It’s Summer and it’s time to Party?!
Summer is here and it’s time to sleep late and get up later, right? So many things to do and so little time. Hang out with friends. Play hours upon hours of online video games. Watch even more pointless videos on YouTube. Have I missed anything?
These are all things that most boys from 5 to 18 dream of doing. My oldest is definitely not the exception. He fights tooth and nail to do all of the above every day. He’s a normal kid who wants to do normal kid things. I can’t blame him and I actually don’t mind that he tries to do all that.
But… This is Summer of Junior Year
If you didn’t know it, Junior year of High School is the MOST important year of High School. Students must cement their High School career with a kick-ass Junior year. This is probably the year that kids take the most AP classes for the first time. On top of any EC’s that they have been doing Freshman and Sophomore year. Then on top of that, you have to take the SAT or ACT. That is so much on the plate for a student that it will either make you or break you.
Back to the summer discussion. My son this summer has a huge amount of things on his plate. Here are the things that he is doing.
- Volunteering at Science Camp for two weeks
- Taking an online SAT Course
- Performing at multiple concert venues
- Attending Intensive Music Festival
- Finally going abroad on Vacation for the First Time!
Volunteering at Science Camp
My son has been associated with this Summer Camp since the sixth grade. It is a Science and Engineering Camp held at his Middle School every summer. So for sixth, seventh and eighth grade he was a student at the camp.
Starting at the end of 9th Grade and this summer he is a counselor here helping the younger kids with any questions or problems. It is a great way to give back to the program and to receive credit for volunteering. A great win/win for everybody. When you volunteer, you should definitely volunteer in a program that you feel strongly about. You’ll have more passion for it and it won’t seem like a chore.
Taking an online SAT or ACT Course
Taking a SAT/ACT course over this summer is one of the biggest decisions we made for him this summer. Besides the cost for us, the amount of time that he needs to study is substantial. After researching different SAT courses both online and in person I picked one that seemed the best for us. I based my decision on Quality, Teachers, and Cost.
- Quality – The course has to be top-notch with proven results and great content
- Teachers – The instructors must be experienced and have a proven track record
- Cost – I wanted something that wouldn’t break the bank. Some courses could be thousands of dollars. I picked one that was good value.
I will have an in depth review on the SAT Course very very soon.
Performing at concerts
My son won a competition this past Spring that has proven to be a great avenue for more exposure. He had a great rapport with the Conductor of the Orchestra that he played with and was asked to play for him again. His first opportunity enabled him to play a whole concerto with an orchestra at Lincoln Center. The second opportunity was to play at a musical series of performances in different areas in our county. Wonderful experiences to really get his name out there and to meet people.
Attending Music Festival
My son’s private cello teacher has been running a Music Festival for the last few decades. That has afforded my son and now daughter the chance to attend the Festival. The Festival is about three weeks and he absolutely loves being involved in it. He has learned tremendously the last few years and made lots of friends from around the world.
What is a Music Festival?
A Music Festival is not a camp. When you attend a Festival it is intensive study and performance of your musical instrument. There are private lessons, orchestra and chamber groups, and performances over the course of the whole Festival. You will probably learn more in a few weeks than over the course of a year at a music school. (Not just my thinking but something my son’s friend told him that attended the festival and Manhattan School of Music.) Take what you want from that. Not trying to disparage MSS but just qualifying the intensity of the Festival. Never ask a Music Festival attendee or faculty about the “Camp”.
Going on Vacation
This is the first time my family and I are going on vacation abroad so we are super excited. I really wanted to do something soon before it was too late and my son went off to college. Up until now we have been going mostly camping in different areas in NY, NJ, DE, RI, and Maine. The kids liked camping but they really want a place that has some modern amenities. A bathroom that you don’t have to try to find in the middle of the night. A shower that you don’t have to feed quarters to get hot water. Totally reasonable requests.
How did you afford your trip?
We were able to afford the trip by indirectly saving for the trip. We didn’t save directly for the trip by setting money aside. We were able to create “money” by accruing credit card mileage points. The greatest thing since sliced bread. If you don’t have a credit card that has points you are doing a disservice to your family. I will have a future article on the benefits of credit cards for the modern Tiger family. Huge savings and the ability to save for big family trips otherwise too hard to go on.