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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.

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?

Ecuador Fri 08-Nov-13 23:21:05

Blimey OP hmm.

I think you are in danger of peaking too early - 23 years???

Cannot imagine putting that much thought into it tbh, there are just so many unknowns. I would just relax a lot bit and enjoy the journey <passes joint around>.

Taz1212 Sat 09-Nov-13 08:09:10

I'm assuming what you are really asking is how to inspire a love of learning so that you can brainwash your children into following your desired path (and I say that lightly as this is what I do to my children grin ). I would make sure you include in your budget money for lots and lots of extra curricular activities. Get them involved in a wide variety covering the arts, sports and outdoors. During the summer find as many taster courses as you can- last summer my DD(8) did horse riding, rock climbing, swimming, sailing, art class, nature camp etc, all just little tasters so she could see what she really likes. Travel with them- do lots of city breaks where they can experience different cultures and languages and learn more about history.

Make it clear to them that you want them learning for the sake of learning and that by having the best education possible they will have the choice to do whatever they want, whether it's baking cakes (like my DD currently wants) or becoming a vet (my DS' obsession). Be interested in their school days and encourage them to volunteer for positions at school (e.g. Eco grou ep, class rep etc) as well as joining in with whatever school activities take their fancy.

LondonMother Sat 09-Nov-13 08:41:12

My children went to a local state nursery school. It didn't cost us a penny but I don't believe they could have got a better start to their education anywhere.

I hate the idea of trying to push children in any particular direction. You can't live somebody else's life for them and you can't use your children to make up for the things you wish you could have done.

Example 1: I would have loved to have ballet lessons as a child, but there wasn't the money. When my daughter was little, I asked her if she would like to go to a dancing class. She said yes and I was over the moon. One of the most useful lessons I have ever learned as a parent then followed. She didn't enjoy the lessons much and showed no aptitude whatsoever. The fact that she looked incredibly cute in the pink leotard was as nothing compared to the effect the whole exercise was having on her self-esteem. So I had to swallow my disappointment and suggest that she could stop the class any time she wanted. She chose to stop, without a backward glance.

Example 2: a friend of mine told me about a family she knew. The mother was determined that her child would get into Oxford or Cambridge. Child wanted to do English. Mother said no, you won't get in if you apply to do English. You stand a much better chance if you apply to do Theology. Child agreed, got in, was intensely miserable. This story made me really angry on that young person's behalf. Think of the years of brainwashing and bullying that must have gone on for the mother to be able to force her adult or near-adult child to follow her plan and not make their own decisions about their life plans.

schoolnurse Sat 09-Nov-13 08:54:53

My parents were very keen on poetry and literature this was on their wall when I was a child:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Lancelottie Sat 09-Nov-13 09:03:06

I'm quite tickled at the thought of how many of us (presumably quite academic ourselves?) on this thread have children whose one true love is the performing arts.

Help them to think for themselves, OP, if you can. DD is a bit too scared to do things we might disapprove of at the moment.

mirtzapine Sat 09-Nov-13 09:58:16

I feel that a lot of people have already decided that I have already decided to push them down a certain route. What I have done is assess what are the highest financial costs are and plan the funding, if the DC are able to or want to go down that route.

I would say that Ilovegeorgeclooney and the latter haft of schoolnurse's post is the information I was looking for. How to become "well rounded".

As for self-motivation, they'll have to discover that themselves. Mine was as supply teacher, who stood in-front of my class ranting for an hour about how useless we all were, would never amount to anything and were all scum - with examples. As that moment I thought to myself "fuck you love, I'm getting out of this shit". As a motivational force that is very unlikly to happen now-a-days.

What I'm after is the proviso of paying where necessary, with an understanding of the intangible hidden extras that will give intelligent and socially adept future. here is nothing dictatorial, about any of this." No plan survives first contact..." von Moltke. I'm using that as an allusion

Home-schooling or unschooling is a no, I won't have the patience, inclination or the ability to do that,I know my limitations, unless I paid for the tutoring at home which btw the financial plan I have would be able to cope with. I think that would be un-necessarily over complicated, as the prime element to the fp is me working to earn the money.

lljkk Sat 09-Nov-13 10:14:11

Which 4 RG Unis meet your approval, OP?
What if your child doesn't like any sport and has a tin ear for music, though?
I would like to answer seriously, if I could give the best education money could buy... except that I think the child would decide whether that happened. Not my money.

Pukkapik Sat 09-Nov-13 10:33:29

Your guidance throughout the 23 years should simply be - are my DDs happy, motivated, learning and interested, open minded, and kind?
As they get older, you may still be a sounding board, but they will lead you.

I think education is very important and I do send my DC private but one of the reasons I do that is to stop me pushing them too hard myself. They are getting a broad education and there is enough competitiveness in the school to motivate the DC to try hard without it being demotivated.

I had some fairly clear ideas about senior schools but as my children have got older and been diagnosed with dyslexia I am seriously reevaluating what sort of school would suit them. A more pressured environment may not be the right place even if they can cope academically with the work. I am now considering schools that I hadn't really thought about previously.

Put the money away for a PhD if you want - you can always use it to give them a start on the housing ladder.

Oh and my non-RG uni was more highly ranked than most RG unis for Law in the last research assessment. Choosing RG is a blunt tool.

antimatter Sat 09-Nov-13 10:50:19

imho having time to get to know your children is as important as having them in good schools

So if for that matter you plan that your future income covers schools fees/ music lessons/other activities - would you be at home early enough to talk to them every day and take them to their activities?

