Some will be really smart. A few may be athletic. One might just go with the flow. Another might do just enough to meet the mark. But in all you just hope-to-God that they all will be GREAT in whatever they do. It doesn’t matter if one is an Einstein or a Frankenstein, there’s still hope for every kid you have to be scholarly enough to seize scholarship opportunities. But it can’t happen without a commitment from you.
Right now I’m smack dab in the middle of trying to figure out my 10-year-old Kaitlin’s future. See, I’m THAT mom. I don’t wait until my kids reach high school to decide which college they will go to or which scholarships are out there. What people don’t know is that waiting until your kids get to 9th grade is just too late. Other kids are far ahead of the game by then. I start NOW. Of course I get them grounded in elementary school but now is when the REAL work starts. That’s actually my secret weapon to helping my kids stay ahead of the game and to stay ahead of everybody else’s kid. And it’s actually how those parents who kids end up at Duke or Harvard operate. (My oldest daughter Kaelani was accepted to at least 7 great colleges and universities and she now attends Old Dominion University.)
Those on-point parents have been prepping their kids FOR YEARS to get into those schools. If your kid is in pre-school stop fretting and giving the teacher hell because you want them to be learning algebra and reading books! You’ve got some time. Take it easy. (Yes early exposure is great but some parents really overdo it too!)
Kaitlin’s about to enter middle school next year. She’s a real gem. I already see that she’s not only a smart kid, a scholar, borderline genius, but she also has amazing artistic ability. This is her last year in elementary school so now I have to figure out where she will go for middle school. The local public school is NOT an option unless she doesn’t make it into the top private Atlanta middle schools I’m applying for. So here’s what I’m doing to help my smart kid get the best out of her upcoming middle school years and to get her in gear for high school.
HOW TO RAISE SMART KIDS
First, I am mapping out which middle schools I would like her to attend and I am starting the fall application process. That means getting school recommendations, records, and setting up testing dates. Tests? Yes. There are special tests like the SSAT that your kid will have to take if you are applying to certain private schools.
Along with that, if you want to raise really smart, well rounded kids you have to be willing to sacrifice. Kids need to be EXPOSED to things; have cultural experiences, read lots of literature, travel, be engaged by you and have meaningful conversations that will enable them to become analytical thinkers. There are lot of programs too that you can put your child in to help harness the gifts inside them. But let me talk a bit about sacrifice.
When I say sacrifice, I mean sacrifice! You can’t argue and say you can’t afford to put your kid in an extracurricular activity but pay hundreds of dollars for your hairdo and to stay dressed in the latest clothes. (I’m not judging. Just saying!) What’s more important? That’s what I mean by sacrifice. If you are unwilling to go without things for yourself so you can put your kids in great programs, then you aren’t trying to raise a scholar. You are just waiting for them to get up and out of your house. And if you can afford to do both- have all that you want AND put your kids in great programs, then you are ahead of the game. But most moms like me do have to balance household finances and hectic after-school schedules. It doesn’t matter that my husband is an Engineer and makes a great income. I’ve got four kids at home and money adds up!
I go without things that I want just so my kids can go to Art Illustration class (Kaitlin), Competition Cheerleading (Mikaela) Cross-Country Track (Kaitlin, Mikaela and Milan), T-ball (Jo-Jo), Chorus (Kaitlin and Mikaela), and Road Runners Track Club at school (Kaitlin, Mikaela, Milan, Jo-Jo). Dedication means that my husband and I share the responsibility of ripping and running across town six days a week to ensure that our kids participate in these activities. You can’t be so anal about bedtimes if you want your kids to participate in after-school activities too. My kids still get to bed at 9 (at the latest) and get up early and still are well-rested. A bit of sacrifice will ultimately produce kids who will (hopefully) get scholarships to college because of this effort! But it starts NOW. You have to start early while everyone else is sleeping on the opportunity!
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE OUT THERE?
There are lots of programs out there to help your kids take their academic skills up a notch. I recently came across one program in Atlanta called Saturday School for Scholars and Leaders at Georgia State University in Atlanta. This program will be perfect for Kaitlin so I’m applying. But in order for your child to be admitted to this program, they have to be prove to be gifted or score in the 90th percentile on state tests and receive a recommendation from their school. So if you haven’t taught your kid to behave in class you may want to start now. (More recommendations will be required in the future!) What I love about this program is that this program provides educational opportunities for the enrichment and encouragement of gifted and talented children since 1975! In each session, Atlanta area educators teach a variety of enrichment classes, ranging from the fine and applied arts to math and science designed to challenge participants at all levels (K- 8th grade). (Class Listing and Brochure)
There are tons of resources. You just have to take the time to seek them out. Here’s a link to a resource list for scholar programs in Atlanta.
Just know you’ll have lots of long days. You’ll put in a lot of work to get your child where they need to be. But the reward will be well worth it when you won’t have to pay one penny for college because they’ve secured a scholarship!
So leave a comment and give me some of YOUR tips for keeping your kids ahead of the curve!