2013 Down Home Tour: Wendy Dow - SLO Classical Academy
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San Luis Obispo Classical Academy San Luis Obispo Classical Academy

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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2013 Down Home Tour: Wendy Dow

{photo by Penny Malley}

Today’s Magical Moment brings you highlights from our 3rd annual Down Home Tour, which was graciously hosted this year by three north county families. We visited their homes to see how others have set up their homeschooling spaces and were inspired and encouraged by the different arrangements, ideas and suggestions that were shared. The morning ended with a fabulous lunch catered by Colby Jacks, and lots of great discussion and time for connecting with other moms. 

Today we share our first stop on the tour, which began at the home of Wendy and Dan Dow. The Dows are a Track A family in their 2nd year at SLOCA, with children Chloe (Intermediate) and Jed (Primary). Wendy is a also a Certified Reading Instruction Specialist and director of the SLO County Academic Associates Learning Center.

Wendy does not have a dedicated homeschool room, so they do their school work at the dining table, coffee table, or anywhere they find convenient. She does have a homeschool closet – a hallway closet where she stores her workboxes, supplies, math manipulatives, posters, and extra activities:


{photos by Penny Malley and Jenny Bischoff}

The workbox system that Wendy uses for her children is modified to fit their space. She uses a set of tall rolling drawers for each child, which store nicely in her homeschool closet and can be wheeled out to the dining table each night before a homeschool day. 

{photo by Penny Malley}

The drawers are labeled by subject, and inside each drawer are all the materials each child requires, including a “Done” label they can stick to the front of the drawer when they are finished. If written instructions are needed, Wendy includes a laminated index card written in wet-erase marker (an idea Jill Talley gave us last year!).

{photo by Penny Malley}

Wendy started a timeline this year, using her long hallway as a perfect place to have a cork board mounted for just this purpose:

{photo by Penny Malley}

Their timeline even has a photo of her husband Dan standing in front of the ziggurat of Ur – what a great connection to our ancient history studies!

{photo by Jenny Bischoff}

A great idea Wendy shared with us is her storage system for school work that she wants to save. She let her kids pick out fun duct tape, and they taped together 2 poster boards on 3 sides, making a giant pouch. This works beautifully for storing large art projects and any other special keepsakes from the school year:

{photo by Jenny Bischoff}

One other handy tip Wendy mentioned is that she sets timers on her phone during homeschool days to remind her to stop for a snack or break. Sometimes we can be in such a hurry and it’s too easy to push through and keep going (for ourselves), but our kids really benefit from regular breaks. 

Thank you so much, Wendy, for opening up your home, feeding us with coffee, tea and delicious muffins, and sharing what works for you! The group was definitely inspired by your encouragement and ideas.

Join us next Monday for the second stop on the Down Home tour…

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