Meet Sally Khan

The mhs press

 Issue No. 2                                                                October 22-26, 2018

This week the heroes have been over exceeding in math. Right away in the morning, the heroes get started on math, collaborating and helping one another. Even during lunch, the heroes continue working and mastering skills. The oldest hero in the studio, Brinley, has been helping the younger heroes with math. Everybody has made incredible progress since then. They have named her Sally Khan, inspired by Sal Khan.

Wednesday was an exciting 14th birthday for Emma D.! Emma brought a dozen doughnuts to share with MHS! The doughnuts were a big hit. The heroes all wished Emma a happy 14th birthday!

All the heroes have been encouraging Emma S. to finish 5th grade. And this week, she worked really hard to reach her goal. Close to the end of Wednesday, Emma S finish 5th-grade math!

The heroes have also made their fourth renovation of the year. Every time they move they say “I love it! I don’t think we’ll move again.” But they always end up moving the huts.


This Thursday, the heroes got to experience the first Fire Drill at Journey Academy. It happened at 11:48 in the morning and the heroes did an awesome job of listening to the guides and getting to the right safe place, which is in the parking lot in front of the school. The heroes are now prepared in the event of another drill!

The heroes have also been working a lot on their debates for the exhibition in November! They are really coming along. The heroes are very nervous because they had to prepare for both sides of the argument, though they won’t know what side they will argue until debate day. A coin flip will determine their arguments.

The MHS heroes had the special privilege of being the first to walk the new path behind Journey Academy. Maddie’s dad mowed an awesome walking path that tours a lot of the land behind the school. Though it was cold outside, the walk was enjoyable and they hope to use it a lot more.

First Edition of The MHS Press

The mhs press

Introducing the first edition of The MHS Press, a weekly publication created by Journey Academy Middle school and High school heroes.

This week the heroes have started their U.S. Government and Debate quest. During core skills on the first day, the Elementary studio was a  country ruled by a dictator. The MHS heroes walked into the elementary studio to go to the bathroom and were immediately confronted by Madam Amy. They declared that it would cost 2 hero bucks to step onto their land.  To get to the bathroom or microwave, the MHS heroes would have to go outside and around to the vestibule. This caused a lot of failed persuasion attempts and arguments between studios. The heroes in MHS decided to fight back by creating their own country, naming it “The Bobieta Ross Country”. The name came from nicknaming  Emma D. “Bobieta Ross”(inspired by Bob Ross).

Throughout the week the heroes have been researching and becoming experts about the five government types. Each of them chose a government type to pursue, research, and master.

At the end of each project time, the heroes discussed what they learned from their government.

Dictatorship – Emma S. / Will
Socialism – Emma D.
Oligarchy – Brinley
Monarchy – Emma S., Will.
Democracy – Molly

The heroes were also challenged to come up with debate topics to research and defend, not just their side, but both sides. They worked really hard and had a lot of fun discussing each side of the debate topics, especially when both sides seemed very convincing. Their thinking was always challenged by other heroes during their discussion even before the actual debate.

The heroes have, again, remodeled their huts(desk transformed into forts made out of blankets and bed sheets) for the 3rd time this year. Now, the desks are in a circle with a “Town Hall” in the middle. Each Morning, the heroes decided to their own to come together in the middle of theirs huts to help each other with math. They call this time Math Morning and progressing in their math percentages on Khan Academy from the support they get from one another. They also really enjoy having Socratic discussions in the town hall. Lots of brainstorming occur in the Town Hall.

On Thursday, Mr.Matt was the MHS guide for the day, while Ms.Dana was in an Acton conference. During P.E. the heroes were pushed to run five laps around the school, instead of the typical Capture the Flag game.

The heroes got a special visit from Annabelle’s Dad and two Kent County Police horses! We got to ask questions and even feed them some apples!

Leading like Jesus

During the second week of  the US Government Quest, the heroes focused on the Executive Branch of the government. Their field trip to the Gerald R. Ford Museum helped them learn how to become a good leader from the life of President Gerald Ford. Hearing the stories from his childhood and growing up, the heroes discovered that because of his hard work and kind heart, people around him always asked him to be their leader.  The heroes experienced what it felt like to be in the Executive branch when they each sat in the seats of the President and his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room. The heroes learned that the president does not make decisions on his own but he listens to the ideas of his Cabinet members to make the best choices. One hero noticed that the Cabinet Room looked like our Launchpad because they do the same thing that the President and his Cabinet does every time they meet for their Socratic discussions.

