Frequently Asked Questions 

How does Love2Learn Curriculum compare with other Curricula available from overseas?

Ivana Ries, the original author and founder of Love2Learn Curriculum can share the following with you…

I wrote Love2Learn Curriculum many years back in order to “polyfilla” several holes I experienced homeschooling our own girls, and using a range of international curriculum materials.

We do not wish to speak negatively of any curriculum out there, as we believe they all have their place and the Lord uses them all. So, I will do my best to present to you the aspects of Love2Learn which you may find absent in other curricula, as fairly as possible.

1.We wanted to offer authentic discipleship and Biblical character building 

As far as we as a family (and curriculum provider) are concerned, homeschooling is not merely an educational alternative, but a ministry of discipleship to our children. We want to raise God-honoring children, who love and serve Him wholeheartedly, joyfully and passionately. We are not affiliated to any specific denomination. We believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of the Scriptures. Now - forgive the phrase - a bible-story-a-day and a few Christian biographies scattered here and there, was truly not my idea of a discipleship programme. I wanted a far more comprehensive tool with which to disciple our girls. So that was the first area I set about addressing. Then of course was my need for a comprehensive "character development" programme. We believe that the development of Christian character is not something left to chance, but the careful, gentle and purposeful honing of positive character traits. I found this absent in the curriculum I used; and so I ensured that it formed a very important part of our Bible programme. We offer daily reading of God’s Word, Inductive Bible Study Skills, Christian Biographies, Scripture memorization set to music in some Cores, Prayer, Praise, Worship, Hands-On Bible Activities, Christian Character programmes, Faith development programmes and far more involved studies later on.

2. We wanted to offer History across the world, rather than just focusing on South Africa.

My children knew more about the Rocky Mountains and George Washington than they did about Nelson Mandela and the Drakensberg Mountains. They were blissfully oblivious of the morphology, rivers, mountains, farming, settlement patterns etc. of our own Country…and hey…who was Shaka or Mandela for that matter.

As proud South Africans our heritage is important, but I didn’t want to fall off the other end of the see-saw and forget about International History either. I believe in the chronological, systematic teaching of history, complete with timelines and map work. And so our history programme consists of a comprehensive International History Programme covering all periods from Ancient through to 20th Century History as one component and interspersed here and there with South African History as another.

3. We also wanted to offer a great selection of English Literature

One of the things I enjoyed in one particular Curriculum was their literature. Love2Learn too offers a very extensive literature programme for each successive Content Level.

Sections of our literature dove-tail the history - as there is no better way to learn history than to “live it” through the literature. We also include award winning novels, "twaddle-free", wholesome literature, biographies, poetry and classics (both old and modern).

4. We wanted to cater to more than one Learning Style

Next on the list was the need to satisfy my kin-aesthetic, younger daughter, who couldn't sit still for a moment; and our visual, older daughter. If I could tally up all the hours I spent in the library, trying to research and tack on “hands-on” activities to one of the imported curriculum we used, it would amount to an absurd amount or time!

Very few curricula (if any) cater for all three learning styles. (I couldn’t find one!) So I decided to create a curriculum that would simultaneously cater for Auditory, Visual and Kinaesthetic learners every lesson, every day for every Content Studies subject. For example, a kin-aesthetic learner is happy to learn about volcano’s, but they want to MAKE one. A visual learner wants to see a full color picture of a volcano…and more than this, they want to see live footage of Mount St Helens erupting. An auditory learner wants to hear an interview with a person who was there at the time…or they want to hear themselves relate the incident (i.e. act out what they learned).

So I proceeded to incorporate daily activities suited to all three learning styles into the lesson plans. This means that every day, Love2Learn families are learning out of full color, “living” books; acting out, narrating, watching video clips or related internet material and making and doing with their hands.

5. We wanted to ensure there was balanced, age-appropriate output from the children.

Another hole I had to fill…was the lack of output from my children. If an education official were to visit our home (albeit that this is both unlikely and not a fear); and say ‘what did you do all year?’ I would have to reply… “See all these lovely books we bought overseas?…well, I read them aloud to my children.” Just imagine the reply: “That’s lovely… and what exactly did they DO in response to these books?”

