February’s Character Trait: Citizenship - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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February’s Character Trait: Citizenship

A portion of the “star spangled banner” as it looks today

Photo by Thomas Arledge, courtesy of the National Museum of American History

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Our character trait for the month of February is Citizenship:

Recognizing one’s place in the greater communities (family, school, local and country) through active service and respectful devotion to the community’s members, values, and standards.

The above image of the very American flag written about in “The Star Spangled Banner” certainly inspires citizenship, doesn’t it? Some of our SLOCA kids have been learning our national anthem, which is what brought this image to mind when thinking about this month’s character trait. Do you know the song? Mrs. Milligan recently suggested a fun activity to help your kids learn it: sing The Star Spangled Banner as a family and see who can get the farthest without missing a word. 

Citizenship is more than patriotism, however. It’s cooperation with others, obeying laws, being a good neighbor, respecting authority, and taking care of the environment. It’s getting involved and doing your part to make your community better. Whether it’s in your home, for your country or for our planet, everyone counts.

As we seek to model good citizenship as parents, and to talk about it with our children, here are a couple of citizenship activities you can try, if you are interested. They were written for a classroom, but we’ve modified them for a family (source):

Recipe for Citizenship

Materials: Your favorite cookie recipe (optional: cookies for the kids) 

Pass out a copy of your favorite cookie recipe to your children. (You also may want to include a sample cookie for them to eat while you talk). Discuss the ingredients used to make the cookies and the importance of following the recipe to ensure a delicious cookie. Ask your children to consider how the cookies would taste if you didn't follow the recipe. Perhaps left out the sugar or baked them for too long? Why is it important to follow the recipe? How is this like obeying laws in our community? Ask the kids to consider what their community would be like without rules and laws. Would it be safe? How do rules benefit our school and neighborhood? Just like we need to follow a recipe to make delicious cookies, good citizens follow and respect the laws at their school and in their community. 

Another option: Bake the cookies with your kids in advance, then talk about citizenship as you eat them together. 

The Citizen Chain

Materials: Strips of paper 

Cut several strips of paper and pass one out one to each family member. Have each person draw or write a good citizen action on their strip of paper. Make as many strips as you want to. Staple the links together and form a “citizen chain” to display in your home. Let the kids continue to add to the chain throughout the month if they think of other things that show good citizenship. Explain that in a community we are all connected and must work together to make it a great place to live.  

How do you talk about citizenship in your home? Do you have any ideas or activities to share about how to encourage good citizenship? Leave a comment below and be entered into this month's drawing for a gift certificate to the school store! Winner will be drawn next Friday. 

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