I’ve been doing some thinking, and that thinking was prompted by one of my sons not scoring as well as he would have liked to on the SAT this spring. He wants to up his score by about 100 points come September. How can I help him achieve that goal?
The answer to this question will be unique to each student and family, but there are some good across-the-board guidelines that we can follow to achieve more on the side of academics while boosting a sense of family.
The first change we will make for everyone in the house is to unplug the TV. We’ll put away Game Cube. I forget just how much these often mindless activities steal our children’s attention AND desire to engage in creative and more worthy pursuits. For some reason, I seriously dislike Wii and Game Cube and the like although we do allow them from time to time. Until I get totally fed up with them.
So screen time is the first thing to go. That means no movie watching either, although I can not rule out trips to the drive-in or to the theater. These make movie-watching a treat or a family activity.
I know from experience that we will live in a much more harmonious environment, and the kids will be outside playing more, reading more, and they will get to bed earlier. I will be outside playing more, reading more, and will get to bed earlier.
Factor in doing more things as a family, and it is a win-win situation.
I believe there is a season to everything which is why we allow the screen time in the first place. There is a season to put it away as well. I know from experience that removing distractions will be a blessing to us right now.
The next thing we are going to change is the library that we use. We live in a small town, and our library has very limited options. There is the whole “they’ve gotten rid of all the good books” argument, and that is pretty much true.
So we will travel to the big city and use their library this summer where the likelihood of finding good books will hopefully go up. The travel time and gas usage will be a sacrifice that pays dividends though. I look forward to some new books as well. If I had unlimited funds, I would have an excellent home library. But I don’t, so we outsource the library.
If we want to encourage our children to read, the best thing we can do is read to them and let them see us reading.
I think that the combination of putting away the idleness-inducing appliances and giving access to a whole new world of books will yield good fruit this summer and long after. We have already been without screens for two whole days, and we have had nice family times in the evenings. We usually do, but then we would put on a movie and everyone would be up too late watching it, which would be painful in the mornings.
One other thing I highly recommend with the SAT before I forget. I recommend that you order the complete test and answer packet for your student. (I forget what it is called ~ sorry!) I think the price is like $18 for this service, but it is well worth the funds spent.
Your student will receive the test, the answers, and the answers that he gave for each question so you can analyze what was missed and hopefully see a pattern. My son will study his materials when they arrive and knowing him, he will work up a strategy to fill in his weaker areas on his own. I will look over his materials as well just for my own information. Actually, he will give me a synopsis, but if your student does not do this on his own, be sure to take the time to analyze his results so that you can learn as much as possible from mistakes.
I will support my son by taking away the temptation to fritter away his time on pointless silly games and TV shows. Am I behind the times? I see this as a self-control issue for both me and my family. I am not secretly watching TV on the side while I expect them to do without. Rather, we are taking time that would evaporate otherwise and investing in activities of consequence.
If that is behind the times, so be it.
Good bye this.
I’ll let you know how effective these changes turn out to be after my son’s next SAT this fall. I know that we have never regretted putting the screens away. I just wonder why we don’t do this more often if we know the benefits. Perhaps it has something to do with my own level of self-control? Sadly, I think that is most likely it.