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Options - how much do you let them choose?

(21 Posts)
ShaynePunim Thu 04-Jun-15 14:26:07

DC2 is going into Y9 and has only one option to choose, but I'm not happy with his choice and he knows this. No decision has yet been reached.

I have an older DC whose option choices I wasn't always entirely happy with but I did give that DC the freedom to choose because I knew they were true choices based on passions and interests rather than just picking the easiest one out of laziness.

What is the general consensus on this?

SilasGreenback Thu 04-Jun-15 14:32:10

If there is only one choice I assume that all the bases are covered WRT maths, English, sciences, a humanity and a language - in which let them pick. If not maybe direct them to get a good balance. Both of mine really wanted to do DT - ds1 I put off because he is just not good at a long project and I knew I would spend lots of time shouting at him. Ds2 is doing it rather than geography as although I think geography will be better/easier he will at least do the work.

BeaufortBelle Thu 04-Jun-15 14:32:36

Providing the following are taken as routine mine had free rein:

English Lang
English Lit
MFL x 1

DS chose: History, Latin, Art
DD chose: Latin, Spanish, Geography

their father insisted on the Latin but fortunately they both love it DS has kept it up at Uni.

DS had Art as an A'Level option, DD will have Drama. If they can't follow their hearts at 16 and fo what they love or think they love, when can they?

ShaynePunim Thu 04-Jun-15 14:40:16

Yes it's a language option. In Y7 and Y8 they all do 2 languages (same languages for all kids), then in Y9 a third language (Spanish) is added, but in order to study it they have to drop one of the previously studied languages.

I let DD pick Spanish because she was already pretty fluent in the two other ones and is a brilliant self learner. She keeps saying Spanish is 'easy' and I know for a fact that that's the only reason DS wants to do it, and abandon a language which he has studied since he was three and which is of cultural significance to our family.

My instinct is to impose my authority for his own good but I'm wondering if this is one of the key moment where I should start giving a bit more freedom...

ShaynePunim Thu 04-Jun-15 14:43:34

BeaufortBelle yes that's what I'm doing with my DD, she has chosen all the 'hard' subjects and so I was very happy to let her do cooking (or whatever they call it, I can never remember, and it enrages her that I call it 'cooking'). grin

I like the idea of free rein, but I am worried when it's driven by laziness.

BeaufortBelle Thu 04-Jun-15 16:55:51

I don't think I'd underestimate the importance of the Hispanic languages. Do you have any idea how many people across the world speak them?

If the language he's dropping is a family language then isn't it something that could be picked up at some point quite easily? Is it Mandarin.

I think there comes a point where if you don't let them make their own choices, their "mistakes" become your fault. I think if 80% of the choices are "sensible" they should be given slack for the rest. We can only facilitate their choices, we can't make them.

One of DS's friends, who was a 12 A*GCSE lad, and a 45 IB pointer, went totally off the rails at uni', drugs, the lot, because he had never been allowed an iota or choice, independence or free thought and it was all too much. Dangerous trap I think. No point having the perfect child with the perfect results if they aren't allowed to be themselves and end up unable to hack it given a few choices.

We all learn from our mistakes. Mistakes made within secure and loving boundaries, one GCSE mistake out of 10, are good and wholesome and positive.

summerends Thu 04-Jun-15 17:17:58

TBH Shayne if your DS is lazy it sounds as though you may find yourself putting in quite a lot of gentle encouragement pushing for more effort from him in all subjects during the next 1-2 years. If the MFL that you would prefer will require more work from him than Spanish then by imposing it you may create a rod for your own back. By all means do it but be forewarned about the consequences.
I think I would just state the reasons for doing the other MFL to him, say that you think he will get more out of it (subtlety hinting that your DD may find Spanish easy now but all MFLs become more difficult after a while) however you will let him choose.

IndridCold Thu 04-Jun-15 18:00:58

He will have GCSEs in two languages (which are not regarded as easy subjects by most people) plus a good knowledge of a third (your family language). This does not sound like a lazy child! You, on the other hand, are coming across as a bit 'tigery' I'm afraid.

In addition, you seem to be treating your DCs differently, and unfairly so. You let your DD choose, and were happy with her choice. You've let your DS choose, but want to overrule him because he hasn't chosen what you wanted him to.

