Best practices for the prep set

Advocates of educational choice always wonder why, if the goal of education is lofty learning by students, people quarrel so fiercely about the means of getting there. Case in point: Jake Heichert, a high school senior from St. Paul, who designed his own lesson plans and curricula. They included sleeping through tests; doing homework in front of the television; subscribing to The Economist, Time, and Electronic Gaming Monthly; and reading books such as Guns, Germs, and Steel and the sci-fi classic Ender's Game. The result? He turned in perfect scores on both the SAT and the ACT, as well as on four AP tests. Jake's parents embrace a tight-loose model of child rearing. "The deal is, he gets good grades and we don't bother him," said his mother, Susan Heichert. So should Jake's plan of study be implemented across the United States? Just picture it: a nation of eager, self-motivated young adults balancing the rigors of intellectual discovery with NBC's Thursday night lineup. We say give it a shot. What's the worst that could happen?

"How did this St. Paul 18-year-old ace the SAT and ACT?" by Tad Vezner, St. Paul Pioneer Press, August 25, 2006

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