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Little Arthur Independent School or Oxford Home Schooling

(24 Posts)
ToffeeWhirl Thu 05-Jul-12 16:11:38

Anyone had any experience with either of these? I would quite like to have a structured course to follow with my 12-year-old son from September, as I am finding it difficult to come up with lesson plans on my own all the time. We do structured learning in the morning, particularly in English and Maths.

Marjoriew Thu 05-Jul-12 17:57:27

I've heard not great reports about Oxford Home Schooling, but I've used Little Arthur and have found it really good.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 05-Jul-12 18:06:19

Oh, thanks, Marjoriew. What did you like about Little Arthur? And which subjects did you use if for, if you don't mind me asking?

Marjoriew Thu 05-Jul-12 18:47:15

So far, I have just bought the Maths one for 11-13years. Good feedback and promptly marked work. Always helpful when I ring.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 05-Jul-12 18:48:07

Thanks, that's very useful to know.

Tinuviel Thu 05-Jul-12 19:53:20

I know a couple of families who have used Oxford Home Schooling for Key Stage 3 and weren't that impressed. They decided against using them for GCSE.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 05-Jul-12 19:57:57

Ah, that's two definite 'nos' for Oxford Home Schooling then. That's very useful to know.

MrsBovary Fri 06-Jul-12 12:26:15

I wouldn't especially recommend Oxford Home Schooling, having used them in the past. We haven't tried Little Arthur personally, but have heard more positive reports generally.

ThreadWatcher Fri 06-Jul-12 22:32:16

Lesson plans??
I'm confused by that concept in a he sense tbh!

When teaching a class of children I had to plan and use lesson plans because it is expected (in schools, plus with 30 kids there is a lot to think about!)

HE with my own dc - working through maths/English at their own level. Other subjects they do together. Using resources written for home schoolers helps (mostly American but that hasn't been a problem)
We have recently started using Sonlight which is fab - especially if you like structure and box ticking!
When my kids approach 12 they will start GCSEs but will study the approprite syllabuses and books (and continue with sonlight)

Sorry if my post sounds blunt (trickier to post from my phone)
I'd reccomend finding great books in the subjects of choice and enabling your dc to work through them (rather than teaching/planning in the way a teacher does)

Have you been HEing long? If not I also reccomend not doing much/finding your feet. Don't spend money until you have discovered your HE groove!

Emandlu Fri 06-Jul-12 22:36:20

We use Oxford open learning for KS3 English and have been impressed with it.
Haven't heard of Little Arthur's though so I think I'll take a look at that too.

ToffeeWhirl Fri 06-Jul-12 22:46:13

Thread - have been home educating on and off (it's a long story) for two years since DS was 10. Perhaps 'lesson plan' is the wrong description and I can see that it would mean something much more complicated to a teacher. I simply mean having an idea of what DS should be studying in each subject area if we are sticking vaguely to the NC. We are not autonomous home educators. DS needs structure and so do I. That doesn't mean we don't go off down other avenues of learning as they crop up, but we both need a starting point. We have used Galore Park and I found those helpful. Thanks for your recommendations - I'll check out Sonlight.

MrsB - thanks for the tip re Oxford Home Schooling. I wonder what it is that puts people off them. Their website looks promising, but that's three definite nos so far.

ThreadWatcher Sat 07-Jul-12 20:51:48

Ahh I see Toffee!
We are not autonomous either - we need structure here too. Plemty of other time in the day/week to do autonomous learning but we spend 2-4 hours 3-5 days a week doing structured stuff.

Rather than one curriculum package that covers everything I would look at resources for each subject - so for example you could consider maths first.

Research, look at, investigate all the available options for maths and consider what outcome you are looking at (GCSE or not.........?) then decide which will work best for you and ds. Then order/buy the stuff and get started.
Then start the same process for other subjects.
Gradually you will have a whole bunch of subjects with resources for them all.

We use a whole load of different resources (many American) but as my dc are 10 and 8 we arent quite at the level of work that your ds is. As my dc approach GCSE level we will switch more toward UK stuff and exams, but still keep sonlight (for its history and geography world view and great literature suggestions)

Many homesschooling companies try to cover the whole curriculum themselves (same same same = boring) but the best take a bit from a variety of sources (giving much more variety and therefore more fun/interest for the child). Sonlight for example has a schedule (they call it an Instructors Guide) that walks you through the year of read alouds (history and geography mainly) readers (that your kid read for himself, again mostly history geography) and then they have suggested maths, science, electives (art, music etc) packages as well. For your ds I would consider this or this Their suggested age ranges are very elastic and have reading suggestions that are very advanced (often the topics covered rather than the actual reading level).

