It’s an EPIC Opening

3 children sitting on a branch in a tree with a 4th on a bench looking up

EPIC Life Learning Community, the newest Liberated Learners center, opened on Sept 3rd in Carrollton, TX (near Dallas). The program came together pretty quickly. The first official planning meeting was only a short six months ago, but the organizers: Kelci Brock, Jordan Brock, Kristen Montesaro and Cassidy Younghans, weren’t completely new to the concept of running a Self-Directed Education (SDE) center. For the last 3 years, Kelci, Jordan and Kristen were part of Makarios Community School, which recently moved to Fort Worth, TX, and is now Markarios — Agile Learning Center. Cassidy quit her job as a public school teacher in 2018 to spend a year learning about the various SDE models, including interning for a few months each at Houston Sudbury School and North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. (Check out Cassidy’s article on the Alliance for Self-Directed Education’s website about her decision to transition from working in traditional schools to Self-Directed Education.) We are pleased to have the EPIC team as part of the Liberated Learners Network.

Opening days at SDE centers are full of group getting-to-know-you activities, going over the classes that will be starting the following week, and group meetings to encourage culture creation, intention-setting, and community contributions. We also hold plenty of space for kids to play and just be with each other—to choose how they want to spend their time. EPIC offers three programs for young people: Foundation (Early Years), Exploration (Middle Years), and Direction (Older Years), but with lots of opportunity for overlap and age-mixing. Cassidy wrote about their first days in a blog post called “It’s EPIC, Self-Directed, and Beautiful”:

I never could imagine all the fun, crazy, and creative projects and activities that emerged from our 22 EPIC members this week. Just to give a small picture, here’s a short list of the self-directed activities that first come to mind:

  • a 7 year old drawing, labeling, and explaining the parts of a skeleton

  • 3 Foundation learners trading turns with a small electric guitar & amp, ukulele, and an electronic drum kit

  • a 16 year old working on an elaborate fantasy fiction story

  • 3 Direction learners making masterpieces for Horizon’s upcoming art show

  • formation of a friendship club

  • multiple chess matches

  • group games of hide and seek, soccer, and pretending to be puppies

  • a 17 year old scoping out college options and available scholarships, then meeting with her mentor to talk about due dates and goals

  • tons of swinging and climbing outside with friends

  • a 4 year old, 5 year old, 7 year old, and 9 year old all together reading “Brown Bear” aloud in a fun, rhythmic chant

  • a Direction learner helping 2 Exploration learners work through a disagreement

  • a 12 year old working with a mentor and experimenting with a DSLR camera

EPIC is off and running, on a path to create a space that lives up to their mission statement: “…an intentional, engaging, and diverse environment that empowers [individuals] to live their own EPIC life.” We all deserve nothing less.

What each letter of EPIC stands for
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Alison Snieckus

About The Author

Alison is a staff member at the Princeton Learning Cooperative in New Jersey and on the Board of Trustees for Liberated Learners. Alison has been working with Princeton area homeschoolers since 2003 and is excited to be part of Liberated Learners as it brings the principles of Self-Directed Education to young people all around the world. Contact Alison at alison@princetonlearningcooperative.org


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