Acton Heroes visiting the Foskets home on one of our Forest School Fridays.
The following is an open letter from an Acton Mom about her family's journey from homeschooling to finding an alternative private school in Lincoln, Nebraska called Acton Academy.
"I’ve never been more excited about a learning opportunity for my children. Acton continues to surprise me in wonderful ways."
When we first started homeschooling, the kids and I loved it. It felt like I was learning much of what they were learning for the first time (Like most of you, I feel that my schooling taught me to take tests, but not actually understand the material). The kids loved being home in their element, learning at their own pace, exploring, playing, being kids. It felt good and it felt right for our family at that time.
Fast forward a few years, I found myself not as involved and being pulled in the direction of my passions as my business grew. We were making it work, but I was not longer matching my kids LOVE for learning. We could tell as parents that they were not as happy as they could be. There was a lot of pushing and pulling amongst us as a whole family. We had pretty much stopped going out to learn, out of frustration on my end, as well as theirs. Simply put, I knew I was failing them and we were not happy.
When I first heard of this new private school in Lincoln, Nebraska called Acton, it sounded like a perfect fit for our family. We knew we could never return to a traditional school setting as we had empowered our kids to love learning and take charge of their path, rather than follow "the normal path," which did not fit our values. When Acton popped up and it felt like perfect timing. Then I saw the price. It was simply not in our budget. And would my oldest really like it? He had gone through a traditional school and had been scarred by the experience. He was hard to please and I wasn’t sure he would enjoy the school. Although I knew, deep down it was exactly what he needed.
I signed up to get the newsletters, but we were far from ready to apply. It was just not a possibility in our minds at that time...
"The tools and lessons they are giving the children are life long lessons that will make them better leaders, parents, peers and members of a society. It’s a wonderful opportunity and the kids are thriving."
The emails and enrollment updates kept coming and each time I dreamt of this new life for our family. I dreamt of the kids having guides that have a passion for kids. Guides that are inspired to create activities special for the kids. Guides that inspire my kids to learn and be excited to grow. A group of kids to play with and interact with daily. Older kids to inspire and help the kids grow. While we were already unschooling, our oldest was missing the guidance of older children to inspire him to learn. And he was finally ready to take that big leap in learning, but I wasn’t giving him what he needed to take the jump. I also dreamt of my days where I could grow as a person and be inspired for myself. The kids deserved a happier mom, I deserved to be a happier person.
I wanted the kids to go to Acton for themselves, as well as for me. But each month, it just seemed impossible for our budget, we just couldn’t take the plunge. That didn’t stop me from stalking the website, checking the enrollment numbers, would they still have room???
We had been working on our money mindset and had come across baby stepping as a tool to use. It can sometimes be hard to take a giant leap, but babystepping can help one become confident in their faith allowing more money to flow to them. This gave us the idea that we could ease our way into Acton. One child could start, we could adjust the budget and easily have one child attend! Then Zach emailed me out of the blue, asking if I had questions. From there, it all fell into place. Our budget adjusted well to one child so we enrolled our second child the following month. Our last leap of faith will be our third attending in the fall.
So we’re in! Now will my 10 year old son (Trip) like it? It has been an adjustment for him, but it has been a wonderful experience for him as well. He’s an adventurous boy who loves to explore the outdoors. I was allowing him to do this for the majority of his days. His biggest adjustment has been to buckle down and face his resistance to those things that don’t come naturally to him (reading and writing). I knew he was ready to do the hard work and I knew he would have uncomfortable feelings. But after the first couple of weeks, he was hooked (thank you open gym time, friends and Civilization learning). He loves learning and he loves having guides give him opportunities to learn. He also loves being able to ask questions, which the traditional schools were not allowing him.
After the first few weeks, we started noticing significant changes in his attitude. He is simply happier. He loves the different activities, the fun and engaging way of learning, the freedom and the interesting conversations. He’s inspired to learn those things that don’t come naturally and he’s excited to learn more. Before Acton, he was grumpy often, fought us on everything and never content. Now he’s fun to be around, he’s always smiling, he’s been cooking supper with us and contributes in our conversations. He’s a better team player when it comes to family items. He’s happy again!
Our second child (Fiona), 7, was needing social time and friends. We’ve noticed her confidence the most since she’s started at Acton. She’s typically shy and tends to sit back and observe. Acton has allowed her to feel more comfortable with herself. Due to the small class size, she contributes in class, speaking in front of the entire group and confidently excites learning. She is proud to have friends and loves having duties to carry out and contribute. She loves sharing what she has learned at school that day during our supper meal. It makes our hearts happy to see her proudly share her knowledge. She has also started to play more with other kids when we’re in a group setting. She’s becoming more outgoing, which is so much fun to see!
From the parent perspective, I’ve never been more excited about a learning opportunity for my children. Acton continues to surprise me in wonderful ways. From the fun activities they get to do during the day, to the awesome experience of getting up in front of a group of people to present their projects each session, to the Forest Fridays (free play is SO important). We know they are learning in a way that excites and fulfills them. Emotional intelligence is a big value in our home and other schools did not practice a healthy environment to allow emotional intelligence to grow and evolve. Acton is a place where I not only feel confident in their guidance of emotions, but they also allow us to grow at home. The kids will bring home tidbits of how they solved a disagreement at school and it leaves me thinking we should set that up at home. They are giving the kids the language and the tools to bring up topics of discussion at home. The end of session exhibitions left me leaving with pride and confidence. The tools and lessons they are giving the children are life long lessons that will make them better leaders, parents, peers and members of a society. It’s a wonderful opportunity and the kids are thriving.