Many of us that use it never order direct from the US, we buy used (sonlight uk yahoo list) and Amazon. They will send you a free catalogue if you request one on the US website.
Even if you are not a Christian dont dismiss Sonlight because the Christian content is quite small (hence many Christians dislike it because for them it isnt Christian enough!)

Various other options to consider - I have never looked into Little Arthur myself or Oxford Home Schooling (but I agree I havent heard good things about OHS). Also sign up to the yahoo exams list as they will have all sorts of excellent suggestions.

ToffeeWhirl Mon 09-Jul-12 12:57:52

Emandlu - thanks for your post. Interesting to hear a vote of confidence for Oxford Home School at last.

Thread - thanks for taking the time to post. I have had a long browse of the Sonlight thread and I must say I do love the idea of teaching through literature and reading aloud (still read to both my boys (6 and 12) every night, even the older one), but it was pricey and I'd like DS to stick to roughly what his peers at doing at school. Mind you, I haven't had a look at the Sonlight UK Yahoo list yet for cheaper options, so I'll do that too.

ToffeeWhirl Mon 09-Jul-12 18:53:51

Have had a longer browse of Sonlight and am now fantasising about days spent reading wonderful literature to DS1 whilst he effortlessly absorbs knowledge about history, science, etc. I checked Amazon for cheap Sonlight packs, but there's nothing available. How else does one get hold of the stuff for less than several hundred pounds shock?

ThreadWatcher Mon 09-Jul-12 21:00:58

Toffee - Here is how to Sonlight on the cheap!
Go to the website and request a catalogue (much easier to figure it all out with a paper catalogue and a brew

Join the sonlight uk yahoo group.
Say you are intrested in using Sonlight but are worried about the cost, mention which cores you might be interested in - with luck someone might be about to sell what you want. Sometimes people sell a whole package, sometimes a few/lots of books, sometimes just an IG (instructors guide).

Once you have a catalogue its much easier to see what is what. It not longer includes a summary of each book, so you can find that out on their own website and reviews on amazon uk/com - whilst on Amazon uk you can find out how cheap each book might be available to buy.
Quite a few of the books you might not like/want anyway.

I have just ordered our first proper core (having just done bits from sonlight using their booklists before) and whilst it was a BIG amount of money, it isnt quite so scarey if I view it as a weekly payment.

If you are not a box ticker, you can Sonlight just using the book lists but having the IG as well is great if you like order and box ticking!

There are of course alternatives to Sonlight but its definitely what Im sticking with for quite a few years. Also bear in mind that its only really history, geography, bible, language arts and science (if you opt for science).

Also their curriculum presents a creation/evolution perspective (they are creationist but believe in presenting the alternative). From science H they use Apologia which is very creationist (as far as I can tell) hence we will not be doing that. Thats the reason why many Christians dont like it - because they want to present an exclusively Christian and creationist perspective.
There is actually an american yahoo group called "sonlight secular" which also might be worth a look.

Sorry for waffling on - I love sonlight and my waffling might help someone else too...............

ToffeeWhirl Mon 09-Jul-12 23:20:42

Threadwatch - that's really, really helpful, thank you. DS1 isn't a great reader, but he still enjoys me reading to him and I have been able to introduce him to all sorts of great books that way. I am also interested in the handwriting books, as they publish a series devised by an OT, which could be very helpful for DS.

Funny you should mention the Apologia Science book, as I read a sample of that and was really enjoying it until I came up against a paragraph where it challenged evolution. Combined with the price, that put me right off. However, I did like the style - narrating the history of scientific discovery, then suggesting relevant experiments.

I am in my comfort zone when list making and box ticking, so the instructor's guide might suit me well (and DS, who likes a routine).

I'm torn now between sticking to the curriculum so that DS1 is in line with his peers or branching out into something else which looks fun, but is completely different.

Can I ask you what you love about Sonlight in particular?

ThreadWatcher Mon 09-Jul-12 23:35:40

What do I love about Sonlight in particular? Let me count thy ways......!

