GCSE Options. Latin or Resistant Materials (!)(25 Posts)
A very strange choice. Son has chosen 9 of his 10 options. Maths, English (2), 3 sciences, German, History & Geography. He's torn for number 10.
He's very academic and has got top results in year 8 and 9 Latin, the Latin teacher wants him to take it to GCSE with a forecast grade 8/9. So all good. BUT.... He used to like it, but is now finding it boring and hard work, but he's still getting top grades in tests and homework, so not looking forward to another two years of it, and it doesn't really figure in any of his career aspirations. So, basically, a top GCSE likely but no particular use and probably hard work and not enjoyable.
He's attracted to resistant materials. He's not particularly good with his hands and has had some ups and downs with his practical tech work in years 7 and 8. BUT, his written work has been fine, i.e. design, drawings, theory, etc. He's really torn (as are we). If he takes RM, he'll probably enjoy it, maybe improve his hands-on practical skills, but almost certainly will get a lower GCSE end result (due to likely lowish score on the actual end result of the practical project).
Another aspect that throws a spanner in the works is that the subject blocks are likely to mean that he stays with his friends in many subjects if he opts to take Latin, but if he does RM the blocks may mean that he's in a completely different stream resulting in him unlikely to be in classes with his friends, which he is really unhappy about.
Just wondered if there was anyone with experience of RM and whether an "academic" child would be happy and successful in doing it if their hands-on practical skills were relatively poor/undeveloped.
DD chose childcare over Latin and ended up in some different classes to her friends because of it. She was happy though. Would resistant materials necessitate loads of extra time making 'stuff'? I'm not sure whether or how it would impact on his other studies.
When I did a technological subject (a few years ago), the weighting for the marks was very much towards the project work - planning, design, research, measurements, etc, rather than the actual piece produced. If you're concerned that he may not do so well because of his lack of practicality, it might be worth checking what the split is in terms of marking.
I don't know anything about RM, but I do know a fair bit about Latin. For an academic child it is IMO a fairly easy GCSE, because, if he is good at rote learning, you can get most of the set text stuff done just by rote learning the English translation and knowing the Latin well enough to fit it to it, IYSWIM. My older DD did it, found it tedious but got a very comfortable A* in it, and went on to find it more useful than she'd expected because she is now studying Russian, and found knowledge of formal grammar with declensions was useful (although German would also give your DS that TBF.) If it was me, the staying with friends in subject blocks thing would swing it, because that can make such a difference to day to day wellbeing, especially if most of the rest of them are in the other stream and so together without him. On the other hand, he doesn't have any "light relief" in his timetable if he does Latin - on the other other hand, if the practical element of RM is hard for him then maybe it wouldn't be light relief!
Imho, you have to look at the longer term. How happy will he be in 2 years time when he gets his results and its 10 A*, or 9 A* and a B? Would he say "I wish I had done Latin", or "I don't care I got a B, I am just happy I didn't do Latin"?
What are his career aspirations, wont Latin A* be of more use than an average resistant materials result?
How do you know resistant materials won't be hard work as well?
Also consider the affect on leaving his current stream group of friends, it might be fine but what if its not, what if he is unhappy and it affects his work in other subjects. What if his new stream of friends are less academic or disruptive?
If it was my DS I would go for Latin every time. A bit of short term boredom for long term gain.
DS is at a very academic boys' school (median child in year typically has 10A* 1A at GCSE) and is doing RM. He really enjoys having a more creative subject, which proves breadth and will probably complete an EPQ in RM next year. The school has a good number of pupils going on to study engineering. If he enjoys it he should do it, especially as it will show him that doing something you enjoy is worthwhile, he'll also be able to see himself improve at it if he applies himself so that is another benefit. Rote learning is very dull.
I would go with the Latin.
DD is doing it and lots of people are strangely impressed by the fact.
DD is doing it and lots of people are strangely impressed by the fact.
Sorry, but that is not a good reason to do a GCSE. Why not allow your son to choose the subject that he enjoys and wants to do?
If he's drawn to RM then it seems the best choice. He's already got plenty of enabling subjects and EB covered by the other subjects and this is something that will push him and yet he still wants it.
..and lets face it life is about more than academic endeavour. Long term he may well find being able to handle tools with some level of confidence a lot more useful than being able to conjugate latin verbs.
If he was drawn to music or drama would you still be hesitating, or is the doubt because you are worried about how RM may be perceived?
Have you spoken to his RM teacher about how realistic an 8/9 might be? You never know, maybe now that he's learnt a bit, got more experience of being practical, then he may start to get better marks. That said, if he were mine, I'd probably lean towards Latin, just because it is so useful in understanding language structure.
