What I Wish My Parents Knew… (Year 1, Week 17)

Is competition good or bad?

This was the question that kicked off this week’s events.

“Competition makes you better at whatever you’re doing,” was one insightful response from a hero. Many heroes agreed and felt that healthy competition makes you keep improving and encourages you to not be lazy. The heroes also identified ways that competition can be unhealthy in the studio environment. A few examples were if it results in putting others down or cheating just to win.

Over the first few weeks of this session, a natural competition had emerged between squads. The squads began tracking their points as a group each day and seeing which squad had the most at the end of each day. Based on this, the studio has introduced a session-long competition between the squads, with the winning squad choosing a fun reward on the last day of the session.

Aquarium Excursion

The excursion was very interactive, with the heroes being able to feed fish, touch string rays, sharks, snakes and iguanas, and feed live crickets to a chameleon! It also gave the heroes the opportunity to reflect more on their upcoming exhibition that will take place in the aquarium.

Miscommunication led to the heroes not being able to participate in a Whale Lab at the aquarium on Monday, which meant we all returned to the aquarium on Thursday afternoon. The heroes enjoyed an interactive STEM workshop about baleen and tooth whales, which was both exciting and engaging.

Roaring Readers

Marine Science Quest

As the questers explored food chains in marine environments, they enjoyed the messy challenge of dissecting a stomach and investigating its contents to determine which animal that stomach belonged to. Many parents may have welcomed home red-stained hands from all the dissection!


The badges are now broken down into more specific challenges, focusing more on mastery of a specific skills, with less requirements per badge. The heroes were excited and encouraged by the more simple system, realizing they could earn a badge by the end of this session!

This new system will also create more transparency for parents as earning badges will now be more frequent.

Kindness and Truth

Imagine this: you are invited to your friend’s house to play. When you arrive he offers you a cookie… “I made these myself” he says, “It took me hours this morning to make them and it was really hard but I wanted to make them especially for you, have one.” You gratefully take a cookie and bite into it. As the flavor hits you, your first reaction is to want to spit it out, it is disgusting! It is so dry you can hardly swallow it and does not taste at all like what a cookie should taste like. “What do you think?” your friend asks. He looks eagerly and hopefully at you to tell him how much you love the cookie. “They’re delicious aren’t they?!” he beams.

If you had to choose one of the following options which would you choose:

  • Kindly thank your friend for the cookie and lie, saying “it was delicious, yum! Great job!”
  • Or say “honestly, they were really bad. I can’t even finish eating it.”

The heroes were faced with this hypothetical situation during a discussion this week about kindness and truth. Most heroes were confident that they would be honest with their friends and tell them the truth about the cookie. The heroes felt strongly that it is possible to be tough-minded but warm-hearted at the same time, leading to a discussion about what that looks like in the studio.

I wish my parents knew…

As we wrap up this week’s blog, we’ll let you be inspired by their responses to the following question: What do you wish your parents understood about your experience at Heroes Academy?

“That we don’t just mess around here.”

“We actually do pretty hard work, it’s not just like a normal school where they’re like ‘okay you gotta do this and you gotta know it.’ I want them to know it’s actually hard and good for us.”

“We actually do the schedule. Guides don’t say ‘hey it’s time for outdoor experience’ or ‘hey it’s time for lunch.’ We actually keep track of the time.” (“Why is that important to you?”) “I don’t want them to be like ‘well it’s kind of like a normal school and I shouldn’t send them here.’”

“I wish they knew that we are in a community. That we’re actually being faced with problems that adults might have later in life… That the studio is preparing us for the future, and no one is really helping us, we are just asking people for hero bucks and doing our work and being faced with actual problems.”

“We are being faced with everyday problems… We don’t go cry to our teacher or guide, we handle it ourselves… If it was that way it would be like a normal not that good school, when it’s one of these schools, you can actually learn by doing it yourself, because it takes more to learn by doing it, then by teachers doing it for you, or guides…. You learn it better by doing it yourself.”

“Why we earn our freedom levels. My mom’s like ‘so you didn’t get enough points so you can’t get in that so you can’t do that, that’s no fair.’ I want her to understand that it’s helping us progress on our hero’s journey, earning our freedom.”

Elementary blog for Heroes Academy, an innovative school in Boise, Idaho. We inspire children to find a calling and change the world → http://heroesacademy.org