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Can we have an options thread for parents of 'average' children?

(33 Posts)
GossamerHailfilter Fri 07-Feb-14 12:47:00

I know it may not ft the demographic of MN, but there must be some of us who have children who are middle of the road.

We are currently choosing DS's options to take forward into year 9. He is very keen to do German and History for his language and humanity. He is a bit unsure about his options, but after options evening he is leaning towards ICT and Applied Business.

Creamycoolerwithcream Fri 07-Feb-14 13:07:20

My son is also in year 9. He is very good at Maths and Science, but probably a bit below average at English. So overall probably average or a bit above. He's doing double science ( although he's good at it he doesn't want to do triple), German, History, Geography and ICT. So very similar to your DS's choices.

mary21 Fri 07-Feb-14 14:00:22

Ds2 says german geography, business and sociology.

cory Fri 07-Feb-14 15:44:26

Ds has just climbed up to average- was in bottom set but is working his way up. He is very interested in history and current affairs and hopeless at practical subjects, so will be doing History and Geography if timetables allow. He doesn't like it that school insist on one practical subject, as he really hates working with his hands. Good job he isn't at one of those schools that seem to think if you aren't outstanding at academic subjects, you've got to be good with your hands.

GossamerHailfilter Fri 07-Feb-14 15:59:48

Creamy - DS is exactly the same, above average in maths as this is his real strength. He isn't practical at all although he does like using eqiupment in D&T. He did want to do RM but we tried to gently steer him away from the idea. One look at the coursework at options evening scared him off!

He wanted to do media studies, but his english levels are not high enough sad.

GossamerHailfilter Fri 07-Feb-14 16:01:06

Geography is our backup.

He was interested in doing astronomy until he realised it was alot of exams. He is definitely better at coursework.

Creamycoolerwithcream Fri 07-Feb-14 16:07:23

What's RM?

Creamycoolerwithcream Fri 07-Feb-14 16:11:09

My DS is a funny boy. He hates, hates, hates practical stuff. For the last two years all he has done is moan about technology and how he's not going to school each Friday to avoid it. Today he comes home with these amazing rolls he's made in cooking and announces he wants to do food technology!

GossamerHailfilter Fri 07-Feb-14 16:17:14

Sorry - its resistant materials.

At least he has found something that he wants to do and is good at. I also did Food Tec at school because it was a lesser evil.

Creamycoolerwithcream Fri 07-Feb-14 16:21:32

They seem a bit tech mad at his school. They offer graphics, resistant materials, electronics, textiles and Food all as separate subjects. I think he needs to give it a bit more thought...although these rolls are delicious.

reddidi Fri 07-Feb-14 16:29:44

They are all branches of the Design and Technology GCSE, you can only do one of them (well I suppose you could do more than one with different boards but it could not be counted as more than one GCSE qualification).

reddidi Fri 07-Feb-14 16:43:14


Have you looked at D&T:Graphics? This has been good for my DS who is interested in D&T but not practical with his hands - the work is nearly all done on computer.

He is also good at maths and coursework and Geography has been great for this looking at flow rates in rivers: not sure anything in History would have captured his interest (although that depends on what project the school does I suppose - he just struck lucky).

GossamerHailfilter Fri 07-Feb-14 16:48:40

I didn't think about graphics, we didnt get time to go round and see them all and DS was adamant he didn't want to do art and design so graphics got left too.

The school History syllabus looks great - The history of medicine, the American wild west and History all around us.

Loopytiles Fri 07-Feb-14 18:52:17

What about coding / computer science? He might be good at that if he likes maths.

cricketballs Fri 07-Feb-14 19:21:19

the advice I would give is for students to be aware of the essay skills that are needed in a lot of subjects. Whilst the content of the subject may seem very interesting the end result depends on their basic skills in writing.