Lack of output was always an issue for me. And more so the lack of age-differentiated output. So I was always adding on to the Instructor’s Guide things for our children to do specifically in terms of written work…and then trying to make the written work age-appropriate. It just took so much TIME! So this was obviously an area I have tried to address within Love2Learn.

6. We wanted to align with tried and trusted educational philosophies:

I personally was very taken with Charlotte Mason’s methodology; and made a full study of her six-volume series. I read endlessly and voraciously every piece of material I could find…this research extended over some seven or eight years. I have ensured that Love2Learn incorporates Charlotte’s principles in as pure a form as possible, remaining true to her philosophy of education. I simultaneously wanted to incorporate the rigor and thoroughness of a Classical Education.

Fortunately there is a significant overlap between Charlotte Mason principles and Classical Education. Love2Learn includes Latin studies from Grade 4; and Logic and Critical Thinking from Grade 0 through to high school, culminating in studies of Traditional and Material Logic.

7. We wanted a clear coverage of subjects as whole entities, rather than an amorphous blurring

Then there was the fact that many subjects that we offer as stand-alone, very comprehensive subjects, were lumped together - not very satisfactorily - by other curricula. For example, many of them group History and Geography together. We consider map-work to be but one facet of Geography; and consider it grossly insufficient to simply cover map work and consider ourselves to have completed Geography! So we set about creating a very comprehensive Geography programme for every Content Studies level, including astronomy, geology, physical geography, settlement and population geography etc.

  • Then Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Anatomy were grouped together under the topic of "science" by international curriculum providers. We approach this differently and offer Physics, Chemistry, Technology, Botany & Zoology, Human Anatomy and Physiology as stand-alone subjects in the higher grades and Science, Biology, Technology and Anatomy as stand-alone subjects in the lower grades. Where other curriculum providers were prescribing only one book to cover ALL of this in the lower grades, we supply a fully comprehensive range of books (all full colour), together with our Engine Rooms (Lesson Plans) - sometimes involving several books for a subject. We do not believe in, not subscribe to the theory of evolution and our lesson plans are built around beautiful, Christian Resources wherever possible (including Apologia in the higher grades.)

 

  • Music and Art were considered subjects one tacks on as “enrichment” by the curriculum I originally used. At Love2Learn we offer these as a standard part of our Content Studies, as we believe they are very important to a well-rounded education. This is very much a Charlotte Mason and classical education principle.

 

8. We wanted to offer a recognized school-leaving qualification at the end.

I had a major issue with my children completing the final years of the imported curriculum and ending school without a recognized school-leaving certificate.

In South Africa, you may no longer gain access to a University via the avenue of an “Entrance Exam”. The principle being that you need to gain a recognized Matriculation pass which entitles you entrance to a University in South Africa. This is why we offer comprehensive support for independent students wishing to write the prestigious International GCSE (Grade 10/11) and AS-Level (Grade 12), via our sister company Imperial International College - Online Education for High School.

In closing, we are humbled to share that today, we have families in >25 countries around the world and Cottage- /Independent- Schools in three countries using Love2Learn Curriculum to educate children.

I give all glory, honour and praise to God for His gracious provision.

How long does a Content Studies or Discipline Studies subject take to complete?

All of our Content Studies subjects are supplied together with what we call an Engine Room (Lesson Plans), that guide a parent or educator through essentially each page of each book for each lesson for each day for a total of 36 schooling weeks (180 schooling days) of the year. You may well take less time - or a little longer - to complete it, if required.

This does not however apply to our Discipline Studies (Maths, English, Afrikaans etc.); we encourage you to ensure that you complete these annually.

Is a second language still a compulsory requirement for entrance into South African Universities?

We would direct you to the Universities themselves as things are constantly changing and so unfortunately, we cannot speak on behalf of the Universities. We would suggest that you simply “Google” the relevant faculty at your preferred University to see what their policy is. If you continue with us through to Grade 12/Matric Level, via our sister company - Imperial International College - www.iic-online.com; when making application, please be sure to mention you will be applying with AS-Level credits, not the mainstream National Senior Certificate (NSC) credits. Alternatively contact USAF (Universities of South Africa) directly.

