In Theory, I Like Yoga
As you may know, when your age starts with a "4", it's more likely that your muscle tissue has gone from bouncy and bendable to something more like beef jerky.
So several months ago, I decided to take up yoga again. In Normal Heights, there's a yoga studio called Pilgrimage Of The Heart Yoga. (That could be the most "yoga" name of all time, by the way.)
The teachers were great, the people were friendly, and even the rooms were huge (zero people kicked me or dripped sweat on me). So after I tried it out, I signed up for a 10-class pack. But as the weeks went on, I found it harder and harder to make myself go. Before I knew it, six months had passed... and my class pack had expired.
Even when dealing with an altruistic business that seemed to truly care about my health and fitness, I managed to waste my money.
Test prep, unfortunately, is an industry in which a lot more money is wasted.
Never mind that a good percentage of the industry is only marginally effective. Even quality companies who truly want students to do well see parents waste their money every day. The problem? Many students don't do what we tell them to do at home, for a few reasons:
- Unlike high school teachers, we can't grade your students. At best, we can report on what they've done every week. Simply put, there are few consequences for skipping our homework.
- Students are busy. If students don't have time carved out in their schedule for test prep, it will be one of the first things to be sacrificed when academic, athletic, and social commitments pile up.
- There's no compelling "why". It's tough to be motivated to do something as boring as SAT homework without a good reason. Note: YOUR reason doesn't count nearly as much as your kid's.
What I suggest to parents is this (taken from my "For Parents" page:
- Have a conversation about what your child wants to do or experience in the future. The answer doesn’t have to have anything to do with a job or career. Just anything he finds interesting or exciting. When I was in high school, I had NO IDEA what kind of career or college I wanted, so starting with interests can be a lot easier.
- Then, talk about how to further those interests. There are ways to pursue most interests both in college and outside of college, so you might as well talk about ALL the options. This way, your kid gets the big picture and doesn’t feel as though he’s being forced to choose college as the next step in his life. Talking about the pros and cons can help going to college be more of a mutual decision.
- Make a list of colleges that seem to have the attributes that might further your kid’s interests. A college counselor – especially a private counselor – will be helpful here. We all seem to know about certain colleges, but there are many excellent schools you probably haven’t heard about. Note the average ACT and SAT scores for each school and discuss setting a score goal.
- Agree on a realistic amount of time each week during which your son will study for the ACT / SAT. Schedule it and write it down at the beginning of each week. Check on him every so often to make sure he’s working during those times.
Working with your son or daughter to establish goals and a routine will greatly help the entire process (not to mention make my job a lot easier). Just keep in mind the above conversations may take time.
In addition to monitoring study time, I also suggest having the student send me a weekly email (cc'ing you) with what he has done that week.
My hope is that by adding more accountability to SAT and ACT prep, students will be empowered to do the work they need to do to raise their scores, thereby decreasing their stress, your stress, and my stress.
Questions For Discussion:
1. What's your favorite yoga pose? (Mine is "pigeon".)
2. Has anyone ever dripped sweat on you? Explain.
3. Do YOU have any secrets for making your kid more accountable?