Week 35


Our Quest this week has been working on our gardens. We have been designing a garden and getting it ready to be planted. So far the Eagles' gardens sound like they are going to be beautiful. I look forward to the beautiful flowers and the delicious veggies that will be coming along!
In My Nature Journal this week we spent our time looking for homes of animals and learning about plants. On Thursday the Eagles found the names for a specific plant. The Eagles have been finding really interesting animals and plants to record in their description pages.
In Music class, we had a smaller class than usual and still had lots of fun. Playing harmonica, and recorder. We also spent some time playing virtual pianos.
On Wednesday we launched by playing Pictionary. If you are looking for a fun way to connect with people who you have to talk to remotely that might be a great plan. We had a lot of fun creating drawings that others had to guess what they were
In Kindness Class this week Ms. Anna talked about the people in the community who help us and keep us safe and healthy. They discussed how and when to say "thank you" to people. We also talked about how we are different and the same as others and how we all want peace.
On Friday we celebrated and awarded 3 Milestones toward Badges that have been earned from our hard-working Eagles!!
Here is a link to Laura's blog about Harnessing the Heroic


Week 34

This week we started our Gardening Quest! We are experimenting to better understand plants and how they execute life functions like eating, breathing, and growing. We are exploring this through targeted experiments like coloring carnations, showing how capillary action draws water up plants. 
During music this week we kept working with harmonicas and learned some new songs. The Eagles are showing their progress in music. We also spent time drumming and the Eagles were being very creative with how to make a beat!
A lot of effort went into the art that was done during Art With Larry this week and the Eagles created some great pieces.
In Kindness Class this week Ms Anna talked with the Eagles about how movement can help us calm our emotions. We also talked about Gratitude and how it feels on the inside and how our bodies are able to do many things so we need to take care of our bodies. This includes eating well and being mindful about our meals. They talked about eating slowly with "all the senses".
We also had an opportunity to play Pictionary during one of our morning launches and it was super fun for everyone!
Here is a link to Laura's parent blog with a new strategy for helping your children learn from home.

Week 33

Thank you to everyone who joined our E-ship Exhibition! The Eagles were excited to share their musical accomplishments and their businesses and booths that they created during the Entrepreneurship Quest.
This week we finished Civilizations for the year with the fall of Rome. The Eagle's insight into the end of the Roman Empire was fascinating. especially regarding the last emperor and his age.
We had a discussion launch this week on Mother's Day and it's history. If you have the time it is quite fascinating to learn about. The Eagles may have some interesting things to say about it.
Ms. Mary delivered the Eagle's musical instruments to their houses this week. Music was extra fun having our harmonica's and recorders to play. The Eagles are showing growth in their musical skills, as evidenced during the Exhibition.
We finished the E-ship quest and The story of My Life Creator's Workshop this week. I appreciate all of the hard work that was put in by the Eagles and those that supported them.
We hope you have a joyous Mother's Day weekend!
Here are the links to Laura's final 2 blogs about being Socratic at home: Step 3 and Final Steps

Week 32

This week during Entrepreneur quest time we have been focusing on our ability to sell. Creating sales pitches and practicing them. This has been helping us get ready for the Children's Business Fair and for the exhibition. which is coming up soon. We will be "selling" our products and seeing if we are able to be competitive in the market.
We had a morning launch discussion on diversifying our core skills. We talked about how, even if our jobs are primarily about our ability to do math, that being able to communicate in writing and to know how to read is still important.
In Civilizations, we started in on the fall of Rome. Talking about The Emperor Nero and the splitting of the empire into east and west.
In Music, this was Miss Karen's week off so Mr. TJ took over and worked on rhythms and some piano work.
For art, we are still joining Art To You class with Larry Frates.
We had a grand finale on Friday when Mr TJ and Ms. Mary revealed the new addition to the playground at the Studio!! The Eagles are super excited to use the new play structure, especially since town playgrounds are currently closed. You can see a video tour of the new playground on our facebook page!
Here is a link to Laura's blogs on a deep dive into being Socratic at home Step 2 and Step 3.

