Written by Laura Sandefer and originally posted September 20, 2018
Want to feel like an Acton parent who just finished our new parent bootcamp? Here are the bullet points to help you thrive on this learning adventure of a lifetime:
Our mission at Acton Academy is for each person who enters our doors to find a calling that will change the world.
We promise to honor the Parent Contract and nurture our magical tribe which is like a garden in the elementary studio, a trekking adventure in the middle school and an elite team in our Launchpad studio.
We prepare Eagles for extraordinary lifelong adventures after Launchpad, so struggle and occasionally unhappiness are important parts of the journey into real growth and maturity.
If your Eagle is in the early years of the elementary studio, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy these precious years. Curiosity and kindness matter far more than academic progress.
For late elementary, middle school and Launchpad parents, showing an intense interest in your Eagle’s work through growth mindset praise is the most powerful motivator.
Be prepared to tolerate occasional unhappiness or frustration without catering to it. Strive to put your Eagle “back in the game” with encouragement to play honestly by the rules when Weekly Points (effort); Badges(excellent work) or 360-Peer Reviews (Leadership) result in low Freedom Levels and sometimes the desire to quit.
In most cases, simply trust the processes and natural consequences. If your Eagle receives an Honor Code violation, it will be a powerful learning experience. A cause for concern is if your Eagle receives two Honor Code violations, a Transition Contract or persistently remains in low freedom levels in middle school or Launchpad. If you want to do more to help your Eagle in late ES, MS and LP: (1) ask your Eagle for a tour of Journey Tracker and monitor short term goals; (2) double down on your family plan; and/or (3) address Resistance (more courage); Distraction (remove video games and television); and Victimhood (probe family dynamics.)
If your Eagle struggles mightily, try not to blame yourself: sixty percent of temperament is hereditary. Have faith, however, that young people will surprise you with the rationality of their choices. So if you offer a frustrated Eagle a cushy private school with a lower workload and cheap social distractions as an alternative to Acton, do not be surprised when he or she chooses it. Instead, consider a far less attractive school; removing internet privileges and a mandatory after-school job in construction or at a fast food restaurant. Then prepare to be surprised by the change in attitude.
I’m so happy to be traveling with you.