Helpful Hacks: Life! - 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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Helpful Hacks: Life!

Welcome to another post in our Helpful Hacks series. Today is about Life Hacks! Simple habits or tricks from our SLOCA community to make life easier, more time efficient, or reduce stress.

Click here for earlier posts in our Helpful Hacks series.

What is your favorite ‘life hack?’


  • Pamela: Twice a month, I call a “Family Calendar Meeting.” When I can, I provide a delicious treat. Everyone brings their calendar and/ or device, and we just look ahead to what’s coming up in the next few weeks. Many surprises, but better to find out now than first thing that morning! As the kids have grown older and taken on more independent work, this has become more and more helpful. And it helps the kids be more proactive.
  • Janvi: My favorite hack is that I read “BHAGWAD GITA” and also explain I to my students in simple words using easy phrases and relevance in daily life of truth and honesty. This relieves my stress and anxiety about what’s going to happen next , because I know that I just have to do my work, perform my duties in the best possible way and to reward is the job of God. This theory is called “NISHKAAM KARM” in Bhagwad gita.
  • Cheryl: Creating space, when needed, for me to regroup. I think this should be built into each home day. Perhaps it is the introvert in me but this has give me, as the main home educator, the breather I need for those difficult days. It doesn’t have to be long – 5 minutes, maybe 10, or if your student can be independent for longer periods, take advantage of some mid-day quiet time!!!
  • Stephanie: I cook “double dinners.” This can be: a pasta sauce enough for two meals and then just making fresh pasta on night two; Indian curry with fresh rice for the second night; BBQ meat or chicken that turns into tacos for the second dinner; ground taco meat with fresh veggies and tortillas the second night; etc.!
  • Susan: Our very favorite family life hack, which we totally live by is a Buddha saying,”before enlightenment chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” In other words, no matter what, you got to take care of the basics.
  • Stacey: I ask the kids (in addition to chores/expectations) to choose some way they can be helpful. They each just pick something they WANT to help with. It feels less like a chore for them and then extra things get done around here! 🙂
  • Tessa: I prep for school days (and my work days) the night before. Clothes picked out, lunches made, and everything on the counter ready to go. Less stress in the long run not worrying about forgetting something or rushing.
  • Jennifer: “I’ll do it in the morning” is the most regrettable thing I tell myself. Pack lunches, backpacks, get gas, etc. the day before.
  • Sarah: Gratitude. Being grateful everyday for the opportunity to be with my kids.
  • Robin: Organization is the key to my sanity.
  • Catherine: Letting go of the idea of perfection.
  • Deena: Pray first!
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Bonus Hack: words of wisdom


  • Robin: Summer is our time for learning things that have not received enough focus during the busy school year time. Some summers we’ve focused on learning how to do laundry, cooking, how to care for home/property, home maintenance, project building, how to bbq, car upkeep, penmanship, scripture memory, hiking/outdoors time., etc with the intention that when the kids leave our home they will have learned all the necessary skills to take care of themselves and their home. Last summer, with lockdown, one goal was to find hidden or less frequented places around the central coast. I’ve lived here since the 1970s and we managed to find several things that were new to me. I’m not convinced the kids actually like “summer things” but I think eventually they will appreciate the skills they’ve learned. There are a couple spaces (like a horizontal area in dining room, tiered tray in kitchen, etc) that the decor gets changed regularly. The kids learn that each season/ holiday has colors that are associated with that season plus other symbols of the season. When they join me to switch things up we talk about design concepts like rule of three, varying levels, eye vision flow, etc. It’s been fun to see what they associate with each change of mood, weather, season, holiday, etc., plus what objects they find and choose to group together to bring ambiance to our home.
  • Janvi: For a healthy and fit lifestyle it is equally important to practice mindfulness and spirituality. Because a healthy body is where resides a healthy mind.
  • Sarah: Be intentional with your day. I find filling out my calendar for the week to be very grounding.
  • Tessa: When life gets busy, and stressful and you feel overwhelmed, find some perspective.
  • Susan: Life doesn’t just happen for us, “fail to plan, plan to fail”.
  • Catherine: Be kind to yourself, this is a tiring journey!

Thank you to all of our SLOCA community contributors! I hope you find these helpful as we countdown to the end of summer and start preparing to go back to school. Please add any additional tips you may have in the comment section below!

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