~ Upping Scores ~

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.

broken TV

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 byTV timee this.

Hello this.family walking

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.


7 Responses to ~ Upping Scores ~

  1. hi-d says:

    Oh Joanne, I so admire your honesty and your will power. Wow. I don’t have any problem getting rid of every screen in the house… but my husband wouldn’t EVER relent to that idea. He is way more into TV and his computer than any of the rest of us… but it does make it hard to get him involved ‘with’ us. I am lucky that my boys would rather “play” and make small movies than watch TV. But the video games are another story.
    I guess it would be hard of for me to say no to them in the summer, since they have such strict rules and guidelines during the school year. But I don’t know… you make me want to go live in a cabin for the summer… with no electricity!! I would love that!
    Great post. You are an inspiration to me.

    • urthemom says:

      Heidi, you are so sweet. Wish you lived down the street, girl.

      I think all we can do when our husbands do things that may irritate us is to PRAY: pray for opportunity to kindly share what is bugging us, and just pray for them to be sensitive to what may be going on under the surface of the family fabric. My husband loves to watch YouTube videos of 1980’s rock bands. AND Britain’s Got Talent (Susan Boyle, etc) and other musical things that irritate the fire out of me. LOL We just do the best we can and walk in the light we have at the moment. We really can’t do more than that, you know?

      Hope your day with your guys is WONDERFUL!

  2. I agree entirely. The best way to encourage our kids to read books is to read books aloud in front of them and make them feel part of it. This way they too will be encouraged to join in. Also, read books which you know might interest them.

    • urthemom says:

      Absolutely! We have been reading through the Little Britches series of books in the evenings as a family. We only have one more to go, which is so sad. We have read through the Little House series twice out loud, once to the older five, and now to the younger three. We still have “Candlelight Story Night” and read in the dark w/candles. (I say “we” but my husband does all the reading.) Wonderful stuff of memories. Ya just can’t read to children TOO much! Even my teenagers enjoy hanging out together in the evenings and listening to stories. Sometimes we read fascinating tales of missionaries or even more serious books for discussion. There is always something for everyone!

      I am glad you stopped by!

  3. Mary says:

    I enjoyed reading this, Joanne. I am putting limits on my own use of computer/tv as well! You mentioned speaking to the author of the perfect SAT score book. Have you had time to gather your thoughts on what you learned from speaking with him? Just curious! 🙂

  4. Mom of 6 says:

    I SO appreciate your sharing your experiences, and for the excellent advice. I’m taking notes! Also, we started reading the Little Britches series after reading your suggestion. It’s excellent! Have you considered offering a “favorite books” list, perhaps in the RaisingSL4Life files, that you and others could contribute to, and that many could refer to when looking for good reading material?

  5. urthemom says:

    Mary, thanks so much for stopping by! Yay for you and your self-control! 🙂 It’s hard though, isn’t it?

    I will actually be using a lot of what Dr. Fischgrund and I discussed as fodder for my next article for Home School Enrichment mag in the Aug/Sept issue. That means I will probably post it in the archives at the yahoo site or here, partially anyway.

    But his study should make all of us homeschooling parents feel encouraged in the area of having strong family bonds, as that is a commonality with the kids he studied. Just a little teaser of what is to come…

    And Barb, you could write your own book, I am sure. (If you haven’t already.)LOL A couple of the books in the Little Britches series are a little slower-moving than the others, but it is so great to sit around the room together in the evenings! Good thought about posting a file, and I would like to get others’ recommendations as well. I still want to get a curriculum file up there as well; actually, I really *don’t* want to, but it is requested so much that I will probably cave.

    Thanks for visiting, Barb! Hugs to both of you wonderful moms/friends.

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