Some of us become daunted when we reach the highschool years with our children😉. (Ok, well, maybe all of us actually!) It can seem quite daunting, as qualifications seem to be the be all and end all, but let's be honest, schools have got a pretty bad record of students getting good grades at GCSE, so school is NOT a guarantee of getting good grades, even if you send them to the £12,000 a year school down the road. From what I have gleaned in my experience teaching in school and out; the parents are the key factor as to whether or not the child fails. There is no way a class teacher can devote the one to one attention that children sometimes need, and this is still important even in the high school years. Even my son in college is finding that the tutors can only help so much, the rest is up to him, and that is why it is so important that we instill in our children a love of learning, and teach them how to learn independently. This is an important discipline that most haven't encountered until they reach university, and then they feel they have been dropped in the deep end.
So, my aim is by age 11 the children are capable of learning independently, meaning that they can follow books, and courses of study themselves. I find this gives them the opportunity to see what subjects they enjoy, and therefore they tend to concentrate on those in the last years. One of my sons is doing Electronical Engineering,and by age 14 he had decided that was what he wanted to do. Home education gave him the freedom to tinker, and use different computer programmes, and gadgets learning more about electronics.
Two of the others were not so keen on academic study, so they are working in hospitality, as that is where they feel they have been led. They still have a keen interest in film making, and of course the other also in writing. I know if they had the chance to do a job where those elements were involved they would jump at it.
So, this year I have a 14, and 12 year old in the high school pre exam years, and our main focus is Key stage three English and Maths. Now I am very familiar with the exams I know what we are aiming for, as they at least want to take English and Maths. As for the three exam students, yes, I am marking mock papers which I don't enjoy, but boy is it worth it when they get the grades they aimed for! It makes it all worthwhile, and remember there is no pressure to take exams, unless they want to go to university.....and to be honest, even my engineering son has found a way around university. Unless you want to be a medical doctor, nurse or lawyer etc I can't see the point. I definitely believe a degree is not worth now what it was worth in the 1980's or 90's. It is ridiculous some of the subject areas you can get degrees in now.