Week 10 (2016) -Learning From Challenges, and Thankfulness

The exhibition this week sent some of our young heroes scrambling. On Monday, we reviewed which parts of the project each hero needed to work on the most. We then decided whether limiting distractions or prioritizing from most to least important would help each individual. While a few of our heroes felt they were almost prepared and needed to complete the remaining tasks in order of priority, there were also a few who felt distracted. These heroes thought it would be most important to work alone where they would not be tempted to misuse time.

By Tuesday, some heroes were feeling discouraged. They had set high session goals for themselves, and felt the nearness of the exhibition. After reviewing our “Hero’s Contract”, everyone agreed that the most important line (at this point) was to “Never Give Up”. It was also agreed that it would be better for someone to fail (and learn from it) than to give up (and never try to accomplish the goal). When asked if “Success” was measured by growth or achievement, our young heroes decided that even if someone had already met their session goals, to truly be “Successful”, he/she would continue to find challenge.
On Wednesday, the heroes worked together to define a “quality” education. They  agreed that even if a school had lots of love, fun, a cool slide, and hammocks hanging from the ceiling, it would not be a “quality” school if there wasn’t challenge. Everyone also agreed that in order to have challenge, a hero has to persevere (“Never Give Up”) through difficult tasks.
Thursday was an anxious yet excited day in the studio. There was an intense focus as some heroes were still working on their session goals and preparing for the exhibition. Thankfully, everyone was prepared just in time!
Today marked a great day of reflection time! Our morning launch was centered on the exhibition. A few heroes noted that during the next session, they will need to use the time more wisely to prevent the “last minute scramble”. During the morning launch, our heroes were also given a fake scenario where a student (Phil) was given a project and waited until the last minute to complete it. The students were asked if his mom should be able to help him (finish the project in time to earn a badge). While 1 of our heroes thought the parent should help him to prevent failure, the rest of the heroes agreed that this would not truly teach him how to use his time.
The remainder of the day was not only a time to reflect, but also to be thankful. Our heroes took some time to acknowledge the things in their lives that they are thankful for, and discuss how a thankful heart changes life (a thankful heart is a happy heart). I am so thankful for you and your heroes! I hope you all enjoy your time together this next week!
Quotes from our Heroes this week:
“You learn from challenges and mistakes. If you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t learn.”
“I would help you no matter what! We need to get this done.”
Thanksgiving Break Challenge:
*Try a new food at Thanksgiving Dinner!
*Take a picture of yourself doing something you’ve never done before (maybe making a new recipe, doing a handstand, or playing a new board game).
1 Thessalonians 5:8
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Week 9 (2016) – Prayerfully Considering Politics

This week, Journey Academy focused on celebrating our country and the faith that we were founded upon. We kicked off the week by praying for our nation’s leaders and discussing how God can use our leaders to protect us and guide us. There were differing political feelings, but everyone agreed that prayer was necessary regardless of who would be elected to office.
Throughout the week, we then learned how our founding fathers actually used principles from the bible to shape our nation’s government. We  found that though some of our nation’s founding fathers were not proclaimed Christians, their life choices seemed really good. This brought up some really great conversations such as What makes someone a Christian? and Is it good to vote for leaders based on their faith? We also explored the question, Is America really “One Nation Under God?
dip” (you start off excited but lose momentum). These heroes came up with an action plan to help themselves finish what they need to do to be prepared.
Heroes are all preparing for next week by finishing their session goals (in Core Skills) and working towards their Colonial Quest Badges. We are excited to share what we’ve been learning with you next Thursday at our exhibition!
Here were some Interesting Discussion Topics from the week:
  • Is it better to elect people to office based on their faith, or to have a variety of different people in office?
  • Should there be a separation between church and state?
  • How is a believer’s “American Dream” different from a nonbeliever’s “American Dream”?
  • Does fame or fortune make a person more powerful?
  • What are ways that power can be good? What are ways that power can be corrupt/bad? Is it “corrupt/bad” to do nothing when you notice something is wrong?
  • What are some things you can do to help yourself when you are a “dip”?
  • How do you decide which tasks you need to work on?

Week 8 (2016) – The Declaration of Independence

This week marked the halfway point of our second session at Journey Academy. On Monday, our heroes reviewed their session goals (math, reading, writing, and spelling) and re prioritized what they needed to do. Throughout the week, heroes then discussed topics such asIs it more important to keep your end goal in mind or make each step of your journey an adventure? and When do you feel like you are in your panic zone versus your challenge zone?  The focus and flow in the studio was intense!

