Taking a crack at another BIG question today:
Q. Have my opinions and ideas on this project changed?
The longer answer depends on what day -- or even what time of day -- I'm asked that question. I'm most sanguine in the morning.
I guess I'd say that my big "ah ha" discovery is that SAT score* progress turns out to be way way WAY harder (not to mention more time intensive) than I'd ever imagined.
I can feel all the people out there who have gone through this, shaking their heads right now, going "um-hmm."
Now granted, I feel like I wasted a lot of time spinning my wheels during those first few months -- but, I also feel like I have the roadmap now -- and let me tell you, the path is much longer than I'd ever anticipated.
I often have that "something must be wrong with my brain" feeling -- like you're dieting but aren't losing weight, so you think "it's got to be my thyroid."
I cringed last night while reading Daniel Willingham's book, wondering if I might be like one of his "low-performing" students, who protest their bad grades by telling him they studied for three or four hours -- but he knows that the high-scoring students studied for twenty.
I've had this theory for a while now -- that people who do really well (not only on the SAT), say they work a lot less than they actually do -- and those of us who are trusting, believe them -- and think something must be wrong with us.
I did find solace in this passage:
The great minds of science were not distinguished as being exceptionally brilliant, as measured by standard IQ tests; they were very smart, to be sure, but not the standouts that their stature in their fields might suggest. What was singular was their capacity for sustained work. Great scientists are almost always workaholics. Each of us knows his or her limit; at some point we need to stop worrying and watch a stupid television program, read People magazine, or something similar. Great scientists have an incredible persistence, and their threshold for mental exhaustion is very high.
So there you have it:
Yes. My opinion and ideas about the project have changed. It's much harder than I ever imagined! I guess the next logical question for me to answer is how this all relates to my ideas about my kids.
*I put an asterisk next to "score progress," because I actually think I've made major progress, even if it isn't showing up (yet) in my score.
Illustrations by Jennifer Orkin Lewis