A crazy busy day, starting off with waking up early to bake these scrumptious BBQ pork buns. You won’t find the fatty BBQ pork inside these homemade ones (unlike the store bought ones). Now that I got the recipe for these soft fluffy dinner rolls down (will share recipe later), you can pretty much do whatever with them.
Dai Bee has music (choir) competition in the morning, two placement tests (math and language), and fencing late afternoon. Ah Lo has two basketball games today as well. Now you know why I baked these, just to get the boys off the right feet for a busy day ahead.
Woke up early to make sure Dai Bee has a hearty and healthy breakfast. Made sure he had all the documents and materials he needs for his test this morning. Mr. Piggy drove him there with a little extra time, gave him a phone (turned off of course) and wished him luck on his SAT.
At 9:10am, I received a call from Dai Bee, from Mr. Piggy’s phone. Immediately I thought it was odd, he couldn’t have finished it that quick?! Dai Bee’s voice carried a heavy disappointment, even cracked a little when he told me he was kicked out of the testing center because Mr. Piggy’s [stupid] phone went off. He had no idea the phone’s functionality, nor did he expect that it would go off.
When he came back, [while trying to hide my anger over Mr. Piggy’s phone], I explained to Dai Bee it wasn’t his fault and he shouldn’t feel bad about it at all. I do feel bad for him though, knowing how he is, I just hope this incident wouldn’t affect him taking tests in the future.
Yay! Today is the deadline for all the high schools Dai Bee is applying to. Sometimes this process is more demanding than applying for college. Anyhow, glad it’s over and now we’ll just sit back, relax and wait. It’s out of our control at this point. We should know by mid March.
Here are a few tips I can share:
- Start early – last year when Dai Bee was 7th, I’ve researched about schools through talking to parents, and/or read reviews online. By end of 7th, I have a short list 8-10 of schools I wanted to see. Because as soon as 8th grade starts, schools are ready to offer dates for tours, test dates, student interviews, parent meetings, etc. I need to jump on it right away.
- After touring the schools on my list with Dai Bee, we (he and I) discussed about each and every one and narrow down to 4-5. TIP: When I tour the schools, I took notes (recorded on my phone) for every school to remember what I liked/disliked about the school. This is helpful especially when I (parent) fill out one of the most common questions on the application – “why do you think our school is a good fit for your child?”
- The application process, as you can see, entails more than just filling out an application. It requires parent and student applications, testing, collecting documents from school, etc. Luckily now, many independent private schools share the same hub, so the child doesn’t have to fill out the general questions however many times.
- Some of the applications have pages and pages. It can be an overload for the child, especially some require extensive writing. So we would take 30 mins every weekend to work on it, bits and pieces. That way, it doesn’t seem too overwhelming to do everything at once. Again, start early, because he/she may need time to edit as he/she go.
- Schools won’t allow to set up student interviews if the parent application is not submitted/paid. So again, start early in order to save a seat for the interview (which in some schools is mandatory).
- Once he knows for sure the schools he wants to apply, I suggest send transcript request forms from your child’s schools and math/english teacher recommendation request forms. This gives the teachers and counselors ample time to complete. At Dai Bee’s school, it’s hard to get a recommendation letter from his school counselor since they don’t interact much. Hence, his school counselor gives him a questionnaire to tell her more about him. This may take time going back and forth. Again, start early.
- In parochial schools, the child takes the HSPT and for independent schools, he/she takes the SSAT. Dai didn’t study for SSAT. I signed up a time slot and he just took the test (cold turkey). The child can take the SSAT as many times as the child wishes, just pay $127 each time. He/she might want to take it early fall, so he/she can retake if scores are not as satisfactory. However, it’s 4-hour test, so a bit draining if he/she has to take it too many times.
- The final step is the student interview (which should have set up by now). Basically the school wants to know the kid a bit more. It’s very casual meeting one on one with questions like how do you like the middle school, his/her interests, etc. The tip I got from the admissions director is have the child be him/herself.
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.
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.
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.