A Day in the Life - Full Time Program Edition - 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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A Day in the Life – Full Time Program Edition

Happy Friday! Today we have a guest post from our amazing Primary/Intermediate Learning Leader, Will McCurdy. As the Full Time Hybrid program is new to SLOCA this year, we here at Down Home thought it would be a nice idea to get a sneak peek into what their home days on campus look like. Take it away, Will!

7:50 AM

As I make a U-turn on Grand Avenue and pull into the SLOCA parking lot, I can’t help but yawn as I struggle to replace my usual morning coffee with a simple glass of water. I listen to the last minute of a podcast about the esoteric intricacies of the 1980’s Polish social and labor movement “Solidarność.” 

7:57 AM

I fumble for my keys as I struggle to carry two new Squishmallows (one giant Grogu and one bulldog), two tubs of Crayola air-dry clay, my bag, and my lunchbox. After grudgingly deciding to put things down, I am able to open the door to the SLOCA library which is where the Full Time Program (FTP) currently calls home. Before being able to make it to our study rooms, I have to wheel out our wooden backpack cart that also houses six gray yoga balls, a broken yet still useful piece of chalk, a few stranded, unclaimed water bottles and a left behind sweatshirt. 

8:02 AM

While settling down in the first study room, I open my computer and pull up the gridwork checklist which I make for the students daily. These checklists help the students keep track of all their daily work and repeat any essential information from the weekly grids that their teachers create. As I wait for the Google Doc to finish loading, I flip to the “Mental Math” pages for the day and get them ready to copy. I then send off my Primary and Intermediate checklists to print, one copy for each student. After picking up my prints and making copies, I sort each document and place them in their respective study rooms so they are ready when the Primary and Intermediate students arrive.

8:15 AM

I meet my students at the small playground in our spot next to the barn-red shed. There already is Jett, quietly still waking up, and John, full of energy and attempting to climb on the bare tree branch that looks suspiciously delicate. After making sure John gets safely back down to the ground, we listen to Mrs. Wallace’s morning announcements and learn more about our character trait for the month which is “Citizenship.” After saying the Pledge of Allegiance, we head back to our room for our morning warm up.

8:30 AM

In the “Rug Room,” which is the endearing name we give to the library’s main book room due to the large multicolored rug on the floor, we look to Hannah to ask today’s “question of the day.” Sparked by our new class Squishmallows, she asks, “What is your favorite stuffie at home?” We all share our meaningful stories about receiving our stuffed animals and why they are important to us and afterwards we break into our grade groups. Our three primary students go with Ms. Nicki and the six intermediate students go with me to our different study rooms.

8:40 AM

We begin with our math work as I review the lesson from the “Home Instructor’s Guide” with our Level 3 students first. We first complete the textbook pages and then move onto our workbook. In the meantime, Level 4 students head back to the rug room to work together on memorizing their new poems for the upcoming recitation night. When Level 3 students finish their math, they will do the same.

9:10 AM

As Level 3 is completing their math workbooks on their own, I begin reviewing the math lesson with the Level 4 students. As they begin their independent math work, I move around to help both levels with any questions they have. After completing what seems like 200 laps around our circular table, as if I was in the Daytona 500, math is complete and I am confident that all of my students have begun to grasp the concepts. 

9:40 AM

The students head out for their morning recess and Ms. Nicki and I chat, have a snack, and prepare the room for the next subjects, grammar and spelling. 

9:55 AM

As my kiddos come back from recess, I meet them outside of the classroom to have an extended snack time. This is just one of the many unique things we like to do to make our FTP feel more like a “home” day. 

10:03 AM

After our snack is finished, we all head back to our rooms and begin our work. With the intermediate students, I have them practice both levels of spelling together; additional practice never hurts! 

10:25 AM

We move into grammar and I borrow one student’s book to run and make a copy for another student who doesn’t have their book today. Just one of the advantages of our ability to be flexible in the FTP! I teach both levels their grammar lesson, first Level 4 and then Level 3. While the one level is completing their grammar with me, the other students can take a break from their school work and choose to play with perler beads, rainbow looms, linking cubes, or read a book. Brain breaks are always an important part of home days and we love to incorporate them in the FTP. The best part is that students get to enjoy them alongside their peers which gives them more social time with friends.

10:50 AM

For our last subject before lunch, we begin adding all of the dress ups we have learned this year to each student’s IEW writing assignment on Cleopatra. We briefly review each dress up and then the students work individually to hunt for locations in their paragraph that could use higher quality, more descriptive language. I help all of the students with any questions they have and make sure each dress up they choose qualifies and makes grammatical sense. 

