10 Ways to Love Your Child Today

10 Ways to Love Your Child Today was originally written by actonacademy on http://www.actonacademyparents.com/feed/.

It seems silly to say. We all know our #1 job as parents is to love our children. We do love them. It’s as natural as breathing.

But are we living our lives so our children feel this love in their bones? Are we creating a home that is our children’s favorite place to be? Are we building hearts and spirits strong enough so we are no longer needed? Are we loving them well today?

Here are 10 little ideas that communicate love and respect. I thank Cyndi Hanes for her little book “2,002 Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them” and how she helped me remember little things each day do matter.

  1. Give a milk “toast” to your child at dinner.
  2. Knock before entering your child’s room.
  3. Remember that tears are healing. Let them flow when your child is sad.
  4. Replace lectures with stories.
  5. Apologize if you embarrass your child.
  6. Have a suggestion box for your family.
  7. When your child is talking, don’t interrupt.
  8. Give yourself a time-out if you become angry, snippy or critical. Tell your child you will return when you feel better.
  9. Never let a day go by without saying, “I love you” and sharing a hug.
  10. Write your child a love letter with 50 things you love about her.

As Jane Austen said, “Ah! There’s nothing like staying home for real comfort.” What can you do today for your child to feel utterly comfortable upon walking in the door?

It’s time for collaborative core skills, everyone!

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“It’s time for collaborative core skills, everyone!!”

…The sound of our heroes holding each other to the daily schedule. As I listened in the other day, I couldn’t help but reflect on how capable our kids really are. They really know how to resolve conflict, hold each other to a schedule, and help each other when it’s needed. As collaborative core skills began, I looked around the room. In the corner, two heroes were sitting on bean bags while working on Khan Academy. I listened in to the first hero as he coached the second hero through a multiplication problem. It made me ponder (for a moment) what the world might be like if everyone developed the ability to lead and take ownership of their learning.

Each day, our kids become more and more comfortable themselves and each other. They can make their own decisions, pitch their ideas to each other, and they are learning what it means to develop an attitude of “excellence.”

This week, our heroes practiced evaluating the excellence of their work by asking, “Is this my personal best?”, “Is this better than my previous work”?, and “Have I compared it to a world-class example”? They then worked in pairs to give each other constructive feedback (based on those questions) and improved their work.

In addition to creating excellent work, our heroes also worked on creating excellence by being intentional with one another. They came up with a list of ways they could encourage each other and also participated in a few Teambuilding Activities such as creating a secret handshake (and sharing it with studio mates who were missing) and going on a picture scavenger hunt together. Though everyone had different ideas, they did a great job listening to each other and working to create a great handshake and selection of photos!

Some other highlights this week included:

On Thursday, our heroes participated in a squirt gun war to celebrate their hard work during Core Skills. Everyone contributed Hero Bucks to earn this special time!
Our heroes are each doing an excellent job growing their curiosity through this quest! Every hero has researched at this point, and a few have gone on to create something for the Exhibition!
During P.E. this week, I was impressed with our heroes’ creativity and collaboration. Without any guidance, our heroes created their own “quidditch” game which involved searching for a hidden rubber chicken while avoiding being tagged by dodge balls.
Discussion topics this week included:

Which “races” are you running? (based on 1 Corinthians 9).

The apostle Paul went around preaching the gospel, but we are all running some kind of race. These races say something about our lives. God cares about every part of it (whether school work, the way we spend our free time, our the way we treat others).

Which areas do you feel like you are “running ahead”? Which areas do you feel are really challenging right now?

The following areas are each vital to building a culture of excellence. Everyone is continually growing in each of them. Which area do you want to focus on this week?

  • Humility (Realizing that you will not be “right” all the time and asking for help when you need it)
  • Perseverance (Not giving up when you face trials)
  • Going to God’s word for answers
  • Attitude (Thinking well of others and staying positive)

How do you make a “To Do” list?

How do you decide what to accomplish first?

Before the Olympic games, a relay takes place in which a torch is passed from runner to runner. Everyone works together until the torch reaches its destiny. In what ways have you worked together at Journey Academy? Who has encouraged you since you started school?


