Our Educational Model - SLO Classical Academy
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San Luis Obispo Classical Academy San Luis Obispo Classical Academy

our educational model

Classical education (with a twist!)

Classical education reawakens the individual who embraces it as their method and philosophy of learning. We at SLOCA love to learn because we have tasted what excellent education can be. The families involved in our school experience rich conversations that are rare in our current culture—sparked by the timeless stories, eye-opening history, and the thoughtfully designed curriculum and learning opportunities.

What is Classical Education?

The  essence  of  a  truly  classical  education,  especially  as  employed  here  at  SLOCA,  is  multi-faceted.

Just another method in a long line of new alternative schools cropping up everywhere? In truth, classical education is the method and philosophy of education that has trained many of the greatest minds in western history for over two millennia! Although it is now a foreign concept to many, it is recently beginning to take hold in our nation again as a compelling alternative to the widespread educational method.

At SLO Classical Academy, we chose to adopt this philosophy because we believe it is the best method of education for the forging of character, fostering of wisdom, and the nurturing of a lifelong passion for learning in our students.

One of the golden threads of classical education is the understanding that a student’s learning progresses through three stages of what has been termed as the trivium: grammar, logic (otherwise referred to as dialectic), and rhetoric. These stages of the trivium can be viewed as connected to the developmental levels through which all children progress:

A  well-developed  mind  is  able  to  utilize  these  learning  strategies  to  approach  any  subject,  skill,  or  new  idea  with  confidence  that  mastery  is  attainable  through  the  wise  application  of  the  trivium.

A classical curriculum

history + literature

Classical education is probably most widely recognized for its commitment to the disciplines of history and literature, promoting the study of those written works that have stood the test of time. The reading and discussion of great books is a hallmark of SLOCA, where the whole family engages in the great conversation: the ongoing discussion we hold with those from the past, who have written works that have stood the test of time; those in the present, as we dialogue about these great ideas; and those in the future, as we write and speak our own thoughts for those who will come after us.

The  essence  of  a  truly  classical  education,  especially  as  employed  here  at  SLOCA,  is  multi-faceted.

Right alongside this engaging literature, students and families at SLO Classical Academy are guided through a rich study of the historical narrative of our culture. We study history in a four-period cycle of ancient cultures (especially Greece and Rome), The Middle Ages, The Renaissance, and Early American History. We have found that, with some coaching, most students are capable of—and actually enjoy—reading the great works of these authors in their entirety at the appropriate age, understanding the historical context for those writings and experiencing the goodness, truth, and beauty contained within.


Studying Latin with the Cambridge Latin Course is a mini-liberal arts education.  In addition to the language itself, our lessons and discussions take us from history to art, architecture, philosophy, religion, politics, government, daily life, et al.  Spending time with the Romans, who have had such a strong influence on our language and civilization gives us a deeper understanding of ourselves and how we got here. Every subject has its grammar, and having learned to think grammatically in Latin enables the student to crack the code of other subjects. 

At the high school level, reading Latin literature allows the student to join the great conversation in the native tongue of the ancients whose works would go on to influence writers, scientists, painters, sculptors, playwrights, dancers, composers, et al. down through the centuries. As the study of Latin hones the students’ critical thinking and nourishes their appreciation of language, arts, and sciences, one may say it is the sine qua non of classical education.

math + science

While some classical schools may emphasize history, literature and language at the expense of STEM subjects, this is not the case at SLOCA, where math and science are areas of strength. In the same way that other subjects are approached through the use of the Trivium, STEM subjects are taught in a logical and systematic way to build towards mastery of mathematical and scientific language and concepts. Students here are challenged beyond simply utilizing algorithms to solve problems; rather, they are taught to think mathematically and scientifically. As in all subjects, advanced students are expected to dialogue with the teacher and fellow students using vocabulary and conceptual ideas to demonstrate understanding.

Essential to classical education, students are challenged to understand, think, and communicate their understanding in math and science as they do in other areas of study.

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