aeon: [ ē  än ]
life; vital force; being; timelessness; wisdom; an epoch or generation

Aeon is a place where learning is living, and the curriculum is alive, relevant & engaging; a place where learning is cultivation of deep and authentic relationships with self, others and the world around us.

Aeon School Without Walls is a secondary schooling experience for grades 7/8, 9/10, and 11/12 that provides active, integrated, and meaningful engagement, through an immersive, thematic academic curriculum that encourages students to 'learn how to learn'.  Aeon students are invited into deep inquiry, enlivened understanding, and ‘heart-hands-head’ integration of their learning journey. 

What if middle and high school invited young people to experience themselves as learning beings in deep participation with Earth's community of life?  What if such an experience organically led to meaningful learning, and naturally emergent academic inquiry? What if middle and high school provided diverse social and cultural contexts for relational learning?  At Aeon, these are questions we carry, and the answers to them will emerge in our work with young people.  

Working with parents, skilled on site & distance learning stewards and faculty, Aeon learners will be prepared to confidently enter life after high school & fully engage their chosen lifepath. Working alongside our learning partners in the greater community, learners will gain real life experience of their artistic, professional or vocational interests. Students may even earn credits for their creative projects, travel, volunteer work, musical or artistic endeavors! Our Aeon team weaves together an academic curriculum from diverse resources, including Oak Meadow, PeaceJam Foundation, the Biomimicry Institute, Live! Education, and others.  Our daily and monthly rhythms allow time for contemplative practice, mentor-guided self inquiry, internships, expeditionary learning, & guided independent exploration & projects to create a truly unique secondary schooling experience. 

What is a 'school without walls'?

The School Without Walls (SW2) model emerged in the 1970s from an impulse to create more learning freedom.  Each SW2 is somewhat unique, but some common elements are a balanced weekly rhythm that provides space for both guided and independent learning experiences.  Aeon's SW2 will offer plenty of time for academic studies, development of contemplative practice, personal projects, domestic/international expeditionary learning, relationship building, & experiential immersion in various artistic or professional venues.  Other SW2s and SW2 initiatives exist in Vermont, New York, Florida, Washington DC, Australia, and several other countries.

How does it work?

With guidance from parents and our Learning Stewards and faculty, each learner's weekly rhythm of Aeon classes will be created based on Aeon's recommendations, their family's rhythm, their own interests and preferences, and the course catalogue that Aeon offers each semester.  The process will resemble that of a traditional college setting, with parents and mentors assisting a student as they browse a course catalogue and craft a course of study.  For example, a learner may sign up for a full roster of classes, filling their days with Aeon learning from 10:00-3:30, or they may sign up for 1 or 2 classes, and independently guide the remainder of their learning experiences.  IMPORTANT NOTE: EarthStory is a signature, initiatory 'required course' for enrollment in our other offerings.  More than a history class, EarthStory is an essential, integral thread, weaving together the class community, and adding depth, meaning, and context to all coursework in our program.
Here's a sample schedule of a full roster of classes, or weekly rhythm: 

Who are the students at Aeon SW2?

Aeon learners are inwardly self directed, innately curious, creative,  & inspired by life & learning.  They value the challenges of academic engagement, deep self inquiry, courageous adventure, outrageous creativity, diverse, relational learning, & have an authentic desire to reverently, joyfully, meaningfully participate in Earth’s community of life. Aeon learners learn by doing and experiencing...rather than being told what to do. They are called to engage a learning journey that honors their life path, and all life on Earth, and goes beyond the limitations of a traditional secondary schooling environment.

The AEON student community consists of 3 mixed grade learning circles- 7th/8th, 9th/10th, and 11th/12th.  Each circle will have 12-16 learners, for a total of 36-48 students.  Full and part time enrollment may result in varying numbers in the daily student population.

What is a 'Living Curriculum'?

