Students Connecting the Classical Dots - 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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Students Connecting the Classical Dots

At SLOCA, our classical education model moves students through three stages of learning (commonly referred to as the trivium), the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages. Building on the foundation set in the first through fourth-grade levels of our school (the Grammar Stage), in the Logic Stage students are introduced to logical thinking through the use of English grammar, pre-logic and logic exercises, and by making connections in history, literature, math and science. Students are challenged to really ask “Why?” and to seek the meaning behind the content they learn in all subjects.

During a recent UMS Latin lesson on prepositional phrases, almost all of these skills and connections were on full display by our students. Our UMS Latin Teacher, Magistra Weinschenk, recounts this magical moment here…

“Can learning about prepositional phrases in Latin be a magical moment? In our Latin 2A classes at SLOCA the answer is a resounding “Yes!” This phenomenon can best be explained by saying it is just one more example of our Classical Education with a twist.

We started studying prepositional phrases a week or so ago. When asked if they knew anything about the topic, our 8th graders who have been at SLOCA since at least 2nd grade answered with an enthusiastic choral chanting of every single preposition in English, in alphabetical order!  Clearly, the rote learning of the Grammar Stage was coming in handy.

Next, it was a matter of demonstrating the concept with objects at hand in the classroom–a marble cube inscribed with Latin quotations and a small bronze model of the Capitoline Wolf. We then turned to finding examples in the Latin stories we had recently read in our Cambridge Latin books. As one historical character in our books, Gaius Salvius Liberalis, was accusing all Pompeians of being liars, our 8th graders were quick to identify the logical fallacies in his statement. “That’s a hasty generalization!” asserted one student. “It could be part for the whole,” (aka fallacy of composition) chimed in another student. At this point, I was excited to see students benefiting from the interdisciplinary nature of classical education and showing how thoroughly they were enjoying the Logic stage of the Trivium. Learning is so much richer when students can see for themselves how the different subjects intersect and illuminate each other. 

Capitoline Wolf, Source:

From there the question arose of how Salvius, a Roman senator and high-ranking official in Roman Britain, had come to spend time in Pompeii. This led to a discussion of the cursus honorum,  the ladder of political and military offices that a Roman must climb to reach the highest office, consul. Salvius had been a soldier in Pompeii as he built his political career, evidence for which we find in inscriptions and literary references. Our discussion included comments on what this political ladder looked like when Rome transitioned from Republic to Empire along with exploring Roman attitudes toward Britons. You get the idea–not only are all the subjects interconnected, but the years of the history cycle inform each other as well.

Using chairs for prepositional phrases charades!

Finally, the twist.  At SLOCA, to paraphrase Hamlet, play is the thing!  To enjoy some kinesthetic learning and ensure that their understanding of prepositional phrases would be fun and memorable, students enjoyed a game of prepositional phrases charades.”

Thank you for sharing this truly remarkable day in class, Magistra Weinschenk!

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