E.P.I.C: learn  to design, implement, 
and fund 21st century 

homeschool, homeschool cooperatives and microschools. 

Course begins February 5th, 2018

E.P.I.C. could be the solution for you if... 

  • you want to start homeschooling, or start a co-op, or a micro-school
  • you are already homeschooling, part of a co-op or part of a micro-school 

AND you have some or all of these concerns...

You want to homeschool, but

  • you’re afraid you won’t know how to teach properly
  • you are confused about curriculum choices.
  • You feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start.
  • You have no confidence in your organizational skills and ability to stick to any kind of schedule.
  • You worry what your extended family and friends will say if you pull your children out of traditional school. 
  • You still have doubts about taking your children out of school.
  • You are afraid your children will end up lonely and not get properly socialized or educated?

You want to have or do have a co-op or micro school, but

  • some or all of the above and..
  • you are finding it hard to reach consensus on what the program should look like
  • you are struggling to manage the economics so that anyone can participate and all feel properly remunerated

Relax! You are not alone. Parents and educators around the world share these same challenges.  

How can E.P.I.C. help?

Before I answer that question, I have to ask you one. 

Do you support 21st century learning? 

I realize the term 21st Century Learning has been co-opted by many as a catch all phrase to get parents' attention. I mean whoever said, "No! I don't want my child to be prepared for the 21st century."? Right. Exactly no-one.  But what does 21st Century Learning mean? Here is how I define it. 

21st Century Learning Is...

  • Child-Lead Self-Directed- this is a shift from an external, subject-driven curriculum to an internal, inner potential child-driven curriculum.
  • Integrated - a shift from learning knowledge in separate subject areas to integrating all knowledge through the use of project-based learning, and passion projects.
  • Empowering - shifting from "power over" children to "power with" children
  • Innovative - shifting from learning with pre-determined outcomes to open-ended, innovation with unexpected outcomes.
  • Relevant and Real Life - a shift from school driven, 18th, 19th century curriculum content to content driven by relevance to children's real lives and and the real world around them. 
  • Passion-Driven - shifting from learning  focused on passing a test, or preparing for next year to learning based on our passions
  • Heart-Centered - a shift from a mind-based approach to a heart-centered, compassionate, spiritual educational experience. 
  • Wisdom-Based - a shift back from learning from one teacher to learning from elders, mentors, and artisans.
  • Place Free -  shifting from classroom based instruction to learning happening anywhere and everywhere not just in our homes or other designated learning spaces.  21st Century Learning involves our whole community drawing on mentors, apprenticeships, experiences, and master classes. 
  • Age-Free - a shift from basing curriculum choices on a child's age to freeing children to develop at their natural pace in all areas. 

What Does E.P.I.C. Teach In A Nutshell?

  • The WHY, WHAT and HOW of self-directed learning models, the core of 21st century learning - WHY we need to let go of the traditional education model if we want our kids to thrive in today's world. WHAT 21st century self-directed learning looks like, and HOW to do it as a single family or a learning community. 
  • How to develop a common vision for learning in your area. Often groups split due to disagreements on programming.  E.P.I.C. guides groups to find their common vision so your children can have a learning experience you were only able to wish for before. 
  • WEVE: World-Wide Equivalent Value Exchange.  WEVE is a system of value exchange that asks us to rethink how and what we value and provides systems for exchange of service and goods outside the monetary system. WEVE allows you to build a learning community that values everyone's contribution, allows people to contribute in their passions and remunerates everyone fairly for their contribution while keeping monetary exchange to a minimum. 

What is a Light Way Learning Community (LWLC)?

A Light Way Learning Community can be a homeschool co-op or a micro school.  It's a group of parents and/or educators who share a common vision for the education of their children based in 21st century learning practices.  The LWLC uses, WEVE, equivalent value exchange systems to support the economics of the group.  

Patty's Story

As a result of these principles, 21st Century Learning makes it possible for our kids to find their way at much earlier ages.  Read Patty's Story below to see how her 14 and 15 year old daughter and son are already taking college courses and working in jobs they absolutely love! And find out how my now friend, Patty Sprenger, fared when all was against her.  Even her husband didn't want her to homeschool never mind her friends and she certainly was no teacher! She had huge fears, but she walked right through them and the results are spectacular!

Patty desperately wanted to homeschool her children but even her husband was against it. She begged me to come to Chicago to help her get started and persuade her friends and family it would be a good move for her kids.

