Dai Bee’s SSAT scores came back. The good news is that he does’t need to retake it.
TOTAL: 2259 (Vocabulary-755, Math-761 and Reading-743)
Considering he skipped a grade and didn’t take any prep courses, these are pretty awesome scores. Now one more thing to cross off the list.
Today Dai Bee competed at the MathCounts competition. It was such a looong day for it. We brought him there around 9am to register with his school. At round 10am, there was an orientation (which parents couldn’t be a part of). We left as soon his group got together and went back at 1:45pm. Between 10-1pm, there was a written test and the top 16 students will go to the final countdown round. There were at least 100 students representing different middle schools, and a few who were homeschooled.
Parents were allowed to sit in and watch in the auditorium when they had their final countdown round. Dai Bee didn’t make the cut, but he sat there to the end. He even tried to solve a few problems on the final round (since problems were projected on the screen for everyone). Each and every one of these kids are so amazingly gifted. They are quick and accurate with the answers, impressed us all.
I hope Dai Bee will take this as a valuable learning experience in school and in life. We’ll come back again.
Many parents often ask me what level Dai Bee is playing (piano). I never knew what to tell them. Apparently students take music examinations to determine the level they are playing. These exams are supposedly great as a measure of the student’s progress. More entrenched in Asia and other parts of the world, these music exams are not as popular here. Last week I finally got a chance to ask Dai Bee’s piano teacher about his current level. At first the teacher was worried I might ask her to prepare Dai Bee for this exam. She was relieved when I told her that wasn’t the reason why I asked. She also gave me her reservations of preparing her students for these music exams. Studying for these exams is rigorous. Different levels require different set of skills. Besides taking sight-reading and aural tests, he also has to pass the some sort of theory exam. It is under tremendous pressure for the kid to pass because it takes months and months of practice. Knowing Dai Bee, he wouldn’t thrive in that kind of condition.
If she must answer me, he’s now playing a piece at the 8th or 9th level. That’s already good enough for me.
MathCounts is a nationwide middle school mathematics competition. So happens that Dai Bee’s school offers this club after school. Recently, the students were given a test to qualify themselves in the upcoming competition (which I had no idea). Dai Bee just casually mentioned to me yesterday that he will represent his grade level because he scored the highest for his grade, 2 points short of 8th grade. He admitted he would have scored higher if he didn’t make some careless arithmetic mistakes.
This kid never ceases to amaze me.
Dai Bee’s English teacher will be on paternity leave soon. Before he leaves, I wanted to speak with him to see if there are any concerns. Dai Bee often expresses that he always needs to “put in work” in English compared to Math (where it always comes so natural to him). He feels his comprehension is not at par. Setting up a conference with his English teacher today might help answer some of his questions. I am super grateful he found the time for us to meet.
First he assured me that Dai Bee is doing excellent in his class. Always participates and fully engaged in discussions. He didn’t feel there was any way that Dai Bee has any issues with comprehending the materials they are studying. I was taken by surprise when his teacher pulled out test scores from last year. Dai Bee scored 99% and the top of his entire class. His SRI Index (independent reading assessment) showed he was way above reading level and his Lexile was over 1300.
The teacher further explained to us in reading, there are many layers – the literal comprehension and then the inferential comprehension. Does the reader understand the basic story line to answer who and what? Then they go deeper – how and why? The teacher also asked Dai Bee a questions about his concern. Dai Bee referred back to his SAT scores and said he didn’t so well (even I told him his score is phenomenal).
Dai Bee is doing fine all along. Nothing to worry about.
A couple weeks ago, I received this in the mail:
At that time, I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t even know what this was for because I had totally forgotten about his SAT. Until recently, I received his SAT score from the College Board with explanations of how he did. Apparently, he did superb on his SAT, scored at the top 5% of his peers who took the test. For math, he scored higher than 84% of last year’s group of college-bound seniors, 70% higher than last year’s group of college-bound seniors in reading, and 42% higher than last year’s group of college-bound seniors in writing.
Does this mean he is ready for college?
Today is one of those hectic days again. First off it’s Dai Bee’s big testing day. We dropped him off at the testing center (SI) at 7:45am in one of the more chilly mornings.
The three of us drove around to grab breakfast. We almost never go out for breakfast. I was surprised to find many places are still closed, except this dingy looking dim-sum to go place. We sat down and filled our tummies with hot watery porridge and some dim sum. Afterwards, I went for grocery shopping to get the items we need for the week.
The second or third stop we made was driving Ah Lo for his first basketball game. The team lost, but it was always fun to watch the little ones play. After his game, we rushed back to pick up Dai Bee. He was waiting for us by the time we got there. He didn’t complain much about taking the test, nor did he mention if it was too hard/easy for him. He finished the English portion, but didn’t have enough time for the Math part. The test included the essay part – “Originality is over rated.” He did the best he could, but wished for more time. That was the feedback I got.