If my child wishes to do Computer Science at Grade 10/11 Level for Matric accreditation, would he need to complete Grade 1 - 9 in Computers?

Although certainly very beneficial, it is not a prerequisite. Gr10/11 Computer Science can be started from scratch, with no prior experience in computers

What does Love2Learn's English Literature consist of?

In addition to comprehensive Literature analysis, our English Literature also includes a focus on the following purposes:

  1. Develop a love of reading.
  2. Widen horizons.
  3. Expose students to classics, including Shakespeare.
  4. Incorporate biographies.
  5. Includes historical literature.
  6. Expose students to award-winning and modern classics.

In all of this we also endeavor to steer clear of literature that is full of goblins, witches, spells and the like!

I don't want to portray History to my children in any way that contradicts the Bible or discounts God – what can I do?

Personally, we couldn't agree more. We’ve also discussed this as well as the whole issue of Australopithecus, Homos Erectus, etc. with a close friend and mentor who was our Pastor (now retired); and he was also the Chairman of the South African Theological Seminary (SATS) - again, now retired. All we can do, when surrounded with views that do not coincide with our own, is present the material from a biblical perspective. We encourage you to see it as a wonderful opportunity to build truth into your child’s life and recognize it as an object lesson opportunity.

Which subjects are required (as a minimum) in terms of the DBE in South Africa?

At Love2Learn we do not dictate the number of subjects you need to order from us; being modular, you are welcome to order as few or as many as you want in order to tailor make a curriculum subject offering for your child.

In terms of “compulsory” subjects, from Grade 4 onwards - up to and including Grade 9 - (and with a view to preparing independent students for the British Grade 10/11 Level and Grade 12 Level - which we offer via Imperial International College - www.iic-online.com - a division of Love2Learn), the Department of Education in South Africa requires that a student should ideally be covering the following six subjects as  a minimum:


(Click image for an expanded view)

1.  If you proceed right through to Gr12, you will require English Home (1st) Language.
2. We offer the option of either Afrikaans (1 st Language level up to Gr9 or 2nd Language up to Gr12) or French (2nd Language up to Int. GCSE).
3.  From a Love2Learn perspective this is (Science side of) Geography + Science + Biology + Human Anatomy.
4 From a Love2Learn perspective this is History + (People side of) Geography.
5 This subject is not a requirement for an international Matric, only if you plan to write the National Senior Certificate.

What are the “Extra set of consumable workbooks for sibling”/ “Ekstra stel werboeke vir broers en susters” listed on the Price List?

It is a criminal offence to photostat books without permission from the Publisher/Author; so rather than insist that you purchase two or three of the same complete subjects for each of your children (assuming that they are doing the same Grade together) we have compiled a pack that includes just the consumable resources that make up part of a given subject, for our families to purchase. The “text” books/ non-consumable books that make up the balance of the subject can be shared.

This is also helpful where you have a younger sibling coming through the ranks – assuming that the books are still in print - you need only order the “Extra set of consumable workbooks” when they come to do the subject their older sibling has already completed.

Again, this allows for a significant amount of amortization of your costs as you progress down the years; and is a far more cost-effective way of homeschooling, when compared with having to reorder the complete subject for each child.

Why does Love2Learn advocate the study of Latin?
  • It is estimated that over fifty percent of English words have their roots in Latin.  A study of Latin will render your child more proficient in the English language. Research has shown that performance on standardized tests increases markedly in students who take Latin.
  • If your child ultimately decides to study law, medicine, zoology, anatomy, theology, and many other disciplines they will be very well prepared by studying Latin.
  • The study of Latin provides an understanding of the impact the classical cultures had on our modern culture. We see this in our architecture, the names of plants and constellations, our political structures, and Latin expressions that are simply carried over into our language.
  • Students of Latin are trained in a method of rigorous analysis. The ability that is acquired in doing this is not limited to Latin. The study of Latin equips young minds to encounter unfamiliar material in a disciplined way. Latin trains the student in the essentials of scientific method: observation, comparison, and generalization.  In other words, it is a great tool to teach critical thinking.
  • Romance languages such as French, Spanish and Italian, are direct descendants of Latin. The study of Latin is a very appropriate introduction to modern language study. Love2Learn offers French as a school-leaving credit.
  • Love2Learn families often ask “How many years of Latin is enough?”  Even a year of Latin has an impact!  A student need stay with the formal study of Latin after they matriculate. It is still a great ongoing benefit to them. The study of Latin grammar is also a great help in understanding the nature of grammar, which carries over well into English.
  • Love2Learn offers 7 years of Latin, commencing in Grade 4 and ending in Grade 10.
  • You can commence Latin at any stage along the way, even with no prior experience! Love2Learn will place you at the correct commencement Level.  While you may not complete all the possible years of Latin available, even a foundation study of Latin is of enormous benefit.

