The most high impact choice you make in shaping the character and aptitude of your children is in choosing your mate
[T]hat parental home environment seems to have minimal predictive power in explaining variation in outcomes, is still not very well known. The two primary issues to keep in mind are:
1) A substantial proportion of the variation in I.Q. and personality is heritable in a genetic sense. Many observations of parent-child similarities presumed that they were due to learning and emulation, but statistical analysis suggests this is not the case. Today, with genomic understanding of sibling relatedness (recall that though siblings should be related 0.50, there is some variation about this value) this seems more true than ever; much of the difference between siblings seems to be due to the variation of their genetic make up.
2) Most of the “environmental” variation is not accounted for. It could be non-shared socialization. Peer groups as Judith Rich Harris of The Nurture Assumption would argue. It could be gene-gene interactions, which for technical reasons are captured as “environmental” variance. Or developmental stochasticity in utero. Sending your children to Waldorf or Montessori is unlikely to do the trick.
[...] [T]he early and late life variation in linguistic complexity and intelligence [between social classes] is just a reflection of the reality that class is somewhat correlated with heritable human inequalities. On average those on welfare are less intelligent than those in the professional class, and that is in part due to genetic endowments.
[...] Early modern Western elites who had their children raised by their household help nonetheless produced offspring who reflected their own values by sending them to boarding schools and other institutions which shape outlook and character. Culture is not just a matter of parents talking to their children between the ages of one and five.
The most high impact choice you make in shaping the character and aptitude of your children is in choosing your mate. This may be the best argument for taking a PLUS Loan and sending your child to an elite private institution if they weren’t able to get into Berkeley. That way they are guaranteed to swim in a mate pool which is enriched with individuals with the qualities that you are interested in for your grandchildren. And indirectly this may actually be an argument for sending your child to an elite preschool: because in the near future that credential may be the key which opens the gates for the schools which are pipelines into the ruling class. First primary, then secondary, and finally tertiary education.
-- Razib Khan
Quoted on Thu Jan 17th, 2013