We (the Luzardo family) moved from California to Costa Rica due to a growing awareness that our status-quo lifestyle was actually contributing indirectly or directly to many of the current problems in the world. We agree with Plato that “an unexamined life is not worth living” and that the best way to examine it is from the outside. Living in a wooden shack up in the forested mountains of Costa Rica and learning how to grow our own food and construct our own shelter, we were able to clearly see much of what we unconsciously learned from our previous materialistic, money-dependent lifestyle in California. A major part of a self-dependent (self-sufficient, freedom-based) lifestyle is to not only have the right to educate our own children but to ensure that the education is unbiased and truly reflective of Life and its need to evolve for the sake of All. Now that we have experienced life on both ends of the spectrum, we learned that the life worth living (that makes us a part of the solution and not the problem) is the middle path by removing the negative sides of each and incorporating the best of each.
For those who have been through the conventional school system, special attention is put on the process of “unschooling” which is essentially healing from the trauma and undoing damaging programming from the conventional school system. “Unschooling” seeks to heal the:
- Weakened bond between parent and child (and between siblings) due to many days and hours of separation which usually leads to the child leaving their family as soon as they are adults as well as sibling rivalry.
- Peer pressure to conform, ridiculed because they look, act, or think different (instead of finding one’s own unique voice, style, and expression, feeling good about what makes them different, and using it as a gift to give to the world)
- Fear of authority, punished for questioning authority or not obeying authority
- Fear of making mistakes due to the grading/scoring and rewards and punishment system (instead of learning from mistakes, trial and error, and learning for the fun of learning)
- Lack of initiative due to fear of authority and fear of making mistakes
- Hiding, lying, and cheating to rebel against all the rules and restrictions
- Low self-esteem due to difficulty learning a “one-size-fits-all” instruction
- Exposure to violence, bullying, alcohol, drugs, premature and irresponsible sex, etc.
- Exposure to toxic, processed foods from conventional school lunches, social activities, and peers
- Emotional trauma from the label of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder) and physical poisoning from Ritalin drug prescriptions (see Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging documentary to learn more)
- Lack of creative and critical thinking and the dumbing down effects of learning by memorization and regurgitation of mostly irrelevant, incorrect, misleading, or useless information
- Stress and dislike of learning due to the pressure to perform in a standardized way, the irrelevance of the subjects, and the lack of passion for teaching and learning from the teachers themselves
- Constant studying and lack of application of knowledge; hence, the word “students” – one who only studies information and does not apply it. Otherwise known as the “knowing-doing gap”.
More Reasons to Say “No” to Public School Systems
The Schooling of the World documentary uncovers evidence of the real purpose of the public school system across the world: which is the implementation of a monetary-based system to benefit a few elites and to destroy self-sufficiency, gift communities, and Mother Nature. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “Real freedom comes only when we free ourselves of the domination of Western education, Western culture and the Western way of living.” As JAL said: “This video is about education becoming indoctrination in the belief that a culture is superior to other. This has been the tragedy of this so-called ‘civilization.’ Terrible the twisted minds of a few in power! Watch this video now because this video is a gift. Feel the hearts of those who have been and are oppressed so we can do something about this injustice.” http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/schooling_the_world_2010
Also see the following video for an example of a homeschooled boy, his profound thoughts about the conventional school system, and how homeschooling helped him far exceed his conventionally schooled peers on many levels:
Weakened Bond Between Parent & Child
The school system programs children to live the monetary system lifestyle which usually entails getting a job in another city or farther which takes them farther away from their parents. In addition, being away from their parents for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week for most of their childhood naturally weakens the bond between parent and child and therefore they will most likely want to move out when they become adults (when they can get a job). They actually spend more time with friends (and therefore develop a closer bond with them) than their own parents so this makes sense. This is a trend we see whenever public school systems are implemented in a country. “The Archers of Bhutan” documentary https://youtu.be/lyXb-b4oSWg was the first to show us this and then when we moved to Costa Rica and started talking to the locals here, we found a similar thing happened to them when the public school system was introduced in Costa Rica which was actually relatively recent (less than a generation ago) like in Bhutan.