What is important to point out is that we are not grooming our students for the SA mainstream NSC Matric (National Senior Certificate); instead, we are grooming them for the prestigious International GCSE (Grades 10/11) and AS-Level (Grade 12), which is recognized as of the highest standards of Matric offered in the world - which is where Love2Learn Curriculum students ultimately culminate, through our sister company - Imperial International College - www.iic-online.com, which aligns with the Cambridge syllabus.

Do you offer any form of examining for the purpose of the Department of Education at the end of each school phase - grade 3, 6 and 9?

If you register with the DBE in South Africa (Department of Basic Education), they requires that a child be formally assessed by an independent assessor at the end of each of these phases. This can be performed by any SETA registered teacher or your local school.

If one does not do tests or send things in to Love2Learn for marking, how does one know if one’s child is progressing right?
  • Within Love2Learn Curriculum, there is class work to be done for all the Content Studies subjects in the form of weekly essays. You as the teacher having taught this material will easily see whether your child has grasped the material or not.
  • In terms of our Disciplined Studies, e.g. English, there are weekly spelling tests, dictation tests, comprehension tests and writing assignments, all of which give you a very good indication as to whether your child is grasping the material; and thus able to move on.
  • Our PR1ME Mathematics for Grades 1 - 6, includes the option to order the "Practice Tests", which may be spread across the year.
  • At a lower High School level (Grade 8 – 9), answers to tests are provided in the form of a Teacher’s Guide for Maths, English and Afrikaans.
  • At an Upper High School level (Grades 10 – 12), your child completes and submits approximately 72 assessments and past exam papers at International GCSE (Grade 10/11 combined) and 30+ assessments and past exam papers at AS-Level (Gr12), which are marked by our part-time tutors and returned together with memorandums where applicable. Please visit Imperial International College (our sister company) website at iic-online for more in this regard.
What is Love2Learn's free Bridging Programme?

Our Bridging Programme is supplied free-of-charge as a courtesy, to help to tide you over - and MAKE THE WAITING FUN while you wait for your Love2Learn order to arrive!
We dispatch the Bridging Course via email only.

The material covered in the Bridging Course, while constituting valuable learning, is not the same as that covered in your Love2Learn Curriculum. It is not supplied with an Engine Room or teacher guidelines, but is designed as a scheme of work to be covered for each subject per week over the 8-week period whilst you wait for your order to be ready.

It requires you to obtain books from the library or surf the Internet; and to develop your own lesson plans around these books, until such time as your Love2Learn Order is ready for delivery. It does not replace or attempt to replace Love2Learn Curriculum. It is designed to be a tool to assist you in the transition period from “school” to “home-school” and to provide you with themes of study while you await the arrival of your Love2Learn Order. In essence it also means that you as a family will not have to spend weeks staring at each other across the dining room table, whilst you await the arrival of your Love2Learn Curriculum resources!

Is there a cut-off date for orders for any given year?

For Grade 00 - Grade 9 students, Love2Learn will accept orders at any time of the year, right throughout every academic year.
Because we import a large number of our resources, we work on an eight week lead time for fulfillment of an order, ready for dispatch (and subject to books and resources being in print). We would recommend that in order for you to receive your order by early-December, and in turn be in a position to start in mid-January, you should place your order by early-October at the latest!