Many of the heroes demonstrated their leadership skills as they campaigned to be the UCC president. Each presidential candidate convinced their friends that they would be a good president. After each hero nominated someone to run for president, each nominee had a choice to either accept or decline the nomination. Some heroes declined because they believed their “Call to Action” was to be in Congress or the Supreme Court. The heroes who accepted their nomination promised their friends that if they were elected to be president, they would  “be nice,” “be helpful,” and “think of others before themselves.” One presidential candidate promised all the heroes that if she becomes president, she will tell everyone to “worship God and love Jesus.” After the the Presidential Campaign and Debate, the heroes cast their ballots and elected Ellery as their UCC President. Ellery chose her Vice President, her sister Myla, and all the other members of her Cabinet, giving each hero a voice in the UCC Executive Branch.

The Executive Branch



Vice President


Department of Agriculture


Department of Commerce


Department of Defense


Department of Education


Department of Energy


Department of Health


Department of Homeland Security


Department of Housing


Department of the Interior


Department of Justice


Department of Labor


Department of Veterans Affairs


Department of Treasury


The ELS heroes have been owning their entire learning process each day when they set their own goals each morning and choose core skills work that they would like to work on. Their motivation to learn stems from the freedom and independence they experience when they have a choice on what they would like to learn about, how they best learn, and who they would like to learn with. The heroes continue to achieve the goals they set for themselves and make significant progress towards earning their badges.


Week 2: October 22-26, 2018



Field Trip:

Gerald R. Ford Museum




Bible verse

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

God will give relief to you who are troubled.

How has God comforted you when you are sad?

2 Thessalonians 1:11

…by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

How does your faith help you make good choices?

2 Thessalonians 1:12

We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

How are you glorifying God?

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way

How do you make your choices? How can you tell when your choices are good or bad?

2 Thessalonians 2:13

God chose you as firstfruits (from the beginning God chose you)

What has God chosen you to do?


What is citizenship? Why is it important?

What makes a citizen? How are you a citizen?

What are some ways you can be an active citizen in your community?

What rights do you have as a citizen of the United States?

What are your responsibilities as a citizen?


US Presidents

George Washington: A life of self-discipline

By Anne Todd

How does self-discipline help you reach your goals?

Gerald R Ford

By Megan Gunderson

How do you show your friends that you are a good leader?

Barack Obama

By Jennifer Strand

If you were the president, how would you help bring people together when they disagree a lot?

John F Kennedy

By Megan Gunderson

What part of his life helped him learn to have a growth mindset: his childhood, education, or World War II experience?

Thomas Jefferson

By Tonya Leslie

Would you accept the challenge to write a Declaration of Independence if your friends asked you? What risks are you willing to take?

Focus topic

Executive Branch

What are the levels of government?

What is the executive branch?

What three qualities do you feel are most important for a president to possess? Why?

How to become president

How would you keep your promises as a president?

President and Cabinet

If you were the president, what would you look for in choosing your Cabinet? Why is it important for the president to have a strong cabinet?

How the executive branch works

Why does our government need the executive branch?

Project time

Government for Kids

Three branches of Government

UCC national symbols

US Presidents

UCC government Presidential nominees

Presidential campaign

Presidential debate

Electing a President

Cabinet members selection

White House Virtual tour


How can we be good citizens?

Why do citizens need to follow rules?

Town hall meeting agenda

Math work mats, materials, pillow

Library maintenance

Why do citizens need to be respectful? What ways do you show respect?

Why do citizens need to take care of the environment?

What is the best way to make your voice heard?

Why do citizens need to help others?

Branches, Bills, and Laws – Oh My!

The heroes experienced some real-world examples of the time and energy it takes to create a bill, as well as the long process of having a bill become a law. Wednesday’s bills that were presented to the Senate were titled, FUN Friday Cancelled and Brain Break During Project Time. The first bill mentioned died quickly on the Senate floor, while the second bill got approved by Congress and sent to the President. The acting President signed the bill and it will be put into practice this coming Monday, October 29. When the first bill was brought to the Senate, one hero said, “This isn’t really going to happen if we vote to approve it, right? This is all just pretend.” When the heroes found out it would became a law in their studio, it became high stakes!  

On Thursday, the heroes created a bill in their Squad Group. Of all the bills that were presented: Turn ES Desks into Forts, Hang Lights in the Studio, and Hand in the Box Game, only one bill got the chance to move forward. The bill that made it to the Senate floor and passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives was the one titled, Hang Lights in the Studio. Once the acting President received the bill, she signed it making it a law. Soon this studio will have hanging lights!

