Lights On® Family Culture

collaboration lights on® learning passion-led learning Apr 06, 2020

At the end of another Lights On® JAM, let’s look at how creative, collaborative learning enables us to shape family culture, empowering parents to change the way we think about ourselves and our children as we learn alongside one another.

Sixty families from around the world gathered online this week, kickstarting our JAM with fabulous learning carousels, laying out a feast of activities to entice our families to dig in and get creative.

Where do our children naturally turn, what grabs and sustains their interest, what lights them up?

As parents, we want our children to be happy, engaged learners, but what about us, the adults in the mix? Often, we forget our own creative genius, what lights us up. As important as our children’s choices, what catches our attention on the learning carousel? Where do we find our interest piqued, our engagement sustained? 

There is abundant creative storytelling emerging in our community as well as young engineers designing, building, solving problems. Animations spill over from last week’s JAM, continuing to inspire young filmmakers. New cut paper animations spark new creations, with Star Wars and Lego popular too.

There are artists, musicians, chefs in the mix, even an Italian fashion designer! Intelligence takes many forms, and is expressed in such diverse ways. As parents, we celebrate that, but do we recognise it in ourselves, too? We have a window of opportunity, in this strange time at home, to discover what creative genius lies undiscovered within us, as well as within our children.

One Lights On® Mum, Amy, said, “I’m learning to let go of my worry about what the boys are doing, and just got stuck in myself ….It felt so good to focus on me enjoying the process.” 

Just like Amy, we can role model what it is to be a learner. Letting go of our worry and trusting the process is a mindset shift. So important is mindset to our development as learners, that a mindset challenge is included in each JAM. This week’s Float my Boat challenge involved card, foil and piles of pennies, but families found their experiments spinning out in many directions as they rose to the challenge.

11-year-old Essie took to Tinkercad to design a boat, using this creative design app for the first time. When our exploratory brief was delivered, he returned to Tinkercad to build on his learning, designing a fantastic 3D futuristic teleporter.

The creative brief was wide open, with plenty of room to engage in different ways: You’re an explorer whose mission is to search beyond time and space to bring back something new to share with the world.

In our family, we began by brainstorming ideas, and as my 8-year-old got to work on a film he had been creating, a story emerged, sparked by the brief. Inspired, I decided to write, illustrate and bring my words to life through animation. My 14-year-old found himself pulled in to help with editing, sound and voiceovers. A true family collaboration as the culture of creativity spreads.

In other Lights On® homes, the Square family travelled forward in a time machine to see  the cars of the future. Other responses included a Lego space hotel, a music track and short films, even a choreographed battle scene on a distant planet.

Essie’s natural love of tech inspired his creative engagement with a new app, and his Mum, Emma, was inspired to write a beautiful poem set to space artwork.

She explains, “At this troubled time, we have the opportunity to be quieter and, if we can be with and accept the challenge of our frustration, we can move through it to discover the intrinsic joy of our inner inspiration, creativity and resourcefulness, however we may express it. This is a fundamental part of the Lights On® mindset too.” 

Emma described this week’s JAM as “a real lights-on win for us. Essie felt very proud, and we are so pleased with ourselves and each other. We exhibited creative thinking, tangible evidence, persistence, focus and follow-through. My main concern is his being a focused consumer, a gaming fanatic, who said he didn’t want to do anything else on a computer. This is a major breakthrough.”

Want in on the Lights On® action? Come and be inspired in your own learning adventure in the 3-day Lights On® Jams, running each week throughout April.

Turn this strange period of isolation into an opportunity to discover the Lights On® learners you and your child are made to be.

Click here to join our next Lights On® Jam!

Alice Khimasia
Seeing her eldest son's lights go out when he was 7, Alice took action to ensure his freedom to learn. She has been speaking and writing about her family's learning adventures ever since, and gave a TEDx talk in 2016. Alice is part of our Lights On® Academy and lives with her husband and 4 Lights On® Learners in the West Midlands.

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