Students who are wanting to study International GCSE (Grades 10/11 combined and AS-Level (Grade 12) - both are completed over 18 month - need to be cognoscente that Imperial International College (our sister company) offers two intakes per year - viz. January and July. This aligns with Cambridge’s two exam-sitting opportunities per year (May/June and Oct/Nov). Families will thus need to time their ordering and preparation accordingly. To this end then, orders need to be placed ideally by no later than early- to mid-October in order to qualify for the January intake; and early- to mid-April for the mid-year intake. 
However, over the Christmas/New Year Festive season we have a cut-off date (usually around 12 December) due to the fact that our offices close and re-open the second week of January. (Please contact our office to confirm our cut-off date for any given year).

Is it possible to order only part of Love2Learn and not the entire Curriculum?

Certainly! Love2Learn Curriculum offers a substantially broader, richer and more varied curriculum in regard to its extended Content Studies and Disciplined Studies with a wider subject range when compared with mainstream schooling.
You have the flexibility to purchase a single subject or as many subjects as you wish, for any given academic year.

Is it a problem if we live outside of South Africa, or could I home-school anywhere in the world using Love2Learn?

Not at all. We currently have clients in over 25 countries across the globe. The one thing that you do need to remember, is then setting aside a budget for courier costs. It will be ideal if you have family or business colleagues who can bring the resources across to you when they visit; alternatively, if you plan your order with sufficient lead-time, you can sea-freight is across (up to 12 – 14 weeks freight time), which is MUCH more affordable.

Would my children need a computer, or would one home computer be sufficient?

Love2Learn Curriculum does incorporate some software in most of the Grades and some of the Content Studies, but Love2Learn's Grades 00 - 9, do not rely on software. A computer per child is certainly not essential – they can get along quite fine if they need to share.

Please note however that should you wish to proceed with International GCSE and AS-Levels (Grades 10-12) via Imperial International College (www.iic-online.com), our sister company, access to a computer and the Internet, is essential!

How do I teach Grade 1, 2 and 3 children the same material all at the same time?

Firstly, in order to promote a one-room schoolhouse environment, where you don't have to rush off to three different curriculum files for three different grades, we prescribe one set of material for three levels. We do this via our Content Studies offering.

The difference between each level rests upon two factors:

  1. How much the child absorbs and understands the material
  2. How much the child is able to DO with the information learned: (e.g. Analysis, Synthesis, Comparison, Short Essay Writing etc.)

Expanding this concept then... 

The Grade 1
child will interact with the material at his Grade 1 level, the Grade 2 will absorb more of it and the Grade 3 will be able to absorb it, draw parallels, analyse it and re-synthesize the material in his own mind and own words. Secondly, the output expected from a Grade 1 is much simpler than that required from a Grade 3. A Grade 1 should simply draw a picture of what they have learned. (Half way through the Grade 1 year they can begin writing a suitable heading for their picture, using the phonics learned).

 The Grade 2 child will write a heading for the picture right from the beginning of the year and will begin labelling the drawing... (e.g. parts of a plant, the apparatus required for a science experiment etc). The Grade 2 will work up to writing three to four sentences about their piece of work, by mid-year.

The Grade 3 child will begin writing one or two sentences at the beginning of the year (this is if they are new to Love2Learn and not accustomed to writing three to four sentences.) By the end of the first term of Grade 3, he should write at least two sentences if not more. By mid-year he should work up to four sentences, and by the end of Grade 3, he should be very comfortable writing at least half a page of his own notes. (Not dictated by you! It is a written version of Narration).

How challenging is it to teach using Love2Learn Curriculum?

In principle, homeschooling children in the lower Grades requires a significant amount of input (in terms of time and attention) from a parent; however, in keeping with what research studies have shown, there is a tendency for children (and in particular home-schooled children) to become more independent as they get older. They are thus able to a large extent, to home-school themselves. This is further assisted through what we at Love2Learn call our Engine Rooms (lesson plans).

The Engine Room essentially guides you as a parent / educator through virtually every page of every book, for every lesson, for every subject, for every day for 36 schooling weeks of the year (180 schooling days). In addition, it includes guidelines and suggestions for activities that cater to the needs of Auditory, Visual and Kin-aesthetic learners for every day (not that you should ever try do all of them together of course!)

