October 1, 2013
I dedicate this post to the newest Acton Academy parents.
It is that time of year. The rush of a new school year has subsided. The jolting chaos of new family schedules is settling into a groove. The stifling heat is beginning to break. I can breathe. But there is an unexpected feeling creeping into my otherwise sense of relief. It is discomfiting. I am surprised by it. It is the distinct feeling of insecurity.
What is this about? Why do I feel this way? What can I do about it? Why do I wonder if we made the right choice to come to Acton Academy? I feel like a loner in my group of friends who all have children in the neighborhood school. They ask me questions that I can’t answer about school. I miss the comfort of the old familiar path of school. Do I really want to be on a Hero’s Journey? This is hard.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, read on. This is the conversation I’ve had with myself and with numerous other Acton Academy parents. It seems to happen each October.
It may help to know that you are not alone in this experience of insecurity as an Acton parent. I can pinpoint three major themes that arise in the hearts of many new Acton Academy parents:
- Insecurity about the daily learning and curriculum: “I don’t know what my child is doing at school; I don’t get to oversee any homework assignments like my friends do; I don’t see the curriculum outlined by grade level. I’m scared that he’s not learning what he’s supposed to at his age. How do I check in to see where he is? I’m scared he won’t get into a good college.”
- Insecurity about being off the traditional track: “My friends all question this ‘alternative’ route we are taking in our child’s education. I don’t know what to say to their questions and doubts about Acton Academy.”
- Insecurity about having Guides instead of Teachers: “I think my child needs more direction at school. Why don’t the Guides help her more? I want to see more work coming home. I want to be told how my child is doing. I don’t think my child is mature enough to make her own choices about work.”
This period of struggling is an important part of a Hero’s Journey. We must travel through, not around, the valleys and plateaus of deep learning, risk taking and growing.
Our children have Running Partners or Running Teams to help them on their way. We parents need a similar partnership – someone we trust who can answer questions, give encouragement, listen to frustrations.
If you would like to sign up for a Running Partner, please email me. I have gathered a small group of seasoned parents who have offered to share time over coffee – or emailing/phoning if that’s easiest – with any new parent who needs an ear or some guidance.
When you take a road less traveled, there are times of bewilderment and even a sense of loss. But we have a secret treasure at the end of our path that urges us forward: it is the knowledge and confidence that our children will find their callings and will be equipped to create meaningful lives with rich relationships for themselves and those around them. Until then, we can take advantage of having fellow travelers and guides of our own.