Family Culture - 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.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
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Family Culture

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Happy New Year! As we begin another year (can it really be 2014 already?!? It sounds so futuristic…), many people are drawn to making resolutions of one kind or another. Making healthy changes is certainly worthwhile, but rather than talk about resolutions per se, today I (Jenny) want to share in a more personal voice some ideas I’ve been encouraged by lately. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about family traditions, and creating an inviting family culture. Just as we desire to captivate our children through a rich, classical education, we also want to capture their hearts and strengthen family bonds through a rich and connected home life. You are probably doing this now in many ways, so let today’s post affirm the family culture you are already creating. Your family is incredible in many unique ways!

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I recently read a blog post that addressed this topic. The article is written by Sally Clarkson and contains Christian content, but many of her ideas are universal and inspiring for all families. Regarding keeping kids connected to the family as they grow, she writes:

“We make our own family culture and traditions and community and home pleasure stronger, more powerful and more fun, and more satisfying, than that of the world culture that is calling out to them. Personal relationship must be cultivated through all the traditions–not dependency on time-filling media at the center, but focussed, deep relationships that say, “I love you. I know you. I validate you. I am listening to you and I care for your thoughts and dreams… “

Sally talks about how a family culture is comprised of all the little rhythms of life that make up our days and years together. Here are a few examples of elements from her family culture that might resonate with you, inspire you to start a new tradition, or just make you smile:

  • daily afternoon tea, coffee or hot chocolate
  • candlelight dinners together 

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  • piles of book baskets and magazine everywhere
  • loud daily discussions on every topic
  • back scratches
  • homemade treats for kids and their friends
  • saturday night pizza and movie
  • sunday morning feast
  • reading aloud in the evenings
  • game nights
  • seasonal parties and treasure hunts (car and scavenger hunts for teens)
  • birthday morning cinnamon rolls

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  • pouring words of life and appreciation on birthdays
  • family hikes every month
  • whole family support for recitals, tournaments, awards ceremonies, sports activities
  • rite of passage teen dinner

We all have these special “things we do in our family.” In our home we do some of the above as well as silly things like Daddy Playground, where the younger kids climb and play on dad almost every night, or Family Roll Call which we do when we all get in the car together and usually someone answers “not here” or “in Hawaii” or they make up additional members of our family, etc.

{Daddy Playground – photo by Jenny Bischoff}

As Sally put it, all of these elements of family culture create “invisible threads from our hearts to our children’s.” I love that. 

I also love that our SLOCA hybrid model and schedule allows the time and space for this kind of family bonding to happen, and for us to really know each other. I appreciate how our program is strengthening relationships through learning together, building character, and placing a priority on family time. It’s a lot of work, and there are seasons where we may feel too busy, or just not really into it. But eventually the motivation returns, the schedule lightens up, and we realize that those connections, those priceless “invisible threads” are still there and worth the effort.

So as we enter this last week of our break, maybe take a moment to think about your family culture, and celebrate the unique, fun, occasionally crazy life you and your family enjoy together. Just for fun, share one of your silly (or inspiring) family traditions or routines in the comments below! 

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