The Department of Education requires that you complete 190 days per year. We have left 10 days in the year (less than 1 day per month) for you to go on outings, excursions etc. (With respect though, the work you cover in 180 days is significantly more than what is covered in 190 days in a mainstream school). If you consult our Price List on our Website, it indicates which subjects incorporate an Engine Room. We supply you with all the resources for these subjects. All you need to add is working paper, pens, pencils, kokies, crayons, tea, coffee and LOTS OF LOVE!

What is your lead-time for supply?

Please remember that as adults, we generally all have a 12-year degree in "how to do school"; and we imagine that if we don’t start on 15 January and finish our schooling year on 4 December (an average SA mainstream-schooling year), our children will be mentally scarred for life!

The reality is that homeschooling is a different “animal” and we encourage families to look upon homeschooling as first and foremost the discipleship of their children with a view to preparing them for life – that’s University and beyond. It is not so much about importing the classroom into the home, but rather more about putting the home back into their schooling, without compromising in terms of standard, quality, diligence, regularity and commitment.

Notwithstanding this, we fully appreciate the eagerness of families to obtain their books as soon as possible after order, and we certainly do strive to supply books in as short a time as possible. However, sometimes publishers are out of stock, books are in reprint and some resources that make up your order can be unavoidably delayed. (These delayed resources will not interfere with being able to start your homeschooling.) Please allow approximately 8 weeks from the time you pay for collation of your order, ready for delivery. (We will obviously do all we can to deliver in less time!) If your order process period falls over Christmas/New Year, then please note that as a result of our as well as many of our publishers' holiday closure during this time, this will result in further delays which are beyond our control. Consequently, please factor this into your scheduling.

Ultimately, the first time that you order from Love2Learn will be the only time that you will have to experience this waiting period; as you can simply factor this lead-time into all of your future orders!

Once your order has been received and processed, Love2Learn will supply you with an 8-week Bridging Course. This course is supplied electronically via e-mail and is free-of-charge - as a courtesy - to help make the waiting FUN, while you wait for your Love2Learn Curriculum to arrive! The material covered in the Bridging Course, while constituting valuable learning, is not the same as that covered in your Love2Learn Curriculum. It is not supplied with an Engine Room or teacher guidelines, but is designed as a scheme of work to be covered for each subject per week, over an eight-week period. It requires you to obtain books from the library or information on the Internet and to develop your own lesson plans around this material, until such time as your Love2Learn Order is ready for delivery. It does not replace or attempt to replace Love2Learn Curriculum. Again, it is designed to be a tool to assist you in the transition period from “school” to “homeschool”; and to provide you with FUN themes of study while you await the arrival of your Love2Learn Order.

How much parental involvement is required with Love2Learn?

In the lower Grades and Cores there is a significant amount required; however, in keeping with what research studies have shown, there is a tendency for children (especially home-schooled children) to become more independent as they get older and they are thus able to a large extent, to home-school themselves. This is further assisted through our Engine Rooms (lesson plans) which come with most subjects from Grade 1 upwards; and these essentially guide a parent through virtually each page of each book, for each subject for each lesson, for each day for 36 schooling weeks (180 schooling days) of the year. If you consult our Price List, it indicates which subjects incorporate an Engine Room as standard.

How many hours a day do they spend with the work and how do the hours increase as they age. And do they have to spend every day working?

When children are at a Grade 00 level, we recommend that to a large extent they be allowed in a sense to dictate their commitment and hours. In principle, they’re small and need to PLAY! They do not need to be strapped to a desk somewhere churning out worksheets! When they get to our Grade 0 / Grade 1 level, you would be homeschooling for approximately 3+ hours per day; and this will increase steadily to approx. 5 hours per day in upper primary/lower high school extending up to 7 hours per day in the Upper High School – Grades 10 – 12 Levels. However, please remember that there is no home-work! Homeschooling for us is first and foremost the discipleship of our children to prepare them for life; and we would strongly urge you to always approach it with diligence, commitment and regularity!

Do we have to follow a January - December academic year?