I can see reasons to stick to Nat Curric if your child might return to school, but tbh I wouldnt bother. I know families who HEd for eg 3 years, did pretty much nothing obviously educational during that time (ie no structured work, no autonomous activities) they returned to school and their kids slotted straight back in. - that was primary though. Equally I guess you could say why bother to do structured stuff, why bother with Sonlight - we bother because we love it smile

If you ds isnt a great reader I would definately go lower with Sonlight - my ds is a great reader, is bright, loves learning (he is 10) and is more than happy with what they suggest would actually be 'beneath' him!

Why do I love Sonlight? - We love to read. We love to listen to great stories. We love learning about the world. We love Putumayo music cds (world music) so Sonlight feels like the book version of putumayo. Ds will love the timeline stuff (when we get to it, havent started that yet). I love that it is all laid out in a lovely beautiful shedule - I have a sense of 'yay we are getting somewhere' rather than 'oooh we are drifting'. My dc are learning - dd is spontaneously repeating back to me what she has learnt. The stuff can be expensive - but the better HE resources generally are, the resale value is also good though - and the demand is huge. I also love that loads of families all over the world 'do' sonlight, so it is like being part of a huge family smile

There are more reasons but I need to go to bed! If you lived near me Id invite you round to have a 'look see' but I doubt you do. Others will though.........

ToffeeWhirl Tue 10-Jul-12 17:59:43

Well, you are doing a good job of selling Sonlight to me, that's for sure! I love reading out loud to my children, I love good books and I love lists, checklists and schedules. Having a sense of 'we are getting somewhere' is certainly what I need, especially after this year with DS having a very piecemeal education (a term of school, a breakdown because he couldn't cope, bits and pieces of work sent home from school, a nice chunk of time with me teaching him myself, then the LEA's e-learning programme kicking in - which is so, so dull). To be honest, my priority this year has simply been to get him well again. And, having seen what school did to him, I have no intention of sending him back.

That's interesting about the curriculum and children slotting straight back in after time spent being home educated. I am torn between sticking to the NC and branching out into doing whatever we want. It would be great to have a year of just enjoying ourselves, reading great literature and learning that way. I'm excited about it already and, hopefully, that would rub off on DS.

Good advice about the reading level too, thanks. I will bear that in mind.

I have just joined the Sonlight Yahoo group - thanks for that tip.

I am in Sussex by the way.

ThreadWatcher Tue 10-Jul-12 21:16:42

Apologies for gushing blush Sonlight has it's faults but its fab nonetheless. The list is great too (friendliest HE list I'm on)
There are (Im sure) heaps of HErs and sonlighters in Sussex - if you want to meet any say and I bet a few will wave at you and invite you along to something.

Say on the list what you have said here and someone wise will help you - there is a discussion happening right now about cutting the cost etc.

ThreadWatcher Tue 10-Jul-12 21:19:03

Also hunt on the main site for schedule downlads - you can peek at the first three weeks of all of them which is really helpful. Box ticking heaven smile

ToffeeWhirl Tue 10-Jul-12 23:25:07

Am very much looking forward to Sonlight box-ticking heaven smile.

steppemum Wed 11-Jul-12 00:14:50

I had to home school alongside my ds going to Russian school. I thought we would be doing it for years, but ended up only for 18 months. I bought a large lot of sonlight plus instructions from someone who had finished with it. It was early years stuff, but I really liked the concept and the resources. Liked the idea of using reading.

I did find that initially some of the books were conceptually over his head.
I also know a family who did it with 11 and 13 year old. I helped her and liked it then too.

for younger kids their science didn't match up at all with what they would be doing in NC, don't know about older kids

I found out loads about it on the website, could pretty much work out what we needed and what he should be doing. You could order all the books through your local library, free to order for kids.

BTW, we are christians and I liked it because it wasn't narrow minded!

ToffeeWhirl Wed 11-Jul-12 17:39:22

That's good to hear, steppemum. It certainly sounds a lot more fun than the dry lessons DS has been doing in his e-learning smile.

loujusty Tue 10-Jan-17 16:01:09

Hi, just read an old post from you, where you ask for advice on a correspondence course. I was just wondering what you decided to do and how you'd got on with it? My son has just turned 14 and we've just started home schooling, and I feel a bit confused as to what's the best course of action to take.

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