A few learners in the Upper Levels Studio put together a video about their experience at Acton Academy Salado and why they chose to attend. The word that stood out to me in the video was "freedom." Freedom to be without judgment, freedom to follow interests—which could ultimately lead to true callings—and freedom to work at their own pace gives children autonomy in their learning. 

These are all basic rights in the Acton world. 

There is a misconception about the "freedoms" we offer the learners. Dr. Montessori says it best in the "Absorbent Mind: "To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom." This is where freedom within limits comes in. 

Freedoms within limits offer a balance between an overly structured environment and a fully chaotic one. It allows for expectations to be clear, along with consistency, boundaries, and natural consequences. In upper levels, the learners have the freedom to sit as they please - outside, on the floor, on the couch, on the table, etc.- as long as weekly expectations are kept up with. Any reds remaining by Monday at 8:30 AM offer the consequence of a more traditional type of school setting seating for the remainder of the week.

Why? Allowing the child to have autonomy over their schedule and work load fosters time management and independence. The natural consequence of being seated at a desk where the rest of the tribe can see the screens and work is that the child and the tribe can hold each other accountable to the boundaries and contracts they have put in place for each other. 

Balance, failure, independence, time management, and accountability are all skills that will ultimately help them in the real world.