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Summer Vacation 2018 – What my Kids are doing.
The summer has started and vacation time is here. I thought my kids did plenty last summer but this summer is a doozy. When I’m talking action packed it is pretty high up there on the action packed meter. At least for my kids so far in their lives. A lot of driving to different summer camps too. Not so much fun but we all make sacrifices for our kids, right! Shall we break it down? Well follow me and see what my family is doing.
My Youngest son
Our little guy just finished fourth grade. As mentioned in a previous article he is in accelerated extra gifted class. He absolutely loved the class. The only thing that he had trouble with is Mandarin. Learning any new language is a challenge. I think learning Mandarin is more than challenging. Everything really is foreign. Besides the learning of new words and learning their meanings and pronunciation, there is the writing. Mandarin characters are very complex. If there is a missed curve or a missed small line, the whole meaning is changed and is wrong. My Tiger wife really put in the extra time and work with my son throughout the school year to end it really well.
The Littlest Cellist
My son started taking cello lessons this year with the same cello teacher that my older son and daughter learn from. He really is an amazing teacher. I can’t recommend him highly enough. He is already up to Suzuki Book Three and finished the year playing the Humoresque at his recital. He was also lucky to be picked for his school talent show and played this piece in front of his school.
This summer as I write this he is at a three week music camp in upstate New York! One of my wife’s friends actually told us about this camp a couple of months ago. We were able to apply late thanks to her and were successful in auditioning and being accepted. This is the first time that he has gone away for any length of time. My wife is worried silly because you can’t call them. She actually sent him a letter yesterday. We don’t know how it will go but we will let you know when we pick him up in three weeks.
My only daughter just successfully finished seventh grade. She settled into middle school this past year and has a growing circle of friends. She had a great year academically passing all of her classes with flying colors!
CTY – Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth
After taking the SCAT test this past year she qualified and was able to enroll into CTY. She is gone for three weeks this summer taking a creative writing course in Roger Williams University. Since this is her first experience away from home and being in a real “college” like experience I was curious to see her reaction.
We walked onto the campus and I could see a glimmer of a smile. As we were walking around the campus and signing up for everything and getting her books the glimmer was starting to show in her eyes. Slowly ever so slowly curiosity on her part was turning into realization that this might be more than just interesting. We got her keys to her room and found her dorm. We found her room and saw that it was in a nice suite with multiple rooms. The room was nice and clean with a beautiful view of the bridge that led to Newport. Her smile was growing from ear to ear.
The nail that sealed it was when we went to have lunch at the cafeteria. Oh my Lord!!! I forgot how much food there was at college cafeterias. However, Roger Williams took it to an amazing level I never thought possible. My daughter was gone. She loves food! The food was glorious. She couldn’t contain herself. I knew right there and then, there was going to be NO home sickness for her… She would enjoy every one of those meals to the fullest. I just warned her about the freshman 15 and told her please don’t have that happen in only three weeks! She is there right now.
Music Camp Part II
My daughter was accepted to the same music camp that my son is at right now in upstate NY. She will be attending that a few days after her CTY session ends. There are two divisions at the camp, a junior and senior division. She will be attending the senior session for four weeks. I will update this when she goes and finishes.
My oldest son
My oldest son has been busy from the moment we landed on our trip from Paris(Read about that here). That is when we received the email that he was selected to The New York Youth Symphony and within days of that he was notified that he was selected to All-State. Since this was Junior Year this was going to be the Big One! Let’s break it down.
My son enrolled into four AP Classes this past year, American History, AP English, Statistics and Biology. His last academic class was Honors Pre-Calculus/Calculus and Orchestra to round it off. It was tough, real tough. Any parent who has had kids go through it knows what I mean. If your child is going to be a junior, the best advice I can give is to make sure your kid can maximize their time by utilizing time management skills. Any student that has aspirations to go to an elite college has multiple things going on besides school work. The extra-curriculars, the volunteering, the clubs, teams and just trying to squeeze out some time for fun and relaxation. This is the make or break year and if you’ve come this far you have to finish it, right?