We had lunch before we went shopping for the boys. Dai Bee has a piano recital next weekend and was asked to dress up in “nice clothes”. All they have are sweat pants and casual clothes. Glad that was taken care of today. His piano recital will be held in a piano gallery. Since he has a Yamaha at home, and he will be playing a Steinway during recital. His teacher suggested for him to try playing on the Steinway piano since the pianos have a different feel to it. We spent a good hour there, waiting for him to practice.
Great thing that Mr. Piggy found a prime spot near the piano gallery and we ended up having dinner in that area (which we almost never venture out to). This is one of those weird days where we ate out for the entire day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Call me crazy, but I’m registering for Dai Bee to take the SAT this winter. It is not uncommon for 7th graders take SAT. This was recommended by his 3rd grade teacher a couple of years ago. I didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time. Recently, this topic popped up again, so I contemplated and decided to go forward. First I asked Dai Bee if he’d be willing to give it a try. He shrugged and said, ‘yes, why not?’ We’ll see.
When I share with parents my boys’ development, many are very impressed followed by remarks like “you are so lucky,” or questions like “how do you do that?” or even as hideous as “your kids are naturally bright, you don’t need to do anything.” Well, my friends, I am lucky, yes, I know. However, please don’t assume bright children have it made, and so do their parents. Just like any other parents, I still need to wear the parent’s hat 24/7. I devote a considerable amount of time and energy to keep them engaged, to support their learning, and to keep the communication channel open. I have to constantly look for ways to impact their growth and development, in or outside the home environment. I work relentlessly to find ways to help build confidence, through projects, sports or extracurriculars. Parents need to put in your hours for things to happen the way you want. It just doesn’t happen overnight.
I don’t have a manual or reference book to go by, but I do know a few things. I know both parents have to be on the same page, have to be consistent and support each other. I know that from early infancy, when parents provide consistent, loving care, it strengthens the relationship between my boys and I. I don’t have any special tricks up my sleeves or magic potions to feed if you are wondering, although there were times I wished I did. I know I have to do all of the above in order to raise happy kids. Because I truly believe what Michelle Obama said, “when your children feel loved, everything falls in the right place.”
Not only am I lucky to have bright boys, I am also lucky to have my parents to guide and mold me as a person as I am today – from my dad, who always led by example; from my mom, who through constant nagging have instill good values in my life overtime without me knowing.
Today the truth is told.
Last week, Dai Bee shared with us an incident in his math class. After 7 days of school, his teacher pulled him aside and asked him if he had taken her class before. No was the reply. Do you know anyone who has the same class at different periods? Yes, his friend has the same class earlier the day. Do you and your friend share info about my class? Yes, we talked about the class. His teacher’s response: “Well, don’t. I’m here to teach, not for you and your friend to share notes from my class. That’s not nice.” Confused by the response, Dai Bee wasn’t sure what the teacher was getting at. When he told us that, I was appalled. Just because Dai Bee knew the answers to some of the more difficult questions (what fibonacci sequence is), the teacher automatically made the assumption that he was discussing her class with other students. Instead of assessing the student’s background, she denies him the chance of excelling. I just thought it was uncalled for and totally unfair to Dai Bee.
Later that week, I made an appointment with the teacher to 1) introduce myself, 2) clarify the reason why Dai Bee knew the answers to her questions and 3) to see if we can collaborate to help him advance in a higher level. 1) When I tried to clarify to her, she didn’t look like she cared. She basically told me she has many students who share notes. For Dai Bee, totally red flagged her when he knew the answers even before she asked the questions. Does it ever dawn on you that he is advanced? Yeah sure, all the 7th graders spend their precious lunch hour jotting down every single detail of what happened during your class. Does that make sense to you?! 2) She doesn’t differentiate her math students. She has a curriculum to teach and she will stick to that. Anything above and beyond is not expected of her (her exact words). If I want more, then it’s up to the parent or student to look for it. She even suggested there are free online resources that might be helpful or I can pay for those services. I understand that public school teachers have a full plate already and with minimum support, it’s difficult to cater to everyone’s needs. But really, Ms. Math teacher, I thought you might be a little jazzed up knowing you have a bright kid in your class who is eager to learn more?! I guess not. After the meeting, I walked out disappointed because obviously we weren’t on the same page.
The same day, I also met up with the Assistant Principal in charge of the curriculum. I echoed what I was told. He reassured me that all the math teachers in the school should differentiate the students and teach accordingly. I left the office with the promise that he will talk to Dai Bee’s math teacher. I also made the promise to Dai Bee that I will continue to advocate for him. I will follow up with the Assistant Principal and look for other options for him. I will keep fighting because it’s a fight worth fighting for.
Today the truth is told.