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Thick as muck

(79 Posts)
Kenlee Thu 02-Jan-14 01:08:37

I was asked this question at a party when talking about our DC...

If your child was thick as muck would you have still sent her to private school or bother tutoring her if she was in state school?

I really didnt have an answer for that as I was rather dumbstruck at the question.

After some thought I think I would still send her private.As she maybe a late developer or she was not engaged with her teachers.

If I couldn't afford it I would most likely find tutors that could engage her and get her moving.

If couldn't afford either I would then read books myself and try to engage her...

But I would never give up on her....

I think the main reasons why children fail is because parents give up on their children. It doesn't matter what socio econmic background you are from but if you give up. Your children will do the same....

Although being a helicopter tiger mum is also not very helpful to your child either....

TheGervasuttiPillar Thu 02-Jan-14 02:35:11

A friend of mine is a teacher and one of her Y5 pupils is not proficient in single digit addition (esp. if the sum is above 10).

The child gets a great deal of help in school. I think your friend would describe this child as 'thick as muck' (TAM). I do wonder what the point is of going over, day after day, stuff the kid just does not get. Why not find something the kid does well instead and do that?

The monetary equation of private vs TAM would have more to it for me. t could easily be that the TAM would get loads more benefit from some paid for schooling than your run-of-the-mill kid of affluent parents.

Magrug Thu 02-Jan-14 02:43:17

Nothing wrong with being TAM. Just because schools measure academics (because they have to) doesn't mean that's the only worthwhile way for a child to develop.

If I had a child who was TAM (and I suspect I may have), I would do all I could to discover their 'thing'. I think they'd be more likely to find it at an independent school (in our area, anyway...) as there is more of an emphasis on extra-curricular activity, but as TheGervasuttiPillar says, why go over and over and over and over something the child simply won't ever grasp? Why set them up to fail?

Kenlee Thu 02-Jan-14 04:20:34

Hmm a good point....I was just thinking along the lines of different approaches to help them understand..

But it does make sence to find something they are good at and develop that....I think being TAM is also conditioned into them. If they can build self esteem I think most can do well maybe not in academia but in other fields...

I just don't think any child should be written off because they can't compete with their academic peers...

In fact my brother was TAM until he reached University and now he is a chartered civil engineer... So its not all doom and gloom.

adoptmama Thu 02-Jan-14 07:51:29

The child may have a learning difficulty like dyscalculia which makes it hard for them to acquire and retain mathematical skills. You wouldn't give up on teaching a dyslexic to read. Basic numeracy is an essential life skill. It is not 'setting a child up to fail' to keep trying to reinforce the learning. It is not giving up on them, teaching them not to give up on themself, and hoping that you can find a way to help the learning stick.
The overwhelming majority of people are of 'average' intellect, some at the high end, some at the low end. A very small percentage are gifted or profoundly struggling. In 20+ years of teaching I have never met a child who is 'thick as mud'. Personally I wouldn't have considered it a question worth answering, beyond saying that if you only consider investing in you child's education (time, money or emotion) worthwhile if your child is 'bright' then you suck as a parent.

17leftfeet Thu 02-Jan-14 08:24:12

How can you describe your brother as TAM if he made it to university?

schoolnurse Thu 02-Jan-14 09:20:11

I find it hard to accept that a "normal" child can't learn to do single digit addition. I've worked with adults with a variety of syndromes whose IQ are barely over 80 and high functioning Down's syndrome children/adults who can easily do this both were/are statemented at school and living in support accommodation!! As already said some skills like simple addition are an essential life skill.
I personally would spend the money if I felt the school was the right place for that child and that there would more opportunities and more time would be devoted to them to ensure that they do quire the necessary life skills.

Enb76 Thu 02-Jan-14 09:25:41

I would be more likely to send a TAM or even average child to private school. I think if your child is bright then as long as you are interested in their education they are able to do ok wherever they are. An average child will be more likely to get better results going private and a TAM… well I think you should find something they excel at outside of academia. It must be hateful to bump along the bottom and is unlikely to do much for ones self esteem.

schoolnurse Thu 02-Jan-14 09:25:55

Sorry meant to right IQ barely over 50.

curlew Thu 02-Jan-14 09:30:01

What a deeply unpleasant thread.

MrsSteptoe Thu 02-Jan-14 09:30:34

DSis, whose son is very bright and went to a very high achieving independent school, asked me why I'd bother with private school if my DS was closer to the average. Leaving aside the patronising tone, which after all these years is pretty much water off a duck's back, seemed like a ridiculous question to me - for very much the reasons that Enb76 cites above.

Marmitelover55 Thu 02-Jan-14 09:40:57

Agree with curlew

adoptmama Thu 02-Jan-14 09:41:13

Just as we'll, schoolnurse, you are not a support for learning teacher then. There are plenty of 'normal' bright, able children who struggle with dyscalculia. A learning difficulty does not make a person 'thick' or stupid. Whether or not you find it 'difficult to accept' or not, does not make it any less real. It is attitudes like yours that make it so hard for teachers, parents and the children themselves.

As curlew said, a deeply unpleasant thread populated by comments I would have thought were from eras long gone.

ReallyTired Thu 02-Jan-14 09:50:47

"If your child was thick as muck would you have still sent her to private school or bother tutoring her if she was in state school?"

I think that there are kinder ways of describing someone with learning difficulties.

Before shelling out thousands on a child with learning difficulties I would pay a private ed pych to work out what provision the child needed to reach their full potential. It may well be the that the local state special school is the best provision in the area for such a child.

For a child who is a bit dim, but not got major learning difficulties the right private school can be a kinder enviroment than the bottom set of the local comp. Even if they learn nothing at the private school, prehaps its nice not to be bullied and unruly classmates. A lot depends what your local state schools are like.

