Goal or Quest?

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One of the huge assets of our school is that we are not reinventing the education wheel alone! We are part of a vibrant and growing community of Acton Academies around the world that communicate and collaborate. We are very fortunate to be close to the founding school that is based out of Austin, TX. In this guest post, co-founder and Head of School, Laura Sandefer, shares some of the tools Evergreen Acton students will learn and practice regularly.


“Some people need to know their goal or they can’t search at all.  For others, though, the quest itself is enough.” (Gerald Morris, “The Quest of the Fair Unknown”)

What drives you to seek answers or work to grow? What fuels your desire to learn? Do you need to know the expected outcome of your efforts or are you inspired by wondering what your searching may bring?

What about your child? Goal or quest?

While your child may be more goal-oriented or more quest-oriented, we are creating the opportunity for each Acton Eagle to experience both of these seemingly contradictory paths simultaneously.

For example, your child will learn to set S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed). They work with the guides to set their weekly work goals and learn to track themselves and measure their progress. On this path, there is a logical sequence of steps that must be taken. Patience and self-discipline are required. Frustration and failure happen. Ultimately, though, a goal is reached and then comes the glow of authentic satisfaction – ownership of learning. “I did it. I really did it.”

At the same time, Acton students engage in multi-faceted quests. These journeys of learning are beyond traditional “science projects” and include wrestling with big questions only to be left asking bigger questions. Students tackle real world issues and make decisions by weighing costs and benefits. The outcomes are sometimes predictable and more often surprising. Quests can be chaotic and messy while joyful and fantastically fun. “We get to make fire!?”

F.Scott Fitzgerald once said that true intelligence is a mind that can hold contradictory concepts. As our heroes continue in their journey at Acton, their answer to the question “Goal or quest?” is likely to become “How about both?”

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