Best Education money can afford - from start to finish.

(121 Posts)
mirtzapine Fri 08-Nov-13 14:55:28

This isn't meant to be intense or anything, what I'm looking for is some direction, advice and information.

Background:
I was fortunate enough to have two very intelligent grandparents who helped me a lot. I went to a pretty bad (state) school that didn't help much. I also spent a lot of time bunking school, sitting in the local library where the Head Librarian was a former house-master of a well known boarding school in the west country. He took a lot of time with me knowing my grandparents and knowing the reasons I bunked school. I used my part-time job money to pay for 'o' levels at night school that got me into the grammar school sixth from. From there to university and on to post grad.

The downside of my "unconventional" education is that the basics of effective study, doing homework, mocks for exams &c.bypassed me, so its always been a real struggle for me to study and sit exams, by some means or other, I've passed them.

I have no intention of being a "Tiger Parent", but I would like my two dd's to have the best groundings possible from schooling, so that in the future the world will be their oyster - educationally speaking, the pick of the litter, so to speak when it comes to Universities and courses.

Financially, I've worked that bit out, projecting inflation, cost of living and ancillary costs over the next 23 years based on the three London Schools I'd like them to go to and the four RG Universities to doctoral level.

Sounds a bit harsh, eh! mapping out their lives like that. That's not the intention, the intention is to plan the best possible. if they choose to go on different paths - b'ezrat Hashem (shrugs shoulders).

My Question:
So from experience, knowledge and understanding, what do people consider necessary to ground them on the right paths to educational success?

Erebus Fri 08-Nov-13 15:11:19

First of all recognise that, with the best will in the world, you only have so much influence over your DCs. An 'excellent' education, to your mind, might be completely wrong for them, or differ wildly from one DC to the other.

Take a proper interest in them, involve yourself as far is appropriate in their lives, step in where things are going off track, ensure they're reasonably happy in their school, ensure homework is done, get tutors if key areas haven't been understood, but don't go mad. Don't assume 'private' is automatically better.

So much is actually out of your hands! Sometimes it's good remind oneself of that!

When it comes down to it, I must say that you sound a bit 'Tiger' mother, eyeing up RG unis to doctoral level! What if one wants to become a performance artist rather than a lawyer?! Or an acrobat rather than a banker?

mirtzapine Fri 08-Nov-13 16:06:11

why can't they be a performance artist and a lawyer, or be an Arial gymnast and a quantitative analyst.

Eyeing up RG universities. eyeing up the realism of what future costs will be.

No most of it isn't out of my hands, it will be down to me to give them the best guidance possible so therefore in my hands.

What they choose to be, will be what they choose to be (intonation and inflection does not come across with the typed word).

Don't you think its better to provide for doctoral level, even if they don't use it. Than them wanting to go that far and I can't provide!

Ilovegeorgeclooney Fri 08-Nov-13 18:03:45

Make sure they read widely and daily, learn a musical instrument and take part in a weekly sporting activity. All the most academically able and socially successful children I have know seem to do these things.

SthingMustBeScaringThemAway Fri 08-Nov-13 18:15:24

You haven't said exactly how old they are (but I suppose I must make assumptions based on 23 years forward planning?)

Strangely my first thought - after thinking about your OP - is that perhaps a small element of struggle might be no bad thing. A reason to strive? Because you've got everything laid out on a plate for them already.... How would your own life have turned out if there had not been an element of self-motivation?

bamboostalks Fri 08-Nov-13 18:19:30

I think that the Montessori model of education combined with a Forest School approach could simply not be bettered for the best start to the world of education.

schoolnurse Fri 08-Nov-13 19:50:30

In my experience? Stop planning your children's lives for them, let them choose their own route through life; my DH and SIL had their lives mapped out for them like this, top London super selectives (ok they went there) Oxbridge "good job" etc both at 16 he dropped out of the whole thing. The relationship between my MIL and them is permanently scarred. I regularly see children who have not gone to that "London school" that their parents were desperate to get them into, children who can't give up certain activities because "dad won't like it" these are not happy children. Instead wish and where possible plan for your children to be healthy and happy, that wherever they go to school they love learning for the sake of it, expose them informally to art, drama ,music, debate, can they identify 20 British birds, flowers, famous paintings, quote poetry, can they recognise Mozart from Beethoven, do they know the difference between capitalism and socialism, basic economics and care about the less fortunate? Do they have the confidence to go against the crowd, to speak out when they see an injustice. This as parents is our responsibility.

schoolnurse Fri 08-Nov-13 19:51:15

Interesting name by the way!