Project Time this week has been centered on The Declaration of Independence. Heroes began writing a speech to perform at the final exhibition (from the point of view of one of the signers) and summarized a portion of The Declaration of Independence. This was really difficult for some of the younger heroes, but it was also a great opportunity for some older heroes to step up in leadership! At one point, I heard an older hero asking a younger hero, “I mean, what is the purpose of The Declaration of Independence? Would you want King George bossing you around?”…They are learning to guide each other!!! 🙂

While this portion of our quest has included a lot of teamwork, conflict arose as well. Heroes  have learned how to use the “Peace Table” to calmly discuss their concerns when needed. They also learned to listen to another person’s concerns before coming to an agreement on some sort of action.

To finish off the week,  heroes undertook the fun task of making colonial apple crisp! They were only given the ingredients and a recipe, and they did everything else. I watched as heroes divided themselves into roles: mixing, measuring, apple-washing, reading directions, chopping, and laying apples in the dish. They only had 1 hour to work. Using their skills combined with teamwork, they were able to accomplish the task! Well, almost…

What started as apple crisp turned into cinnamon apples. The heroes were in such a rush to complete the task that an important ingredient was missed… FLOUR! During our end of the day discussion, heroes reflected on the experience and noted that though they split into separate roles, everyone was so concerned with getting the apple crisp into the oven in 1 hour, that they were shouting directions. The noise created chaos, and a feeling of being rushed…So rushed, that no one noticed the missing ingredient! Though the (gluten free) flour was missing, heroes noted that the apples still tasted good, and they could lower the noise level next time to help the focus and flow of the task at hand.

I am pleased to see heroes learning to work independently, learning to collaborate, and learning to find adventure within a task! These are some amazing kids!!

A few of the more interesting discussion topics that came up this week included:

  • If you were a colonist, would you have had slaves? What if you paid them?
  • Is there ever a good time to go to war, or is war a result of poor communication?
  • (1 Corinthians 12:12) We are all part of one body of Christ. How are you different/unique from others in our studio space? How can you use your gifts?
  • Does having a “Pursuit of Happiness” mean that you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want?
  • What makes a hero inspiring?

Week 7 (2016) – What Makes Good Authority?

I am so proud of the challenges that our young heroes are taking on! This week, each hero has decided to partake in a “30 book challenge”. This means that over the next 5 weeks, each hero will read at least 30 books during Core Skills time.
In addition to this, our heroes have been working on completing a Writer’s Workshop on Poetry and have set new session goals for themselves in each Core Skills Subject (math, reading, writing, and spelling).

Now that we are 2 weeks into the Colonial Quest, our young heroes are definitely understanding what it was like for the Colonists to break away from unjust authority and form a government for The People!

Since the beginning of the quest, the heroes have been receiving proclamations from The King of Great Britain, decreeing what they can and cannot do in the studio. The majority of them weren’t too happy to find they would be playing the Game of Life during free time all week, or eating lunch at their desks. However, only 2 of them decided to “revolt” (by the roll of a die).
Authority has been a popular discussion topic as a result. The heroes have identified authority figures in their own lives, and discussed at what makes a “good authority” or “bad authority”. When asked if it is better to have more or less rules to follow, heroes were divided. While 2 heroes thought having more rules would ensure safety, the majority thought that rules should only be made when it’s essential for everyone’s well being.
While normally heroes don’t sit in bean bags during discussion times(as they can be distracting to the conversation), everyone also agreed that since the majority thought less rules were better, bean bags should be allowed. Heroes sat in bean bags for 2 discussions after and it became obvious that it was not in everyone’s best interest to use them.
This is what Journey Academy is all about. As the heroes learn to navigate their own learning, what they are really learning is how to navigate through life. These are the skills they will be able to apply to community wherever they go. Thank you all for making this possible!!!
Here are a few side notes from this week:
*P.E. takes place every Monday and Thursday
*Library takes place every Thursday
*The heroes are responsible for creating everything for our exhibitions. If they need to bring anything from home, we will let you know well in advace (like booster seats if we go anywhere).
Some of our more interesting Discussions this week included:
*If you had the choice to take one of the roads in Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Less Traveled”, which would you take? The easy road that your friends are taking, or the difficult road of the unknown?
*How can a person show respect to another? What does it look like to respect someone who is not respectful in return? Can you love the Lord and not respect others?
Hope you all have a great weekend!!!
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