It may well be that investing the money that you would have spent on fees is better for the child. Ie. if you can't give them a private education then having their own flat as an adult might help them become independent.

I have met secondary school children who have an IQ above 80 who can't do basic addition. There are many types of intelligence. Often brain damage affects one part of the brain but not another.

schoolnurse Thu 02-Jan-14 09:52:29

The point I'm trying to make adopt is that those with low IQ's can learn simple addition subtraction etc and that if they are able to learn it it is an essential life skill. I'm not saying they will learn it over night or even of course in a classroom situation but no one should give up trying to teach them because they don't see a point in doing it. I would also like to point out as have others that the inability to do simple addition is not an accurate measure of intelligence.

ReallyTired Thu 02-Jan-14 09:58:12

Someone with a cognitive impairment needs specialist teaching to learn basic skills. There are private schools which are horrendously expensive that do cater for children with substantial learning difficulties, but they are incredibly expensive. Most parents have to fight tooth and nail to get a statement to cover the costs.

I have met children (with brain damage) who at the age of eleven cannot count objects beyond 10. In some counties such children are taught in mainstream, other counties have MLD special schools or units attached to secondary schools. Most private schools would not have a clue on how to educate such a child or the connections to arrange suitable work experience later on.

schoolnurse Thu 02-Jan-14 10:14:41

I think the problem here is how the term thick as mud (I'm very reluctant to even write this) is defined. As reallytired has pointed out many children with severe learning difficulties and low IQ's will be better off in the state sector or even a specialised state school where their often complex needs can be hopefully met because staff are specialised in dealing with them. Most independent schools wouldn't take them because they are aware of their limitations.
If by thick as mud we're talking children at the lower end of average then if money was no object then the choice depends on what is available and what is the best fit for the individual child. A childhood friend of mine who I suspect would be categorised at TAM went to a well known boarding school because she was a talented horse rider and was able to take her horse and have lessons from top trainers and ride 7 days a week she is now a professional event rider. She lived breathed ate slept horses and struggled in primary school academically although interestingly she also left her school (many years ago) with a selection of O level passes in the core subjects and even two A levels perhaps making up horse feed everyday helped her with her maths!

curlew Thu 02-Jan-14 10:18:31

"I think the problem here is how the term thick as mud (I'm very reluctant to even write this) is defined."

Is it? I think the problems on this thread are much deeper and more extensive than a mere definition of term!

Gunznroses Thu 02-Jan-14 10:28:23

curlew would you care to expantiate on the problems you see on this thread? i'm asking genuinely as i don't see what they are, the thread title if provocative but OP is relaying what she was asked and people seem to be giving reasonable opinions, however I do agree with schoolnurse that its unclear what the person in the OP was referring to as TAM (deeply unpleasant whatever he/she meant) but political correctness aside i'm sure most of us have come across people who use this term. On MN alone i've come across posters referring to children as 'thick' if they score anything less than an 'A', didn't go to an RG university, or don't attend a secondary school in the top 10.

ReallyTired Thu 02-Jan-14 10:41:43

"curlew would you care to expantiate on the problems you see on this thread?"

Prehaps the biggest problem of this thread is the implication that a family should apportion its resources to children based on ablity. In real life the hurtful term "thick" is part of the english language. In the past children used to be refered as "retarded" or "educationally subnormal", but these terms have now become taboo as they were used as insults. The term "special needs" is vague as to be meaningless.

I suppose that if this thread had asked what is the best education in the world for a children with a learning difficulty then it would had not had any kind of reaction.

Gunznroses Thu 02-Jan-14 11:03:40

Reallytired but how do we know the term was used in reference to a child with learning difficulties ? the OP doesn't say that, which is why one needs more clarification before we can adequately contribute to this confusing thread.

curlew Thu 02-Jan-14 11:08:38

"curlew would you care to expantiate on the problems you see on this thread?"

Not really. Frankly, if the language used and ideas expressed don't outrage you, nothing i could say is likely to make any difference.

Gunznroses Thu 02-Jan-14 11:10:44

curlew Sheer outrage is not going to make any difference either. Its simply shutting the door to any opportunity to educate or be educated.

schoolnurse Thu 02-Jan-14 11:24:42

curlew is right to be indignant about the term TAM and the implication that if you're below average intelligence then you don't deserve or justify as much money spent on you as say you bright sibling.
The reality this who really do have a low IQ deserve more money spent on then because teaching then to acquire a whole range of skills just to enable them to function in society but this takes time patience and specialised teaching. Sadly they are for the want of a better term an unromantic group when compared to prem babies or oncology children and are therefore under rescourced and in fact as the Winterbourne Home case demonstrated often abused. If you had a child with a below average IQ, had the money and could find an independent school which could meet the child's needs better than the state sector could then it would be morally wrong not to send them. Most parents of these children are enormously dedicated and caring often fighting a difficult and unwieldy system I suspect few would even query whether it was money well spent; if they had it they'd spend it

ReallyTired Thu 02-Jan-14 11:58:05

It is not always possible to throw money at a problem and get a solution. We all want our children to become independent and happy adults and it is a good question to ask how this can be best achieved.

I think its naivity to assume that private education is always better. There are some truely fanastic state schools for children with special needs in the UK. Depending on the child's disablity then it may be the case that the best school in the world is a state school.

Supporting a child who finds learning difficult often requires lateral thinking. The world is far wider than academic achievement. My brother got very few qualications inspite of attending really expensive private schools. He is now working as an electrican, one of his school friends is a long distance lorry driver and another friend is a chef.

Even children with substantial learning difficulties can find worthwhile employment. I know someone who has a very low IQ and went to special school who is now sorting recycling at the local dump.

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