Spring Fever in January - 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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Spring Fever in January

{all photos by Joy Newman}

Here at Down Home we’ve been discussing motivation and mid-year struggles lately. Two weeks ago Wendy Dow shared her bumpy re-entry into homeschooling after the long break. Last week Jill Talley encouraged us to connect with each other to help rekindle the homeschool fires. Today another SLOCA mom, Joy Newman, shares an unplanned but highly memorable home day that will inspire you as well. Joy and her husband Cade are a Track A family in their 6th year at SLOCA, with children Eli (LMS), Abraham (Primary), Esther (Primary) and Ezra (2 years old). Here is Joy’s experience from a couple of weeks ago:

I’ve had spring fever this week. Yes, spring fever in January, but it is 80 degrees outside.  Today, I decided to surprise the kids and feed the fever.  We dropped off my youngest at his preschool at 9AM. I secretly packed up our history and literature reading for the day.  After a quick stop at the donut shop, we headed for the beach. We spread out the blanket and read about the Olympics and the Trojan War.  There was even time for the kids to jump off the sand dunes while I sat and soaked up the beauty of our coastline.

Lest you dismiss this blog post and me as someone who does stuff like this all the time, don’t!  I’ve been homeschooling for six years now and this is the first time (yes, first!) we have ever taken school out of the house and left the kitchen table.  It always seemed like so much work to pack up everything and go elsewhere. Since I’m typically an all-or-nothing girl, I always thought that if we left the house, we needed to do everything before coming home to make it worth the effort. Today, I was able to see that we had a little over an hour before piano lessons and that an hour of sun and sand would be a worthwhile investment and shake things up for us in a positive way.  I gave myself permission to do some school at the beach and leave the rest for home. I gave myself permission to deviate from the usual and try something new.  I gave myself permission to not begin with math! 

The reality is, our day has taken a little more time than usual, and that’s okay. Today, I have given myself permission to be okay with that, too.  

Thank you Joy! We need to hear this, don’t we? Shaking things up, even for an hour, can completely change our attitudes and boost that homeschool optimism. It is so helpful to have a few handy ideas to try when we just need something different.

To add to our homeschool motivation toolbox, here are a few ideas contributed by SLOCA parents that have helped them (and their kids) renew their love of learning. But as always, no pressure – this is by no means another “to-do” list, but merely suggestions to help keep you going:

  • As in Joy’s experience above, sometimes it helps to switch things up. You might change the order or the place or something about the home days.  Instead of flashcards, use wrap-ups. Do math after lunch instead of first thing, do literature and history reading in your pjs, try writing outside, etc.
  • Put up a poster or two about Ancient Greece (or Rome, next trimester). Or buy a few new supplies, like markers, stickers, watercolors, glitter… something the kids would look forward to using on home days.
  • Check out some supplemental books from the library. (See our password-protected parent resources page for a link to SLOCA’s Supplemental Literature Lists. There are lots of options for the Ancients!) 
  • Pick a book for yourself from the summer or supplemental reading lists. This often helps parents engage in what we're learning. A few suggestions: The Alexander trilogy by Mary Renault, one of the Novels of Ancient Rome (mystery series) by Steven Saylor, Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz, or Till We Have Faces (a retelling of Cupid and Psyche) by C. S. Lewis.
  • Plan an easy but special home project. For example, last trimester the Newman family mummified a chicken. Joy said it didn't take up a lot of time at home so it was a good choice.
  • Just begin again. If you didn't do a home timeline last trimester but wanted to… start now. Did handwriting fall through the cracks last trimester? Start again. It’s never too late to move forward.
  • Most importantly, breathe and remind yourself why you have chosen this journey. Pause and really look at your kids. Are they engaged, interested, enjoying school? That is motivating in itself! 

Please share any additional tips that you’ve found useful, in the comments below – our community of parents is one of our best resources!

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