THREE WEEKS LEFT IN OUR FIRST SESSION – HOW ARE YOU?

Laura Sandefer

September 19, 2015

Feeling confident? Insecure? Confused? Content?

Are you taking it all in?

Each of us has unique stories about our child’s experiences at Acton Academy over the past three weeks. It may not seem like much yet from what you have observed.

But when I walk through the Acton studios each day and witness the children at work and play, I am nothing short of stunned. I see Growth.

I don’t know a college student or business owner or parent or writer who does more internal work, more growing, listening and learning in a day than our children do on their Acton journey.

This growth won’t come home to you packaged neatly as homework assignments; or a grade on a weekly spelling quiz which makes you say, “oh good, my child can spell.”

While the kind of growth happening at Acton in these first weeks does have some metrics (the online dashboards, for example,) the biggest growth may come home in more human terms such as tears over a struggle; or a ranting of frustration over having to earn freedoms. It may come home as a big smile of satisfaction over finishing a tough goal; or as genuine excitement about returning to school for time with new friends. It even may be seen by you as sheer exhaustion and grumpiness due to a day so full of learning that your child can’t even talk about it until after a good sleep.

You will soon see a signed Contract honed through tough committee work; a Lip Dub choreographed, filmed and edited by 6-10 year olds; and Learning Plans outlining a vision for a year’s work created by 11-16 year olds. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what the Eagles have been doing each day and they are not minor accomplishments. They are the outcomes of complex projects each requiring critical thinking, problem-solving, negotiating, speaking and writing with clarity, and true collaboration. (And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg of what the Eagles have been doing each day.)

As parents, we must wait for the learning outcomes patiently. There are no cheat sheets or Cliff Notes available for this kind of work. It takes time.

The hero’s journey is not a straight line with a syllabus and schedule attached based on one’s age. It is hard. It is personal. It is unpredictable. It takes honesty, courage, and grit to move forward because learning includes struggling and most people don’t gravitate toward a struggle. Most people avoid hard work and hope for an easy way out.

“Most people want to fit in. Most people are afraid. Most people aren’t curious. But you are not most people.” (From Seth Godin’s great little book Tribes.)

The traditional system you have opted out of is one that can be easily “gamed;” however, ultimately plays out as intellectual bankruptcy. I want so much more for my children.

So hang in there if you are sensing an inner resistance. Resistance builds strength.

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