I think it’s a disservice to divide kids into “smart” and “not”. That could be the start of deciding which kids can learn and which cannot. Until you reach the upper levels of art/literature/science/music/mathmatics/etc that require a true gift for the subject, I firmly believe that any child can learn IF they are taught in a way that works for them.
I hear too often parents and kids themselves use the label “not smart enough” as an excuse for why they can’t do basic math or learn to read and that’s so disheartening.
Not sure why you feel this is incredible? Sounds perfectly normal to me. Maybe a difference in life experience? I have six children, one w/masters degree, one a junior in college, one in high school, 2 in middle school, 1 elementary. I fully expect them all to get at least a bachelors and since all those not in college are currently getting A’s or mostly A’s and are in accelerated classes, I don’t see why this would be difficult.
They also all attend/attended public school (though private college). For us this provides a good basis of education that we actively supplemented at home by covering all those things schools don’t have time for. This works especially well since each of my children have different learning styles, personalities, and abilities.
In truth though, I think most of their success is due to a few simple things -
Books. Surrounded by them from the moment of birth - cloth books to lay on, board books to chew on, laps to sit in while listening to books. Always books available to read both at and above their level. I read daily and make regular trips to the library where each has their own card. We watch movies and contrast/compare them to the book, etc.
Taking it for granted. Always believing and acting like education, A’s, intelligence, attending college, success, etc are normal things - neither over nor under emphasizing them. I give no rewards for A’s, and nothing bad for C’s except to discover the problem (usually failure to remain organized and turn in the homework) and we solve it. They know that if they don’t understand something they need to get help with it from one of us or we’ll help them find help from another source. It’s no big deal. Just quiet pride as we hang the year’s academic awards on the fridge for the first week of summer.
The one exception to the above is that we have regularly pointed out that success in grade school leads to success in high school that leads to money for college. Full ride academic scholarships are rare - but most private schools do have funds for those with good grades and high test scores. Add in whatever that particular child’s passion is (volunteering, choir, sports, etc.) and you can get a good chunk of college paid for. Then mix in loans, work-study, savings, part time jobs, and so forth and the bills get paid.
Active parenting. Treat the word “parent” as a verb - it’s something you must do. So we learn new things and teach the kids. The kids learn new things and teach us. Lots of interaction every single day.
As I said above, some kids need a different teaching style and I’m sure this can sometimes be better provided for in a home schooling situation - though not always (all of us have limits and I’m sure there’s some parents besides me who do not possess the ability to make it work well).
As far as being a joyful, happy family unit - well, that’s one thing I don’t have a clue about. We’re just normal - loving sure, but also lots of arguments, fights, bad feelings, and rivalry. I’m just happy for every hour that passes without someone hollering “Will you stop touching me!!” LOL!!!