Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Some actually wanted to call the Bargain Bin the Blessing Bin but that was over-ruled, but that is what we hope you will find the Bargain Bin to be – a Blessing.
The Bargain Bin has in it books that we at Oikos have not approved as far as standard and quality are concerned.
A little bit of history – we spent a number of years getting printing rights for a number of the resources that we now use here in South Africa. We had to get printing and distribution rights from the supplier(e.g. KONOS , Math U See or LLATL.)
We got the printing rights from the creators, authors or developers of these various resources, and to get these printing rights we had to meet certain criteria and standards, and to maintain those rights we have to keep up to date with the latest revision or upgrade that the developer produces. We have to re-do our master files and the printing of that product, it is an ongoing process, which we do here at Oikos. This saves us having to ship them across here and we can print on demand, so to speak, as the need arises. We avoid the costs of shipping and the duty on imports, it is a privilege to be able to produce these resources locally for our fellow South Africans and beyond our borders.
It is a time consuming process because there are people involved, we do obviously have machinery but each book is hand made. Take the example of Adam and his Kin by Ruth Beechick.
The book has been scanned in as we have to digitise it, this process is what we call pre-flight. Then everything has to be made straight, the page numbers have to be collated, it has to be 100% accurate and pass the quality checks that it needs to. It has to be printed and bound.
Then as we are in the final stages of production, it has been printed, stitched and bound and we come to trim it and it is trimmed crooked, or there is a line across the a page (being a printer error) it is considered a damaged book. It could also have a problem with the amount of glue used in the binding process. So the book is brand new, the content is not changed in any way, but the production has not been perfect. We are not going to place these books into our stock, we put all the books through 3 different quality checks before they are packed into the parcels that eventually arrive at your door and come into your home.
What about all those damaged books? Until recently we placed all these books into the “Mission room” and we placed them into children homes at a reduced, damaged rate. We have now received permission from our suppliers to pass that reduced rate on to you.
So if you are on our online store placing an order you can now pop across to the Bargain Bin and you might find one of the titles you are looking for in this Bin and be able to get it at a cheaper price, which we would like to think would be a blessing to you.
We aim to give you not only the best quality but great service and support.The books from the Bargain Bin are not perfect, but we assure you they are just damaged in the production process and they are brand new.
Our prices have to be revised from time to time and these changes are based on our Royalty payments, the changes in the price of the glue, the paper or some other raw material. The glue is very expensive and all our input prices do keep escalating, so just as our new prices fluctuate so will our Bargain Bin prices.
We hope that these products will be a blessing to you. The quantities will fluctuate as we do not print to order for the Bargain Bin as we do for our traditional Oikos Store Stocks.
Watch the video here.
Please watch this video for the answer. We would appreciate you taking 14 minutes to watch this video. We want to help you with your order if you are International and so we produced this video for you for that reason. We hope it can help.
If you still have questions feel free to contact us at [email protected]
Maybe you are having difficulty placing your order on-line, or maybe you do not have the facility to do that, but yet you would like some Oikos resources. So now you are a bit stuck, needing to place an order but not having a way to do so.
You may think the solution is to call us or email us and ask us to do the order for you. Those that have walked with Oikos for some years will know that is how we used to do it all those years back . That used to actually be the only way to do it. We would send you a catalogue, you would look through the catalogue, fill in the order form and fax it back.
We don’t even have a catalogue or a fax machine anymore.
Now things are much more streamlined and technology is much more efficient in this regard.
We would like to help you as effectively as possible.
If you go onto the Oikos site and you register you will be prompted to put all your details in there, such as your address and contact number. Then you go into the online store and chose the resources you want by placing them in your basket (add to my basket) and follow the process where it finally asks you to decide whether you would like to pay by EFT or Credit Card.
Presuming you have been able to follow all the steps in the store , we then get the order instantly. If you have paid by credit card it is instant, if you do not use credit card for online payments you can also use a debit card which is in effect the same as an EFT (it is just more secure and a lot more efficient)
Now you have made your own order and you will receive an email in your inbox where you can see the order you have created and check that all the details are correct.
On our side we have your order with all the information we require. The day we receive your order we pull the order and pack it and the next day it is collected by the courier and they then deliver it to your door.
If you need us to make the order for you it will require us to email you asking for all the necessary data fields we need, you cannot give us those over the phone as we have cell phone and connectivity problems and could easily write a digit down incorrectly. The parcel can then be delivered to the wrong place, or the courier calls us to ask us to clarify the address and we try to phone you and on some occasions the call is not answered and so experience has taught us that there is hitch after hitch which can make the whole process difficult, and that is what we want to avoid.
So although we can and do want to help you place your order we have learnt that if you can persevere and take the steps online then the next time you need to place an order it will be easier and you will become familiar with the web site and how it works.
The other advantage of you taking these steps is that in going online to place your order you will discover other things such as discounts that we are offering, or clearance sales, and we don’t want you to miss out on those.
However if for some reason you are unable to place your order, we are here to help and you would need to take the following steps.
- Email us and then after ensuring, by return email, that we have all the correct details, we will take it from there and create your order for you. As explained above there are a number of steps involved at this stage that can cause delays , so please be patient.
- We are not able to accept orders over the telephone as it just is not possible. We do not have telephone lines where we are (they were stolen) and the reception on our cell phones can be bad. There are too many variables to commit to this so we would prefer not to do that.
- We will then email you back your order and you will need to check it and let us know that we have understood your requirements correctly.
- We will then give you our bank details and ask you to do and EFT and only then, when we have proof of payment can we pull and pack your order.