No; and there is no legal requirement for this either. Within South Africa, the Department of Basic Education requires that children complete 190 schooling days in a year. You are free to operate your academic year commencing and ending any month of your choice.

Because most parents were not home-schooled themselves, they tend to emulate a model of education based on their own schooling experiences. We call this a "12 year degree in how to do school”. From a South African schooling context point of view, we tend to think that if we don’t start on 15 January and finish on 4 December, our children will be mentally scarred for life! Well, this is simply not the truth… you can operate your home-school on any calendar you like.

How does one teach multiple ages simultaneously? - Broad Guidelines

This is a concept that tends to intimidate and exasperate many homeschooling parents.
The reason why so often this happens is that people in general tend to worry too much about the content and not enough about developing skills.

We live in an information age, where information is changing all the time. There’s an information explosion; and we can’t possibly deal with all the information.
Yes, unquestionably, we need to develop an understanding of the basic information, but once this has been done, then we need to focus on developing the skills, because ultimately we will need to be able to read it, understand it and represent it in different ways e.g. diagrams, speeches, text etc.

Take for example a topic like teaching about LEAVES as part of Biology, to multiple ages… a 5 year old Grade 0, a 9 year old Grade 4 and a 14 year old Grade 9:
(As a broad guideline, one would pitch the lesson at the oldest child’s level; and then simplify as you move down through the ages)

  • Grade 0 (5 yrs)

You could task them to go into the garden to look for different kinds and shapes of leaves, e.g. serrated, straight-edged, lobed etc.
Once they’ve gathered these up, they can take paper and do a rubbing with crayons to record the different kinds of leaves that plants have.
As part of the lesson they would also learn that leaves makes food for plants.

Skills development:

    • Classifying / categorizing leaves
    • Crayon “rubbing” helps develop their fine motor-skills
  • Grade 4 (9 yrs)
    They too learn that leaves manufacture food for plants; and they’re also old enough to know about “photosynthesis” in words only; and perhaps draw a simple diagram with arrows, to illustrate the concept.

Skills development:

    • Learning and acquiring the skill of taking facts and expressing them in language; and
    • Taking facts and expressing them in a diagram.

 

  • Grade 9 (14 yrs)
    In addition to obviously knowing all that the younger children know, they are able to, for example, draw a cross-section through the leaf, explain the chemical formula of both words and symbols of photosynthesis, explain how gaseous exchange takes place with reference to photosynthesis and demonstrate it all in a well put together diagram.

Skills development:

    • Working at almost an International GCSE level and largely content-based.
    • Learning to work through large volumes of work and in such a way as being able to apply formulae to their work.
Is it important for my child to learn cursive handwriting?

We strongly encourage families to teach their children to write in cursive. From feedback we’ve had from our Tutors at Imperial International College for our International GCSE and AS-Levels (Grades 10 – 12), it is interesting that they have observed that students who only learn to print and not write cursive, sometimes struggle to finish their exam papers, because they cannot write fast enough!
Love2Learn Curriculum progressively builds handwriting/penmanship, commencing with letter formation in the pre-school and Grade 1 levels, then moving to printing in Grade 1 and Grade 2; and finally culminates in teaching cursive handwriting in the latter part of Grade 2 and cementing it in Grade 3.

Do you address several subjects each day or dedicate a day to a subject? What would you advise?

Our timetable aligns with Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy, viz. offering several short lessons rather than long, drawn out ones. However, the timetable is flexible and our recommendation is to try the timetable as it is prescribed for a week or two, and then evaluate how it works for you. Some families using Love2Learn even go so far as to do all their History on Monday, all their Sciences on Tuesday, etc. What works for you is the best solution.

Can you suggest any good books that I can read that will help me in terms of marrying homeschooling and socialisation?

As a home-schooling mom of two, I (Ivana Ries) say stop letting people get away with ignorant remarks about how your child will be socially deprived if they are homeschooled. Do the research and be ready to point out that in fact your children will be BETTER off socially than their institutionally schooled counterparts!