So I drove to Chicago and did two workshops over one weekend. I explained how the traditional system is fatally flawed, then I shared what 150 years of research has taught us resulting in 21st century learning principles we can use. I taught her how to implement these principles like project-based learning, self-directed learning, fully balancing our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being for the greatest most expansive learning outcomes. I showed Patty how to run her program democratically, how to transition from parent to teacher with ease, how to manage a child lead learning environment, and much more.


When I met Patty’s son, Matthew, he was withdrawn and somewhat depressed. He did not like himself much at all and basically thought he was stupid. He did not have a good rapport with his teachers and felt generally harassed and harangued by the school, the kids and the teachers. His grades were mediocre and he struggled to get out of bed on school mornings. Her daughter, Arianna, was in better shape but still hated going to school. They had been begging her to homeschool for quite some time.

After the workshop, her husband agreed to a trial and proceeded to order in a set of curriculum manuals and courses with instructions that they were to be followed daily. Patty was a bit frustrated. You see she wanted to teach her kids differently to the way they had been learning in school. She wanted them to feel empowered to make good choices for themselves and to learn about topics they actually cared about. So the manuals sat to the side and the kids went on an amazing learning journey you can read about on Patty’s blog.

Arianna and Matthew transformed. They had experiences that children in traditional schools could only dream of. They performed in local adult theatre productions, took part in civil war re-enactments, learned circus sports at The New York Flying Trapeze School in Chicago, attended the Chicago Botanic Gardens Fiber and Fabric Art show, and yes did reading, writing and arithmetic, but these were integrated seamlessly into all these pursuits.

Your kids deserve this type of learning too and that’s what E.P.I.C. is for – to train you to embrace 21st century learning, to deliver it with ease and to create a learning experience your kids will always be grateful for.

Wait there’s more. Homeschooling can sometimes feel like a lonely pursuit. We know that often the best learning happens in multi-age, collaborative groups (see my webinar “What Parents Don’t Know That They Don’t Know About School, Education and Learning” for more on that.) so E.P.I.C. shows you how to use new economic tools like time banking, sharing, local currency, and savings pools to “fund” a community learning experience in your own neighbourhood. And I'm not talking about founding a school here. But I’m sure there are others in your area, maybe even on your street who think they have to keep their kids in traditional school because there’s no way they can work and do homeschool. But what if there was a way to share spaces, materials, and expertise and have a local home school community that thrives and allows working parents to keep working?

And there’s even more: For those of you worrying about your extended family and what they might say, Light Way Learning offers a certification through the E.P.I.C. course so that you can say to friends and family "Relax I'm a certified 21st Century Learning Designer.”

Who Teaches E.P.I.C.?

You can allay the concerns of family and friends because you will be trained by a fully certified school teacher, and principal who founded her own school, ran a youth program for three years in her own home, and has a Master’s degree in Education Administration - ME! Zahra Lightway.

E.P.I.C. is like teacher ed. for parents without the big, expensive price tag and years of commitment.  The E.P.I.C. course is only three months. Of course I'm not claiming I can teach you everything a teacher knows in three months. What I can do is get you to a place of confidence and competency you can feel good about. 

The "Final" Results

One last word about Patty. She began her journey with Arianna and Matthew in 2014. A year ago when I talked to her she was talking about them going back to school because their needs had changed. Here is her update as of December 2017.

“I never sent the kids to school, just found classes that peaked their interests. Currently, Matthew (technically a 10th grader) took his first college class at the community college and loved it! He was also in a play at the college. He thinks he wants to pursue a degree in Psychology so he is taking 2 more college classes in the spring.
Arianna is working on a goat rescue farm and loving every minute. She wants to go into sustainable farming. She’s hoping to take a horticulture course at the college (if they let her in early) next year. She also puts a lot of time into her harp lessons. She’s getting quite good.
Both joined a group called Teen Learning Lab, which is a homeschool group for high schoolers with courses in social justice and communication with human understanding and inclusiveness. It’s been an amazing find this year. Their favorite is a pre-law/mock trial class.
They are both still working on the tree farm, and have a great relationship with their 65 year boss.
I’m good. Still running my business, teaching art classes for homeschooled high schoolers, and I’m busy filling in gaps of education for the kids and driving them everywhere! Paul is good, too.
The kids still talk about you, and how you changed our life!”