You've got all the basics well covered, let him study what he wants to.

ChangedNameObviously Thu 04-Jun-15 18:19:24

Could you let him choose the languages he prefers for his options then look at the possibility of studying your 'familial' language with a tutor and then sitting a GCSE as an external candidate either in Yr 10/11/12? At DDs comp some pupils who speak other languages at home or study different languages outside school sit the GCSEs during the exam season. (I'm not sure if they have to pay). At the end of year results you can see that they have one or two pupils gaining GCSEs in Polish, Persian, Nepalese, Urdu, Mandarin and Japanese - none of these are actually 'taught' in school. It's a win/win the pupil gains the qualification and the school the kudos!

Also when DD was sitting her French GCSE at the end of Yr11 there were other Yr8/9/10 pupils who were fluent in the language sitting it too.
PS it's an ordinary comp, not a 'Language College.

Millymollymama Thu 04-Jun-15 18:57:00

You should let him do the Spanish. You can keep up the cultural significance at home if it means so much. Most people don't find languages easy, so you should rejoice that your children do. He has studied your cultural language for 10 years so must get pretty good at it by now so Spanish, from scratch, hardly seems the easy option. Surely that is your cultural language?

spanieleyes Thu 04-Jun-15 19:06:16

Unless you are planning to sit the exam for him too, I would let your dS select his own subjects. I can't think of anything more likely to put a 16 year old off studying a subject than have his mum tell him he has to!

balletgirlmum Thu 04-Jun-15 19:14:19

I will be insisting that dd take a language as I think all children should study a language but that's about it.

She chooses next year & I don't agree with all her (limited ) choices but she's the one who will have to study the subjects.

I did strongly suggest that Dance, Drama & Music wasn't very rounded especially as she is very academic.

After the compulsory subjects of English, Maths, Science & Dance are covered she will have three options. so far she wants to do French, Music & IT. She loves IT but I think she should do a humanities subject such as history or RS instead.

But it's her choice.

ragged Thu 04-Jun-15 19:49:08

I think you'd be wrong to over-ride his preference.
I would put the case to him why I thought what he should choose, and otherwise decision would be my kid's.
Imposing a language because you have a cultural attachment to it... sounds very pushy. Anyway, he could come back to it later. Is he living in that culture now?

ShaynePunim Fri 05-Jun-15 09:55:53

OK Thank you all. That's very useful, I think I will have one more sit down conversation about it and then let him make his decision deep breath!!).

To those who remark I treat my children differently, yes it's true, but it's because they ARE different. Left to her own devices, DD needs zero encouragement to work, but DS really, REALLY does (painfully so!).

Millymollymama Fri 05-Jun-15 11:31:53

balletgirlmum - History or Geography is better than IT. This gives her a much more rounded set of GCSE's. IT is neither here nor there really.

BertrandRussell Fri 05-Jun-15 11:38:20

If he needs lots of encouragement to work, then surely it's better to have a subject he finds easy? Frankly, (and I risk a flaming here) the more top grades he's got the wider his choices will be. If Spanish is an easy top grade then it's an obvious choice.

ShaynePunim Fri 05-Jun-15 12:04:59

Yes but he has no idea whether he will find it easy - it will be a new subject for him. All he has is his sister's opinion. smile

BertrandRussell Fri 05-Jun-15 12:26:43

I've never come across a bright child who didn't find GCSE Spanish easy.........

ShaynePunim Fri 05-Jun-15 12:43:44

OK that makes sense. Alright then.

balletgirlmum Fri 05-Jun-15 12:44:27

I've got til January to convincer her milly. But ultimately she will decide.

Madmog Sat 06-Jun-15 11:14:03

I guess you'd love him to continue with the language he knows well as he's very likely to get an A*. Having said that if Spanish is his passion at the moment, it might be you have to let him decide. If he really needed a GCSE is the other language at a latter date it would just be delayed and this way he gains more language experience.

We tried to guide our DD with her option choices and a couple surprised us. I think you have to go with the flow - if the choice ends up being wrong he will blame you. If he's got it wrong long term, he will have himself to blame. You could always suggest he speaks to the language teachers at the school.

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