We would highly recommend you read two wonderful books on this subject and which we believe will be a great help to any home-school parent who has ever experienced angst over the question of socialization:
The Socialization Trap, by Rick Boyer; which deals more with the negative aspects of socializing kids in the age segregated environments so common in modern institutional school settings.
But What about Socialization? by Susan A. McDowell. Have friends or family members been bothering you about the socialization question? This book is a quick and easy read. No grandparent who has time to complain about your decision to home-school will have any excuse not to read through this book. Also, if you find yourself questioning your own decision to home-school because of other people's attacks regarding socialization, then this book will help to remind you that you are doing the right thing.

Ultimately, in the early stages, it will be your comfort and confidence that will convince people to stop attacking your decisions. If you are wavering on the issue, then people will sense that and swoop in for the kill. If you are confident however, then people will sense that too and they will begin to question their own ignorant ideas about socialization.
As the years roll-on, your children’s witness and testimony will speak for themselves!

What would you advise in regard to dealing with a child that performs well when answering questions verbally, but fails dismally when it comes to writing tests and exams?

All we can do is offer you some general tips and ideas that you can try, but we by no means offer these to you under any pretense that they are scientifically proven and psychologically sound; rather these tips are simply gleaned from our experience over the years:

  1. In the week coming up to a test in a particular subject, pray and exhibit total confidence in your child and make at least 20 positive comments about their performance in the course of that week.
  2. Downplay the test – in fact don’t even call it a test – rather refer to it as a Fun Quiz.
  3. Ensure that they are having adequate sleep and that their diet is under control.
  4. Limit TV or any kind of computer games to a maximum of ½ hour a week. It’s a proven fact that the speed of energy change from this type of device is known to cause and exacerbate Attention Deficit.
  5. On the morning of the Fun Quiz, pray with them – pray over them throughout the duration of the Quiz and pray against outside interference of a negative spiritual nature… then only mark the sections of the Quiz right that are correct. Verbally quiz them on the answers that may be incorrect without making any comment that they were incorrect. In this way you can determine whether the error was stress induced or caused by insufficient knowledge/understanding/preparation.
  6. Praise them after the test for the things they got right; and ignore the incorrect answers - regardless of what result they got.

Consider all of the above a four-week experiment. As with any scientific experiment one needs to keep the approach absolutely consistent; therefore, be sure to implement all of the above carefully and consistently for the full four-week duration. Do not expect to see an improvement until the END of the fourth week. More than this the approach we suggest for Quiz taking should be applied to every moment of homeschooling, i.e. a positive atmosphere of acceptance should be maintained. If you see no improvement after four weeks, then there may well be some underlying trauma of which you are completely unaware. In this case, we would recommend that you take your child to a Christian Educational Psychologist. All of the above applies assuming that there are no character issues such as disinterest, lack of application, lack of obedience etc. that need addressing.

Does it matter that I’m not a qualified teacher?

International research has proven that when home-schooled children that come from homes where Mom and/or Dad is a qualified teacher are compared with children who come from homes where neither Mom nor Dad is a qualified teacher – they perform virtually identically academically. There is nothing to be gained either way.

Interestingly enough we often get feedback from our families where Mom is an ex-teacher, who say that they - not their children - sometimes battle to adjust to homeschooling!

Remember from our perspective, homeschooling is not the importation of the classroom into the home… rather it is first and foremost the discipleship of our children to prepare them for life; and we achieve this by putting the “home” back into schooling. No one on the face of planet earth knows your child better than you do!

I find I sometimes run out of time because we are having so much fun, what should I do?

There are two schools of thought on this: The first school of thought is based on if you want to complete the curriculum, exactly as it is written, and complete all of the work in the day provided, then the time allocation on every area needs to be very strictly adhered to, otherwise it is impossible to complete everything within the set time limit and school will run over time. The second school of thought, (which we personally prefer) is that if the children are on a roll, enjoying a particular area, loving the internet, up to their elbows in paint and glue making a history project, or engrossed in their drawings...let them continue.

It doesn't matter if you don't complete everything in a day...there is way, way more in this curriculum than you would ever cover in a mainstream school. (So, if you choose this option, then relax and ENJOY!) That said, one does ideally need to be discerning; after all, the life lesson is not meant to be that we only do what we enjoy doing and ignore the rest.