Practicing the Good: Temperance - 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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Practicing the Good: Temperance

Here at SLOCA we are starting a short video series based on important concepts that are foundational to classical education. Curated by our resident History expert extraordinaire, Sarah Shotwell, this series aims to give families short prompts to encourage discussion and practice on these important virtues.

In our video series on The Good, The True, and the Beautiful, we are exploring the history, philosophy, and applications of these important classical concepts. If you haven’t done so already, check out the Series Intro and this week’s video on The Good. Then, try some of our application activities below and explore how to practice The Good at home!

As covered in the video, for the Ancient Greeks, the four cardinal virtues were Courage (facing fear and taking personal risks in the name of the Good), Temperance (moderation and self-discipline), Wisdom (objective forward-thinking to test the quality of ideas and predict the consequences of actions), and Justice (rightful action that benefits others and the community). The Greeks believed each of these virtues oriented us toward the Good, and there are small ways we can practice these virtues every day. While we have lots of ideas on how these cardinal virtues can be practiced at home, this week, we’ll focus on a very practical one that each of us can try — even little kids! Here are some ideas on how to practice temperance at home.

The Temperance Challenge

For adults and kids! To truly practice self-discipline, we do things even when they are hard! Talk to your kids about self-discipline and ask them to choose one “temperance challenge” from the following list. If they choose one themselves, they will be more motivated to follow through! Beyond the occasional gentle reminder so they don’t forget, try to let your child take ownership of this and enjoy the challenge for themselves. The goal is self-mastery — learning to stay motivated when no one else is around to do it for us! (Though we’re definitely not opposed to offering an appropriate reward at the end of the week for all sincere efforts!) 😉

Temperance challenge ideas for kids (and adults!)

  • Set your own bedtime and go to bed at the same time each night for a week
  • Exercise for 20 minutes every day for a week
  • Practice a musical instrument for 30 minutes each day for a week
  • Make your bed first thing every morning
  • Turn off all screens by 7 pm for a week
  • Place a dessert on the counter where it can be seen all day, but wait until after dinner to have some
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and write in a journal before school
  • Plan out and pack your own healthy lunch each day for a week
  • Set a financial goal. Is there something you’d like to save up for, or a charity you’d like to donate to? Ask your parents about starting a savings account, or even just get a piggy bank! Then, save some of your allowance, and give some away. This practice reinforces not just temperance, but also justice, by helping others in the community!

Did any of these activities stand out to you or you family? Please leave comments in the section below!

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