MHS Newsletter Issue 7 Dec 9 – 14,2018

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The mhs press

On Thursday, the heroes worked super hard to clean up the huts for a winter break clean! The heroes took all the sheets home to wash and gave the room a deep clean. The tables are back in their places and ready for the sheets to go up again in a couple of weeks! There were a few small renovations.

The heroes were super excited to show all the hard work that they put into their videos. Several weeks ago, during art, they directed, scripted, and edited their own videos for giving Tuesday. Each group of heroes hoped to win a special lunch for raising the most money, but have decided that banding together as one united school is much more rewarding than the competition in this instance.

On Wednesday, the heroes created beautiful works of art while making Christmas ornaments! They tried many different techniques, such as painting the outside, swirling paint on the inside, writing on the outside, or even putting clay on the outside to make a unicorn! All the ornaments turned out amazing!

On Wednesday the heroes went to Will’s house and got to have lots of fun decorating yummy cookies to give to homeless people. On Friday, the MHS heroes went downtown to hand out their Christmas cookies to the homeless. Thanks to Will and his family, it was a really awesome experience for the heroes to see their work put a smile on people’s faces.

During the exhibition, the heroes also got to direct the Christmas Variety Show! The past three weeks the heroes from all studios worked hard to put together acts, ranging from singing, to violin, to dance. The heroes did an amazing job in their performances!


Game Changers

At the end of their Game Design Quest, the ELS heroes have proven themselves to not only be game designers, but more like game changers. Throughout the quest, although they were inspired by many existing games of chance, strategy, and skill, they did not back down from the challenge of creating original games. And they did all this not for a grade or a reward or even a badge, but just for their love of learning. Even as they prepared for their exhibition, many heroes shared that what they would really like their families to walk away with after the exhibition is that learning is more important than having fun, and that learning is actually fun!

The heroes definitely changed the face of the game, thought outside the box, literally, as they transformed recycled cardboard boxes into games that engaged families and friends during the exhibition. Many parents and grandparents expressed how impressed they were to see what the heroes were able to create out of their own imaginations. Because the heroes had the freedom to create their games without restrictions or limitations, many of the games they created exceeded adult expectations. Over and over again, empowered with the freedom to make their own choices, the heroes prove to be capable of more than what is expected of them. They have definitely provided evidence that they are not just capable of playing the game, but their goal is to change the game.

The heroes did not stop proving to be game changers in just the Game Design Quest, but even in their Christmas Variety Show as well. With the freedom to direct the show themselves, they demonstrated that they are more than capable of producing a show that would bring so much joy to their families. Because their performances were created out their own joys in singing and dancing to songs and choreography of their own choice, their performances evolved into a show like no other. In just less than three weeks, the heroes gave the audience a Christmas show they would never forget. One grandma said this was the best Christmas show she had ever seen. Another mom requested that this be the start of a Christmas tradition, otherwise it would be a very sad Christmas without the Journey Academy Christmas Variety Show.

Week 3

Dec 10-14, 2018






Bible verse

1 Tim 2:12

… that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness

What does the Bible say we need to live peaceful live? Do you believe this is true?

1 Tim 2:3-4

This is good and pleases God our savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

How do we come to a knowledge of the truth? What would you say to someone who disagrees with what you believe is true?

1 Tim 2:5

There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, Christ Jesus

How would you convince someone who believes in many gods that there is only one God?

1 Tim 2:6

Jesus gave himself as ransom for all people.

What would you say to Jesus knowing that he has come to save you?

1 Tim 2:8

Pray lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing

What strategies have helped you resolve conflicts without anger or disputes?

Questions about Christmas

What special message did the angels bring?

Who is emmanuel?

Where was Jesus born?

How did St. nicholas become santa claus?

ES worship

Game Buddies


Exhibition planning questions

What is most important when pitching your game to customers? The purpose of the game or how to play the game?

If you were to make anything in the world right now to share with others, what would it be?

How can we keep parents engaged and focused on the Exhibition the whole time?

What is one thing I can do to ensure excellence during this Exhibition?

What would you do next time to make the Game design quest and exhibition better?


Where do you need to spend most of your energy: your pitch or your game?

What else do you need to do to get ready to show your work to the public?

What is your role during the exhibition and how will you contribute to the success of the exhibition?

