Back to School: Plan and Prep - SLO Classical Academy
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San Luis Obispo Classical Academy San Luis Obispo Classical Academy

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.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
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Back to School: Plan and Prep

A reminder that the Parent Orientation Meeting is tomorrow (August 25th) at Grace Church, and Classroom Orientations are on August 26th! Check your Bear Necessities for more details.

Today we are continuing on with our Back to School series – planning and preparing for the new school year! For both new and returning families, Full time and Hybrid, the following are some suggestions for the coming year:

  • Label your books. Especially the ones that travel to and from school, and any special pencil cases, lunch boxes etc.
  • Gather a few supplemental books. Gather books about Medieval history, our science topics, favorite poem collections, or any other interesting educational topics your family might be interested in, to have around the house. These can be placed in a basket or displayed on a bookshelf to encourage reading and the love of learning.
  • Buy your snack cards. Order them online at The Den, and they will get stored at the snack store! 
  • Buy and organize your school supplies. A list of needed supplies can be found online in our Parent Portal. Kids usually think school supply shopping is one of the best things about back-to-school, so this can be a fun outing!
  • Print out Field Guides for 2022-2023. They can be found in the Parent Portal. Bring your field guides to Classroom Orientations on Friday! 
  • Put dates on the calendar. Find your SLOCA 2022-2023 School Calendar in the Parent Portal or in the Summer Packet from the end of the year, and make sure all those important dates are on YOUR calendar. Keep your calendar updated whenever new information is emailed, and you’ll stay on top of school events and dates.
  • Prep any curriculum that has cards or manipulatives. (Hybrid families) cut out and store the cards and supplemental aids that come with the reading and spelling programs. Print out the Mental Math sheets from the back of your Singapore Math HIGs. Some parents like to laminate these strips to make them reusable, and then let their kids use thin dry-erase (or wet-erase) markers with them. If you will be using this level again with another child, this is a great idea! If you are using the physical tiles for All About Spelling, purchase the whiteboard and have a place to store it! Otherwise have a plan for using the digital app.
  • Gather math manipulatives. There are quite a few different manipulatives that are used with Singapore Math (base 10 blocks, counter, flash cards, place value discs etc). It’s nice to store them in a tote with a few warm-up math games so they are ready to go.
Photo by Jenny Bischoff
  • Print out your grids. Grids come out by the end of Friday the week before. Some families like to include them in their folders that travel to school, others like to display them in their homeschool space on a clipboard. Read them (and put the right books in the school bag) before the week starts! 
  • Plan something fun. For the first week of school – whether a special breakfast or a special outing together over the Labor Day weekend, celebrate the end of the first week! If you are the Home Educator, plan something special for you! Whether to celebrate being organized for the school year, making it through the summer, or make a plan to reconnect with other home educators before the year gets busy. 
  • Organize a work space for your kids. Whether this is a dedicated school room, a desk, the dining table, or something else, have a plan where your students can sit and work. Most families don’t work in one single space, but may have a table for writing and drawing, read on the couch, take another subject outside or in a bedroom, etc. There’s no need to be chained to a desk all day, but it’s also nice to have a work space prepared. Even for our Full-time families, having a space to store and read the required readings the night before helps cultivate that collaborative family approach to school.
  • Think about a structure for your home days. This is also a favorite topic of discussion among homeschool blogs, and you can find plenty of ideas online. Without spending too much time and energy, it’s helpful to have at least a loose plan, such as deciding whether or not to use workboxes, a checklist, writing a daily schedule on a white board, etc. Do you like using a personal planner for yourself? Google calendar? Remember, these things can always be modified as needed once school starts.

Talking to other parents is one of the best ways to get ideas about homeschooling SLOCA-style. Ask fellow educators what has worked for them in the past, or what they are doing differently this year. This can also be a great opportunity for returning families to come alongside new families and offer support and guidance. For both new and returning families, our community of parents is one of our best resources!

We hope this list is helpful and not in any way overwhelming. It may seem like there’s always more you can do, but choose to do what helps you feel prepared yet sane. Focus on the love of learning and delighting in your kids, and you’ll be ready for a great year together!

How do you plan for the upcoming school year? What would you add to the above list? Please leave your comments below:

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