I Taught My Daughter the ACT.

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Long before I was known as The ACT Mom, I was teaching my children the ACT. As a 7th grader, my daughter sat through a test prep session that I had organized for her older brother. She watched him. She watched us together. She started learning the test.

Last night she graduated from high school with an ACT score in the top 99th percentile of all test-takers.

My hope–and the reason we learned the ACT in the first place– has been that each of my 3 children will attend college with a full-tuition merit based scholarship.  The ACT has been the vehicle that has helped us reach that goal.

While I have talked about WHY we did this and HOW we did this in other blog posts, today I want to celebrate one element that is often over looked: relationship.

One of the greatest memories I have with my daughter came during the Blizzard of 2016. Central Kentucky knew that it was going to be hit with upwards of 3 feet of snow. My classes had been cancelled for the weekend and I knew that she and I needed to practice the ACT.  On a whim, we packed up and left town on a Thursday night, moved into a bed and breakfast, and hunkered down: waiting for the snow. We were not disappointed. We weren’t going anywhere for 3 days.


And what a 3 days we had! We studied the ACT. We walked to coffee shops. We took practice tests. We played in the snow. We ate pizza. We corrected mistakes on the test. We sat before a wood-burning stove. We learned matrices. We talked about colleges. We learned logarithms.  We watched A Walk to Remember. We read and re-read the Reading passages until we learned to think like the test writers themselves. It was one of the most memorable weekends of my life.  I was so proud of this girl.


For the next year, we continued to spend weekends in coffee shops, taking advantage of our night owl tendencies and practicing on old tests while the rest of the family was in bed. She traveled with me to weekend classes and set up shop in hotels, practicing on her own.

My older son learned this test in private. There was no spotlight on him. There were no expectations. My daughter did not have that privilege. The ACT Mom was now teaching her classmates and peers. She asked me not to talk about her experiences with the ACT until she was finished with high school. I have tried to honor her request. But today, 468 days after she surpassed her target score, and ONE day after she graduated from high school,  I am sharing her story. I hope it encourages you. This incredible opportunity is available to all of us.