I have to admit I was in tears when I read this!  What an incredible success story. Those kids are 15 and 14, employed, taking college courses, working in their passions and learning skills that will serve them for life. In traditional school over the last four years they would have spent 200 hours taking standardized tests, another 300 hours preparing for them, and 3,600 hours sitting behind a desk being talked to about all the things Matthew and Arianna have actually been living.

I know which of those two scenarios I would want for my kids. (My son is 30 now.)  The best part is that Arianna and Matthew created their own curriculum. When Patty trusted them to know what they needed to do and learn about they got back in touch with their true selves and their true passions blossomed. All Patty had to do was show up and facilitate. And just like I guided Patty in how to do that for her kids. E.P.I.C. will guide you to do the same for yours. 

Imagine

So if you can you imagine how it will feel

  • to know EXACTLY what you are doing,
  • to be ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENT that self-directed learning is the best choice for your kids
  • to have the FULL SUPPORT of your friends and family
  • to be able to plan exciting, child-lead curriculum resulting in passionate, self-directed, responsible, capable, and happy children
  • to be EMPOWERED to INSPIRE your children to live their lives to the fullest
  • to be FREE to incorporate any topics and learning activities you see fit and they want to engage in
  • to teach your children COMPASSION, STEWARDSHIP of the Earth SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY and jJUSTICE
  • to CO-CREATE a homeschool program where children experience joy, excitement, and passion for LEARNING? 

E.P.I.C. empowers families, educators, and communities to design COMMUNITY-BASED holistic learning environments crafted to each child's learning style, motivation levels, and interests. 

You Don't Have To Do This Alone!

I highly encourage folks to do E.P.I.C. with other like minded neighbors, even the pricing is setup to favor groups so there is one price for 1-3 participants working together to create a single program and one price for 4-6 participants and so on.  But you may find yourself in a similar situation to Patty where her friends and neighbors weren't ready to take the plunge yet. And that's fine. In fact it's more than fine. It's wonderful!! I can't wait to welcome you to E.P.I.C.  

The E.P.I.C. Details!

E.P.I.C. is a three month course designed to lead you through the process of creating a 21st century learning experience for and perhaps even with your children.  I know three months can seem like a long commitment in this age of insta-learning and the crash course mentality.  We seem to be in a place of expecting to learn in one day what used to take one year.  But honestly that is just not realistic.  For proper integration and planning during and between modules, 3 months is necessary. During the course you will be:

  • co-designing the basic structure of your children's learning day, month and year
  • deciding what your rules and guidelines will be and how to make them and change them - democracy in action!
  • integrating the core principles of learning
  • making the transition from parent to teacher
  • reading books and articles on topics related to learning and education
  • developing and articulating your philosophy of learning
  • planning super cool activities and learning adventures and much more...

In fact I thought about extending this course to six months.  However, I don't know about you, but I do like to have some sense of urgency. It kind of lights a fire under me and keeps me motivated.   

E.P.I.C. includes: 

  • Six complete modules of study each lasting two weeks with readings, exercises and assignments.  There will be no busy work.  Assignments will be tailored to fit your individual learning journey.  And you will need to commit 10 - 12 hours a week to the course in order to get the most out of it. 

Module 1.  Overcoming The Fear Of Letting Go Of The Old System 

Module 2.  Understanding 21st Century Learning Principles

Module 3.  Applying 21st Century Learning Principles   

Module 4.   Making The Transition: Freedom To Choose Does NOT Mean Anarchy - How To Run A Democratic Learning Experience

Module 5.  Planning Your First Child Lead Learning Adventure

Module 6.  WEVE: World Wide Equivalent Value Exchange - how to apply economic tools to create a thriving learning community. 

  • Six 90-minute LIVE group coaching calls; one every other week for three months. Each call will include a presentation on the topic for the current module, Q & A on any questions you may have, and an opportunity to learn from others in your cohort! 

Call Dates and Times: 

Every other Monday starting February 5th at 12pm EST.  All calls and presentations will be recorded in case you miss one. 

  • LIVE Q & A to answer your specific questions.
  • Full recordings of the LIVE calls and webinars to listen to at your leisure. 
  • Private one on one coaching - one hour every other week via Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, Whatsapp...whatever you like. 
  • Full email support.
  • List of readings and recommended books.
  • Articles to download and study.
  • An invite to guest speaker calls – often other parents who’ve been where you are now.
  • Opportunity to become a part of the Light Way family and use our logo and social profit 501(c) 3 status. (Application and approval required.)
  • The right to answer your friends, family and neighbors when they ask "How are you doing this?", by saying "I'm a certified 21st Century Home Education Designer with Light Way Schools."
Module 1.   Overcoming The Fear Of Letting Go


How Do I Unlearn What I Thought I Knew About Education?  

