Light Way Schools: "Where Children Are The Curriculum"


At Light Way Schools we advocate certain elements to parents in our E.P.I.C. homeschooling program. These are presented for free here. They are specifically chosen to serve the interests and passions of children.  "Children are the curriculum" means what it says.  The creative force behind a Light Way School alternative homeschooling program is children. The specific homeschool curriculum elements chosen for an alternative homeschool program are important, but so is flexibility and adaptability to changing needs,  so that the homeschool curriculum used is always subordinate to the children within it. 

In traditional schools, the curriculum itself seems to become the main focus instead of the children. We tie education to vast quantities of learning objectives that must be covered no matter what the interests of the children involved, and then use standardized testing to produce data that guides us.  There is a sense of urgency and even stress around "teaching all the objectives" and "getting high test scores." 

Light Way Schools alternative homeschooling programs keep our children's futures bright and open through training parents, educators, and community members to design and implement innovative programs using research-based practices and theories and merging them with the true heart's desires of the 'customer" - children and parents. 

Below are education philosophies and research -based practices that are known to address the requirements of the whole child, not just their academic achievement.  Most alternative homeschool programs will not use all these practices.  You will find more detailed information by clicking on "read more" for each item.  As part of our training, you will also be guided in which elements to use in your design as part of our training. 

Philosophy Behind Alternative Educational Practices

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Why Did We Put This First?

Quite simply put, we put emotional intelligence first because it forms the foundation for all other intelligences to thrive. Research has shown unequivocally that a person's EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) is a more accurate predictor of future success than IQ or even academic achievement.

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alternative homeschool curriculum unit


Thematic Studies

Interdisciplinary thematic studies or units are taught in our E.P.I.C. program as a  tool for integrating more than one academic discipline to examine a theme, issue, question, problem, topic, or experience. 

In the above picture, two boys in the Light Way School in Houston are proudly working on  their marshmallow and spaghetti tower built as part of a larger unit on construction that the children chose to do. 

Interdisciplinary methods work to create connections between traditionally discrete disciplines such as mathematics, the sciences, social studies or history, and English language arts.

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Mindfulness

                                          Mindfulness: "the new ABCs": Attention, Balance, Clarity and Compassion.
Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment.  Mindfulness practices are highly effective for stress reduction.  In today's climate of children being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD for not being able to pay attention, the skills acquired through mindfulness practice can be critical for a child's success. For more information on how ADD/ADHD is diagnosed and why boys are more likely to be diagnosed and struggle in school click here.

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Kid Power

KidPower is a democratic council made up of children and adults.  Together you  make decisions about your alternative homeschool curriculum and program and resolve conflict through discussion and voting. 

At Light Way we believe that in order to create a nation of empowered, free-thinking people, we must begin with children. The rights and responsibilities of freedom are to be learned and earned as part of childhood. For how can we say we are a democratic society, if our children never experience democracy except as some vague concept studied in a social studies course? Democracy requires the participation of the people in order to fully function as intended.

The link below is to a video about a democratic free school in Colorado. It is a public school.  School Of Hope

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"BE" Time

Time to just BE is probably at an all time low in our society - even for the very young. "BE" time is accorded to all children in a Light Way designed alternative homeschool program. . 

Classes and activities are or can be offered during "BE" time that children may attend if they choose.   We also ask the children what they would like to learn about and then offer a class. The truly empowering aspect of "BE" time for children is...

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Play

"BE" time is free time for children 9 and older. "Play" time is for younger children. Both are similar in that children may elect to spend all their BE time playing.

"BE" Time vs "Play" Time

Play is an extremely important learning activity for children.  According to a report on NPR (National Public Radio), children who have no unstructured play can not develop executive function which includes:

  • The ability to self-regulate
  • To surmount obstacles 
  • To master cognitive skills.
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Multi-Age Environments

In preparing our children for the real world, it is helpful to have an experience that is as close to the real world as possible. Hence, we believe in the multi-age classroom, because nowhere outside of traditional school does a human being ever have to operate in a single age environment. It's just not realistic.

Benefits of Multi-Age Classrooms

The Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) lists the following benefits of multiage classrooms:

• Children are able to spend several years with the same teacher. This allows the teacher to develop a deeper understanding of a child's strengths and needs, and is therefore in a better position to support the child's learning.

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Alternative Practices For Your Homeschool Program

 HeartMath


    Ten Key Tools of the HeartMath Solution

HeartMath teaches mastery of the emotions so that we can make conscious choices.

  1. Acknowledge your heart intelligence and its importance for making choices. The head operates in a linear, logical manner that serves us well in many situations but limits us in others.
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Compassionate Communication

Compassionate Communication, also known as Non-Violent Communication or NVC is a powerful process for inspiring compassionate connection and action. 

In the above picture, two children in the Light Way School in Houston are having fun at a parent/child NVC workshop. 

"When someone gives us a negative message, whether verbally or nonverbally," says Marshall Rosenberg, "we have four options as to how to receive it."

Someone is frustrated and says, "You are so selfish!" We can... Read more...


Sensory Development

Intuitive Intelligence/Sensory Development

Today's highly intuitive children need a place where they can express their intuitive experiences. 
Sixth sensory development is a set of tools that enable all human beings to access their higher intuitive intelligence. This is the intelligence that gives us a "gut feeling"  that tells us when and how to make a good business move.  It is also the intelligence that tells us who is calling before we answer the phone...

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alternative homeschool yoga
Yoga

Yoga For Kids
Yoga is a form of exercise, meditation, and breathing practices with Indian roots designed to bring unity to the mind, body, and spirit.  Adults have vouched for yoga for years saying  it makes them feel better physically, enhances their ability to concentrate, and brings tranquility to their lives.

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Emotional Freedom Technique For Kids EFT

EFT is a powerful new discovery that combines two well established sciences so you can benefit from both at the same time:

  1. Mind Body Medicine
  2. Acupuncture (without needles).

In essence, EFT is an emotional version of acupuncture wherein we stimulate certain meridian points by tapping on them with our fingertips. This addresses a new cause for emotional issues (unbalanced energy meridians). Properly done, this frequently reduces the therapeutic process from months or years down to hours or minutes. And, since emotional stress can contribute to pain, disease and physical ailments, we often find that EFT provides astonishing physical relief.

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Passion Projects

Children  may begin passion projects at any time and often start at the middle school age.  Passion projects are also called custom learning plans. After meeting with a child, a plan like the one below developed at HeartLight schools is outlined and then further developed with the child.

Dear Jasmine,

We had a fun time showing you around HeartLight School and getting to know you a bit. We've been thinking about the interests you have and possible projects that you could do. Please know that you get

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Service-Learning

Service learning is the combination of community service and academic learning objectives.  It combines social justice with thematic studies a.k.a. interdisciplinary studies.  Engaging in service-learning projects leads to the  acquisition of  life and academic skills essential in order to succeed in bringing forth our passions and dreams into reality..including going to college. We highly recommend using service-learning in your program.

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Heart Motions of Impulse

The Creation Codes for the New Children

The creation codes were developed by Dr. Jean Schweizer Ph.D.  Her life work has focused on helping children to reconnect and flourish. In the video you will see some of the codes. Motion gives birth to the wisdom which lies in the heart of the Children!

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Gardening

Children Building Sustainability


Though gardening activities at all ages, children and adults learn how to grow food sustainably. Organic growing can be as challenging as it is rewarding.  There is much to learn about soil, seasons, watering, harvesting and consuming.  Food grown in the garden will be eaten and shared.