Sometimes, I just feel like indulging in doing a typical braggy mommy blog post. So here goes…just skip if you can’t stand bragging.
A few weeks ago my oldest child, my guinea pig in homeschooling, got his ACT score back. He scored over 30! He had taken a practice test given at Ann Meeks’ ACT boot camp last spring and scored 29 (see http://acetheact.com. ) After taking the boot camp and practicing the test a few times, including once at Weber State, we were pretty sure he could get over 30. Well, he got the official results back and we are thrilled. College on a scholarship, here he comes! He’s always been a smart kid. This was just official proof. Or at least proof that he’s good at taking tests. I realize that you can have a bright kid who scores low on the test.
I feel somewhat vindicated in my educational approach for him. He has never been to public school, and has had few standardized test. He has been schooled at home and also in the community in a commonwealth school and some momschools. For one year he did Open High Schoot, which is an online charter high school. Currently he’s going to a private high school online. It’s Williamsburg Academy, named after the place where George Wythe lived, Williamsburg VA. George was the law school mentor of Thomas Jefferson. (See http://wacademy.org) It is a fantastic school! It challenges him and he is reading from a ton of classics.
He has had a Thomas Jefferson Education for the most part. (See http://tjed.org) I say “for the most part” because one of the keys of TJED is “inspire, don’t require” and I did actually, shh, require math when he was young, a page a day. I wasn’t totally sold on the TJED idea of waiting until a kid gets on fire to study math. Then I relaxed a bit after becoming converted to TJED years later. His Pyramid Project class through LEMI motivated him to do math consistently again so he did, but if he hadn’t been motivated that way, I would have started requiring it, like I have with my younger children.
At the ACT boot camp, as I observed the math instruction given by homeschooling mom Cyndi Hampton (a former public high school math teacher), I could just see many of the students’ brains fogging up (All but three of the fifteen or so there were TJED homeschoolers). I could tell they were not getting it. For many homeschoolers, especially in TJED, math is a weakness. Some of them don’t take it seriously and put off studying it for years. You just can’t cram math. In order to do math skills quickly, to analyze and compute quickly, as in to solve what is it, 60 math questions in 60 minutes on the ACT, you have to draw upon a solid math education. That doesn’t happen in a year or two of cramming after avoiding math until scholar phase. So my advice, if you homeschool, not that you asked, is, do require a little math every day, at least a page, from the time of the love of learning phase. (Use bribery, like food, or privileges, if needed. Eventually they will find it fun. And use mathusee.com, it’s the best. Both Ann Meeks and Cyndi Hampton agree with me.) That is, if you plan on your student going to college. If they are going to college, there is no way around the ACT. Even if they go to George Wythe College. I have heard that GWC will have to require the ACT as part of getting accredited, which they are on track to do.
As for going to college, yes, not everyone needs to be a college grad to be happy and successful. After all, Bill Gates is a college dropout. For most people, though, doors will be closed to them that would further their mission, if they don’t go to college. I really love this book by President Henry Eyring’s son, Henry Eyring, about why college is so important. See http://majordecisions.com He gives some very important reasons, including increased competition for jobs due to increasing automation and globalization of jobs.
Oops, my braggy mommy blog post turned into a soapbox speech. I couldn’t resist. Now get one of your kids to do her math.