Episode #310: Rethinking School to Foster a Love of Learning with Laura Sandefer of Acton Academy

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Steph interviews Laura Sandefer, co-founder of Acton Academy, a revolutionary design for K-12 learning. Acton is dedicated to inspiring each child to see life as a Hero’s Journey, where someone with curiosity and character can find a ‘calling’ and foster a true love of learning. Steph shares examples of how the transition out of public school to Acton Academy has significantally impacted her children’s happiness and education. They discuss how children can embrace heroism versus victimhood, the importance of failure, why grades and homework aren’t required for success, and skills kids actually need to thrive in the modern world. They offer tools for all parents to consider and practice in their house to help their kids build resilience. You’ll walk away with a new perspective on  early education that offers the child more agency, joy, and independence.


Topics Discussed: 

  • Steph’s experience with Acton Academy.
  • The underlying belief about children and learning that Acton is built on.
  • The difference between heroism and victimhood.
  • Three things a mom can do at home to build the mindset of hero so her child avoids the pitfalls of victimhood.
  • What children really need to be healthy and happy. 
  • What happens when you step back and let kids lead.
Show Notes: 
  • Check out the Be Family – Dinner table card game
  • Purchase the Courage to Grow book
  • Click here to learn more about Dr. Elana Roumell’s Doctor Mom Membership, a membership designed for moms who want to be their child’s number one health advocate!
  • Click here to learn more about Steph Greunke, RD’s online nutrition program and community, Postpartum Reset, an intimate private community and online roadmap for any mama (or mama-to-be) who feels stuck, alone, and depleted and wants to learn how to thrive in motherhood.

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This episode’s sponsors

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This episode’s guest

Laura Sandefer: Co-Founder, Acton Academy. Laura lived on both US coasts and in between as a child, then settled into Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate studies. After being awarded the Walter Wattles Fellowship at Lloyd’s of London, Laura worked in the aviation insurance industry in New York City. Deciding to follow her calling into the world of education, Laura returned to Nashville and earned her second Vanderbilt degree with her Master of Education. This led her to her work at the Oklahoma Arts Institute, creating fine arts education programs for teachers and talented high school students. Laura married Jeff Sandefer and is the happy mother of Sam and Charlie and step-mother to Taite. It is the inspiration of these children that led Laura and Jeff to co-found Acton Academy, a revolutionary design for K-12 learning, and the Acton Children’s Business Fair. Today there are over 300 Acton Academy locations around the world and over 1,000 Children’s Business Fairs impacting the lives of over 16,000 children. Laura is the author of “Courage to Grow” – a true story documenting the journey she and her family took to create a new vision of learning that has started a global movement in education. Her passion now includes equipping families to build deep connection around the family dinner table with her conversation game, “Be Family.”

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