History This Week: Greek Myths - 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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History This Week: Greek Myths

Happy Monday and last week before Winter Break! Today we have a guest post from Josh Ronda, SLOCA alum and videography intern. Josh has been working on the Ancient Greece Gods and Goddesses piece for our Brass Tacks literature overview series. Today he reflects on coming full circle from being a student discovering Greek myths for the first time, to creating something for the next generation of SLOCA students. I hope this might inspire some creative projects over Winter Break, and if you haven’t already downloaded his poster from the grids, I hope you download it and display it somewhere in your homeschool space!


When I was a kid (or more of a kid than I am now) I would ask my dad to tell “pretend stories” or “made up stories” all the time. My parents had been reading aloud to me since I could remember, but there was nothing quite like a good ol’ made-up-story. Hearing stories and seeing them created was inspiring to me. My family had multiple volumes of Grimm Brothers tales, Aesop’s fables, Hans Christian Anderson’s stories, and other miscellaneous fairy tale books. To that collection I often tried to add my own stories: stapled together comic books I had drawn and short stories, lasting sentences long and scribbled in pencil or crayon.

 

In second grade, I started going to school in the houses and garages of a few different families who were a part of this new little collective: the SLO Classical Academy. As part of a historical rotation, my first year was spent studying the ancients. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all had rich, thrilling cultures with unique and sometimes absurd practices. But to me, the most captivating part of these ancient peoples were the myths and stories they produced.

 

Something excited me about the strange relationships and detailed powers of the gods and goddesses that these cultures worshiped. I loved reading their stories, studying their myths, and learning their customs. These myths found their way into my extracurricular reading as well in the form of the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. These young adult novels brought Greek mythology to the modern day, and inspired so many kids and young adults with the question: what if these characters were real? How would they look in the modern age? Having studied these myths in school, it was particularly exciting when I could recognize the hidden details that reflected Riordan’s own study of these myths.

One of the earliest assignments I can remember, and one of my favorites, was a project where each student had to create a game based around the Greek Pantheon. I ended up hand drawing my own monopoly spin-off, “Greek Mythopoly.” Each space had a unique reference to the stories that came from ancient Greece. “Boardwalk” and “Park Place” were now “Mt. Olympus” and “The Underworld.” Over my time as a student at SLOCA, I would write numerous short stories and poems using characters from ancient Greek mythology, and I became familiar with the representations of those characters and their lives. Learning about these legends every four years trained my eyes and ears to see and hear references to the myths in art, literature, and movies.

I graduated from SLOCA in 2016 and started attending Cal Poly. Somewhere along the line I did some contract work for SLOCA as a videographer which led into a part-time job filming and editing videos. Over the past couple years, my job title expanded to include some illustration and animation as part of the work I would do for SLOCA. As we talked about reviving a video series that had been paused for a while, the Greek gods and goddess were mentioned as being a good fit for the format of our Brass Tacks literature overview series.  As part of a two part video series, I was tasked with animating short character visuals for each god and goddess that the series would cover. In addition to this, still frames of each character would be used in a compilation poster of the gods and goddesses described. I was excited to rely on all my previous knowledge of these characters (plus some new knowledge) to create these drawings.

 

There is something special about being a part of a creative cycle and I hope that the videos and illustrations that SLOCA produces inspire students to make their own versions of the characters. Maybe you imagine Zeus and Hera differently than I did. I am no Rick Riordan, and there’s a lot of better illustrators and animators than me, but I am grateful to be able to visit these myths again in a new way and hopefully share my own excitement for these ancient stories. As I am starting to wrap up my work for this project, I wonder: how long until these myths work their way back into my life again?

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