10 Acton Practices that Changed My Family’s Life – #5

#5. Consistency along with surprises.

The Acton learning journey is designed to be contained in a predictable environment. There is consistency in daily schedules and  expectations are spelled out in contracts with consequences clearly agreed upon. This consistency builds in a sense of emotional safety even as challenging personal experiences arise. Humans are better able to focus on learning and playing freely when not worried about what might happen next.

Equally important to learning, however, is the experience of being surprised. Within the Acton learning design there are  strategic jolts of surprise – Fun Friday mysteries, popsicles after free time on a hot day, a special hero visiting. These surprises create moments that elevate and energize the group.

At home, too, combining consistency along with surprise helps create a sense of safety and joy, tightening family bonds. Here are some surprises I injected at home:

  • Pancakes for dinner.
  • Camping out in the family room on a school night.
  • Surprise dinner guest. (Set an extra place and have them arrive after everyone is seated. Who is coming to dinner??)
  • Special dessert in the lunchbox.
  • Saturday adventure to a brand new place.
  • A wrapped gift under a bed pillow for no reason.
  • Christmas in July.

Feel free to email me your ideas. I’d love to post a better list for inspiration. And I can’t wait to be surprised!