Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cookie Cutter Parenting....Doesn't Replace Hard Work

For the last year, I have dishing out money to tutors so my Son can have his life long dream.  I did the same for my daughter.  I did it in the hopes that they could increase their ACT scores and earn more scholarship money.  For my daughter, the tutoring money paid off big on the point increase.  By the end she improved her score nine points.  WOW!  Yes, I admit it was quite the improvement.  I was amazed and jumped for joy!

I admit.  I tend to be a cookie cutter Mom.  If it works for one, I will assume it works for the next child.  It worked once, so the magic will work twice...Right?  Well, I also admit that I know not all two kids are alike.  I too remember feeling inadequate a a child.  I remember following in the footsteps of a brainy older sister.  However, twenty five years ago my parents never dreamed of  providing a tutor to increase scholarship funds.  I woke up one sleepy morning and took the ACT. I then registered another time and my score went down two points.  OK!  I was done.  Why would I do it again if my score went down?

Now, students are being strongly encouraged to take it over and over again as the more you take it, the more likely your score will increase.  Plus, programs are available to "teach the test" and parents like me hired tutors to get the most out of their child on test day.

I knew that nine points was a miracle and didn't expect near that from my Son.  One year ago, we began tutoring in the hopes of increasing his score two (yes TWO) points.  That's it!  So November 1, 2011, I started paying for a tutor.  In October 2011, my Son already had a 23 but we encouraged him to get a 25 so he could increase his scholarship monies at the out of state school he wanted to attend.

Over the past year, frustration ensued not only with my Son but also with the tutor.  We started with Tutor #1 for about four months.  After four months, several hundred dollars and two ACT tests, he still had a 23.  So in Summer 2012, we found a different tutor who a friend recommended.    Of course, my daughter's tutor had left the area or else we would have used her so we took this second tutor on high recommendation.  We started in June in the hopes of increasing his score by two points when he took the September and October 2012 tests.

Well, he took both the September and October ACT tests.  He still has a 23.  I'm frustrated on a few levels.  I wasted money!  My Son didn't study beyond his tutoring time.  You have to study outside of class.  Even though, he didn't study 30 minutes a day, I still would have expected at least one point increase after one year of tutoring specifically on that one test.  One point?  So was it my tutors?  Maybe my Son trully maxed out?

Whatever the case may be, his score is what it is.  I can't change it and I can't control his actions along the way.  I could see the writing on the wall that change wasn't happening.  I talked with my Son and saw his frustration.  Honestly, I don't blame him. I even tried to give him tips that you never know what would happen if you just gave it your all and dove in head first.  Even if you score didn't go up but you gave it 110% beyond tutoring time, you never know.

My children lack the faith in hard work.  They want to know exactly what they get before they give it any effort.   What happened to just working hard?  Hard work does pay off.  In this case, it may (or may not) have resulted in a higher ACT score or it may (or may not) have resulted in going to the school of choice. Now, my Son did pay attention and work to his fullest at tutoring.  He also did the required homework (which wasn't much at all).  Did he study more than was required?  Not really.  At the very end, he did start taking a few extra practice tests at home only because I was requiring it before other activities.  Did he follow up and figure out why he missed questions.  No.

So now my Son will be attending a university that was not ever on his radar growing up.  I know he will have a great time and will enjoy college life no matter where he goes.  BUT I still say....hard work does pay off.  You will never know what could of happened if you put in the extra hours of studying for the ACT.  Hard work has a funny way of taking care of so many of life's challenges.  So I say..."Roll Up your Sleeves".  What do you have to lose vs. What do you have to gain?

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