I am thrilled this day has come!

When my children were young, I knew what kind of education I wanted for them based on the variety of amazing schools I’ve had the opportunity to work in as a teacher and counsellor, speak in as a presenter, and also what I’ve been learning about education in the 21st century. How we learn today is drastically different than how we did twenty and even ten years ago.

After having our children in our local public school, we decided to make the big leap to homeschool them in a way that reflects today’s style of life and education. We did enjoy this process (mostly–you know what I mean: being together ALL THE TIME), however; felt they were missing the experience of group collaboration, learning as a team, leadership opportunities, and being with mentors.

Years ago I started talking about opening a school, but it didn’t feel like it was the right time yet. Last year I almost did it, but put that on hold because I felt I was missing collaboration with a team who had already discovered a successful education system and curriculum for today’s learners. Then one day I came downstairs to see “Acton Academy!” written on our whiteboard by my husband. I opened up their website www.actonacademy.org and disappeared down the rabbit hole. Hours later, in tears, I knew we’d found what we were looking for.

We are in the process of opening our Acton Academy, called Infinity School. My husband (a family doctor) and I are diligently researching, writing, and collaborating to get our website and information up. In between that we’re hauling our boys (now six and eight) around to look at location sites! We hope to have all of this ready in the next month and be open for enrolment right away to begin school on September first. In the mean time, please stay connected with us through our Facebook page and here on my site. I’ve got the school calendar posted temporarily at the bottom of this page.


Here’s some information about our school…

So what is 21st Century Learning?

By starting fresh and drawing from a variety of best practices, Infinity School’s foundation is an updated version of the one-room schoolhouse. In this kind of environment, students of different ages mix, group interaction is amplified, and personalized learning trumps broadcast lectures and a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Character, dedication, and hard work are valued higher than innate abilities and the efficiency of self-paced learning frees up more time for real world projects and group discussions. You can see more about Learning at Infinity by visiting this Acton Academy page. 

Our Role is to Motivate and Inspire

Job number one is to make it fun to be part of the school. If being a part of the community is enjoyable and the kids feel safe, then the children will be more motivated to work hard and take risks. One of our major tenets is that it is never acceptable to intentionally shame anyone. We will try to always respond in a manner that will ensure the child feels safe, cared for, and capable. No more colour charts, behaviour ladders, detentions, or missed recesses!

We Put a Focus on Mastery

Putting the emphasis on Mastery ensures that a student has a complete understanding of a concept before moving on to a more complex one. An incomplete understanding early on can have disastrous results later, especially in math.

In the traditional classroom, there is not enough time to wait for each student to master each topic. In the Infinity learning model, the use of technology, self-directed goal setting, and peer support, allows a student to master a concept at their own pace. By achieving a complete understanding, students will feel good about themselves and progress at their best and most complete ability.

Salman Khan, creator of KhanAcademy.org, quotes from his book The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined :

“People learn at different rates… Quicker isn’t necessarily smarter and slower definitely isn’t dumber.”

“…Whether there are ten or twenty or fifty kids in a class, there will be disparities in their grasp of a topic at any given time. Even a one-to-one ratio is not ideal if the teacher feels forced to march the student along at a state-mandated pace, regardless of how well the concepts are understood.”

“Lessons should be paced to the individual student’s needs, not some arbitrary calendar.”

 We Use Socratic Discussions 

In a Socratic discussion, there is not a specific “correct” answer. Instead, the young heroes are presented a scenario and asked to make a choice, such as “You are in X situation. Do you do A, B, or C?” or “Which is more important: A or B?”

As they struggle with questions and come to their own conclusions, the heroes are forced to really think about what they believe and why, and to seek evidence to back up their answers. The goal is for heroes to learn how to evaluate all sides of a topic, take a stance, back it up with a solid argument, learn to challenge opposing viewpoints, and to respond to challenges with grace and tenacity.

Through discussions and actively making arguments for their answers and opinions, heroes gain a better understanding of a topic than they would by sitting back and taking notes during a lecture. It is about giving students questions, not answers.

Emphasize a Hero’s Journey

 The Hero’s Journey is the overarching story we use to equip and inspire the young heroes with the tools, skills, and courage to change the world. This is done while realizing that learning to fail early, cheaply, and often is an important part of the journey; and experiencing that perseverance, character and grit are far more important that raw talent.

This archetypal adventure requires one to discover their special gifts, to learn how to use those gifts in a way that brings great joy, to solve a deep burning need in the world, to face challenges and trials, and to seek guides and fellow travellers. Whether succeeding or failing, by the end of the journey, our Heroes discover that the journey itself and the way you have changed were far more important that the original object of your quest.

The primary purpose of the Hero’s Journey is to inspire students to search for their calling in life. A calling is where a deep burning need intersects with a hero’s talents and joy. Eventually heroes will ask themselves, “How could I provide value to the world in a way that I find personally meaningful, and what skills, knowledge, and tools must I master to fulfill this goal?”

With credit and thanks to these great Acton Academies: Kemp Academy in Ann Arbour, MI and Talent Unbound in Houston, TX

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.46.06 AM (1)