Is it a possibility to do it in place of one of the other subjects? I only mention that because DD2 has just had her options booklet out, and it is in the same group at History/Geog for her.
The one he wants to do.
He's doing 9 very academic GCSES, one less academic won't hurt.
How happy will he be in 2 years time when he gets his results and its 10 A, or 9 A* and a B? Would he say "I wish I had done Latin", or "I don't care I got a B, I am just happy I didn't do Latin"?*
fucking hell I hope its the latter!!
Absolutely no guarantee he'll get A* in Latin anyway if he finds it dull.
My dd1 did Product Design and Latin for GCSE. (At her grammar school a tech was compulsory - PD, Food, Textiles or IT.) Very different skill sets needed - for Latin basically all you need is a good memory. For PD/RM it's all about planning, being disciplined, etc - it's much more about completing the log and writing up the project than what the project actually is. Also check the module breakdown - my dd was rubbish at doing all the writing up for her PD project, but then got about 90% in the theory paper, so ended up with a B. With which she was extremely pleased! But not all boards have a theory part to it.
The new resistant materials is supposed to be more theory than practical if that's any help?
Dd2s BF wanted to do it but loves practical and was warned that its changed a lot.
I've had two do Latin, one managed an A* with rather little in the way of grammatical knowledge or analysis but did a GCSE which must be an easier. That DC was moderately pleased to have it done it from a cultural point of view but like GCSE MFLs rote learning was necessary. If your DS does that style GCSE then the advantages from it are not that great apart from being with his friends. The other DC got the same mark (IGCSE) but did the subject with a much more advanced use of grammar and analysis of texts and loved it.
TBH I would go for the DM as he is drawn to it and it will develop another part of him.
I love Latin, think it can be hugely worthwhile, but in this case I think he should go for the one he wants to do. It's not worth torturing yourself with a language you hate and practical skills can greatly improve your quality of life as an adult imo.
I would go for the RM because he's shown an interest in it, it would broaden his skills set and widen his range. High grades are all well and good but breadth helps you in life.
I find purely academic job applicants aren't always what I'm looking for - I get more from people who are interested in what they are doing and have a broad range of skills and they usually get this from an early point in their lives. Sounds like he's got academic covered, I would be encouraging breadth now.
I would definitely go for the Resistent Materials if he's interested in it to broaden his education and as a change from the academic subjects, even if it did mean a lower grade. Except from what you're saying about being separated from his friends for lots of other subjects as a result. If he has a nice group of people he gets on with, then it's a big thing to give up.
I guess he just has to decide what he prefers - boredom in one subject, but one that he's likely to get good marks in and in classes with friends, vs a more interesting subject (to him) but perhaps more work, and not with his friends.
Latin is allegedly very easy at GCSE. RM less so. But DS1 has almost the same issue - Ancient Greek versus RM. I'm pushing him towards RM because it's fun and I don't want him to get too boffiny. He is already very boffiny and I think RM is probably a more sociable GCSE - chatting during [roject making, looking at each others designs etc.
I think being with his friends would be better tbh for the sake of three or four boring hours a week.
I did Latin and it was very useful for other languages and English grammar as well. I'm not practical at all though and would have really struggled with practicals. Friends that did Art and DT (showing my age!) had tonnes of extra work in most lunchtimes to get the practical bits to the standard they (the students) wanted.
Main thing is what he wants to do but he might find RM frustrating if he's good at everything else..
Well, decision made and RM it is. Latin teacher tried to persuade him to take Latin and almost promised a grade 8/9 but really couldn't come up with any other compelling reasons. She just went on about it showing a good memory and logic, but MFL, science and Maths will show that. I asked about whether it would help with English GCSE or if any careers required it, but she said basically no. The only thing she could really come up with was that it would look good if he wanted to apply to Oxbridge or do a classics or ancient history degree - none of which is appropriate. Basically, she couldn't sell it to him. RM teacher was absolutely brilliant, explained you can get 85% of the total marks (exam and project) from the theory and written work alone and that only 15% are judged on the final project so even if it's a complete disaster he could still get a 7/8 with zero marks for the finished product if he did well on the theory and written elements. He also persuaded my son that his current lack of practical skills would almost certainly be improved by the hands-on work they do in the lessons, and that most kids lose marks on the written/theory and very very few make a balls up of the end product they make. Also turns out after the decision day, that a few of his friends who were supposed to be doing Latin changed their minds too, so it looks like the right decision all round.
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