Excelling, spiraling, thrivinG
A FAMILY'S JOURNEY TO NAVIGATE SCHOOL THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
The following is a open letter testimony written by the mom of one of our founding members of our new middle school studio.
Prior to Covid-19, Alex was a great traditional student, excelling in the public school setting. He didn’t require supervision on his homework, nor did I ever hear from the school about any issues.
When schools were forced to close after spring break in 2020, he and I worked together to navigate online learning. It was very challenging and confusing, as it was new to everyone and there was no standard… just multiple teachers trying to figure out how to upload and grade lessons, and Alex and I trying to find and complete them.
Summer break couldn’t come soon enough.
He physically went back to school in August, however after a few short weeks his allergies kicked in and we were (understandably) given the option of getting him tested for Covid-19 or quarantining for 2 weeks every time he had allergy symptoms (since they are identical to Covid-19). This didn’t seem to be a viable option, so we elected to move back to Online Learning 100% of the time.
Zooming throughout the day seemed like a great idea, in a perfect world he’d be engaged online, be taught the lesson and do his homework. In reality, he found it hard to focus sitting on Zoom from 8am-3pm, there were technical difficulties and he didn’t feel like he could ask questions of the teacher. He was getting none of his homework done during the day, so we would spend evenings and weekends working to “catch up”. This turned out to be a blessing and a curse.
Without this experience I never would have known what he was studying and working on. Being so involved in his homework made me realize that very little of what he was doing in traditional school would serve him in the future. I was so convinced of this I found myself “helping” (doing) homework alongside him just to get through it faster in the evenings – he’d work on one thing, I’d work on another.
In late January I simply broke. After spending months in this mode, I couldn’t take it anymore and neither could Alex. We were exhausted and desperate to have a life back, we were convinced there was a better way. I started looking for solutions online, and naturally the internet answered… a sponsored ad for Acton Academy Lincoln. I read everything available about Acton, I watched every video about Acton. I looked for anything I could find about Zach and Heidi. I sent an email and I scheduled a tour. Frankly, Alex and I were convinced before we ever walked in the door.
My biggest reservation in switching to Acton was making sure Alex would be prepared for college when the time comes. This concern was alleviated while reading the required book, “Courage to Grow" (request a FREE copy) and during a short conversation with Zach on our tour (schedule a tour today!).
First, Acton students typically fare better than peers in testing;
Second, the goal is to be ready for life:
I’ve seen Alex excited and engaged since moving to Acton. He no longer has anxiety related to school and homework, he simply enjoys learning again. It’s fun to pick him up every day and hear about what he worked on and what he’s proud of. He also really enjoys the time they have during the day to move and be active.
As I do with most big decisions, I went through the Fear-setting exercise (see the Ted Talk by Tim Ferriss)…
If I move Alex to Acton…
What might be the benefits of an attempt or partial success?
What is the cost of inaction?
Ultimately, the cost of inaction is terrifying to me. In my opinion, anyone looking at and weighing options has already lost belief in the current system and believes there is something better. What is the cost of inaction?
Acton has been a great choice for our family, we are thrilled to be on this journey!
Mr. Alex's HeroHighlight Video