At close today, the heroes had a discussion about all the responsibilities government officials have serving the people of the United States. In 1 Timothy 2, we were reminded to pray for our leaders. During prayer time today, the heroes intentionally lifted up:

  • Cabinet members by name.
  • State Senators by name.
  • State Representatives from our district by name.

Have you asked your hero:

  1. What branch of government their Exhibition poster board is about?
  2. What bills became laws this week?
  3. What three things can the U.S. President do if a bill makes it to him?
  4. About the two tracks out in the field at JA?

Reading of the first bill below.

The acting President signing a bill into law.

Creating a bill in their Squad Groups.

New ELS Buddies this session started today. Check out the tall tower created during that time below!

Governments Around the World

Journey Academy traveled the world and took on different forms of government each day. An entire day consisted of heroes experiencing a certain form of government that they would be learning about in the afternoon.

On Monday, the heroes were under the rule of a dictator. Heroes had to:

  • Salute the dictator each time they spoke to her.
  • Sit in desks during core skill time and during lunch.
  • Stay in their country.
  • Go to jail if they conspired against the dictator.
  • Only work on what the dictator asked of them.
  • Get approval for eating a healthy snack.
  • Pay a “lunch tax” before eating their lunch
  • Could only eat during snack time and lunch time.

During close, some of the heroes commented on the frustration they had due to the lack of freedom, trust, and having a voice. One hero said, “Actually, today felt a lot like what a regular school is like. I had to ask you to go to the bathroom. I had to do the core skill you assigned for the day at the time you scheduled it. And I had to eat in my desk for snack and lunch.” Such a profound statement.

On Tuesday, the heroes were part of a socialist government. Heroes had to:

  • Work on their assigned jobs for their country during Core Skills.
  • Hand in their snack and lunch so they could be divided up equally amongst the country.
  • Report their Core Skill points before tracking. The country’s total points were added up, divided by 11 (total heroes), and shared equally so all the heroes received the same amount of points for the day.
  • Cover up any name brands with tape.
  • Move all desks into a row and have them at the same height.

During Tuesday’s close, the heroes reflected on how there were times they felt a mixture of emotions. One hero who earned 272 points for the day was hugely disappointed and frustrated to receive 114 points for the day. A hero stated, “You say that this is fair and equal, but it doesn’t feel right. Another hero worked harder than me and that helped my points go higher, but I don’t feel good about that happening.”

On Wednesday, the heroes were part of a monarchy. The founders, Matt and Dana, were King and Queen, and Prince Simon and Prince Crust made decrees throughout the day. Heros had to:

  • Eat a healthy snack during snack time only.
  • Work somewhere in the studio other than their desk space.
  • Go outside (weather permitted) during recess.
  • Take part in a dance party when the guide turned on music for the studio.
  • Respect and follow any decrees made throughout the day by the king, queen, or princes.

Wednesday’s close was filled with joy due to the monarchy that was leading the studio. They shared how host of the day felt more like a democracy, but how that may not be true for all monarchies. It led to them sharing how many kings from the Bible cared about themselves and their throne – King Darius and King Herod, but that the True King, Jesus, is the greatest of all.


On Thursday the heroes were part of an oligarchical government. All level two heroes were given authority to make decisions for all the heroes in the studio. For this day the heroes had to:

  • Dance when they heard music.
  • Work on math for the first core skill.
  • Have a morning brain break.
  • Work in groups they made during project time.

Thursday’s relaunch focused on how the morning went as a studio. It was an honest discussion about kindness, understanding, and forgiveness. The heroes (both leaders and non-leaders) shared ways they were being more hurtful than helpful to the studio. Each hero reflected on what they would do as an individual to improve the studio for the afternoon. There were tears, opportunities to grow, misunderstandings, opportunities to listen, and in the end a beautiful image of restoration as they, together, danced to Joy by Of King and Country. At close the heroes recognized how the afternoon went much better because they:

  • Let the appointed leaders have a voice.
  • Listened to one another.
  • Spoke kindly to each other.
  • Stayed on task.
  • Followed the Hero’s Contract and JA Processes.

Lastly, Friday was a democracy. If you haven’t guessed it yet, the heroes were thrilled to “have their studio back the way it should be.” It was a normal day at Journey. The heroes were filled with gratitude for how the studio is set up like a democracy where everyone’s voice is heard and matters, as well as a place where they have freedom.

