LIGHTHOUSE HOMESCHOOL SOLUTIONS
We are excited to introduce you to our new Homeschool Solutions program, and we are thrilled to have you with us on this journey as we work together to enhance your children’s learning! This online learning program was designed by educators in response to the needs of families who are new to the world of homeschooling, or who are looking for some structure in their homeschooling plan. In this introductory information, we will share what you can expect from Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions!
WHAT IS OUR PHILOSOPHY?
At Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions, we embrace a growth mindset; we believe that all students are capable of developing the skills and knowledge that they need to become successful, culturally literate adults in today’s world. Furthermore, we know that learning can, and should, be fun for everyone! We enjoy teaching and we enjoy learning. These core features form the foundation of the Homeschool Solutions program design!
WHAT IS OUR VISION?
Through our Homeschool Solutions online learning program, we aim to offer an educational resource that can truly benefit the homeschooling community. The curriculum content is made up of reliable online resources, compiled by expert educators. These resources support the learning goals for each unit of study. Unit goals are created by considering the essential content students need to thrive as well-educated, culturally-literate adults in today’s society.
However, education means so much more than simply acquiring information. In addition to sharing essential, foundational knowledge, we strive to support the development of key character traits and critical thinking skills that lead to lifelong success. All of our learning activities are designed with these goals in mind. Our activities encourage and support traits such as self-awareness, empathy, and creativity. They also heavily emphasize the development of key critical thinking skills including problem solving, forming and communicating opinions, and considering the perspectives of others. Throughout their experience with the Homeschool Solutions program, students are expected to summarize their learning, as well as reflect on their own thoughts and feelings about information, take the perspective of others, and produce creative works that reflect their learning. We’ve poured our hearts into creating a learning program that is meaningful, flexible, and fun for homeschooling students and parents alike!
WHO ARE OUR FAMILIES?
Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions is an online learning program that is designed specifically for homeschooling families. This program can offer a great fit for families who enjoy engaging in learning activities together, benefit from some structure and guidance, but also require or appreciate flexibility in their learning program! This program provides specific learning goals for each unit of study, consolidates helpful online resources, and suggests activities that are designed to support the learning goals.
Families who can most benefit from this program are those who homeschool students in grades K through 12, and have an adult (parent or caregiver) who both oversees the homeschooling program and enjoys engaging in learning activities with the student!
WHAT IS THE FORMAT OF THE CURRICULUM DESIGN?
Homeschooling can encompass a beautifully flexible range of content and learning modalities, and our Homeschool Solutions program design takes this into consideration. It is important to be aware that the recommended activities and learning resources available through our website are not based on meeting specific state standards or rooted in a particular curricular design. Rather, with the input of expert educators, we have consolidated readily available resources into units of study that lay out learning goals, recommended materials, learning activities with links to the recommended resources, and a final unit assessment. These units are conveniently formatted into early, intermediate, and advanced learning levels. While a learning path is provided, parents have the flexibility to choose the learning level, skim a topic by skipping activities, or delve more deeply by utilizing additional resources of their choosing, from the optional resources provided or from those of their own discovery!
The format of the Homeschool Solutions program is intentionally consistent and predictable. Our units of study have been designed by educators who consider the essential content and skills needed to thrive as well-educated, culturally-literate adults in our society. Our units are not filled with unnecessary facts and figures, but rather they are designed around core knowledge and skills. Before engaging with the content found within the unit, students are asked to complete a pre-learning activity where they have an opportunity to share what they already know about a topic and identify what they hope to learn.
While engaging with the learning material, students will regularly summarize what they’ve learned and, even more importantly, they will think critically about what they’ve learned. With each activity, students will be asked to connect new information to past learning, develop and express opinions, and consider different perspectives. By consistently engaging in this process, with encouragement and support from their parents, students will become habitual critical-thinkers who can easily evaluate information as well as develop and express their own opinions. Additionally, at the close of each unit, student learning can be assessed through written and verbal explanation as well as visual and creative demonstration. This format of assessment allows students to express their knowledge in the most comfortable modality, or challenge themselves with something new! For example, to share what they’ve learned, students can pair an oral presentation with a painting they’ve created, or present an analytical essay along with a recording of a song they’ve written!
WHAT TYPES OF LEARNING RESOURCES ARE INCLUDED?
