with your kids if you haven't already. I never journaled when I was a kid, but I sure wish I had a record of my young life to look back on and smile.

Thank you, Julie for sharing how journaling works in your family!
Two other tidbits: This morning at 9:30 AM, Merideth Eades will be hosting Preschool Classic Story Hour in the library. Next Wednesday at 10AM is the first campus tour of the year. Remember, invite your hair stylist or barber and earn a $10 credit in the school store!

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with Lakeshore Learning Materials.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Magical Moment

Today's Magical Moment is by Cozy Faber.  Cozy and Jeff Faber have been involved with SLOCA for 4 years.  They have two daughters, Ava and Sia who are both in the intermediate level on track B.  Cozy is also the Development Director of SLO Classical Academy.

Our family took a little trip for Labor Day this year. My husband travels quite a bit and given the time off from school for the holiday, the fact that it was his birthday and that we had not seen him for a few weeks, the girls and I decided to travel to HIM so that we could celebrate together.  

On the airplane, we did our home school--it was tight and did not look quite like it does anywhere else, but hey, I had those girls sequestered and buckled down!  We did math, we read history, we discussed, asked questions, made predictions and practiced our Socratic questioning method.  It was a truncated day, but we made it work. 

The most impactful moment of learning had nothing to do with our specific schooling effort.  It came while Sia was reading the "Spirit Magazine" from the seat pocket.  There was an ad for Las Vegas (of all places) and the Cirque du Soleil shows currently running on the strip.  One of the ads had a picture of a lady rising out of a still pool of water painted in wide zebra stripes.  Next to her was the name of the show: "AQUA."  She looked a little odd, but it certainly was an ad that pulled your attention.  Sia said to me: "Mom, this says Aqua.  That's Latin-- it means water."  She was pretty matter of fact, simply sharing this information with me.  I applauded her knowledge, of course, but it wasn't until I read the update and saw that our Latin Root for the week is "aqua" and that already-- with only one day of school-- it has made meaning in our lives. I was pretty wowed.  Gotta love this education!

Thank you, Cozy for sharing!  We're also doing our drawing for a $10 Jamba Juice gift card for signing up to receive new blog posts via email.  Lucky #3 is Wendy Dahl! Congratulations, Wendy! Look for the gift card in your family file this week.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Hopscotch Math

Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
~Carl Sandburg, "Arithmetic"

Some days, math indeed feels like this.  For the younger student, number recognition and learning math facts can seem like a chore.  The good thing is, challenges force us to be creative and look for other ways to accomplish the same goal.  Instead of using the flash cards, why not go outside and play hopscotch?  For the beginner, what a fun way to learn number recognition. Draw your hopscotch with as many or as few numbers as you wish. Call out a number and have your student stop at the right one.  Working on math facts? Call out addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problems and have your student stop on the answer.  This activity is a great way to work with several kids at once who are at differing levels. Plus, it's just plain fun!

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.  ~Albert Einstein

It's Friday!  Be free by 5 and free your family up for more fun together by being electronics free.  This weekend, downtown SLO is hosting I Madonnari, the Italian street painting festival.  Paso Robles is having their airport day from 9-3:30 pm with demonstrations, food and raffle prizes.  There is also a shaded stroll in Los Osos beginning Saturday at 10.  Whatever you choose, enjoy the weekend!