What a week these heroes have had experiencing different forms of government around the world. Thank you for taking the time to have fruitful conversations at home. Also, thank you for sharing with us how this week has:

  • Provided insight for your hero about what people experience in different governments around the world.
  • Taught your hero how being a leader is not as easy as it might look.
  • Challenged your hero to pray for other Christians risking their lives to share the Gospel in oppressive governments.
  • Revealed to your hero how we can take our freedom in America for granted.

Have you asked your hero:

  1. What animal came and visited Journey on Thursday?
  2. What form of government was most difficult for them? Why?
  3. What form of government was most enjoyable for them? Why?
  4. What kind of prayer we do at Launch Friday mornings?
  5. Who the new ES heroes are that joined our studio this session?
  6. What FUN Friday was?

Dictatorship Day

Monarchy Day

A Special Visitor

Oligarchy Day

Playing Forever Tag

Children’s Business Fair and J.A. Art Week

Last Saturday was the big day – The Children’s Business Fair! The net profit for the elementary heroes ranged from $55 to $100. It was incredible to witness all the potential customers fill up the tents during those two hours. Thank you all for supporting your entrepreneur heroes during that quest.

Heading into the last week of this session, the heroes moved from walking in the shoes of an entrepreneur to jumping into the mind of being a creative artist. The heroes started off the week at Art Prize by experiencing what it would be like to enter an African village thanks to the West Michigan Jewels of Africa. From there the heroes headed out to see all the art around the town. On the art walk, they tried to discover each piece’s “T.I.M.E.S.”

T = Time it took the artist to create.

I = Inspiration the artist had for creating the piece.

M = Medium used for the piece.

E = Emotion the artist wants to evoke.

S = Story the artist wants you to remember.

Art Prize Field Trip Downtown

The heroes had the opportunity to create a piece of art, along with a writing piece highlighting the T.I.M.E.S., into Journey Academy’s Art Prize. Thank you to everyone that came out to the Mini-Exhibition and took time to vote. The tallies have been counted and the Elementary Studio winners have been announced. Great job, artists!

The Elementary Studio Journey Academy Art Prize Winners are…

Art Week Mini-Exhibition

Have you asked your hero:

  1. What was the most challenging and rewarding experience for them at the business fair?
  2. Why they decorated brown bags with their ELS Buddy today?
  3. How many hero bucks they earned from this session?
  4. What items were available for purchase at the Hero Bucks Store?
  5. What they bought using their hero bucks from this session?

The Hero Bucks Store was open for business today!

On Being Led out the Door – Another Lesson from the Eagles

Written by Laura Sandefer and originally posted October 2, 2018

I was intimidated by her. I’m not sure why. But somehow her large frame, tightly groomed white hair, hand-knit sweaters and lack of eye contact with me triggered insecurities that lay deep within.

She was my four-year-old son’s Montessori teacher.

On his second day of school, I walked with him into the classroom to help him put his lunchbox away. She looked right at him and in a steady quiet voice said,

“Charlie. Please lead your mother out of the classroom.”

And he did.

This was my first encounter with what has been my toughest challenge as a parent: learning that my children are better off without me in their learning spaces – and many other spaces in their lives.

As a mom, I wrestled stubbornly with the transition from being my sons’ “everything” to being the person they had to lead out the door and close it quickly.

This lesson was brought to light again as I sat and read the Acton American-Statesman this morning over coffee.

This newspaper is owned, written, edited and published by our Acton Eagles. We never see what is written until it hits our “inbox.” I am merely a subscriber.

In today’s issue, Addie, a Launchpad Eagle and editor-in-chief, wrote a review on Clark Aldrich’s Unschooling Rules. In it she says:

“Children, however much you may love them, need to learn to be independent. Your high schooler does not want you at their party, or their sleepover or their dance… etc. Neither does your middle schooler. Your fourth and fifth graders probably don’t either. And babying your first, second and third graders won’t make them self-sufficient human beings who can discover and learn for themselves. By all means, spend time with your kid. Just don’t hover.”

Does this mean I shouldn’t hang around my boys’ poker nights? I think so.

Thank you, Addie, for reminding me yet again about the truth that is harder to grasp than I ever imagined. We must be brave enough to give our children their own space. Their own relationships. Their own lives.

None of this means our children don’t need us. They do. They need our love, our encouragement, our respect, our care, and our trust. By giving them space without micromanaging their details, we also give them much of what truly feeds them.

I am grateful for these teachers in my life even when the learning has been hard. If you want more lessons from the wise Eagles, subscribe to the Acton American Statesman. It may be the best newspaper out there for a jolt of the truth. Ping me to get the details: