Roasted Tomatoes

I saw somebody roast tomatoes a long time ago and kept on forgetting to try it. It’s such an easy way to yield delicious results. Enlist the help of your kids and have them cut the tomatoes in half, while younger kids can place the tomatoes on the baking sheet.  If you have more time, lower the oven temperature and roast them more slowly.  Most importantly, don’t eat them all before dinner.  Serve the salad with some grilled chicken or fish.

Roasted Tomato Salad

small tomatoes, any variety, cut in half length-wise

salad greens

cheese (Parmesan, goat, feta)

salad dressing


  1. Place the cut tomatoes, cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees. (You can go as low as 350 if you have time, or as high as 450 degrees.)  Roast until the edges of the tomatoes are slightly brown and crisp. The time will depend on the temperature, but keep checking them at the higher temps so they don’t burn.
  3. Mix your salad greens and place on a platter or in a bowl. (Salad on a platter looks pretty, but it is harder to mix.) I like to mix arugula with other greens.  Scatter the tomatoes on top and add cheese of your choice.
  4. Drizzle your favorite salad dressing on top. I like to use balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Serve and enjoy.

Play Day

“Play isn’t the enemy of learning, it’s learning’s partner.”  Stuart Brown, MD from Play

Is there a way you can partner with play today? It’s rainy and wet outside–perhaps you can have leaf races in the gutter to discuss currents or rates of motion.  Take handwriting practice to the beach–write in the wet sand with a stick and have an impromptu recitation using rocks as a stage.  Take a walk with an umbrella and review history or math facts–every tree you pass requires one timeline event or math fact.  What are some other fun ways to play today?

Free Friday

It’s Friday! Remember to free yourself by 5–be free from distractions, set aside the to-do list and spend time together as a family doing something fun.  Avila Beach hosts a farmer’s market from 4-8 PM at the pier.  SLO Mission Plaza is hosting a bike-in movie screening beginning at 6:30 PM.  Ride your bikes to the Mission and watch an outdoor movie.  There will be snacks and prizes. Whatever you choose, enjoy your weekend!

Charlotte Mason Series: Introduction

The differences however between merely reading an educational work and being trained on the principles laid down in the work are as the difference between seeing a light and being kindled at a flame.

—   Charlotte Mason

Our school is unique in many ways. The hybrid model is unique, as is our curriculum.  There are a lot of classical programs out there and SLO Classical pulls from several different models.  When I first started our home schooling journey, I was a complete stranger to the names I am now familiar with: Maria Montessori, Susan Wise Bauer, and Charlotte Mason just to name a few.  The more I learn about these educational innovators, the more I understand in a new way that what we as a community are doing, how we are educating our children, is actually not new.  It’s a return to a model of education which seeks to educate our children completely—their character, their souls, and their appreciation for beauty, in addition to their intellects.  The learning is rich, connected, and grounded in real stories of real people. As Mason mentioned in the above quote, we are kindling flames.  Over the next few weeks, join us as we visit Charlotte Mason’s principles and philosophies of teaching.  Hopefully it will enrich and inspire your home schooling journey and add to your confidence as a home educator.


One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.

A. A. Milne

(Can’t you just hear Pooh Bear uttering those words? )

Organization. For some of us, the mere word brings wondrous visions of orderly shelves with coordinating boxes or baskets neatly aligned and legibly labeled.  For others, it brings terrifying visions of orderly shelves with coordinating boxes or baskets neatly aligned and legibly labeled.   However, I think we all can agree that some degree of organization helps make a home school day run smoother and more is accomplished with ease, grace and perhaps even fun.  Whether you are new to home schooling or a veteran, new strategies of organization, teaching kids independence and accountability are always interesting, if not welcome.  Some of our families use the Workbox System by Sue Patrick.  They will be sharing this Friday at 1:30 in the Lewis Library.  Come and listen to Jenny Bischoff, Meredith Eades and Joy Erb share their success using this system.

Magical Moments

“Mommy, can we PLEASE read tonight?”  Before dinner is even over, this familiar plea is issued by one of our three children.  This last school year we began reading a chapter book aloud together as a family. We had heard of other families doing this and always wanted to, but it was difficult finding material suitable for all ages. Our two-year old barely sat for books with pictures on every page, but pick a novel, even a children’s book with far fewer pictures and it became a chore.  We struggled through Charlotte’s Web, Winnie the Pooh, and Stuart Little.  It definitely wasn’t time wasted as we had never read A. A. Milne before and our oldest was certainly engrossed in the stories, but this year, we were engrossed as a family.

After much discussion between my husband and I, we decided on beginning the Little House series. My husband’s only impression of Little House was the TV series he was forced to sit through as a child when his sister insisted on watching it. We both were a little concerned that it was too “girly” for our boys and perhaps wouldn’t capture their attention and our daughter, aged 3, was too young to care. It was with trepidation that we began it and we fell in love. All of us.  My youngest may stop and interrupt every other sentence to ask for clarification or to point something out, but she is listening. She still remembers that in the second book Jack, the Ingalls’ dog was lost when they crossed the river but he found his way back to their family. She is making connections and in some mysterious way, that scene is memorable for her.  My younger son, age 5, may look like he is not listening, but when he asks questions, it is clear that he is constructing a picture in his mind, his own picture of the prairie, a place he’s never seen. My oldest at 7, can read now and he sits beside me and follows along. When I stop to answer a question, his little finger points out the exact word where I left off. My husband and I are awed reading about life on the prairie. Every morsel of food, every stitch of clothing, the chairs, everything they used or touched was the product of what we would consider physical labor.  My seemingly incessant trips to the grocery store have taken on new meaning for me as I am realizing anew the contrasts between “then” and now.

Reading together as a family on a regular basis has created an oasis for us. It’s almost sacred, our time together huddled on the sofa dirty with crumbs and fingerprints, sharing the story from a book bearing a slightly musty odor and sporting a well-loved cover.  And, it’s magical

Free Friday

It’s Friday! Don’t forget to free yourself by 5–free your family from distractions and spend some time together.  Wishing you a relaxing, restful weekend as you show appreciation to the moms in your life.