My son is good at math but NOT great. He ended the year with a final grade of an A-. All the other classes he got A’s and A+’s. He finished the year strong and I am more really proud of him. I saw how many nights where he only slept for a couple of hours and went to school. It was really tough to watch but it also made me more than proud. I knew that he was the type to do what it took to get things done when it mattered. A useful trait when going into the real world.
My son took the SAT twice so far and he will take it one last time this summer. The first time he took it he did okay but not great. After thinking that he was ready by taking a few practice tests and getting in the 1500’s he took the test. He had a rude awakening that was a shock to him and us. He received a 1410 with a 23/24 on the essay.
Our whole family was shocked to say the least. Though we were happy with the 23/24 on the essay, the score was not what we thought he would get. I know, I know some of you must be thinking what a jerk. That is a fine score, blah, blah… I’m okay with the criticism because I know what I am, a Tiger Dad. Our whole family worked our asses as a collective to do everything we could to help my son get into the best school he could get into. A 1410 would not cut it. After reading horror stories this year of Asian males with 1560’s not getting into Boston University, we were scared!
My son didn’t have time to take the SAT again until March because of too many time conflicts. We were so nervous. Everything hat he had worked for was going to be up in the air until he took the test again and got his results. It was so stressful for all of us. He took the test and we waited…
So what did I do during the waiting to keep me occupied? I started going on reddit and College Confidential. I was on College Confidential to do research on safety schools if he bombed. There is a reddit subtopic for SAT that is good. You have kids that took the test and discuss the test and the questions that they thought were difficult. After two long weeks… The results were in.
After all the hard work that was put in during the past summer with taking online SAT courses with Prep Expert. After bombing on the first try of the SAT. After the months of not taking the test because my son was too busy with other extra-curriculars and lastly after the two weeks for the tests to be graded. Judgement Day had arrived! My son logged into the College Board site, put in his credentials and opened up the link for SAT Test Scores. The Score was 1520!!! Hahahaah!!!!! He did it and we were so proud of him! We were giving each other high fives and basking in the knowledge that our dreams were still on track.
Final Word on Standardized Testing
The score of 1520 was great and that put him into the 99 percentile. We were more than pleased as you can tell by the gif up above. We decided that he will take it one more time to see if he could raise his score up just a little more. I’ve seen videos on YouTube and other blogs that there is no reason to take the test again once you score above 1500 but every one of them are not Asian males. As stated earlier, there are Asian students with the same background and similar everything as my son and they were denied into every Top tier school. I think that we’ve come too far to say to ourselves in the future, “What If”? So one last time to see if he can raise his score more and if he doesn’t, then so be it. At least we gave it our all.
The Rest of the Summer
My son is finishing his last year of interning and volunteering at the Summer Engineering Camp that he has been a part of since sixth grade. He’s making some money and fulfilling his National Honor Society Volunteer Hour Requirement at the same time.
During the month of July he is making sure that he writes his common application essay and at least five of his favorite schools supplementary essays. On top of that he has to continue with his cello practice in order to audition again for the New York Youth Symphony. Lastly, study for the SAT one last time.
A Reward for his Hard Work
There is a reward at the end of the tunnel. I’m not a monster that wants my son to go crazy. As in life there must be rewards for hard work and I think this is a great reward. One of his best friends invited him and another buddy to go to France for two weeks in August. It’s in a small town in the southern part of France. I looked on Google Maps and it looks absolutely amazing! Better yet another of his best friends will be traveling in Italy and it will only be an hour away from where my son will be staying. They might be able to hang out together while over there. That would be so amazing for them. So, he would have a place to stay but just needs to buy a plane ticket and have spending money. How could I say no to that? I hope he has the time of his life!
Here’s hoping that all you Tiger Moms and Tiger Dads have the best summer vacation of 2018! If any of you have any questions or comments please go to our Facebook page and leave them there. I will answer as best as I can. I would love to hear what other students and parents are doing this summer!