  • Identify your fears and turn them into strengths
  • Share with other parents in your boat
  • Move forward with confidence

Webinars: "What Parents Don't Know That They Don't Know About School, Education and Learning Part I & II" Part I is recorded and you can watch it here to get an idea of course content.

Readings: “Your Top 10 Fears And How To Overcome Them.” (presented in our mini course)Optional: "The Homework Myth" by Alfie Kohn and "Punshment By Reward" by Alfie Kohn. 

Module 2.   Understanding 21st Century Learning         


Understanding And Embracing Progressive Education Can Be EASY

  • Now we know what we don’t want, let’s define what we do want.  
  • What are some governing  principles of 21st Century education.
  • Examine the proof of the effectiveness of these principles.

You will begin to design a 21st century collaborative learning environment and learn the basics of 21st century pedagogy so that you can teach your child collaboratively and creatively, and most important help them to learn how to learn: an essential skill in an ever changing world where most people will have up to 5 careers. Relax this is much easier than you might think!

Readings: “Core Principles of a Light Way Schools Model” and  “The 8 Core Principles of 21st Learning Models."

Webinar: "Understanding 21st Century Learning."

Module 3.   Applying 21st Century Principles


Now I Know What The Principles Are, I Still Don’t Know How To Use Them!

  • Design your learning day using the Light Way model as a starting point.  
  • Use a visioning guide to shape your program.

Reading: “E.P.I.C. Visioning Guide." use this guide to work through and design your program, define your philosophy,  andstructure your community program if applicable. 

Webinar: "Applying 21st Century Principles"

Module 4.   Making The Transition: Freedom To Choose Does NOT Mean Anarchy


Okay, Got That Part. Now How Do I Make The Journey of Transitioning from Parent to Teacher?

  • How to make the transition from parent to educator
  • Helping your child make the transition
  • Use the principles of democratic education and the Kanban to manage your time and create your learning community

Reading: “Freedom Not License “ by A.S. Neill, “Transitioning From Parent To Teacher" and  “Transitioning Children From Traditional To 21st Century Learning” 

Webinar: "Empowerment Means Freedom AND Responsibility" 

 Module 5.   Planning Your First Child-Lead Learning Adventure


What Is A Child Lead Curriculum And How Do I Manage It?

  • Bring structure to child-lead learning using the latest agile learning technologies
  • Facilitate units of study
  • Integrate online curriculum with your new program
  • Continue designing and mapping your program with templates and ideas for creative, child-directed learning projects.

Readings: Agile Learning - the ultimate flexible structure! 

Webinar: "How To Do Child-Lead Learning"

Module 6.   WEVE: The World- Wide Equivalent Value Exchange System


Up to now t
he focus of this course has been program and pedagogical development.  In module 6 we broaden that focus and ask how we can create a resource-rich learning community using leading edge progressive funding technology working in tandem with your education program to make your program accessible for anyone in your close neighborhood! 

This module explores the following progressive funding technologies:

  • SHARING: Identification and reallocation of resources, goods, and services
  • Local/group currency
  • Timebanks: valuing time as a currency
  • Common Funds: community-based interest free loans 

Readings: "Timebanks, local currencies, common funds and sharing made easy."

Webinar: "WEVE - World Wide Equivalent Value Exchange"

Customization

E.P.I.C. can be customized for your group in the following ways: 

  • shortening or lengthening the duration
  • adding or removing modules based on your needs

Customization is only available for groups of 4 or more. 

 A Few Last Words

By the end of this 3 month program you will have developed a coherent, cohesive alternative, child-directed model of education and be ready to go, either as a first time homeschooler or as parent taking your homeschool to a whole new level.

After E.P.I.C. we will continue to offer you the coaching support you need, until you don't need it anymore.  Our most popular request is for help designing units of study. After all, just because your children tell you they want to learn about Egypt doesn't mean you’re quite ready to put a whole unit together yet.   We will hold your hand through your first few, and then let you fly!

One of the best parts of E.P.I.C. is  being in a growing family of like-minded mothers and fathers just like you.  You will not feel alone anymore, instead you will feel supported, informed and well able to give your kids the education you know they deserve. 

Are you ready to ENROLL? 

Or click here to opt in to the FREE intro to the concepts in Module 1 of E.P.I.C. .