Many parents today are at home with their kids. If you are one of them, here are a few tips:
Give your child a schedule to work by. All of the Acton Academy students are working remotely right now. Having a written schedule and putting it out for them to see is key. You can put in on the wall or a piece of paper so they can refer to it.
Use online platforms. There are a lot of great online platforms we use at Acton. Hopefully, traditional schools are using them as well. If you need a suggestion, please reach out to me so I can help you with the subject you are looking for.
Help children under 7 to be as independent as possible. Put things out on an open shelf so they can access everything by themselves. You can even put out their daily snacks in a bin so they can decide when they would like to eat them. Doing so helps them become independent, direct their own learning, and choose their own activities for the day.
As adults, navigating uncertainty is so challenging. It’s even more confusing for young people who are just learning what their role in the world is. As parents, letting our children know it is not their job to worry or make the world a safe place is a must. They can find ways to help, but it isn’t their job to be anxious about what’s going to happen.
If your child is watching the news with you, seek out new stories that highlight the heroes who are trained to be helpers or are being helpers just out of the goodness of their hearts. Doing so gives them security and inspiration seeing adults working to keep the world a safe place.
Allow your children to express their fears. Let them tell you what they are thinking and how they are feeling. Find out if they want more information or less information. Ask questions. It’s so easy to say “you shouldn’t be afraid” and reassure them that everything will be okay. But doing so won’t help their inner growth. Try not to tell them how to think and process. Although it can be hard, try not to project your own feelings on them. You can tell them about your thoughts and feelings, but let them have their own, and validate them even if they are different from yours.
At Acton Academy, our Eagles know what it is like to be a helper in the community and the studio. At a very young age, they know how to fill up each other’s buckets and think of ways to help others through challenging times.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
A lot of things are going on in the world right now. Many schools are shutting down due to the Covid-19 coronavirus. For many people, their normal life has been disrupted.
Thankfully, Acton Academy is already prepared for this. All of our core skills are already done through our online platforms. Our learners can continue learning even in the comfort of their homes.
More than that, we inspire our learners to be self-directed in the studio. As a result, they are well-equipped even when they are out of the studio. They have the inner knowledge of how to motivate themselves and keep track of their goals. They can advance at the same pace as they would in the studio.
We have a strong model and platform to handle any disruption. The Eagles have the tools inside them to be able to self-direct their learning and be autonomous.
Life is continuing as normal here at Acton Academy New Hampshire. Everything keeps moving forward.
Here’s an amazing story of transformation from one of our sister schools!
A young woman came to Acton Academy from a traditional school. After the first month, she told her parents she doesn’t like being in charge of her own learning and having to make all of the school rules and governance. She said “I just want someone to tell me what to do, that is easier!” The heroic parents responded, “That is exactly why you’re going to Acton.” Her parents wanted her to learn to think for herself and not be told everything.
Fast forward a few months, there were a few Eagles who were using derogatory language in the studio. A bunch of learners were quick to point out that they were breaking the contract they created and signed. The young woman is a leader of the studio now. She rallied a few students and held a meeting where they crafted a launch on language and why words matter.
Following that student-led discussion, a contract was created and signed by all the Heroes, penning their commitment to preserving the honor of their sacred, respectful space through the use of kind language. They also mapped out the consequences if they didn’t follow it, such as being warned to be stopped, having to apologize, or receiving an honor code violation for breaking the promises.
The whole incident was accomplished with zero adult intervention. The Eagles saw the problem and immediately stepped in to solve it, calling their community to a higher standard of excellence, imprinting to their hearts that words matter.
It would have been easier for the adults to step in, but that is not what we do here at Acton. We allow the Eagles to have the ability to face and solve their own problems. Would the lesson have meant as much coming from an adult as it did coming from peers? We don’t think so!
In this TEDx talk, Jake Thompson shares his journey as an entrepreneur in education and his belief that traditional education has missed something really important that without it, no learning matters.
As we create an environment for our children to learn and transform in preparation for their lives, Jake also shares 4 great leaders we can look up to:
Maria Montessori: Self-paced learning
Socrates: Critical thinking and problem solving
Jeff Bezos: Mastery
Steve Jobs: Find a calling
When you trust children with their learning, inspire them as to why it matters, and equip them to tackle it, they begin to face challenges and overcome them in preparation for real-life challenges, such as distraction, resistance, and victimhood.
Do you think our society could use more kindness, love, and joy? Imagine what society would look like and how different it could be if, in school, our children were coached, encouraged, and shown how to be kind, generous, and full of gratitude?
At Acton Academy, these emotions of the heart and brain are as important as Math, Writing, and Science. We want our Eagles to be complete people. We want them to not only have core skills, but also to have inner peace and knowledge about themselves, others, and the world around them.
Often, as adults, we move away from awkward as fast as we can. But what if we sat in the awkward and let it wash over us until it dissipated on its own?
The next time you have a chance to sit in awkward, like when you show up at the restaurant first or you are waiting at the doctor’s office, I challenge you to not take out your phone or read a magazine. When you are in any public space sitting by yourself, I challenge you to just feel awkward. You will feel weird, for sure. But if you let it continue for a certain period, peace will suddenly overcome you and you’ll become relaxed. Then you will start to see the world around you and really take in your environment. You will be surprised at the things you notice that you would have missed by staying distracted.
