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What did you do to raise a A/A* DC?

(205 Posts)
Sunbittern Thu 24-Aug-17 12:43:55

I'd like to know how people end up with DC who do so well in school.

I have a 20 month old and want to set her up for a future of success knowing that she already has barriers in her way (lone parent, low income family).

I was mostly a C student at school and I never really tried hard until I did my degree.

How can I ensure that DD does well academically? What did you do to raise a genius?

shivermytimbers Thu 24-Aug-17 12:47:15

To be honest, most of the research I've looked at shows a correlation between family income and cultural background (middle/ upper class) and high achievement in exams. There are a few exceptions but basically that's what seems to be the link.

ImperialBlether Thu 24-Aug-17 12:47:16

Watch TV but turn it off when the programme ends. Watch films and discuss them - even when they're little. Same with books. Talk about the news. Play games a lot - especially ones involving memory, numbers etc. Talk about how other people live around the world. Don't indulge them in every whim. Allow them solitude - thinking time - before bed.

ImperialBlether Thu 24-Aug-17 12:48:26

I brought my two up on my own from when they were in junior school.

Their dad backed me up and I backed him up - I think that makes a difference.

VanillaDrunkenSailor Thu 24-Aug-17 12:48:33

I take them to lots of stately homes grin

PaintingByNumbers Thu 24-Aug-17 12:50:12

Be clever, have kids with someone clever, either be richer than the norm for your area or be apart from the norm in your area eg an immigrant

RatherBeRiding Thu 24-Aug-17 12:50:50

Start by accepting that some children are just not that academic, but their strengths lie elsewhere. A/A* isn't the be all and end all. Nice if they do well at school because there are more options, but better to focus on what your child naturally is good at and enjoys.

Example - my eldest is a natural academic. He learns easily, is interested in everything, has excellent exam technique, cruised through GCSEs and A levels with nothing below an A and went on to a prestigious Uni and now has a well paid career.

Second - bright, outgoing, a real "people person" but just not all that academic, and not all that interested in intellectual pursuits. Respectable GCSEs, dismal A levels, but determined to pursue a career in healthcare. Now at another prestigious uni pursuing said career but had to get there with a lot of struggle and via a different entry pathway.

I recognised both their strengths early on and encouraged them to do what they were good at.

Parental support cannot be underestimated. I read to them, took them places, supported their interests, went to every single parents' evening, took an interest in their homework, made sure it was in on time, went to Open Days, decided what was the best school I could realistically get them into (church school, strict entry criteria) and made sure I did get them in. Would have moved house if I had to in order to get them into a decent secondary.

But above all, encourage your child to do what THEY want to do in life.

DelurkingAJ Thu 24-Aug-17 12:51:23

Don't let them think school is optional. Explain to them what the outcomes are against various grades. Be realistic and praise when they do well. Don't assume the school will push them to their full potential. Never denigrate being 'clever' or doing well at school. Never tell them something is difficult before they've tried it (4 year olds saying 'Mummy says maths is difficult so I shouldn't worry if I can't do it' is a self fulfilling prophecy).

shushpenfold Thu 24-Aug-17 12:52:16

Nothing different between the 3 dc....one is a solid Bs child and the other two, A*/As. Genetics. They all work hard.

Isadora2007 Thu 24-Aug-17 12:54:54

I would be ashamed of myself as a parent if I thought raising them to achieve As was actually a fab goal.

An A pass in an exam only gives an indication of an ability to pass that exam. It doesn't tell you whether your child is considerate, thoughtful, a good friend, smart (you can be book smart but pretty common-sense dumb) etc etc.

If you raise your child to believe what they achieve is more important than who they are and how the behave and treat others... then you've failed in my book.

glutoftoms Thu 24-Aug-17 12:55:53

I believe that the most important thing I did for mine was read to them when they were little and develop a love of books.
I was fairly lax in many areas but learning to read early gave them a big advantage when they started school which gave them so much confidence.

InfiniteSheldon Thu 24-Aug-17 12:56:56

I second talking to them. I was a working single parent we really struggled financially but we talked! We watched films and programs, played games discussed reasons, strategies and consequences.
I also encouraged them to stick to things. Projects were finished games completed hobbies practised giving up was discouraged and effort rewarded (not necessarily results but effort).
They picked several clubs and when they found one they really liked they stayed even when it was hard. DD was a competition gymnast D's got a black belt in karate. Both are now degree/doctorate educated and very successful in their respective fields.

InfiniteSheldon Thu 24-Aug-17 12:56:58

I second talking to them. I was a working single parent we really struggled financially but we talked! We watched films and programs, played games discussed reasons, strategies and consequences.
I also encouraged them to stick to things. Projects were finished games completed hobbies practised giving up was discouraged and effort rewarded (not necessarily results but effort).
They picked several clubs and when they found one they really liked they stayed even when it was hard. DD was a competition gymnast D's got a black belt in karate. Both are now degree/doctorate educated and very successful in their respective fields.

millifiori Thu 24-Aug-17 12:57:09

Read to them. Talk with them (not at them.) Ask their viewpoint. Encourage them to be inquisitive about the physical world (nature, animals, rock formations etc) and later on, the political and social world. Teach them not to take statements at face value but to consider them.

Introduce them to culture without boring them. We used to go into London and do one painting, one cake sessions - looking just at St George and the Dragon or just at a Van Gogh then going for a muffin at Pret. Now, I can't drag them out of blumming galleries and museums. I'm the bored one who wants cake. They are the eager ones who want to look at one more room.

Take them to science and natural history museums (free) and generlaly for as many diverse experiences as you can. Loads of free fun days or cheap or free sessions (eg if they like music, BBC Proms do loads of free summer workshops in London and Birmingham)

Play educational games online with them. Anything from Civ to those maths monster games and Free Rice. But never instead of whatever the current craze is. If they want to play Minecraft too, that's fine.

Most of the stuff I've suggested assumes you live in or near a town or city, but even if you're out in the wilds of nowhere, they can still read, learn loads online and discover masses about how the world works by observing nature.

Isadora2007 Thu 24-Aug-17 12:57:10

"Praise when they do well"

What about raise them to try hard? They shouldn't be doing things for others to praise them. A truly successful child will aim to achieve for their own sense of enjoyment from doing so. Will be aiming to beat themselves and not others. And will know that grades and school smart isn't the be all and end all.

ImListening Thu 24-Aug-17 12:57:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

InfiniteSheldon Thu 24-Aug-17 12:57:57

Oops

ImListening Thu 24-Aug-17 12:58:24

Both have the same work

millifiori Thu 24-Aug-17 12:59:53

And never get angry if they do badly at school or get confused. Treat any academic weakness as an interesting problem for them (not you) to solve.

Make good use of popular culture. My DC probably learned more about maths, music, art and literature from binge watching the Simpsons, as well as it massively increasing their vocab, than any child has ever learned from Kumon maths sessions and spelling bees.

haba Thu 24-Aug-17 13:00:39

Um- they're born that way hmm
Teach all children to take school seriously and work hard, but it won't make them an A/A* student if they don't have high ability too.

ivenoideawhatimdoing Thu 24-Aug-17 13:01:43

We were brought up with the mentality that education was a gift. Our parents fed us information constantly, if we had questions they didn't know we'd look them up. I remember my Father saying to me knowledge is something that can never be taken away.

We also knew our parents worked hard for everything we had, nothing came easy and you have to graft all your life to make something of yourself. There was an expectation had to try our bests, whether that be a D or an A*, if we had put the work in, no matter what we got that was okay.

We had tutors in maths as well because we really struggled but aside from supporting them, learning with them and getting additional help as and when they need it there isn't much you can do.

I think instilling the value of education from when they are tiny is the best way to do it.

whiteroseredrose Thu 24-Aug-17 13:02:55

We talked to DC constantly, read books a lot and took an interest in homework. Helped if necessary including finding out from Google.

We've also visited places that are fun and also linked to their interests. Eg went to Bletchley Park when both were interested in Computer science. Chester for the Romans and Hampton Court for the Tudor.

But you can only do so much. DS got all A*s at GCSE and all As at AS but that is because he is very driven and self motivated. Unlike me!!

Stillwishihadabs Thu 24-Aug-17 13:03:55

IQ is 75% genetic. So quite a bit of it is pre-determined. However as others have said reading with them, encouraging them and later making sure they have a quiet place to study with all the equipment they need would help.

ReinettePompadour Thu 24-Aug-17 13:03:59

Play, read, have fun, talk about everything, colour/sticky/draw, make stuff, taste stuff, play some more, read some more, laugh a bit more, and NEVER punish for getting things wrong.

upperlimit Thu 24-Aug-17 13:04:29

I think that there is a gulf between the actual things that make a big difference to educational outcomes and those things we would like to make the big differences. With the former being very immovable beasts, wealth and genetics and the latter simply fitting into our narratives of justice which rewards discipline and effort.

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