IMAGINE ​a place where learning is cultivation of deep relationships with self, others and the natural world

IMAGINE​ a place where learning is living, and the curriculum is alive, relevant and engaging

IMAGINE ​a place where learning is deep exploration of personal values, interests, passions & curiosities

IMAGINE…a high school experience that provides an expanded context for personal exploration through self inquiry, contemplative practice, and communion with the natural world.  What if 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 high school provided a diverse social context for relational learning?  At IMAGINE, 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, IMAGINE 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 IMAGINE team is weaving together an academic curriculum from Oak Meadow, the Biomimicry Institute, Live! Education, and others, along with contemplative practice, mentor-guided self inquiry, internships, expeditionary learning, & guided independent exploration & projects to create a truly unique high school experience. 

What is a 'high 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.  IMAGINE'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 IMAGINE classes will be created based on IMAGINE's recommendations, their family's rhythm, their own interests and preferences, and the course catalogue that IMAGINE 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 IMAGINE learning from 10:00-3:30, or they may sign up for 1 or 2 classes, and independently guide the remainder of their high school 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 IMAGINE High?

IMAGINE 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. IMAGINE 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 high school environment.

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-IMAGINE 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 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 IMAGINE faculty and learning stewards encourage learners to co-IMAGINE their own learning journey?

Where are classes held?

IMAGINE 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 IMAGINE students to learn through deep relationship- with themselves, others, and the world around them.  IMAGINE'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 IMAGINE's on site Learning Stewards & Oak Meadow distance learning faculty; 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 IMAGINE support my transition into college, a career, adulthood?

Your learning journey at IMAGINE will fully support your lifepath, whether you plan to attend a college of your choice, engage a vocation, launch your career as an artist/musician/author/etc, or freely explore the world.  You will emerge from your learning  journey at IMAGINE with the self-knowledge, worldly wisdom and inspiration to fully embrace your lifepath, wherever it may take you!  The treasury of academic, exploratory, and 'real life' learning experiences you've had with IMAGINE will give you the inner clarity to determine a course of study at a university, the courage to explore your 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.
Many colleges are now expanding their entry requirements to include a combination of graduation portfolios and high school transcripts.  Our IMAGINE faculty will assist you and your family during your exploration process of secondary education, help direct you to resources and information, and counsel you as you deeply consider your lifepath.

How will I graduate?

There are several ways to complete and document your learning journey at IMAGINE High.

1. You may acquire the total amount of credits necessary for a 'traditional' graduation
2. You and your parents may work with our learning stewards to create a transcript and graduation portfolio
3. You may design a combination of the above, according to your own needs and lifepath

IMAGINE will be working with several curriculum resources, including the accredited Oak Meadow high school curriculum.  Thus, each learner and their family can determine for themselves how they wish to document their learning experience.  Families may work with our learning stewards to determine whether they wish to receive full or partial accredited endorsement for all classes completed during the learning journey with IMAGINE.  Credits are received through dual enrollment at Oak Meadow's distance learning program.  Click here to learn more about Oak Meadow's graduation requirements.

Colleges and universities are currently revolutionizing their admission process and requirements to acknowledge the well rounded learning that occurs with learning freedom 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 IMAGINE.  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.  Click here for an article and more information about graduation portfolios.

Fees and Value Exchange

In keeping with the economy-as-ecology approach of The Learning Village and Sacred Mountain Sanctuary, IMAGINE 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 based 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 IMAGINE 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 IMAGINE 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, accredited high school experience for a tiny fraction of the cost of private schooling at the high school level.  


 Grade 9 Living Curriculum ​2017/18

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, 3hrs per week/day & time TBD
FEES: $80-$100 per month sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus one-time materials/textbook fee of $75

​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 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.


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-IMAGINE education.
Geometry: This course introduces students to the basic theorems of Euclidean plane geometry and their applications, and explores both plane and solid geometric figures. Students learn how to prove theorems by the axiomatic method, and to use these theorems in solving a variety of problems.  Students also learn how to accomplish a variety of geometric constructions.

 Algebra 1: This course covers the following skills: evaluation of expressions involving signed numbers, exponents and roots, properties of real numbers, absolute value and equations and inequalities involving absolute value, scientific notation, unit conversions, solution of equations in one unknown and solution of simultaneous equations, the algebra of polynomials and rational expressions, work problems requiring algebra for their solution, graphical solutions of simultaneous equations, the Pythagorean theorem, algebraic proofs, functions and functional notation, solution of quadratic equations via factoring and completing the square, direct and inverse variation, and exponential growth.

Offered September-May, 2.5 hours per week/day & time TBD
FEES: $60-$80 per month, sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus one-time materials/textbook fee of $100
Science: Biomimicry 
At a time when we need a sustainable approach to more deeply understand many pressing local and global challenges, researchers are finding that the wisdom to address and prevent many of these problems already exists in nature. Biomimicry is the practice of looking to nature for strategies to address human challenges and prevent further harm to our biosphere. This course reinforces core content in chemistry, physics, biology, and design science using striking examples from nature and bio-inspired design as a framework to enliven interest.  Students will also have an opportunity to participate in the Biomimicry Institute’s Global Design Challenge and School Capstone Project.  

​Offered September-May, 2.5 hrs per week/day & time TBD   
FEES: $75-$95 per month sliding scale, 9 monthly payments, plus one-time materials fee of $30
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

Culture Club: Learners will select a venue from an offering of choices at the beginning of the programming year.  Duration of Culture Club will be determined by the travel dates and climate of the chosen venue, or pre-arranged tour dates.  
With guidance from our Learning Stewards, club members will begin a fundraising campaign for their trip using online platforms, events, student-run business, service work, and more.  Learners will familiarize themselves with the language, culture, ecology, food, and economy of the travel venue during the months preceding travel.  
Gogi (grow outward, grow inward) , offers several possibilities, and our students and parents will be researching others.  Experienced guides will facilitate and lead these trips, with the idea that parents are welcome to join the fun and adventure.
We are currently establishing additional venues in Provence/France & Ireland, which will include combined art, food, culture and adventure experiences.

Personal Interest Project
Learners will dive deeply into a self-selected topic or area of interest, tapping into their curiosities, discovering, honing research skills, exploring multiple ways to document & present/share their learning journey.  
This offering will also invite learners to live more deeply into their own learning and sharing style, and offer guidance around how to work with their natural affinities & preferences to sustain a life-long love of learning, and navigate circumstances where they must adapt their ‘style’ of engagement (ie, college, workplace, LIFE!) 
They will emerge from the experience with a deeper awareness of themselves, confidence in their unique learning-and-sharing style, and creative agility to respectfully advocate for themselves and adapt in future life and learning situations.

Contact Us

The Learning Village
96 Rocky Cove Rd
Candler, NC 28715
Founding Steward, Septimbor Lim:
TLV Director of Programs, Nicole Almeida: