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Y9 GCSE Options - Latin or History?

(39 Posts)
fayebebaby Sat 15-Feb-14 13:20:03

DS brought home the options booklet yesterday, he needs to choose 4 subjects and 2 reserve ones. So triple science is 1st choice, then Spanish and Geography, he wants to put Latin as 4th choice, History being the other alternative, which would be most useful? He has no idea what he wants to do career wise but he wants to do A levels, he`s a clever lad - so his teachers tell me grin.

I would prefer him to do History, his school is the only comp in our area that offers Latin and I have heard it`s not a well recognised subject. His school don't have a huge success rate with History at GCSE though. I have said it`s up to him but any thoughts? advice would help.

He then has to choose 2 reserve subjects - there`s not much left to choose from now so it`s down to Computer Science or Information and Communications Technology - any idea`s which would be the better of those - he has no preference and we are hoping it won't come down to the reserve options and he will get his 1st 4 choices TIA

Reincarnatedpig Sat 15-Feb-14 13:25:38

I think it's up to him. Everyone thinks you're clever if you do Latin. It is highly regarded - mostly private schools and grammars do it, grade boundaries are normally high for that reason. I assume he won't be able to do History A level though.

Starballbunny Sat 15-Feb-14 13:30:54

If he wants to do an English degree, then I believe History GCSE and A level is often a good choice, otherwise let him choose. He's got an academic humanity with geography.

Oh and don't tell DD1, she'd love to go to a comp. that did Latin.

fayebebaby Sat 15-Feb-14 13:32:40

Hi, he doesn't want to do History at A level, Maths and Spanish would be on his list for A levels. You mention Latin and people pull faces and don't seem to see the point in it - well where we live they do

fayebebaby Sat 15-Feb-14 13:42:28

Can`t see him doing an English degree, I have told him it`s up to him, at the end of the day he`s the one who will be doing the work - just wanted some thoughts on Latin in general from an objective point of view, thanks for replying

meerschweinchen Sat 15-Feb-14 13:43:08

I would say they are both great subjects. Shame he can't do both! Latin is a well regarded academic subject, so a good one to do if he is bright. Latin will help with Spanish, so if he's keen on languages, I'd say do that.

fayebebaby Sat 15-Feb-14 13:45:04

He enjoys Spanish and isn`t too keen on essay writing so maybe Latin is the way to go thanks again

HermioneWeasley Sat 15-Feb-14 13:46:33

Latin will be a better grounding in lots of things - arts, literature, languages, grammar.

meerschweinchen Sat 15-Feb-14 13:48:26

In that case, definitely. History involves lots of essays! Latin might involve some, but not to the same extent. Fwiw,I did both Latin and History at GSCE and A Level, and loved both. Latin does make you stand out a bit as it has rarity value these days!

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Feb-14 13:51:30

Latin is good for languages, and quite mathematical/ memory based. However, I think History would broaden his skill base much more. There is more analysis and some essay writing (though precious little at GCSE). I think there's not much argument/ debate/ analysis in his choices, which would be covered by Philosophy/ politics/ RE/ History/ Social Studies etc. If he is a clever lad and could manage the History, then I would do that simply as it will add to his skills and choices at A level/ degree.

Leeds2 Sat 15-Feb-14 13:51:47

My DD is doing Latin GCSE, and the course is half language and half classical civilisation, so if your son's course is the same, he will end up doing some history too, iyswim.

I think Latin is very highly regarded, people think - as someone said up thread - that you must be bright if you study it!

Latin might also help with the Spanish.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sat 15-Feb-14 13:53:48

He doesn't need to know what he wants as a career but you do both need to think hard about what he might want to study at University - assuming that is under consideration.

Look at some possible subjects at different places. What are the A' levels he would need to qualify for that subject? Which GCSEs does he need to have done (well) to go on to the A'level?

He will need your help with this - particularly if his school is not providing any guidance.

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Feb-14 13:54:01

I did Latin, though not Spanish. At GCSE, I would say they are bit too similar. If I was looking through a CV, I would be more impressed by range at GCSE.

Starballbunny Sat 15-Feb-14 13:57:52

DH did Latin, squashed into breaks and lunch times, so he only has a C.

Despite that he still says it's helpful with reading Spanish on holiday. A fair bit of Spanish looks similar to the posh word in English and a lot if our long words have Latin roots.

fayebebaby Sat 15-Feb-14 14:00:20

Leeds2 yes that sounds like the same course. He also has to do RE.

MerryMarigold - triple science, Geography Spanish and Latin would not be considered a good range?

How much emphasis do Uni`s put on GCSE`s?

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Sat 15-Feb-14 14:06:41

Has he already studied Latin? If he would be starting it from scratch that's more of a high risk than taking History. Signs that he could do well in it: being good at modern languages, having a good memory, having an analytical mind, being prepared to work hard and stick at it even if he finds it difficult sometimes; and (very, very important, this bit) really wanting to do it, not just taking it because the other options are less appealing or because his friend is taking it.

I studied Latin and Ancient Greek at university, having had the great good fortune to be able to do both at school. My daughter is following in the same path, although she had to do Greek GCSE outside school. For both of us we just knew from early on, goodness knows why, that these were subjects we passionately wanted to study and neither of us has regretted the choice.

There are -ill-informed- people who can see no merit in studying Latin because it's a 'dead' language, ie nobody speaks it now. This is a silly argument.

Firstly, it helps with learning other languages. Spanish, Italian, French and Romanian all developed from Latin after the Roman Empire collapsed, so a lot of the vocabulary comes from Latin.

Secondly, studying Latin is a huge boost to a person's English vocabulary because so many of the more complex words we use have been borrowed from Latin. It helps with spelling those words as well as learning the meanings.

Thirdly, it's a really good way of developing your ability to think logically. The grammar of Latin works differently from most modern European languages, so to translate it into English you have to learn to think in a different way. You need to learn the grammar rules and lots of vocabulary. There's a crossover with maths and computer programming here, which many employers will recognise.

And finally, from the point of view of literature, culture, general knowledge, history etc etc, the Romans were hugely important and their legacy lives on. Some of the world's great classics were written in Latin, and there are countless references to Latin literature and Roman mythology in English and other European literary traditions. Studying Latin will involve learning more about Roman civilisation which will be interesting and useful.

Having said all of that, he can't go wrong with either Latin or History. What a shame the options system doesn't let him do both. Good luck to him!

Helpyourself Sat 15-Feb-14 14:12:41

Sorry Merry that's rubbish!
Spanish is a MFL, Latin is like a thinking skills course with some history and literature thrown in.
And it does have a nice bit of rarity factor, especially coming from a comp. (I did Latin History and Soanish at mine!)
The reserve subjects are pretty poor! I think I'd demand private study, or at least threaten it. Computer Science isn't highly regarded and communication studies is a positive disadvantage on a CV.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sat 15-Feb-14 14:15:40

Everything Mimsy said x 1000.

OP Will your DS be doing A' levels at his current school or at a sixth form college? Either way - he needs to have some idea of which A' levels he's thinking of, so the school can tell him which GCSEs he will need to have done.

Every university will have different requirements - but you need to work backwards from there so that he doesn't find that a decision made now precludes him from his preferred degree course.

fayebebaby Sat 15-Feb-14 14:22:14

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves he started Latin in Y8, what you have written has sort of swung it for me, he has a good memory, and is good at Spanish.

Helpyourself the 2 reserve options are the best of a bad bunch, and we really hope it doesn't come down to choosing one of them!!

fayebebaby Sat 15-Feb-14 14:26:39

He doesn't want to say on at school he wants to go to sixth form college, for A levels he is thinking Maths, Spanish and either Physics or Chemistry

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Sat 15-Feb-14 14:40:49

Glad to help! Just bear in mind he'll need a fourth subject to take to AS level, assuming the system hasn't changed since my children left school.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Feb-14 14:46:24

why is Science in his options?

science is pretty much compulsory ... unless he's set 2 and has not been allocated to it ...
in which case you need to check with the teachers
because the jump from GCSE to A level is massive nowadays, particularly in sciences

FWIW if he's at a comp, either Latin or History is fine and dandy - see which he prefers and is thus likely to get a higher grade

Renniehorta Sat 15-Feb-14 14:47:25

I would go for the Latin. It will make him stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying to uni. It will greatly enhance his Spanish and English. It will allow him to understand grammar and to be able to analyse structure. It will also open up a whole new range of English vocab.

I think that it is such a shame that so few get the opportunity to study Latin. MFL is in danger of being seen as elitist and inaccessible as Latin in many schools. So great that your DS is thinking of studying Spanish to A Level. That will also make him stand out and be a great asset.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Feb-14 14:48:46

PS
why not opt him out of RE and then do both ....
RE is not compulsory

the wording on DS's options form reads

I wish my son/daughter to be withdrawn from GCSE Religious Studies in year 10 and 11
and I will sign it, as I did for DD

fayebebaby Sat 15-Feb-14 14:58:20

He is set 1 for Science, and has been told it has to be one of the 4 options,

talkinPeace - nothing on form to say we can opt out of RE, we have an options evening meeting after half term will enquire then thanks

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