Our recommended resources and activities are composed of webpages, websites, articles, readers, and videos from trusted educational sources. Most frequently, parents and students will find that we provide links to resources from:
- Core Knowledge Foundation
- Khan Academy
- Crash Course
- Britannica School
- National Geographic
- Ancient History
- History for Kids
- History Channel
- Government Websites
Additionally, vetted resources from lesser known providers such as individual teachers, local magazines, and small filmmakers, will be included if they are considered to add particular value to meeting the learning goals of a unit. While we make an effort to provide honest and unbiased resources that are appropriate for each learning level, parents should consider sources and preview material to determine if the information provided aligns well with their own values and is appropriate for their child to read, hear, or view. Parents should also be prepared to pause an activity to discuss the ways in which the material provided does or does not align with the values and beliefs of their family, while hopefully also teaching their students to embrace diversity of thought and respect for the beliefs of others!
WHAT LEARNING LEVELS ARE AVAILABLE?
In the Homeschool Solutions program, there are no grades, nor requirements, and recommended activities and resources are loosely based on a student’s or parent’s selected level for that specific unit.
- Early Learning Level is designed for students with skills at approximately grades K-4.
- Intermediate Level is designed for students with skills at approximately grades 4-8.
- Advanced Level is designed for students with skills that are approximately grades 8-12.
However, there is nothing to stop a young student from engaging in advanced level activities, or an older student from following an early learning trajectory. In fact, this flexibility is encouraged in order to appropriately engage and challenge students who have areas of specific skill or interest, who are advanced learners, or who experience specific learning challenges.
While the Homeschool Solutions program is designed to support learners of all ages and learning levels, from kindergarten through high school, parents are expected to be learning with and supporting younger students. Parents should expect to read aloud, discuss, and share their own thoughts and feelings as they learn alongside their students! Activities are often written at a level where the parent or caregiver will need to explain the task to the student and possibly modify expectations, depending on the student’s skill level and the parent’s learning goals.
In addition to supporting younger students, parents should plan to support and challenge students at all learning levels. In the Homeschool Solutions program, any reading task can be either read or listened to, and any writing task can be either handwritten, typed, or dictated. The primary goal of our program is to engage students in acts of learning that are informative, engaging, and enjoyable! Parents have the discretion of deciding how and when to challenge their students in order to increase their skills. Increasing expectations may mean:
- encouraging more independent reading aloud or independent silent reading
- encouraging more writing versus dictating
- expecting larger amounts of written information
- expecting greater adherence to conventions of print when writing
- increasing the complexity and depth of discussion and critical thinking responses
- increasing the depth of analysis presented in writing activities
- increasing the level of learning resources being used
Again, when and how to challenge the student is at the discretion of the parent or caregiver!
HOW IS PROGRESS TRACKED?
With our Homeschool Solutions program, we’ve provided tools for tracking student learning activities. These activities can be tracked via online submission forms, with handwritten documentation, or by using a combination of the two. Most frequently used should be the Learning Activity Submission. While parents can select how often they wish for students to submit an assignment explaining what they’ve learned, this activity is recommended frequently throughout the program. Students may be expected to submit an assignment several times a day. With each submission the student is asked to summarize what has been learned, connect new information to past learning, and provide a personal reflection on the learning activity. On this form, students should indicate the amount of time spent on the activity and attach any work such as art, writing, or video/audio files.
As part of their homeschool record keeping, parents should plan to use the Learning Activity Time Log to document their student’s weekly learning time in each core subject area. Along with the student’s activity submissions, which are emailed to the parent or caregiver upon completion, this time log should be kept as verification of ongoing learning.
Additionally, a Pre-Learning Activity Submission is requested prior to the start of each unit and an Assessment Activity Submission is expected after completing the unit. The Pre-Learning Activity helps the parent to determine the student’s learning path (Early, Intermediate, or Advanced), while the Assessment Activity Submission helps the parent to determine the extent to which the student has met the goals of the unit. Links to these submissions, as well as printable hard copies, are provided on the Homeschool Solutions website.
WHO DESIGNED THE UNITS OF STUDY?
Gloria Jones Ellis, M.A.
