sloCAHS: Soft Skills for a Hard World - 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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sloCAHS: Soft Skills for a Hard World

As we continue our SLO Classical Academy High School (sloCAHS) series here at Down Home, today we have some compelling words from Chuck Smith, a long-time SLOCA parent and member of our Board of Directors. Chuck and his wife Geri have two children at SLOCA on Track A: Cami (Junior in High School) and Coco (UMS). Here are his observations about our high school program:

SLOCA High School's Open House

If you missed SLOCA's High School open house this past fall, let me first say that it is highly unusual to see a group of high school students who are so knowledgeable, enthusiastic about school, supportive of each other, eloquent in their communication, and yet humble about what they know. (Good news – there is another Open House in February!) As a dad who graduated from Cal Poly, these high schoolers possess more wisdom, understanding and communication skills than I did after 5 years of college. As a business owner, they all have the capability to be first rate employees now. How is that even possible?

A Unique SLOCA Interconnection Learning Program: 1,2,3

These amazing results are because SLOCA has uniquely fashioned a different system of interlocking educational methods. Everyone knows what the educational system has become—a fill in the bubble test mixed with “teach to the test” cookie cutter educational experiences. SLOCA's program, on the other hand, is custom-designed for today's real world using classically proven instruction techniques combined with small class size, a hybrid university style schedule and remarkable teachers who are at SLOCA because they love teaching.

1. Seriously, Socrates?

SLOCA's teachers use a Socratic teaching method in a dynamic small group environment. These small groups are constantly rearranged and reconfigured to study, communicate and solve various intellectual challenges and questions pitched at students by their teachers. By rotating leadership in these small groups, the students each learn soft skills such as leadership, small group dynamics, management, and the ability to come to an optimized group solution.

2. Classical Education – University Style

This classical education – university style, creates students who learn to self-motivate and self-regulate their education and scheduling process. Instead of being spoon fed education 5 days a week, this educational process requires SLOCA students to learn to study on the off-school days. This teaches diligence, discipline, goal setting, scheduling, organization, and pacing that prepares them for college and for life. This self-direction also enhances the chance students discover a love of learning for life. What these students learn is not just acquired to pass the next test.

3. Soft Skills – SLOCA Expectations and a Compelling Drive for Excellence

Excellence, flexibility, creativity, communication ability, leadership, organization and enthusiasm are known in the business world as “soft” skills.   How can you test for these? Standard testing, such as True / False, multiple choice and even essays do not confirm these abilities. It is in the quality of outcomes, like the first revolutionary iPhone, which demonstrates successful soft skills. SLOCA teachers and staff spend hours selecting the world's best literature written for each period of history. Teachers see that their students are genuinely working towards personal excellence because they know their students well thanks to small class size and the Socratic method. Teachers are hired for their enthusiasm, care and knowledge. SLOCA's drive for excellence selects for exceptional teachers who have these traits and can pass them on.

Why is a “Soft Skill Set” Education Important?  

The job markets of today and tomorrow require very different skills than the production line jobs of the past. Even the high production exporting and educationally motivated Germany is faced with challenges regarding employee productivity. Siemens, a very successful German company, is investing $135,000 per apprentice to increase productivity. Because “…production processes have become more susceptible to innovation…the company now emphasizes “soft” skills, such as how to build teams and divide tasks efficiently, which remain helpful even if the processes change.” (economist.com)

This educational process is what SLOCA high school students experience in almost every class while they learn specific subjects integrated into history. They practice team building, they learn to divide tasks efficiently, they rehearse and critique writing and verbal communication skills and they do all this in a supportive and motivating environment. As one current SLOCA High Schooler says, “small group skills are burned into our brains.” With a SLOCA student's education and well-practiced skills complete, a recent graduate of SLOCA said:  “college is easy for me, but all my roommates are scrambling.”

What better foundation can we as parents provide our teenagers in this rapidly changing world?

Thanks, Chuck, for sharing these observations and your insight about what’s needed in the business world. Our high school kids will be well prepared for their future! 

You are invited to attend our sloCAHS Open House

Monday, February 3rd, 7:00 PM

This will be a fun evening for students to experience a physics lab, watch the summit, and hear more from the teachers.  

Invite Friends!

Parents Welcome

Click here to RSVP

Also, we are offing a FREE GIFT: A sloCAHS Red Hoodie Sweatshirt

Eighth graders who register for sloCAHS during the month of February will receive a free red sloCAHS hoodie (If already purchased, store credit).

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