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Is Explore Learning really that bad?

(19 Posts)
cantstandthenoise Thu 20-Oct-11 22:05:23

I have booked my son into a free trial at the weekend. I am now concerned as I have read very negative reviews about it (on here). I have two friends whose children go and say it's very good. My son (year 4) is struggling a bit at school - not loads but his problem seems to be mainly based in lack of coordination resulting in poor handwriting.

Although Explore is computer based they said they also address handwriting issues. I do think my son needs extra help but would a private tutor be a much better idea? Explore learning is definately cheaper.

MrsDreadfullyMorbidMausoleum Fri 21-Oct-11 05:32:00

My dc (7 and 5 at the time) went to Explore for just over a year and really enjoyed it. It was definitely really great for their confidence.

We only stopped as we moved to Oz for a couple of years. They do talk about going back when we return.

If I remember correctly it's on a 2 week cancellation. I'd say it's worth a go (I haven't read the threads on here though!)

IndigoBell Fri 21-Oct-11 11:54:08

I can't see how explore learning would help with handwriting (but then I haven't been there)

By Y4 it's really quite hard to fix handwriting (but it can be done - I have finally fixed my son's handwriting in Y6!)

But basically, I'd be very surprised if explore learning had the specialist knowledge to help your son.

Handwriting problems are normally caused by fine or gross motor problems or visual peception problems ( and consequently the way to improve his handwriting is to work on his motor skills or vision...)

These are the 2 main interventions schools use:

Write From The Start

Speed Up

And here's a little bit more I have written about it:

MrsDreadfullyMorbidMausoleum Fri 21-Oct-11 13:08:43

They do handwriting practice at Explore IndigoBell. DD and DS both did diaries.

IndigoBell Fri 21-Oct-11 13:55:30

Yes, but handwriting practice will only help with the most mild of handwriting problems.

Anything more serious will require more specific help.

The OP says her DS has 'lack of co-ordination resulting in poor handwriting'

The correct professional for her DS to see is an occupational therapist - not a tutor of any kind (private, 1:1 or explore)

An0therName Fri 21-Oct-11 14:03:21

I would post a bit more about your DS problems - maybe on the primary school section -and see what people say- but it does sound like an OT might be worth looking at

gypsymac Tue 25-Oct-11 13:04:26

My two children (9 and 7) have been going to explore learning for about 6m but we are about to cancel their membership. We have been regularly told that because they are working at the highest level we would not see much 'value added' from explore learning, however, there is a huge discrepancy between the levels they are supposed to be attaining at explore learning, and those they attain at school. We were also told their would be handwriting support - this has so far resulted in one handwriting worksheet, despite asking several times, so you will need to keep reminding them. At our school parent's evening both teachers told us that the children were trying to do work that was too advanced for them, without having learned the basics or understanding why they were doing it, and this was causing confusion.
I would advice you to ask your teacher for help on any areas which you are worried about. Our son's teacher offered to put together a folder of maths activities for him to work on at home, I am sure yours would do the same for handwriting x

Lymer Sun 30-Oct-11 07:15:15

Hi there, newby here. Great site.

Thanks to this thread, it helped me decided whether or not to send my own kids to explore learning, and I can successfully say... I didn't! Not because of the negative comments against them mind you, I did the maths.. after getting the discounts, it still worked out to be £100+ pm considering what is involved. A computer based program.. I could invest in a home teacher, or even do the work myself with them. I just wanted to be relieved of the whole 'home study thing' but I think all responsible parents, no matter what their income/expenditure would be, would want the job done well, and mostly that's only achieved through either investing in a home teacher or doing it yourself (if you can)..