For example, in Business students need to know the content, have good general knowledge, and also be able to write these down in correct English, giving both sides of the argument and to give an evaluation if they ever want to access anything higher than a D grade its not the easy subject that most MN's think it is

It is also imperative that they are aware of the workload requirements. For Art there is a massive workload in addition to classwork, same goes for the majority of practical subjects. Other subjects also require some workload outside of classroom/homework in order to achieve good marks in the CA - again, talking from my subjects business will require students to research a small business in order to write up their CA.
ICT will need students to send a lot of time sourcing information/images/sounds etc in order for them to use in their coursework

lljkk Fri 07-Feb-14 19:41:01

Computer science teacher at DS school really laid it on thick about it being hard work & problem solving (puzzles). Fine if you've got the right kind of mind, but I know many wouldn't.

CointreauVersial Fri 07-Feb-14 21:09:57

Great thread.

DS is very much Mr Middle-of-the-Road; he's a bright boy with a good memory who picks things up quickly, but doesn't focus enough at the moment to do as well as he should. He is also quite hopeless at Music, Art, DT and so on, so will by default end up doing mainly academic GCSEs.

They all do Maths, English and double Science; so far he has chosen French, and PE (best subject by a country mile grin ), and is currently deliberating whether to do History, Geography or IT (has to do two of these).

His main challenge is writing - he is full of opinions in class discussions but struggles to get anything onto paper. Essays are a major challenge.

I'm also desperate to pull up his Maths, which has gone downhill over the last two years. He risks going into the lower sets who do only Foundation level (max grade C). Any suggestions welcome!

Creamycoolerwithcream Fri 07-Feb-14 21:22:56

Would you consider getting a Maths tutor or is the school able to offer a bit of extra Maths support? My DS got some school support for his English last year.

mymatemax Fri 07-Feb-14 21:31:48

my ds is halfway through his first yr GCSE History, German, Drama.

History involves a huge amount of writing, ds loves history but the amount of homework, essay writing etc is huge.
German, he is really enjoying & taken to it much easier than he did French
Drama he loves, a good balance of practical & written skills needed.

I would say, let him pick the subjects he is going to enjoy the most. The way the subjects are grouped together means that they end up picking a good balance of subjects anyway.
As long as it isn't a chore they'll put the effort in so go for the subjects they enjoy.

mymatemax Fri 07-Feb-14 21:39:40

Gossamer, ds1 has filled 2of the large exercise books on the American West alone, his essays have included looking at 2how successful was the treaty of Laramie"
In Ds1's words, the subject is good but the amount of work is just WRONG!
He has just started on the history of medicine

CointreauVersial Fri 07-Feb-14 21:41:26

I have thought about a Maths tutor; the daft thing is I am very good at Maths myself, and could easily "tutor" him, but he won't really accept it from me. The school do a Maths Clinic, but it all requires DS to want to put the effort in, which currently he doesn't.

He's soooo different from me, that's for sure.

RussianBlu Fri 07-Feb-14 23:25:12

Can anyone tell me what resistant materials actually entails??? I am struggling with a fairly lazy disinterested, not terribly academic child at the moment, just starting to chose options. Would P.E, food tech, drama and resistant materials (or history) be a really awful combination? They feel like fairly pathetic choices to me. Music is another option. Any guidance would be most appreciated, thank you.

GossamerHailfilter Sat 08-Feb-14 07:50:39

Resistant materials - Woodwork, metalwork and plastics.

GossamerHailfilter Sat 08-Feb-14 07:55:52

Cointreau - that is exactly the same for my DS and English. I could tutor him, but he isnt very open to the idea of me helping him. Luckily I have a friend who is an English lecturer so she is going to sit down with him and see how he currently is. He again is very good at talking the talk but not getting it down on paper. Its just confined to English though because he loves writing in History/Geography.

I am in the middle of training to be a history teacher, so I am so pleased he likes it, and he is more open to the idea of helping him with that.

crazymum53 Sat 08-Feb-14 10:40:08

RussianBlu my understanding is that dcs can only choose one DT option so your child would have to choose either Food Tech or Resistant Materials.
My dd would love to take Graphics as her DT option, but this isn't offered at her school so she's trying to decide whether to take Art and Design or DT Product Design instead. She is also trying to decide between ICT (Edexcel Cert Digital applications) and Computer Science OCR GCSE as 2 of her options.

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