Co-founder of Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions, Gloria holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Vassar College and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Hartford. She has spent over 20 years in classrooms, clinics, and special education settings working with students who struggle with learning. She also possesses extensive assessment training in the fields of education, psychology, and neuropsychology. Through years of experience running a private school and teaching children with various learning needs, Gloria has developed a strong sense of how children learn best! Critical thinking and problem solving, multiple learning styles, and a growth mindset are an important part of her curriculum design.
Jamaica Thompson, M.S.
Co-founder of Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions, Jamaica holds bachelors’ degrees in Biological Anthropology and World Religions from UCSD and a Master’s of Science in Educational Psychology from Capella University. Her background includes teaching children of all ages in a variety of settings. Jamaica directed school services at the Lighthouse School of Ojai for several years! In this role, she developed and taught curriculum designed to meet the learning needs of a diverse student population. This experience inspired her contributions to all aspects of the Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions curriculum design.
Andrew Hamilton, Ed.D.
Andy holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and history from Hobart College and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in teacher education and school improvement from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has served as an educator and administrator for more than 30 years in schools across the United States and overseas. He currently lives in Massachusetts where he works for Falmouth Public Schools and as an educational consultant and family learning coach. His years of teaching history, all over the world, have given Andy a uniquely global perspective, which he brings to his curriculum design.
Lisa Batchelder-Hetrick, M.S.
Lisa currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Redlands and master’s degree in Recreation Therapy from San Jose State University. Her career includes teaching at a Montessori school and private tutoring, as well as working as a Recreation Therapist in a private setting. Lisa has spent the last 6 years as a Sign Language Specialist and an Assistant Teacher for students ranging in age from infant to 13 years old. Her diverse teaching experience allows her to consider multiple learning styles when designing curriculum, and her Montessori background gives her insight on the importance of student-led, experiential learning for all students.
Kent Chapple, M.A.
Kent holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Southern Oregon University and a master’s degree in education from the University of California Santa Cruz. In addition to a background including wildlife research and museum interpretation, he has spent the past 15 years working in the field of outdoor environmental education, as an Educator and Program Director with multiple organizations. Over that time, he has worked to develop learning experiences that are hands-on, accessible, engaging, contextually relevant, and closely aligned with the learners’ whole educational experience. Kent is always looking to find new ways to inspire learners’ wonder about science, and to help them tap into their own understandings and perspectives to make the subject less mystifying and more personal.
Laurel Mooney, B.A.
Laurel holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University and is currently working on her masters in Counseling Psychology at Cal Lutheran University. She has spent the last several years working in summer camps, working in youth ministry, teaching horseback riding lessons, and providing educational therapy as an instructor with Lighthouse Learning Solutions. Laurel uses her passion for education, and her understanding of how students develop problem solving skills and empathy, when designing educational activities.
WHAT DO OUR FAMILIES SAY?
We love the Lighthouse homeschooling curriculum. It is easy to use and the content has been exceptional. I never thought I would homeschool, let alone enjoy it and I have to say I am truly enjoying working with my daughter on this program. As a busy, working mom of 3, I needed a program that we could do when it worked for us and a program that made learning fun, engaging, enjoyable and had thoughtful curriculum. Thank you Lighthouse for making this a smooth process and I am excited for how much my daughter will learn this year!Lauren (homeschooling a fourth-grade student)
As a parent, I have enjoyed the Lighthouse Homeschool program. I’ve found it easy to navigate and understand. Working closely with my daughter has been fun and rewarding as we explore the curriculum together. The subject materials and tools that Lighthouse has available have been organized perfectly for my family’s learning style. As well, the clarity of the unit goals and the ease of the submission forms has helped my daughter retain and express what she learns during class.Jon (homeschooling a second-grade student)
The program is designed by educators who are also parents and they created this with their own families in mind. As a working mom, I appreciate having everything organized in one place so we can just begin to learn instead of searching the internet for topics and materials. It provides us with a solid plan. Less stress for me and more fun for my daughter.Lisa (homeschooling a fifth-grade student)
We have been blessed with this program, the girls love the course material and we are really discovering so much on our homeschooling adventure.Jessica (homeschooling third-grade twins)
I think that it is amazing to do homeschooling with Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions. They have taught me so much with videos and other activities…. It’s amazing to see how organized I am. They keep their website neat.Daisy (second-grade student)