Erebus Fri 08-Nov-13 20:23:22

You say "why can't they be a performance artist and a lawyer, or be an Arial gymnast and a quantitative analyst"- yet you say you're "eyeing up the realism".

hmm

Meanwhile, back on Earth... grin. I think you actually recognise I mean 'performance artist' and 'acrobat' as a career not a quirky hobby whilst they pursue global super-stardom as lawyers and quantitative analysts.

schoolnurse has warned against why it isn't always a good idea to assume your take on 'what's best' isn't necessarily what your DC will thank you for. OK, there are plenty of examples of where the DC have completely concurred with mum and dad's pre-ordained plans for their future- we all recall the 8 year old Prep boys in '7 Up' announcing which Cambridge College they were destined for!- but I'd vouch there are plenty more whose parents regard them as having failed in life because they haven't followed The Plan.

I speak as a mother who's had to do a real re-evaluation of my 'expectations' for my DSs. I'd always assumed it'd be high flying and RG- before they were born!- but then I recognised I'd created two utterly individual people with their own IQ, interests, motivations, psychologies, likes, dislikes, and that I could only really be their committed shepherd and guide, not their dictator.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 08-Nov-13 21:26:14

When I look back and my friends from Uni. The most successful individuals have the most hands off, but supportive parents. Between us there is a GP, a Vet, an editor of an international read journal, 3 directors/vice presidents of international banks/bond houses, a deputy head teacher and a Hollywood film editor. Not one of those have a doctorate. We are fortunate that we are alumni of an exceptional institution, but not Oxbridge again we all choose this ourselves.
When I look at those who were 'guided' by their parents they have struggled to settle in the careers they were guided into and in several cases have retrained in something else.
By all means budget for the possible costs, but don't hold it over them.
Individuals will be most successful when they choose their own path.

BerstieSpotts Fri 08-Nov-13 21:36:10

I don't know that buying "the best education money can buy" (by which I suppose you mean the most expensive, or the most prestigious institutions regardless of cost, perhaps?) will necessarily instill "the basics of effective study, doing homework, mocks for exams etc". I went all the way through a conventional education, okay, not private etc, but conventional very much so, and I didn't gain those things from school.

I would actually say that home education, especially autonomous home education, with access to resources and good emotional support would be the absolute best environment to nurture these kind of skills, and provide motivation and support for children to follow their own dreams and interests. Certainly, everything I have read on the subject implies that this seems to produce children who are motivated and skilled in this manner, not because they have been coached into it, but because they have a real passion for the subject, a love for learning and they want to explore that area.

Perhaps that would be an option to consider directing the funds towards?

BerstieSpotts Fri 08-Nov-13 21:38:46

Most definitely not the only option, of course, but certainly worth considering. I am keen on Montessori and Forest school type things for younger children for the same reasons, as somebody mentioned above. They don't seek to push children into what they "should" or even "could" be capable of, but instead foster a slower-burning, but perhaps more long term interest and confidence in their own abilities which, hopefully, leads to teenagers and adults who are able to choose their own paths.

Coconutty Fri 08-Nov-13 21:40:45

Hahaha, this is better than the Friday night bum sex threads.

Thanks, OP.

joanofarchitrave Fri 08-Nov-13 21:45:45

Take them to a thriving place of worship and enrol them in the youth programme, whatever it is (Hebrew schoo, choir, Sunday school...?) Hey presto, an expansion app for their education without parallel.

Lancelottie Fri 08-Nov-13 21:48:19

Well, best of luck; but children have a way of derailing the best-laid plans, you know.