Week 31

In the Entrepreneurship Quest this week the Eagles have been working on their businesses. They worked on the unit economics of their business and how much profit they can make. They stepped into the role of the boss and began to think about how many employees they could have and how much they could spend to keep them working. We also looked at how competition affects us in our businesses.
During Civilizations this week we discussed the early days of Christianity and the end of the kingdom of the Israelites. For Christianity, like Buddhism, we focused on the most formative teachings of Jesus Christ and what happened to his followers after his death. On Thursday we talked about how the Jewish nation ended under Rome and their treatment by many of the powers in the area and the effects that had on them.
In Creators Workshop we kept working on the story of our lives. We discussed how our experiences like the ones we are writing/drawing/singing about shape who we are as a person. We also talked about how different forms of art can be used to create positive feelings and even bring about peace.
For Art, we are continuing with Art To You with Larry Frates. The Eagles seem to really enjoy the classes.
In Music class we had a bit of a rough time getting going. Then, once we knew what we were doing, we had a great time playing digital instruments and working on our rhythms on an electric drum kit!
We had a great morning circle discussion on the difference between effort and trying. The Eagles showed just how insightful they can be. Recognizing that putting in effort means that you worked hard to accomplish a goal and a try was an attempt but said nothing about how hard you worked.
Kindness class has continued with Ms. Anna. The Eagles explored how emotions and thoughts can keep our minds busy and focusing attention can make our minds calm. We also talked about how sometimes we need to wait to do something but then we feel good when we get our turn. The Eagles practiced saying "I'm waiting" and feeling calm about that with the knowledge that they will feel good when they get their turn.
We had a really great parent meeting on Thursday - thank you to everyone for your engagement!
Here is a link to Laura's Blog, a deep dive into Step 1 on how to be more Socratic at home.

Week 30

This week has been a flurry of online activity. Civilizations this week focused on Julius Ceaser and Rome ending with the rise of Octavius to the position of "First Citizen" and the title of Augustus Ceaser. The Eagles shared some excellent thoughts on the right of succession and earning respect.
The overarching question we are trying to answer this session is about how we adapt to change. The insight the Eagles have been sharing in launches has been invaluable. If you are struggling to deal with big changes the Eagles are a great resource for inspiration and motivation!
This week we started our Session 6 Quest themed Entrepreneurship. The purpose of the E-ship Quest is to equip the Eagles with skills, tools, and frameworks needed to start a business. This quest has three main goals for Eagles: To learn more about themselves and what they love, to learn as much about entrepreneurship as possible, and to create a business to present at the Exhibition.
This week the Eagles created their businesses, identified products they would like to make, and worked on their logos. They have been working to identify why they would want to run their own business. If all goes as planned (and the world is back to normal this summer!), the Eagles will have a chance to sell their products to the public at the 3rd Annual NH Children's Business Fair on August 8th. Last year we had 27 children-run businesses and over 200 people from the public came to shop!
We had our second digital music class with Ms Karen. She was very fun to work with via computer and we are looking forward to getting to see her again next Tuesday. For art this week we joined Larry Frates again for his animation classes. They are very fun and interesting things to draw and are for all ages. If you want to give them a try the videos are on his Facebook page.
We have started Kindness Class again and Ms. Anna joined us over Google Hangouts on Monday and Friday. We talked about what it means to be a "star listener" and how to "speak from the heart" and how these ideas can help work out problems and make others feel better on the inside. We also talked about being kind to yourself and even to your uncomfortable emotions. We acknowledged that emotions and feelings can change and to show kindness towards someone else who is having a problem.
This session we have also shifted Writer's Workshop to Creator's Workshop. The songs, art, and stories that have been shared so far are very moving and exciting. We look forward to everything the Eagles will create moving forward.
Thank you for all your hard work with the big changes we are dealing with in the management of COVID-19. We look forward to seeing all of you in person again.
Here is a link to Laura's blog on what it means to be Socratic!