What is the most important lesson for your family to walk away with after the exhibition?

Cole and annabelle celebration

Upcoming Quest: Apologetics

Week 1

What is apologetics?

What do you believe?

Week 2

Who is God?

Week 3

Who is Jesus?

Week 4

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Week 5

How do you know that the Bible is true?

Week 6

How will you share what you believe?

Week 1

What do you believe?

Wed 1/2

What are YOUR questions about YOUR faith?

Thurs 1/3

Where will you find the answers?

Fri 1/4

Why is it important to find answers to your questions?

Failure is Not a Good Thing

Failure is Not a Good Thing was originally written by actonacademy on http://www.actonacademyparents.com/feed/.

Why talk about failure being a good thing?

It is not good. It’s terrible.  Real failure hurts.

But it is necessary.  

For deep, lasting learning to happen, failure is necessary.

At Acton Academy, we don’t avoid it.

We own it. 

Sometimes it’s the Eagles who need to own the failure.

Other times, we as their Guides need to own it because we didn’t make the “why” strong enough, or create a clear enough process to follow, or provide the right incentives.

The key is that the failure needs to sting. And after feeling the pain, there are two specific action steps we must take:

  1.  Reflect on the failure and talk about it;
  2. Figure out what we’ll do differently next time.

What then? 

We don’t quit even though we want to. We get back in the game.

There are no participation trophies allowed at Acton Academy. Instead, our Eagles carry around badges of courage, perseverance and honor etched into their hearts to last a lifetime.

Not so much fun. But definitely a win.

The post Failure is Not a Good Thing appeared first on On Being an Acton Academy Parent.

The Greatest Designer of All

Our overarching question for this year is, How does a hero balance faith and works? They had a wonderful discussion about the importance of balance, the temptation to want to keep playing and/or play a game with bad content, the strain gaming can cause in your relationships with people and God, and how to recognize and give thanks to God for creating FUN. This led to a beautiful reminder of the Greatest Designer of All – our Creator and Maker – God. He is the one who created us in His image and created our minds to design, think, wonder, and develop games that are fun, educational, and bring us together. A few heroes shared they could see themselves becoming a future game designer.

Yesterday was full of FUN at the Game Maker Exhibition! That was the first goal the expert game maker gave the heroes last week – to create a game that is fun – and that is what they did. Thank you all for coming out and playing the games they designed. The heroes reflected and shared what their greatest challenges and greatest rewards were during the past three weeks. Here were some of their remarks:

  1. The high school math was hard, but we kept at it. That was challenging and rewarding.
  2. Coming up with a game was pretty easy. I find I come up with games a lot outside of Journey.
  3. It was difficult to making instructions.
  4. I knew how to play my game, but putting it into words or a video was difficult.
  5. It was neat to learn about probability. I already used it playing Exploding Kittens at home.
  6. Though this quest was about creating a game, it was way harder than I was expecting it to be.

Below are Game Maker Exhibition pictures.

Devotions took on a different look this quest, and the feedback was positive. At a check-in, one hero shared, “Devotion time I felt lost as to what to work on or do. This way of devotions gets me excited, and there is purpose to what I am learning about. I don’t feel lost. I feel like I am learning while creating a special gift.” The heroes worked hard on their ornaments and devotional book. May they be a blessing to you and your family.

Have you asked your hero:

  1. What they were most nervous about for the Exhibition?
  2. How many Hero Bucks they spent at the Hero Buck Store?
  3. What they bought at the Hero Buck Store?
  4. What the Bible Verse for this quest was?
  5. What was the most difficult part of the Escape Room?
  6. What challenge their Squad Group created for the ELS Friday Challenge?
  7. What some of the items were in the Mystery Box today?

Christmas Variety Show

The ES solving clues to escape the room!

MHS Newsletter Issue 6 Dec 3 – 7, 2018

The mhs press

Issue No. 6                                                Dec. 3 – Dec. 7, 2018

On Thursday, a legendary chess player from Michigan, Bob Savage, came in for a  hero talk. After the hero talk, a few heroes even got to play against him! Many heroes enjoyed him so much, that they said he was the best hero talk they’ve ever had!