One of ours has plenty of intelligence but no organisational skills or wish to do anything other than perform (so I grinned rather at Erebus's comment above).

One has autism. Oddly, he could in fact be the better Oxbridge prospect, if we can keep him mentally stable that long.

The other wants to be a dog trainer...

cory Fri 08-Nov-13 21:57:45

Are they old enough for you to know for sure that they are intelligent enough for those Russell Group universities and whatnot? It is not that rare for academic families to produce one sibling who struggles to keep up.

teacherwith2kids Fri 08-Nov-13 22:00:12

I smiled.

Having witnessed the upset caused in a relative's family when the pre-planned 'all our children will be automatons' educational progress was derailed at an early hurdle by [shock, horror] the first child not passing the entrance test to the selected-after-years-of-research top flight private school, I would say 'see where your children take you'.

At 3, had you asked me where I wanted DS to be, I would have said (had we lived in our current town at the time) the superselective grammar. However, for various reasons - ASD traits, a period of selective mutism, a certain ineradicable 'being wired sideways-ness', some Home Ed, a school move, a re-evaluation of what we REALLY wanted in his school - he's at the local comp, through choice.

He may well end up in the same place. He's just taking the scenic route. While DD, equally academic, is taking a very scenic route via performing arts.

It's fun, where your children take you. It's just not always the direction, or the route, that you would have planned.

rhetorician Fri 08-Nov-13 22:07:29

The 'best education money can buy' probably can't be bought IYSWIM. Because the best education is the one that suits your child's aptitudes, ambitions, abilities and personality, not an institution with a reputation. Reputations can change, and I wouldn't be planning for higher ed in 20 years time if there's going to be as much change as in the last 20. (I work in the field).

rhetorician Fri 08-Nov-13 22:08:19

Ps, the best education money can buy turned out in my case to be the one that my parents paid for through their taxes, but that's a different thread

southeastastra Fri 08-Nov-13 22:09:35

i can never understand why we expect our little children to have their childhoods taken away with such bizarre and over the top schooling

the best education is something that is learnt over a lifetime taken at the learners pace

lljkk Fri 08-Nov-13 22:49:33

based on the three London Schools I'd like them to go to and the four RG Universities to doctoral level.

I am twitching to know WHICH four RG Unis (& presumably only those Unis) are to OP's satisfaction.

(STAMPS FOOT) Why is no one on RG-obsessed MN talking about the disbanding of the 94 group today? Hmph.

Xochiquetzal Fri 08-Nov-13 23:08:06

I don't think anyone can really tell you what the best options for your children are as the best education money can buy very much depends on what your children need and what they enjoy, it may not even be the same for both of your DD's. I would find a nice, friendly prep school where you think they will be happy (if they are unhappy they will be less likely to develop a love of learning and no one will stay on for post grad without a love of learning) budget for the most expensive you can possibly afford then see what the best fit is as they get older.

As for planning that far ahead, be careful how much pressure you put on your DDs, my Mum planned for me to go to a super-selective school then to a decent university (her heart was set on Oxford), what actually happened was I rebelled against having all my choices made for me, deliberately got myself expelled from the super-selective school in the first year, went to a really rough comp, had DS when I was 15 and am now, at 25, only just doing my degree having spent the last 7 years as a barmaid.

losingtrust Fri 08-Nov-13 23:13:01

My sis, less academic than me and other sis failed to get to RG, took Theater Studies, then Media Studies and now earns more than both us and doing a job she enjoys. My parents were very hands off and let us choose our own. I intend to save for potential futures but they will choose their own way but with a little guidance now and again. My cousin has also had a good career in performing arts and my great uncle was Hollywood actor. Really nothing wrong with performing arts.

DavidHarewoodsFloozy Fri 08-Nov-13 23:15:18

OP, really? Sweet baby Jesus, you get no guarantees with your children.

Some might think twenty-three years forward planning is slighly unhinged.

losingtrust Fri 08-Nov-13 23:15:23

Incidentally some of the UK's greatest exports are our creatives.

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