It is a curriculum that continually evokes learning-as-communion and that recognizes all life as Sacred, co-evolving, co-emerging. It is learning that invites learners to co-create their learning journey.  It is learning spacious enough to embrace the present moment and allow it to enrich or redefine an experience.  It is integrated learning that nests itself within what is emerging NOW.  It is Learning-as-Living, learning as inter-being, learning as participation in Earth's community of life.  Our Living Curriculum engages head, heart and hands with foundational, exploratory, and learner-chosen studies, and can be adapted to reflect any learning style or enriched to honor each learner’s unique life path.

We invite you to join us as we re-imagine middle and high school, and contemplate these questions:

Does the learning environment deepen the learner's connections to self, others, and the world around them?

Does the learning experience enliven relationships and enhance the learner's sense of belonging?

​Does the learning experience invite the learner to consider their values, actions, and intentions as elements of a living system, having integral consequences?

How can Aeon faculty and learning stewards encourage learners to co-create their own learning journey?

Where are classes held?

Aeon programming is hosted in multiple environments. ‘Home’ classrooms are located in The Learning Village at Sacred Mountain Sanctuary, in Candler, NC.  An ‘in town’ gathering space will be established with a partner program.  Experiential/immersive learning and internship practicum will take place on site with our learning partners, artists, & professionals at their own venues.  International & domestic expeditionary studies will take place in various locales around the globe.  We are currently in the process of establishing international learning relationships with programs located in Maine (Chewonki), Ireland, Southern France, Costa Rica and Bali, Indonesia.

How will I learn?

Our faculty and learning stewards will invite Aeon students to learn through deep relationship- with themselves, others, and the world around them.  Aeon's Living Curriculum is adapted to each student's unique learning style, and is integrated to soulfully engage head, heart and hands.  Authentic learning unfolds under  wise mentorship & skilled guidance from Aeon's on site Learning Stewards and teachers; through observation, inquiry, experience & participation with artists, professionals and other skilled individuals in our community & abroad; through self reflection & deep contemplation; & through communion and comaraderie with others who are sharing the learning journey.

Will Aeon support my transition into college, a career, adulthood?

The learning journey at Aeon will fully support each student’s lifepath, whether they plan to attend a college of their choice, engage a vocation, launch a career as an artist/musician/author/etc, or freely explore the world.  Students will emerge from the learning  journey at Aeon with the self-knowledge, worldly wisdom and inspiration to fully embrace their lifepath, wherever it may lead!  The treasury of academic, exploratory, and 'real life' learning experiences  provided by Aeon will give learners the inner clarity to determine a course of study at a university, the courage to explore their path as an artist, musician, doctor, explorer, author,  etc, and the confidence to engage the adventure of entering Earth's community of life as a young adult.

In partnership with AB Technical Colleges, AEON will also be offering AP courses in several subjects for 11th and 12th grade students.  Credits earned in these courses can be applied towards an associate’s degree.

Colleges and universities are currently revolutionizing their admission process and requirements to acknowledge the well rounded learning that occurs with learning freedom, holistic education, or home schooling, and include student graduation portfolios in their evaluations.  Our learning stewards and faculty will assist parents and learners as they create a portfolio of their work and experience at Aeon.  A graduation portfolio invites the student to gather and document a diverse treasury of their learning experiences, creative endeavors, art projects, community service and other studies, to be submitted to the college of their choice, alongside a transcript.

How will student work be evaluated?

Assignments and projects throughout the year will be evaluated in different ways, depending on the context and goals of the assignment,  and the student’s preferences. Depending on the subject, there will occasionally be tests or quizzes.  At the end of the programming year, AEON faculty will create a comprehensive evaluation for each student.  Evaluations will include written observation from the perspective of each teacher regarding the student’s social, emotional, academic, and executive skill development during the year, and their specific performance in each subject.  This information can be used by the parent to create an official transcript with pass/fail or grades, should this be needed.  