The first few minutes will be uncomfortable. Being able to move through and past discomfort like this is such a valuable tool. If we learn this as children, it becomes a part of who we are. As a result, we can do hard things. We can sit through uncomfortable things. We can get past uncomfortable obstacles that block our way to success. These are the lessons our Eagles are learning every day.
Why are you an entrepreneur or why do you want to be one? What were the reasons you started your own business? Is it to spend more time with your kids or to take days off when you need to? Or maybe you just don’t want to miss any more soccer games, or family events.
All of these reasons have one thing in common: They are all rooted in wanting more freedom.
As adults, we go after entrepreneurship to gain freedom in our lives. But along the way, we realize we need to learn how to be a business owner. We find ourselves in this big new world of goal planning, financial sheets, and the need to overcome obstacles both inside and outside of ourselves. It can be overwhelming.
Now imagine…. What if you had learned those skills in school?
Aside from learning how to set your goals and have a positive relationship with money, what if you also learned how to slay your inner dragons of fears and doubts and how to keep your momentum moving forward? What if you learned tools and tactics that the most successful people on earth are using? If you learned even a portion of that at a young age, can you imagine where your future could have been?
Do you want to give your child a head start to creating freedom in their lives? At Acton Academy, we empower children not just to dream big but also how to actually create a roadmap and a plan to achieve those dreams. We are creating the next generation of entrepreneurs.
This doesn’t mean every child is going to be an entrepreneur. But if they have the tools and confidence that come with entrepreneurship, they can choose their own path and have the gift of freedom.
Let me share with you a story from another Acton Academy in our network of over 250 schools worldwide. The owner was going into a journey meeting with one of the student’s parents. A journey meeting is when we sit together with our students and their parents. Nothing is said behind the Eagle’s back because they are present in the meeting to participate in the conversation. We simply have a heart-to-heart discussion about how things are going and what needs to be worked on.
In the meeting, the parent talked about an analogy about campers and climbers. He said that his greatest hope is that his child becomes a climber. He further explained that every organization has both campers and climbers. A camper is somebody who punches the clock, waiting in the shade until the day is done and doing what he needs to do just to get by. A climber, on the other hand, chooses challenges, prefers tough problems that will make them grow. Mountain climbers climb not because they love the top, but because they love the climb and the challenge of getting to see the beautiful view.
The next day, the Eagles of that school sat around and had a morning talk about the analogy of the campers and climbers. They answered a few questions such as:
What is the number one habit you could adjust to become a better climber?
Do you have a character callout for a friend who has helped you along the journey of being a climber?
What place or setting has inspired you to focus on your climbing goals?
Everybody needs to recognize when we are in the place of inspiration and figuring out how we are going to move the needle up. We need to spend time on ourselves and our schedules, otherwise, things will just happen to us mindlessly, one thing after another. The time we turn into campers is the time when we are not choosing our path, but letting our circumstances choose it for us.
At Acton Academy, we are equipping our Eagles every day to be able to choose their path in this world and have the courage, confidence, and tools they need. I hope this has inspired you to take action to yourself or help your child move forward with becoming a climber.
As we get into the new year, we have fresh ideas and New Year’s Resolutions to inspire us to form new habits that will make us into a better version of ourselves.
Here at Acton Academy, forming these new habits one step at a time is something that we empower children with every day.
We believe that habits determine your future. If you work out every day, you will become fit. If you work on learning a new language for half an hour every day, you will eventually be able to speak that language because you have the habit of putting consistent time into learning.
Keep in mind that habits can be a double-edged sword. There are good ones and bad ones. If you think about it, we are all building different kinds of habits all the time, whether good or bad. There are many things we do over and over again daily.
For this reason, it’s important to understand how habits work, why they work, and how you can design them yourself. Knowing how habits work allows you to shape them yourself and find yourself empowered to form your own vision (and reality!) of the future.
At Acton, there are great habits we instill in our routine on a daily basis. One example is having a gratitude circle where the Eagles can say something they’re grateful for that happened during the day. We also practice mindfulness, meditation and regularly reflect on our work and presentations.
One of the main things we want our Eagles to understand is that they have control over the choices they make every day. They can be the architect of their habits rather than the victim of them, and create the life of their dreams!
One of our main philosophies here at Acton can be summed up by a quote from Dr. Seuss: “It is better to learn how to learn than to know.”
In a lot of traditional environments, children are trained by having them memorize facts so they can regurgitate them onto a test. Children are instructed to memorize knowledge and show it back to their teachers.
At Acton Academy, we get to the core of what will engage a student as a learner. We focus on what will drive the students and spark passion in them to find more information on a topic. That is why we are constantly asking questions and trying to inspire learning so that the Eagles can soar on their own and find out how to expand their knowledge based on their own curiosity. Why? Because that is what they need to be doing for the rest of their life. Once they’re out of school, no one will tell them they need to learn this or memorize that. They are on their own.
It’s amazing to see learners being self-driven. They care about what they are learning because they are choosing what path to go down. They might say, “I’m really interested in the French Revolution. When was that time period?” And they will go to the computer or encyclopedia and research on their own. That one question may lead them to another question and another until they are well down the path of absorbing the information that they themselves sought out.
As their guide, all we are doing is inspiring them in their own hero’s journey. We are here to remind them that they can grow their brains just as fast as they want to on their own.