Anyways.. flying by to say thanks for all your input. Wishing everyone well. Hope to see you all soon. KTHXBYE smile

Debbieandeva Wed 11-Jan-12 10:40:30

My daughter went to explore learning for about 6 months and she hated it , they never helped her when she needed it and i could see the women (who were suppose to be teaching my child!) just standing there talking to each other!!, Very poor ! and for the money you pay i would have expected more sad ..never again will i send her there . it was the cobham Explore she went to , they had two young lads of about 16 in there too and i heard one of them tell a child that he could take away his score and make it look like his was dumb! i did report him, but as far as i know he didn't get the boot! ..these people have no teacher skills at all, my daughter has done better with just me teaching her and i am no teacher either but i have done a darn sight better job than they did!!! AVOID and save your money!!

StressedEric41 Thu 12-Jan-12 18:53:37

You need to make your own mind up,go and see for yourself and don't listen to other people's views on it,my two have been going nearly two years now and they are fine,they both do fifteen mins of handwriting at each lesson in with other things that they do there,like reading and maths,my little girl has trouble with her money side of maths and they are helping her with that at the mo and I have notice an improvement,so go take your child and see,don't let people on here frighten you into not going smile

Elena21 Thu 09-Feb-12 12:49:30

My son went to Explore learning for 2 years, at first we thought it was great until we signed him up to do the 11+ course. The tutors didn't know what they were doing from 1 week to another. It was always someone different teaching them, and each tutor had a different method of teaching, which is no good for a course like the 11+. Every child is different, so if a child is struggling with part of the course they wouldn't pull them to one side and help them until they understood it because they didn't have time. We were told they could also help with entrance exams into Independant Schools......rubbish! It was a waste of time as nothing he learnt at Explore was in either exam. One to one tutoring is much better than this rip off place. I would not recommend this to anyone.

musicposy Thu 09-Feb-12 22:38:40

I'm a qualified school teacher who has taught in primary schools for many years. I now tutor privately.

I thought about a year ago I might boost my income by working for Explore Learning. I went to ask about their recruitment process.

They don't require or want qualified teachers. They "train" their people themselves. Do you know what their main criteria is for employing people? Proven marketing skills.

That should tell you all you need to know. I walked away and didn't look back. Hire a private tutor. Even if you can only do it once a month instead of every week, it will be money much better spent.

jands Sat 11-Feb-12 12:12:16

DD's been with Explore Learning for a few months and absolutely loves it! Whilst £90 pm is quite dear we have childcare vouchers DH gets through work. The EL staff always seem very hands on and knowledgeable about what she's done each visit. Although EL doesn't use the same level structure, they have a comparable system and showed DD's EL levels and school levels match. We were told it's rare for children to attend longer than 2 years, which probably says something about what they do/don't do. All the staff will differ from location to location, all children are different and prefer different ways of learning. You can only really know through trial and error about how/where your child is happiest to learn. I'd suggest trying the cheapest option first (as someone else said - do it yourself if you can), then work up the cost scale! For serious handwriting problems (such as dyslexia), you may be able to get additional help within school/pre-school and suggestions to practice at home, and/or access to cheaper resources. For DD I typed up sheets of letters or words in pale grey for her to write over to improve form if that's any use? Good luck with your decision! smile

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sat 11-Feb-12 12:15:59

They i employ kids that can't spell

musicposy Sun 12-Feb-12 21:51:04

£90 per month shock

Why on earth aren't you getting individual tuition at that price?

musicposy Sun 12-Feb-12 21:56:36

Seriously, most tutors charge around £20 - £22 an hour here for primary and early secondary age. You could have an hour a week tailored specifically to the things you need. A good tutor will work with the school and get information from them, usually via the parent who only has to ask, as to what needs working on. The children I've had have all made huge strides (and I mean huge) within half a term. I don't I'm anything special - this is the result you should be getting for individual tuition with a proper qualified teacher.

I can understand that you get vouchers, but why on earth anyone would pay that for one-size-fits-all marketing crap is utterly beyond me.

Jux Sun 12-Feb-12 22:26:10

I think it proves the marketing works!

Not sure about anything else, mind.

BrummieBelle Wed 02-Jan-13 17:13:10

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Scientific Fri 13-Dec-13 16:42:23

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