Our Teaching Credentials
Luckily, JAL and I (Ngoc) have extensive experience in teaching and curriculum and instructional design. JAL taught at one of the most prestigious universities in Venezuela (Universidad Simón Bolívar) for 14 years. He has a PhD in Engineering Mathematics from Claremont Graduate University and California State University Long Beach, a joint PhD program for which he was awarded a full-ride scholarship. I graduated with honors from Scripps College in Claremont, California with a BA in Psychology for which I was also awarded a full-ride scholarship. After graduation, I worked as an instructional designer, corporate and technical trainer, and Knowledge Management (KM) consultant for 11 years at Ingram Micro Inc., a Fortune 100 company. I founded and spearheaded their KM function due to a KM Methodology I invented for which the company filed U.S. and international patents on my behalf.
Nonviolent (Peaceful) Communication
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a methodology for communicating in a way that brings a more loving, compassionate, and nonviolent way of understanding and functioning with others and ourselves. NVC attempts to liberate us from ancient patterns of violence, transforming potential conflicts into peaceful dialogues. It show us how to teach Peace and Unconditional Love, exploring the connection between language and violence. By learning how to listen empathetically and communicate our authentic feelings and needs, we can connect soul to soul and thereby facilitate a lot of much needed healing. Our family reads and discusses together a section at a time the Nonviolent Communication ebook that contains extracts from Marshall Rosenberg’s books on NVC and find ways to apply NVC in our daily lives.
2017 Update: This class is already complete (no longer in progress).
Costa Rica Travel Blog Project
The Luzardo kids have been tasked with developing content for the Ardent Light Costa Rica Travel Blog site. Every weekday, each chooses a topic for a blog article, performs research on the Internet to learn more about the topic, and then write a blog article about it. Categories for topics range from wildlife (including edible plants and their nutritional and medicinal value) to Costa Rican cuisine, tourism, and immigration. Once a week, they get to present to Ngoc and each other what they learned.
2017 Update: This project is already complete (no longer in progress).
Mathematics with Dr. Professor JAL
On weekdays, JAL teaches the kids various topics in mathematics with the goal of taking them through Calculus and get them started in C++ programming so they can help out in some high-tech projects later on.
Every weekday, the kids choose their own creative projects that they really enjoy working on such as learning to play a new musical piece, song writing, writing fiction, or creating 2D or 3D art, graphics, animation, videos, or video games.
Self-Sufficiency Projects & Classes
We try to include the kids in as many self-sufficiency projects as possible so they can learn valuable life skills such as composting, taking care of a nursery of plants, and planting them when they are ready to be planted. They will be involved in many more projects and activities as we start working on them (see Current Projects). They will also have a kids’ version of all of our self-sufficiency class offerings that we will host at the Motherland (see Classes & Events menu above). See video narrated by JAL and edited by Renzi Luzardo below for an example of a self-sufficiency project the kids did:
Yoga & Meditation
On weekday mornings, the kids do yoga led by JAL on most days and when JAL is not available, the yoga class is led by Ngoc. On weekday evenings, the kids meditate for 15 minutes with Ngoc.
2017 Update: The kids now do cardiovascular and strength training exercises such as running, jogging, hiking, swimming, and pull-up and parallel bar exercises. Occasional sports include softball and Chinese jump rope.
For secondary school level kids who want to attend college, we recommend a much more structured homeschool curriculum which includes a grading system and transcript of classes that would satisfy college entrance requirements.
We are always interested in learning about alternative school systems that children really enjoy, thrive in, and learn so much practical knowledge that will free them and others from the monetary system of slavery and help solve all our real-world problems. For example, the Kin School in Tekos Russia is such an inspiration to us. The kids there build and maintain the school themselves, teach themselves and each other 10 years of Russian school curriculum in a couple of years, and learn and master many practical survival and self-sufficiency skills (see video below).
See the “Alternative Schools” Ardent Light YouTube playlist for other interesting examples of alternative schools in which children are well-prepared to create a wonderful future for humanity and Mother Earth.