Fees and Value Exchange

In keeping with the economy-as-ecology approach of The Learning Village and Sacred Mountain Sanctuary, Aeon will strive to create a rich, economically diverse learning community by offering an affordable, sliding scale fee schedule that allows each family to determine value exchange basd on their own comfort level. We also intend to offer multiple work-trade opportunities families and learners that will empower them through economic stewardship of their learning experiences.  We want Aeon to be an opportunity that is available to all who are called, and we will work with families to create balanced reciprocity that works for our program budget, while acknowledging each family's ​unique economic circumstances.  The Aeon initiative is still developing, and budgetary markers are still subject to change.  We are working with a model that will minimize costs and ​offer a unique, secondary school experience for a tiny fraction of the cost of private schooling at the middle and high school level.  Click here for our current fee schedule.


2017/18 Living Curriculum Grades 9/10​

​History: Earth-Story 1
This Earth-centered view of history endeavors to bring generational relevance and ecological context to the learner’s idea of history.  EarthStory will not be a story organized around human “progress” - politics, battles and boundaries of “sovereign” nations.  Instead, we will recover the Story of Earth and its long unfolding over billions of years to gestate and birth our human presence, a story rich with science, music, art, dances, mythos, and Mystery.  What if we were to contemplate the beginnings of civilizations and their rise and fall within the context of human relationship to the Natural World? How can we better understand the gradual deterioration of that relationship, and the effects on the culture and well-being of each civilization?  What if we could begin to see and understand the real heroes of the human journey- our amazing ancestors- who, even in the midst of civilization’s loss of connection, created enduring art, poetry, literature, music and science that celebrated their Belonging to Earth? 
This epic exploration of of humanity’s Earthen connections will invite learners to recognize their own sense of self, connection, and Belonging, as we walk into a future that cannot be seen. EarthStory will integrate lecture, reading, collaborative learning, art, music, story, composition, scientific inquiry, and experiential, ‘hands-heart-head’ learning to create a deeply engaging historical survey of humanity’s Earthen origins.

​Offered September-May, Monday, 10-3:30pm (including Aeon Cafe cooking class/ lunch period)  
FEES: $120-$150 per month sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus one-time materials fee of $25

SPECIAL NOTE: EarthStory is an essential, initiatory 'required course' for enrollment in our other courses.  More than a history class, EarthStory is an integral thread, weaving together the class community, and adding depth, meaning, and context to all other coursework in our program.

Language Arts: The Hero's Journey
This course looks at literature featuring ordinary people who find themselves in circumstances that require extraordinary acts (sound familiar?), and examines these acts in relation to the archetypal hero’s journey. Lessons provide historical background on the setting and author while offering discussion points students can use to explore literary themes and issues with family and peers. Students develop a wide range of composition skills throughout the course, exploring techniques and formats such as comparative essays, first person writing, figurative language, summarizing, poetry, persuasive writing, inferential reading and contextual clues, and observational writing.  The included course book allows learners to work independently, as well as under the guidance of a facilitator/teacher. 
​Offered September-May, Tuesdays 10:45-12:45
FEES: $60-$80 per month sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus one-time materials/textbook fee of $85
Social Studies:  PeaceJam Ambassadors
PeaceJam Ambassadors is a unique program developed by the PeaceJam Foundation to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world.  The course will explore issues related to peace, violence, social justice and oppression through the lens of history, political science, geography, social justice, human rights, citizenship, conflict resolution, and more.  Learners study the lives and work of 13 Nobel Peace Laureates and the strategies they use to address pressing global issues, while they create and implement their own PeaceJam Global Call to Action projects within our own Asheville community, and beyond.  The program also includes an annual PeaceJam Youth Conference where youth spend a weekend with a Nobel Peace Laureate, giving them an unprecedented opportunity to share with, learn from, and be inspired by a world leader for peace. Click here to learn more about PeaceJam.

​​Offered September-May, Wednesdays, 10:45-12:45
FEES: $60-$80 per month, sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus one-time materials fee of $50
​Environmental Science for a Changing World
This course introduces fundamental ecological concepts and explores the interactions between all living things, including humans, and our environment. Students learn about the biosphere, major biomes, ecosystems, chemical cycles, and the role of living things in ecosystems. In addition to learning about environmental problems, students explore practical alternatives for protecting the environment and moving toward a sustainable future. More and more, the broad subject of environmental science needs to be considered on a global scale, and this course helps to increase students’ awareness of global environmental issues, as well as their role in their environment, both local and global. Students are encouraged to think deeply about the issues discussed and their responsibilities as stewards of the Earth. The interdisciplinary nature of environmental science is reinforced throughout the course.​

​Offered September-May, Thursdays 10:45-12:45   
FEES: $60-$80 per month sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus one-time materials/textbook fee of $80

Integrated Mathematics: 9th Grade Geometry & Algebra 
A truly relevant, richly integrated exploration of Geometry and Algebra, based on the Waldorf approach to high school mathematics.  Students will learn practical, artistic, and scientific application of both Geometry and Algebra, through an engaging curriculum that includes a historical and cultural survey of the people and events that brought forth important these mathematical developments.  Students will learn to draw geometric constructions based on there appearance in nature, botany, astronomy, building, and learn how Algebraic equations are a language that can help us express and understand higher mathematical concepts. Concepts introduced will include, but not be limited to: 
  • Static and Dynamic Loci, movement under law, including Conic Sections and 3d projections 
  • Axiomatic methods
  • Engineering Drawing
  • Probability and Statistics 
  • Pascal's triangle, Binomial Theorem
  • Quadratic equations, polynomials, and formulae
  • Algebraic proofs
  • Factoring and completing the square
​Offered September-May, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:45-3:30
FEES: $80-$100 per month, sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus one-time materials/textbook fee of $50

Global Village: Cultural Immersion, Travel, Foreign Language:  2017/18 Venue: Southern France This year’s class will be an immersive experience of the unique culture of Southern France- a place where diverse world cultures have intersected for thousands of years!  With guidance from our Learning Stewards, students will begin a fundraising campaign for their trip using online platforms, events, student-run business, service work, and more.  During the months preceding travel, learners will also familiarize themselves with the language, culture, ecology, food, and economy of the travel venue. Through this process, they will learn more about themselves as creators of their own class/community culture, and dive deeply into cultural identity as an element of their own humanness.  Experienced guides will facilitate and lead these trips, with the idea that parents are welcome to join the fun and adventure.  Lavender fields, prehistoric cave art, pottery, paint and pigment making, delicious food, history, art-making, swimming, and nature-based immersion will create adventure stories and memories that will last a lifetime. (We are currently establishing additional venues in Ireland, Costa Rica, and Bali which will include even more art, food, culture and adventure experiences).

​Offered September-May, Wednesdays, 1:45-3:30pm.  Travel to France June 3 - June 18 2018.
FEES: $60-$80 per month, sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus travel fees, TBD.  Students will be fundraising for their trip during the year as part of their learning journey.
​2017 Trimester 1 Electives & Internships 
Trimesters are approximately 12-13 weeks.  Fees vary, and are split equitably among the families enrolled in each class. Contact us for more information.

Board Game Cafe/study hall: hosted at Well Played Cafe
Studio Art:  with Elizabeth Porrit-Carrington
Green Building: with Blue Ridge Energy Systems
Equine/Animal Arts:  with Joy Kennedy
Cooking & Nutrition:  with Septimbor Lim
Circus Arts/Functional Anatomy/Acro-yoga:  with Thea Wilkins
Animal Rescue Internship: Brother Wolf Animal Rescue

Listening for the Wisdom of Young People

​Charles Kouns of Imagining Learning speaks about his global experiences listening to middle and high school learners as they re-envision education.