Monthly Archives: December 2017

Following Your Dreams: The LP Psychology Quest


This year’s overarching question at Acton Academy is: When does a hero submit to authority?

 What rules your daily actions and thoughts:

  • Your Conscious Mind,
  • Your Unconscious Mind or
  • The narratives deeply ingrained by your culture and upbringing?

During the Psychology Quest and Self Authoring genre, Launchpadders tried to answer this question as they:

  • Wrote introspectively on the Self Authoring Project about how past narratives, current values and future dreams shape our thoughts and actions.
  • Selected one of the moral frameworks below, and tried to live consistently by its tenets, day after day:
    • Utilitarian – act in a calculated way to bring the most happiness to the largest number of people, even if it isn’t just, right (virtuous) or loving.
    • Justice/Fairness – treat everyone the same way, by the same set of rules, even if it leads to more unhappiness in more people, isn’t right (virtuous) or loving.
    • Virtuous – do the right thing, upholding a major virtue (name it), even if it leads to more unhappiness in more people, isn’t just or loving.
    • Judeo-Christian – always act in a loving way towards others, even if tough love is needed, even if it leads to more unhappiness in more people, isn’t just or right (virtuous).
  • Performed hands on experiments and deep Socratic Discussions about good and evil, including:
    • Dreams and dream analysis;
    • Lucid Dreams;
    • Active Imagination;
    • Shadow Work; and
    • The Bandana and Stanford Prison experiments.

In the end, LP Eagles voted not to hold an exhibition, because so many of the lessons learned were intimate and personal.

If you want to see the morals of our next generation being formed in real time, the final discussion of the session is well worth watching.

Socrates – your verdict is in!

Soc 4

In middle school this session, we reenacted the Trial of Socrates.

While we had a serious focus on Greek Civilization, even more energy was injected into the art and science of logic and rhetoric, including Socratic Smackdowns, Finding Fallacies and other challenges designed to arm Eagles with better argumentative skills (our apologies to parents!)

Soc 5

Eagles also explored the power of archetypes, as they rode the line between truth and fiction to craft their own Greek Myths.

Our exhibition featured not one, but two reenactments of Socrates’ Trial.

soc 6

The verdict?  Two separate courts found Socrates innocent of corrupting the youth, believing in false Gods, and “promoting the Rule of 30” by narrow margins.  Strong arguments on the part of the defense and prosecution left the jury questioning whether history got it right or not!

At the end of the trial, Eagles shared the following “lessons learned:”

  • The Exhibition showed who prepared and who didn’t, especially when it came to questioning Socrates (parents – it’s also well worth noting the Session 360’s that show how much effort your Eagle is investing in quests.)
  • Democracy means different things to different people.  For some, it is simply not having a dictator; others see it as all citizens having equal powers.
  • Session Three is not a ‘holiday session’ but just as challenging and tough as other sessions.
  •  Ancient Athens was not a democracy in the modern sense because many did not have the right to vote.
  •  Because so few had the right to vote, and it was done in person, it was harder to rig an election.
  •  It’s much harder to craft a powerful, short myth than it first appears.

The power of logic and evidence.  Using Ethos, Pathos and Logic to win the day.  The power of myth to shape lives, in ancient times and today.

Quite a lot of learning in a three week period!

Reflection, Gratitude and New Opportunities


Holidays are a time for reflection, gratitude and surveying the horizon for new opportunities.

Bernard Bull is a deep thinker and respected voice in the education world, with over 200,000 followers.  Last night, Bernard called Acton Academy “one of the most important educational stories in our generation.”

We know better than to read our own press clippings.  We understand how much work remains to be done.  We also know each of us, and each of our heroic families has been given a great gift, the chance to make a real difference in the world, individually and together.

Middle School is one example of how much work remains. Thanks to the genius of Maria Montessori, Socrates, Sal Khan and others, we have a robust elementary studio model on which to build.  Middle school is an entirely different world, where we still face challenges.

The Peter Pan Syndrome in young boys (and some girls) is a real one, embedded deeply into the human archetype.  We won’t “solve” it, because it’s not a solvable problem, or Lord of the Flies and Pinocchio wouldn’t still be classics.  My bet is we’ll discover a vessel and structure to allow many middle school aged heroes and families to grow.

Laura and I are deeply grateful to have each of the Acton Eagles and parents in our lives.  We know it’s a gift.  So we hope after this coming week you get some well deserved rest over the holidays, and come back refreshed for more discoveries and challenges in 2018.