11:30 AM

The students line up for lunch and I run over to the staff room to heat up my leftover stir fry from the night before, YUM! I enjoy my lunch, and take a break from the school day by watching a little bit of the Philadelphia Phillies game. 

12:10 PM

Once again, I meet the kids outside of our classroom when they get back from lunch; they’re already lined up and ready to go! They know the drill. I grab our Cleopatra and Story of the World (SOTW) books and off we go to Mr. Newman and Mrs. Ridley’s room. We read in this room while the middle schoolers have lunch so that they may use the library and check out books if they wish. It also gives our kiddos a fun change of scenery which they all love. It’s especially exciting to imagine that this is the space where those ~mysterious~ Upper Middle Schoolers do their work. While reading Cleopatra, our Intermediate students are tasked with decoratively listing descriptive adjectives and character traits that describe Cleopatra in their journals. 

12:25 PM

Our Cleopatra reading flows into a discussion about the protagonist and antagonist using our Teaching the Classics guide. As we begin reading our SOTW chapter about Julius Caesar, the Celts and the Rubicon, the Primary students are reminded to pick three things from the story to retell for their narrations. After finishing the readings, the kids always love to play a round of “Sneaky Statues.”

12:43 PM

We make our way back to the library to finish up our assignments related to our readings and have a brief discussion about our interpretation of the events in our SOTW book. The FTP allows students to have these open discussions with each other about their readings, helping everyone (including me!) grasp all of the concepts and see the stories in new ways.

12:55 PM

We now go back to work on our dressups as some students didn’t quite finish before lunch. Other students, once again, take a little bit of play time and do an activity of their choice.

1:15 PM

Due to a lighter workload today, most of our schoolwork for the day is done early which allows me to circle back with two students who needed a little bit of extra math practice. I give them some division problems to review on whiteboards and help them through the problems that give them extra trouble.

1:30 PM

My students go out for their last recess of the day!

1:40 PM

As my students get back, I once again meet them outside for our afternoon snack time. The snack times are some of my favorite parts of the day because I get to chat with kiddos as they bounce away on their yoga balls. I get to hear all about their weekend camping trips, new puppies, dance recitals and hockey matches. As we are munching away Ms. Espino, the former FTP leader and pioneer, stops by to say hi and all the kids run to give her a big hug! 

1:50 PM

With both Primary and Intermediate done with assigned school work for the day, I decide it’s time to stimulate the creative play side of their brain so we do a fun new activity with air dry clay! After explaining the rules, because I really don’t want to have to scrub clay out of the tables and carpet, we begin our afternoon of messy excitement! I build a canoe while Jett and John make potato shaped cups and candy holders. Over in the other room, Charlotte and Micah make a pair of dice while Nikka makes a snowman in April! 

2:15 PM

I assign different clean up roles to the kids. Quinne and Charlotte are on paint brush duty, John and Jett help clean up the Primary room, and everyone else cleans up the rug room and the Intermediate room. We always try to get every last perler bead, to no avail! 

2:25 PM

After Olivia puts the finishing touches on clean up, by neatly organizing our pillows, the students pack their bags and line up outside. Off we go to our pick up spot, all ready to go home!

2:40 PM

After the last student gets picked up, I head back to the room, roll in our backpack cart, turn off all of the lights and lock up. It has been such a fun day and I’m thankful for our great team and my fantastic partner, Ms. Nicki, for all her help. I’m ready for another great day in the Full Time Program tomorrow! 

Thank you Will for allowing us to take a peek what our Primary and Intermediate students do on their home days on campus! It looks like a special and fun filled learning experience.

Check back Friday for another Day in the Life post!

7 thoughts on “A Day in the Life – Full Time Program Edition”

  1. Lisa L Wallace

    Will, this is such a fun read! I truly appreciate getting an inside view of what our kids are doing on their “home” days on campus in the FTP. These kiddos truly love their time with you and Nicki and we appreciate the guidance you provide. Great photos, too!

  2. Ditto what Lisa said….. love getting a behind the scenes peek at the 4 day program. Thank you Will and Nicki!!!

    1. After this post I was trying to figure out how to go back in time and be in their classroom! Will and Nicki are a treasure.

  3. I love hearing about these days in the FT program! Thank you, Will and Niki. These kids love these days!

  4. Michelle Blasingame

    This was so fun to see how the day goes from a teacher perspective. From a parent perspective, Will and Nicki are doing a great job! We love the Full Day – a great combination of Home / School day vibes. Keep up the good work!

  5. I loved reading this from Wills perspective! What a great program, I love the cozy homeschool parts so much. Thanks for all you do Will and Nicki 🙂

  6. Lisa Ann Dillon

    Will – you have nailed the balance between staying on track and finding time for fun. Thanks for integrating all the components of our program so well. You and your team are a valued treasure for SLOCA!

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