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Parent Resources

HOW TO CLOSE A YEAR?

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

HOW TO CLOSE A YEAR?

Laura Sandefer

December 27, 2014

The closing of a year isn’t all about clear victories and tidy conclusions. Baffling questions remain. Goals left undone. Wounds not quite healed. The ever-mysterious job of parenting…

As Acton Academy parents, we have made this bold, not common, choice: we will give our children freedom to wrestle with their problems, sit in the doldrums and climb sharp, craggy mountains on this journey of learning and life.

Yes, we will even let them suffer.

(Is this why I have more wrinkles than I want?)

At the close of the year, I need to remind myself that we do this because we know that giving our children this full – not glossed over – learning experience will give them the best gift of all: truly owning the victory of following their bliss and serving the world in an authentically unique way.

This poem by Wendell Berry has helped me in this real work we parents have chosen. I also share it with my children when their going gets tough:

The Real Work

It may be that when we no longer know what to do

we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go

we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

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Parent Resources

A FINAL REFLECTION OF 2014: WHAT IS ACTON ACADEMY?

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

A FINAL REFLECTION OF 2014: WHAT IS ACTON ACADEMY?

Laura Sandefer

December 24, 2014

The idea we called “Acton Academy” has taken a life of its own. And this has nothing to do with me or with Jeff.

It is because of the courage, curiosity and passion of each parent, child and guide who has been a part our community at some point since we began in 2009. I remember each face, each gift, each voice.

Yes, Acton is a school that will equip young people to be successful leaders in the world.

But it is so much more.

Acton is a feeling, a belief, a way to live.

Being a part of Acton means saying, “yes!” to a rich life that includes accountability, kindness, and true work.

It means saying, “yes!” to the belief that each human is an infinite mystery, perfectly gifted to do something meaningful in this world.

It means saying, “yes!” to owning one’s education and waking up each day with new questions to pursue.

Acton is less of a disruptive school and more of an awakening of minds.

It is a quiet, new way to do the “school thing” within a small, tight community of lifelong learners.

As I head into my holiday hibernation, I could not be more grateful for each person who has crossed our threshold since Day 1. I continue to be awestruck by the people I get to share my daily life around at Acton. Even if it’s simply the connection of that morning wave or handshake at the curbside.

“Once an Acton Eagle, always an Acton Eagle.”

We have tasted together the joy and fun of deciding to take charge of our own learning. We have shared part of this journey called life. We are fellow travelers.

Godspeed to all. See you next year.

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Independent Learning

I MISSED A VERY BIG THING

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

I MISSED A VERY BIG THING

Laura Sandefer

December 2, 2014

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

Robert Brault

In the Acton community, we are all learners – children, guides, parents. For parents, the learning often includes unlearning or relearning what we thought we had mastered.

My most important lesson of this year happened last week. It came as four small words from my son.

“Mom, I feel empty.”

“Empty” – such a common word. Yet its poignancy in this moment from this wise child was stunning.

I spun around, dropped my bag of work and invited him to please join me on the couch to talk. In gratitude for his sharing, I seized the moment to begin unpacking those simple words.

We meandered through rugged terrain that included thoughts about changes in his world since starting middle school, stresses in his life and things he wished he could change. He then zeroed in:

“We don’t sit down at the table for dinner as much as we used to.”

He was so right. What an insidious shift in my daily focus over the past few months – from regular family dinners to being spread too thin during that bewitching hour of the day.

What a big miss on my part.

My children are both in middle school now. They are Independent Learners. They need me so much less with the basic things. This, however, doesn’t mean they don’t need “us” as a family living and learning together, enjoying each other’s company without time constraints and without talking about work or school.

This relearning moment was a poignant reminder for me as an Acton parent: we mustn’t mistake Independent Learner for Independent Human. We are interdependent and entwined in wonderful ways. It doesn’t matter how you define “family.” We need each other for the nourishment of our souls and minds.

The simple ritual of breaking bread around a table together often may be what we need more than anything else.

Lesson Learned.

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