This week, the Elementary heroes got a hero talk from Emma D. and Brinley about the new system to use for their library! They have been working extremely hard on getting all the books scanned into the iPad and putting stickers on the spines. The heroes are very excited to begin checking out their books just like a real library!

On Wednesday, MHS had a lot of fun during Art. They made some models out of clay. Each hero made different things, ranging from snow globes to animals, to aliens, to snowmen. The MHS heroes now have a display board in the workroom to display their beautiful masterpieces.

After school on Thursday, many heroes stayed for date night! The heroes got to watch the quote along movie Elf! They even had a burping contest, spaghetti eating contest, and when it was the snowball scene, heroes got to have a balloon fight! Mr. Matt and Ms. Dana even dressed up as Buddy the Elf and his girlfriend, Jovi.

Thanks to Molly, Boxed Water was also kind enough to donate a case of Boxed Water to the MHS studio. They also added a few free t-shirts and stickers!

Testing, Retesting, and Trying Again

The heroes at Journey were fortunate to have two wonderful hero talks for the Game Maker Quest this past week. The first was Dr. Scott Nicholson, Professor of Game Design at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario. Over video chat, Dr. Nicholson shared how he gets inspired by looking at the world around him in order to create fun games. He informed the heroes the first thing he tells his college students is, “There are three main parts for creating a game. A game should be:

  1. fun,
  2. have a goal or objective, and have
  3. clear rules.”

The final piece of advice he provided was to make sure to TEST – play – the game. That’s what the heroes this afternoon. They went around and played one another’s game. Once they were done with the game, they gave critiques. Who knew testing could be so much fun? These heroes gave great feedback to one another in order to better their instructions and games.

Video chatting with Dr. Nicholson, a professional game designer.

What an incredible experience to learn from him.

The second hero talk was with Mr. Bob Savage. He is a member of the Michigan Chess Association, and at the age of 16 he was the #1 chess player in the nation for his age group. Mr. Bob discussed how chess has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, and how it is not a game of probability; rather, it is a game of strategy. A couple of ES heroes had the opportunity to play against him following the talk. It was a memorable day as he provided guidance and pointers to the hero chess players.

Mr. Bob – the chess professional!

All week, the heroes have used math, science, written communication, oral communication, testing and refining of their games due to feedback from heroes, as well as providing feedback for other created games. Through all of this, the heroes have demonstrated great determination and perseverance to design a game that provides fun (motivation), has an objective, and has clearly stated rules. The heroes look forward to welcoming more game testers at the upcoming Game Expo Exhibition.

Heroes reading instructions to games they have never played before,

along with heroes designing their own games.

Have you asked your hero:

  1. About their game?
  2. What kind of game is it?
  3. What the goal of their game is?
  4. What the rules of their game are?
  5. Ways other heroes shared their game could improve?
  6. About the new system of checking out JA library books?
  7. Which hero talk they enjoyed the most this week?
  8. About how much fun the Elf Quote-Along was?

Elf Quote-Along was a big hit!

Win-Win Strategies

As the heroes take on the challenge of designing Games of Strategy during the second week of their Game Design Quest, they demonstrated wisdom in Socratic discussions about their personal strategies and decisions in various scenarios. When the heroes were discussing what is more important for them as game designers, that their game be fun or be for learning, many heroes chose learning. They believed that it is really important that the games they create help people learn. Although one hero tried to convince them and said, “Games should be fun, otherwise it would not be a game at all!” He insisted that there is a time for games, like during recess, and a time to learn like core skills time. But during play-based learning time, he said he could do both. So he wanted to make sure that the game he will create will be both for fun and learning!

In another scenario, the heroes imagined they were pitching their board game to a major board game company but they could only pitch one of the two games they created – one that is quick-selling and easy to play and another game that teaches peace and may change the world but may not sell easily. The heroes who wanted to pitch their “quick-selling and easy to play” game explained that their game would make more people happy because their game would be less expensive for the “poor people” and easier to play for the “old people.” The heroes who chose the game that teaches peace said it is more important that their game would change the world and even lead people to faith in Jesus. From this discussion, one hero got so excited because she thought of a great idea of creating a game that teaches Bible verses!

