The first question many parents ask before seeking an alternative education, is what will this mean for my child's ability to attend a top University?
Having benefitted (this is Tobin writing) from one of the best educational pathways available in the U.S. after attending a highly selective private college, earning an M.Ed and working in college admissions, I believe I have the right to say... that is the wrong question.
Or at least... it should be way down the list of priorities.
We all want what is best for our child. We want options, not closed doors.
And there is SO much more to a "good life" than where a person went to school IF they choose to pursue higher education. That is not even a given these days, as some of the best opportunities are being provided before higher degrees are even granted.
That is why I was THRILLED to read this week, a blog post from Laura Sandefer (author of Courage To Grow and a Founder of the Acton Network). The book by the way... should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand what the journey through non-traditional schooling could look like. (If you don't have a copy - email me and I will get you one).
The Blog Post Laura shared is called "A Love Letter To Acton" and it comes from a mother in Texas who shared her perspective now that her son (Holden) is on the cusp of graduating. And by the way... turning down the likes of Harvard and Oxford in the process.
Like Courage To Grow, we will probably make this letter required reading for our budding community of Acton parents. It is not enough to just pay the tuition. At Acton Academy we are looking for individuals (and their families) who are willing to take on the challenge of becoming an independent learner.
Easy words to write. Much, much harder to live. And harder still to bear witness as a parent when you wish you could step in and rescue. But when we help... we hurt. It is a tough lesson to learn.
Your son or daughter may not be an Olympic hopeful like Holden.
But ask yourself... what kind of interaction with another human being would cause you to respond in the way that the coaches and administrators who met Holden did?
- Scheduling a 20-min interview only to go over 60-90 minutes when meeting this unique young man
- Offering to champion his final choice of school, on the basis of one conversation alone (remember - this was a first introductory interview)
- See what Holden saw in his eventual school choice, that prestigious names like Harvard and Oxford couldn't touch
- And why... beyond all this stuff about academics, the bigger outcome is a young man who is fully at the wheel of his own life
“Most kids your age aren’t this engaging”
“I can’t believe the depth of questions you had for me”
THIS story is what we started Acton Academy Fort Lauderdale for. It is not "our" win but it is what we hope and are working for on behalf of ALL our Founding Families.
What more could you ask for your son or daughter? Now THAT is a question worth pondering.