Laura Sandefer

As we take on this new reality of  doing school from home, Jeff and I believe a path to finding more joy and less frustration as a parent is to become more Socratic with our children.

As promised in my last post which described what it means to be Socratic and the five steps to getting there,  I’ll break down each of the steps individually over the next few days.

Step OneGet clear on your “WHY?” as a parent.

This step has three underlying questions:


What do I want for my child? Answering this question is harder than it seems. I was able to get to my own answer by imagining I would die tomorrow and have one last chance to give my children a message about their learning/work.  Would my message be:  Get good grades, get into college and get a good job; or, Discover your inner gifts and use them to help others for this is where joy lies; or, Don’t worry, be happy; or, something else?


With the answer to question #1 in mind, what do I want to be as a parent?


What do we want to be together as a family? This steps requires taking time to talk about what it means to be a family, even create a mission statement as well as decide on a few goals for your life together. The Acton Academy families write family plans based on the simple process outlined in Patrick Lencioni’s book, “The 3 Big Questions for A Frantic Family.” It’s a great read!

We hope by pondering these questions, your life begins to feel more like an adventure and less like a stress-filled hodgepodge.

Tomorrow, I’ll dig into what it means to “Set the Contract.”

Co-founder and Chief Encourager for Acton Academy


Laura Sandefer is an author and the co-founder of Acton Academy, a school whose learner-driven model is spreading across the globe with over 130 locations in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, Malaysia and more, and in 2019 is celebrating 10 years of letting children take learning into their owns hands.

Acton Academy bases their model of learning on the Hero’s Journey: a story pattern common in ancient myths and modern day adventures in which a hero goes on an adventure, wins a victory and comes home transformed. Children at Acton Academy know why they are being challenged to learn — they are on their own Hero’s Journey to find their passion in life.

Acton Academy and Sandefer have been featured in the Austin American Statesman, Inc., Forbes, National Review, Huffington Post and more. Sandefer has a bachelor of arts and masters of education degrees from Vanderbilt University. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children and three dogs.