Week 29

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these challenging times. We have been having a rewarding and new experience of learning remotely. Luckily for us, we have Eagles who were up to the challenge! It is wonderful to see the Eagles taking charge of their learning and experiences even at home.
The Eagles took on family badges with their families while we were remote for the last part of this session. I am glad to hear everyone is working on them and glad to see that they are coming to fruition. We look forward to awarding family badges at the next Badge Ceremony!
Civilizations this week was about Confucius and the rise of Julius Caesar. We talked mostly about kindness with Confucius and ambition with Caesar. The Eagles were very engaged and had a lot to say about benevolence and ambition. We had wonderful conversations.
We joined an online art class this week with Larry Frates from the Belknap Mill. It was wonderful to see the excellent drawings that the Eagles produced from watching the live stream.
We hope that everyone has a wonderful break! We look forward to our next session and the Entrepreneurship Quest! Together we will tackling the remaining challenges of learning remotely as we move forward in our learning and experiences. Thank you for helping to forge this new path on our collective Hero's Journey!
Here is a link to a great podcast about your child learning from home. What I love about this conversation is that they remind us to look for the moments when your child "loses themselves" in an activity and is experiencing pure joy. Let them have this precious time without interruptions! Yes, we want them to plug away at core skills, but it is more important to be able to follow your heart and your passion and to let your Eagle fully explore something that they find interesting.

Week 28

This has been the first full week of our social distancing and/or quarantine. So far things seem to be going well. We have continued having morning and closing circles, core skills, civilizations, communication, and quest. There has definitely been some adjustment to the new online chat platform, but overall we are trying to keep a similar schedule and activities that the Eagles would have been having in the studio. I am looking forward to hearing about progress on the family badges that the Eagles and families are working on. 
For communications, the Eagles wrote stories about someone being kind to them and then learned to write 5 new words in another language. We had words from French, Latin, and Chinese! It was interesting to have such a diverse set of languages. 
In civilizations this week we talked about the Mauryan Empire of India and the great King Asoka who swore off violence after he saw how it affected the people. Then headed to China where we talked about Shui Huangdi and the Qin empire and their development of Calligraphy.
We look forward to seeing the Eagles and everyone when we get back to the studio. We hope everyone is happy and healthy. We know things are exceptionally challenging right now. It is hard to step into "guide" role instead of "parent" role and to not help them accomplish their tasks and not answer questions. We encourage you all to remember that our Eagles are capable of greatness and to look for opportunities to let them show you how great they can be! Redirect, redirect, redirect and instead of helping, offer encouragement and growth-mindset praise for effort. A professor of mine once said: "Don't be afraid to let them fail, mostly because when you think everything has gone wrong and it will all fall apart is when they somehow pull it off out of nowhere and it was better than you could have imagined it."
Here is Laura's blog on tips to creating a Family Plan (one of the Family Badges): https://www.actonacademyparents.com/are-you-a-skeptic-of-family-plans/
A look back at some of our favorite memories since August : )

