Dr. Fischgrund, author of SAT Perfect Score: 7 Secrets to Raise Your Score, writes:
“Because these perfect score parents planted the seeds for self-sufficiency when their child was younger, they were able to sit back and serve as a support system during their child’s high school years.
Yes, some children may be born more internally driven than others, but all of us have the potential to be self-starters.”
As a parent, your role in the early years of your child’s life is to teach and to guide educationally and morally. But once that foundation has been laid, your role moves to a more hands-off approach. You become a coach on the sidelines watching your now-skilled young adult further develop his skills—independently.
You provide support and at times help remove obstacles, but you should not be out there on the court playing your child’s game for him. We actually become obstacles to our kids by getting in their way and not trusting them to progress without us.
It is important to note that the parents of high achievers did not expect their kids to score perfectly on the SAT. I never set that expectation for any of my kids, and I never will.
It is important not to set goals and expectations for our high school students, even though expectation setting is key in the earlier years. We can still be involved with them in the process. We must trust our young adults to enjoy meeting challenges of their own making.
When I think about my sons’ SAT-taking days, I now see that they went into the test determined to beat it as best they could. They knew from taking practice tests that they could do well, and they wanted to rise to the challenge and succeed. I certainly never asked them if they thought they could get a perfect score. They just knew that it was possible.
My hope was simply that they would be able to do their best, as there are so many variables on test day. Had my husband and I raised our kids to doubt themselves at a young age by not allowing them to set their own goals and reach as high as they wanted to reach, their attitudes would have been different going into the test room on SAT day.
Finally, this is very cool: a whopping 75 percent of perfect score students listed either their mom or dad or both parents as the most influential people in their lives.
The Perfect Score study also revealed that parents had the most impact on the top performers, but teachers had the most impact on average performers.
So do parents of high achievers have more influence on their children’s lives? Are they more involved in their children’s education?
Do schools better serve average kids than super bright kids?
Or, as Dr. Fischgrund put it, “Which comes first, the perfect score students or the perfect score parent?”
He goes on to answer this question by saying he doesn’t know that the study can answer these questions, but “certainly, perfect score students do rely more on their parents than on teachers for input and guidance in their schoolwork.”
If that is true, then why don’t home-educating students score more highly on the SAT since they presumably spend more time with their parents? Again, I believe the answer lies in autonomy. Too many home-educating parents micromanage their students, believing that they are doing their kids a favor. The reverse is true.
If home-educating parents want to build self-confidence and a Yes-I-Can attitude, they need to STOP MICROMANAGING start giving their middle school and older students more and more control over their daily educational endeavors.
Self-confidence comes from a feeling of control, and The Perfect Score Study concurs completely.
About the Author
Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of URtheMOM.com, and an author and columnist. Her new book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.