The heroes learned valuable tips from a Hero Talk with Dr. Scott Nicholson, Professor and Director of the Game Design and Development program at Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. After Dr. Nicholson shared that when he creates a game he always thinks about what would motivate the game players to play the game, the heroes really focused on how to make their games more fun and helpful for the players. The heroes were also inspired to hear about Dr. Nicholson’s personal experiences: growing up on a farm and creating games for his horses so that the horses would learn to do their work, and working in the library and creating games to help people learn, then becoming a mathematician as he created more strategic games, which lead him to become a professor helping college students in game designing. After the Hero Talk, the heroes were so motivated to apply Dr. Nicholson’s tips and suggestions into their own game designs.

In another Hero Talk, the heroes were fascinated with the life experiences of a Chess Champion, Mr. Bob Savage from West Michigan Chess. As he talked about playing chess with his Dad and brother since he was five years old and winning thousands of chess games and competitions throughout his life, the heroes learned how hard work leads to becoming really good at something they love to do. The heroes also realized that the decisions they make may lead them to victory or defeat and Mr. Bob reminded them of the importance of being a gracious winner or loser.

So as the heroes continued to polish up their games for the Game Expo during their Quest Exhibition, they carried out their plans and strategies to use their games to change the world. Inspired by other game makers who invented games that helped kids learn and have fun, the heroes decided to donate the games they create to the kids in St. John’s Home. They were very motivated to make their games fun to make the kids happy this Christmas.

Week 2

December 3-7, 2018






Bible verse

1 Tim 1:15

Jesus came into the world to save sinners

Imagine living in a palace… how would you feel if you have to move to a cave?

1 Tim 1:18

By recalling them you may fight the battle well…

What strategies have been effective in facing your fears in your Hero’s Journey?

1 Tim 1:19

Hold on to faith and a good conscience

Why do we need to hold on to Faith or a good conscience?

1 Tim 2:1

I urge that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people

Why do you pray? What happens after you pray? How do you know God’s answer to your prayers?

1 Tim 2:2

That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness

Questions about Christmas

Why do we call it christmas?

Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th?

When was Jesus born?

Why do we have christmas trees?

ES worship


As you design your game, what need will you aim to fill: to learn, to have fun, to develop skills?

As a game designer, how challenging should your game be?

How can you change the world with a game?

If you could pitch a board game idea, would it be a quick-selling easy to play game or a game that teaches peace to change the world but may not sell easily?

Imagine you are playing a new game you have never played before, would read the instructions first or try to figure it out as you play the game?

Imagine your game was nominated for game of the year. Which category would you like to win?

Most aesthetically pleasing

Best storyline

Most beneficial game

Most likely to succeed

Project time

Games of strategy




Guess who

Connect four



Games of strategy  design and creation

Game designer guide

Hero talk

Dr. Scott Nicholson –

Professor of Game Design

How did Dr. Nicholson help you as a game designer?

Game revisions

Hero talk

Bob savage –

Chess champion

How does playing chess help you learn?

Painting game boards

Game design crash course







Which is more challenging to you: coming up with an idea for a game or figuring out how to make the game better?

Do you feel more nervous or excited to design a game to share with the public?

How did you learn from your failure today?

Was the process of writing instructions for your game more challenging than you expected or less challenging?

What was the most helpful piece of feedback you gave or received today?

Three Steps to Learn to Trust Your Child

Three Steps to Learn to Trust Your Child was originally written by actonacademy on http://www.actonacademyparents.com/feed/.

Have you ever been in that awkward situation of asking a child a question and the parent answers for her? There is the slightest shift in the eyes of the child that can go unnoticed or it can break a heart. Not being trusted wears a soul down.

How do we learn to trust our children? How do we break our habits of stepping in, answering questions, ordering their food for them at restaurants because we are afraid of silence or don’t want them to feel uncomfortable?

There are three actions we practice intentionally as Socratic Guides at Acton Academy that work wonders at home, too:

  • Pause.
  • Step back.
  • Then step back again.

Try it the next time your natural inclination is to rush over, fix, solve, repair, clean up, make amends.

Practice the hard work of waiting.

The trust will come because the children will earn it.

The post Three Steps to Learn to Trust Your Child appeared first on On Being an Acton Academy Parent.