Week 27

What an adventure this week has been. We are moving fast and adapting to our new experiences with grace and fortitude. On Monday and Tuesday, we were in the studio.
Monday was a fairly normal day. We launched on COVID-19 focusing on the facts that were available at the time and speaking honestly about our concerns about it. For Quest, we worked on our growing curiosity tree and completed a very exciting experiment. The Eagles had to try to blow up balloons with yeast & Sugar & warm water, vinegar & baking soda, and just the steam from hot water. They had a blast watching the balloons inflate and coming up with hypotheses and questions.
Ms. Anna came for Kindness Class and explored emotions and feelings in the face and body with the Eagles. They were able to look in a mirror to see the emotion and they also played a "Charades" game where they had to get the other Eagles to guess what emotion they were portraying. They practiced asking each other out loud "How are you feeling right now?" once they realized that sometimes they think they know what the other person is feeling but they might not be right. We also added stickers to our Kindness Garden poster for the Eagles' acts of kindness.
On Tuesday we did our music class via Skype. Ms Karen helped us learn about the staff in music and showed us some songs on the guitar. For civilizations, we started talking about the Indus river valley and the civilizations that came up around there. Including the caste system that came up in that area. I will say the Eagles did not like the idea of such a fixed system.
We went on an adventure hike in Ahern State Park and Mr. TJ showed the Eagles some of his outside survivor skills and how to build a fire. The Eagles were also challenged with seeking out the car without using the trail.
Wednesday as we all know we switched to the remote learning processes. The road started a little rocky and we hit some speed bumps a little faster than we wanted to. However, our Eagles seem to be taking the changes well.
On Thursday, we all got together to play some chess with our fellow Eagles and talked about Siddhartha during Civilizations. Quite an interesting tale. the book Siddhartha might be a good read for anyone who is looking to for a reading suggestion while in quarantine (adults, not Eagles!).
Friday was back to core skills and some quest time. Our younger Eagles are still working on the Growing Curiosity Quest while our older Eagle is working on an independent passion project to share with us next Friday. It is always great to hear how everyone's day is going at closing circle and Mr. TJ has been checking in with the Eagles throughout the day. We know that as everyone gets more used to the technology of emails and google hangouts, we should have smoother sailing with the Eagles asking each other and Mr. TJ for help/advice instead of parents! : )
PS - Here is an EXCELLENT blog (from another Acton Academy) on how to bring Montessori materials into your home life: https://www.howwewonder.org/post/setting-up-home-for-success
PPS- Here is a link to Laura's blog, about easing the stress of learning and working from home!

Week 26

This week has been very interesting. The Quest this week has been called Natural Disaster! It has challenged the Eagles to cope with issues and find ways to work around them. The Eagles have done an excellent job working through all of the problems that we have encountered. This includes: figuring how to make core skills work with limited space and limited resources, finding workarounds to challenges that were presented by Mr. TJ, and looking for solutions to social issues that arise by limited space. So far the Eagles have comported themselves very well. The social issues have been surprisingly few.
The Quest challenges have been: On Monday, the Eagles had to work their way across the slack-line to rescue "Brenda" as well as crossing a raging river using fewer "buoys" than they had feet. On Wednesday the Eagles had to contain some "toxic waste" that was dumped out in a flood, redesign a bridge that was washed away, and rescue "Gary" form a raft in a river using only two boards! The focus this week has been on problem-solving and adapting to situations that are not very comfortable.
We spent A LOT of time outdoors this week, even walking to Opechee Park for lunch on Monday. The Eagles enjoyed poking at the the ice with sticks (from a distance!) and seeing how it would break apart and make noises.
Wednesday was our first after-school lego club and the Eagles LOVED it. They had a ton of fun, thank you Jamie for hosting!
During music this week the eagles continued working on their skills with rhythm and beat, as well as learning some new songs to sing. At Art, they worked through following specific directions to accomplish a piece of art. The snakes they made were interesting a lot of creative decorations on each. Unfortunately, PE did not happen and we went to the park at Bartlett beach to play instead since Ms Sherry was out today.
In Civilizations this week we learned more about Rome, specifically the Punic wars and Hannibal's use of elephants in war. We discussed whether the use of warships or elephants during war-time was more helpful.
We had a great launch discussion about giving feedback and using "I" statements and expressing your feelings well.
Writer's Workshop is focused on Communication in this session. We are practicing coding and decoding conversations. Learning that slang and other languages are just codes that we need to figure out in order to understand people. The Eagles did Stump Mr. TJ with the code they created which was very creative and challenging to figure out. 
During Town Hall the Eagles agreed to start a recycling bin for glass, plastic and aluminum.