What if you become a single parent as I am?
I was lucky to get a job where I am at home by 4 pm, working full time etc & see them a lot every day. I know it pays massive part in how they feel about our relationship and how important that is for their wellbeing. I see every teacher of their extra curricula activities & can talk to them.

IAlwaysThought Sat 09-Nov-13 10:55:39

Plan their schooling but don't plan their University education. That would be be very tiger'ish indeed confused.

University education is changing fast, I wouldn't worry about deciding where is good or not until closer to the time your kids are ready to go.

CreamyCooler Sat 09-Nov-13 11:04:53

My plan has been a good education and the best home life I can provide, this seems to be working well.

IAlwaysThought Sat 09-Nov-13 11:07:26

Now that's a good plan Creamer smile.

IAlwaysThought Sat 09-Nov-13 11:07:51

Sorry creamy not creamer

CreamyCooler Sat 09-Nov-13 11:09:50

Thankyou IAlwaysThought.

peteneras Sat 09-Nov-13 12:02:30

To be honest, if I allowed my DC to decide for themselves the course they like to take, my DS will now be a very successful train driver. Thomas the Tank Engine was his best friend.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 09-Nov-13 12:30:13

OK for DS we did state until 8. Then prep - fees started at £10,000 per annum I think - when he left last year the annual bill was about £21,000. Can't give you an exact figure but probably about £150,000 for 10 years at one of the best London Day schools. He goes to Oxford next September and we are planning on paying his fees and expenses so a further £54,000.

DD did state until 13 (11-13 was a mistake). Her fees come to about £18,000 pa so over five years just short of £100,000. Again uni will be £54,000 although she has aspirations to do drama and we have said that once she has some professional quals under her belt we will fund something like RADA.

Had they both gone the pre-prep paid route I guess you could probably add another £100,000 easily.

Remember one thing OP the fees only increase. And another thing your children can come from the same pod, experience the same things and be entirely different in the context of ability, aspiration, work ethic, interests and confidence.

All parents can do really is love them, feed them, facilitate them, support them, and let them find their niche. Providing you do that and can say you have done your very best apart from the semantics about facilities, selection, languages and sport, I don't think their ultimate happiness and success will be influenced because one pays. I think it gives them sometimes an easier ride but I'm not certain it makes a huge difference except for the innate confidence it imparts and some have that anyway.

OldRoan Sat 09-Nov-13 12:36:19

Our family friend's son goes to a nursery on a local farm, run by the farmer's wife. They go outside and get wet and muddy on a daily basis, and the farmer drives the tractor past sometimes. They see some animals, and they collect eggs etc.

I would start with something like that, and then roll with how my children develop.

I speak as someone who had an entirely private education until university and now working in a state primary. Pretty sure I would have been happier at the primary where I teach than the place where I was originally educated.

OldRoan Sat 09-Nov-13 12:41:12

Also, I should add, my degree was not in education. My friends from school are generally all doctors/lawyers/city types and it would have been relatively easy to get a foot in the door had I wanted a city career.

I spent my 4 years at university battling to work out what I wanted, and chose teaching. Everyone was surprised (my GCSE biology teacher said to my face "it won't make you rich, you know.") but my parents regularly tell their friends how happy they are that I have found what I enjoy doing. It took a long time, but they knew I had to do it for myself and stood back and watched me make my mistakes, safe in the knowledge they would help to pick me up and start again.

I never learned the piano, though. They refused to nag me and so when I refused to practise, the lessons stopped. My biggest regret. I wish they had pushed me, but I can see that they were making me take responsibility for my own learning from a young age and I am grateful for that.

Ecuador Sat 09-Nov-13 12:55:42

OldRoan I love the farm nursery that sounds so fab!

teacherwith2kids Sat 09-Nov-13 13:07:10

"To be honest, if I allowed my DC to decide for themselves the course they like to take, my DS will now be a very successful train driver. "

I don't think that ANYONE here has said that children should decide the course that they would like to take. I see my role as a parent wrt education as being really understanding my children and their needs / strengths / weaknesses / quirks, and then finding the best educational option for them.

'Going where your children take you' was not meant to imply that my children - at least at their current ages of 10 and 12 - get to choose their school, qualifications, courses. The point I was trying to make is that finding the best education for your child is all about starting with the child, and finding the education to suit the real child in front of you, rather than finding 'the best education' in isolation and then trying to mould your children to fit it.

Elibean Sat 09-Nov-13 14:07:22

I would add to George Clooney's post: make sure you, and therefore they, are able to identify and own their emotions, communicate effectively in a variety of human relationships, stand up for themselves, and follow as well as lead.

And make sure they know how to be silly and how to relax, as well as how to focus and strive. Equally important for the flexible, resilient beings our society is likely to need in years to come smile

Let them try new things. Try new things with them, or even without them. Have lots of reading material of all sorts, and discussions, and music, in the house.

Trust them.

Elibean Sat 09-Nov-13 14:08:07

And I do agree with Teacher. Start with the individual child, and listen/look very carefully at what they are telling you they need.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 09-Nov-13 14:13:47

Save your money for something better OP and when your dc get to 18 they should be paying their own way through uni to doctoral level, otherwise they will be the same with money as you say you were with sitting exams.
You can't really plan all this, well at least not expect their education to go to your plan. If you are not careful and think this through too much, you will become obsessed and then when your dc don't do what you have planned you will become controlling. From that point onwards you are losing your relationship with your dc.
Seen it too many times. smile

morethanpotatoprints Sat 09-Nov-13 14:16:17


WTF is wrong with being a train driver? confused

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