• March 6, 2018
  • Education
  • USD $14.95
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9781626344914
  • Trim: 6in × 9in

Courage to Grow

How Acton Academy Turns Learning Upside Down

Laura A. Sandefer
Acton Academy: The one-room schoolhouse for the twenty-first century

Seeking a 21st century education for their children, Laura and Jeff Sandefer jumped off the track of conventional school and created a new model for learning. They created Acton Academy as a better school where learning is made practical and meaningful and where students begin a lifelong Hero’s Journey to discover their true potential.  

Using the Socratic method, elements of the Montessori approach and state-of-the-art online instruction, Acton guides students toward independence and self-motivation, helping them find the courage to grow into the person they were meant to be.

Soon, other parents wanted to start their own Acton Academies, and less than a decade from the seven founding students’ first Socratic discussion, Acton has spread around the world.

​Courage to Grow is the Sandefer family’s personal quest for their own children’s education and happiness. Their story also contains a path for other parents who want to give their children the freedom to take ownership of their own education and to start their own school. The treasure at the end is much larger than Laura ever expected—a quickly growing network of dedicated, curious young people and parents who are not afraid to set them free.

Laura lived on both US coasts and in between as a child, then settled in to Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate studies. After being awarded the highly competitive 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 earned her masters of education at Peabody College. 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 cofound Acton Academy.

Her greatest hero is her mother, who was a master teacher. Her wisest mentor is her father, who sent her off to college with two words of advice: “Be curious.”