- This all takes time and in the 3 – 7 days that it might have taken things may have changed, a book that was in stock might have gone out of stock, the price could have changed as we could have received a shipment the following day.
- These variables make the manual orders very complex and experience has proved that errors can result.
So even if you do not have the facilities yourself to do an online order we urge you to find a way to do this, even if it means you must go to a friend and ask for assistance.
Ultimately to place your order yourself is the best way to do it, we are here to help and if you encounter any problems, just email us with your difficulties and we will try and help you through them.
It might be helpful to find someone who has placed orders on-line to help you through your first order.
View the video here.
Parents out there are trying to be very good stewards. So what they are doing is combining their orders with the sister, or friend, or whoever it might be who is also placing an Oikos order. So two Moms decide to get together and put their orders together as they may be meeting weekly in a support group, and can sort the orders out when they arrive at the next meeting.
They do this to be good stewards and are being sensible. Please allow me to tell you however what is happening on the other end. I’m here today to encourage you not to combine your orders for a number of reasons, last week we had 3 Moms combining their orders, it started becoming a bit of a clerical nightmare and so one of the Mom’s dropped out and decided she would just place her order on her own and have it sent to her.
The other two Mom’s went ahead and placed their order together. Then one Mom decided to change her order, while the other Mom needed the invoice to go to a different place with different billing details on that invoice. Of course on our side, we only see it as one order. So the order has all the shipping and billing details for the first Mom, while the other Mom has asked the first mom if she would mind the invoice to be changed, as she needs to have an invoice for tax purposes showing her details, but only with her items on that invoice.
I am hoping that you have understood on by now that we end up in a scramble while we try to fulfil both Mom’s needs. they are both writing to us asking for different considerations. What it results in is that we can spend three days (no exaggeration) trying to sort this out, and the reason for the Mom’s combining their orders was that the one Mom’s order was below R1000 and she wanted to save money on the courier. The courier fee was going to cost in the region of R85 but by the time this order was sent out it had cost her and her friend numerous phone calls, emails and time, so we do not think it saved the Mom’s anything in the long run. This example is current, it only happened last week but it happens repeatedly.
We can see that it is not working out that well, we are unable to issue two separate invoices for one order listing different items on each, as that presents an accounting nightmare, the invoices are generated directly from your order on the website.
So please don’t be tempted to do the combined order, it is not necessary at the end of the day. We would rather you have the blessing of having the courier delivery direct to your door with all the additional benefits.
Please, we encourage you to avoid the problems for yourself and ourselves.
View the video here.
First, it is a good idea to get an overall view and understanding of the bigger picture of Oikos so you start by watching the Starting Steps on the site which will guide you in ordering the resources which are the heart beat of Oikos, that being KONOS and Bible study. You would need to understand more about KONOS living by watching the video clips produced for this purpose. Then – You do the placement or assessments with your children to establish their ability or skill level. Broadly speaking, most families purchase, KONOS, for the lifestyle and all the social study subjects, then Math-U-See and LLATL (for language studies), at the appropriate level per child. We cannot tell you which LLATL or Maths book to purchase because it is very dependent on your children’s assessment results which you would do on the site.
An example of what an order could look like would be…
(whichever volume you have chosen after getting an understanding on which character traits you want to begin with)
- Bible Study:
Picture Smart and Student workbooks.
- Language Studies:
LLATL – Parent book and student book and 4 readers – level dependent on assessment results per child.
(however you may already have some of the readers in which case you will only buy the readers you do not have)
Parent Manual and DVD Set
One set of Manipulative Blocks (only one set is required for all the children)
Science in the Beginning by Dr Jay Wile,
View the video here.
This is dependant on whether you are bold enough to take the first step ONLY and get JUST KONOS, to get into the lifestyle without being tempted to do ‘school’ at home but rather focus on character training and developing a JOY of learning which is what KONOS helps you achieve. On the other hand if you want to get language and maths as well, then naturally your set-up costs are going to be more.
To give you some idea, please see our video series on costs in the Starting Steps.
Many families are getting a very high value of education for low cost which is the ministries’ objective. However the deeper and more important objective is to grasp the vision and His purpose for your family.
Families are finding Oikos resources to be of incredible value due to the high standard of quality education and the lifestyle change that it brings.
You can do a costing test if you like by visiting the site and picking and choosing the curricula suited for your children, make up your order and see what total comes to for that, then trim accordingly if need be. You can place orders throughout the year getting your resources as your budget allows so you need not get everything at once.
Remember that once you have purchased the Parent books/manuals (being Bible Study, KONOS, Maths, Language etc.), you need not purchase these again, it is a once off purchase. Only the student books are consumable.
View the video here.
Your courier order will travel with a waybill number. We will email you the waybill number once we receive payment and start to process your order. In the email you receive you’ll be linked to an online tracking site, where you can view your orders progress.
Your order should arrive in 4-7 working days in cities and suburbs, and 7-14 working days in outlying areas. Please contact us if it has not arrived within this window of time and we will assist in getting it to you.
You can email us [email protected] for further assistance if required.
We do keep, in stock, all the titles you see on the online store. However, a small percentage of them are imported and even though we aim to have these in stock, sometimes these imported books could be on a ship, on the ocean, on their way to us. There could also be further delays at Durban harbour while the ship waits for a mooring.
Fortunately though, for you and for us, we print the majority of the titles and as we print on demand we have stock all year round.
View the video here.which explains more on this topic.
Yes you may. We do however hope that having the assessments and placements on the site will help parents accurately assess their needs so that they do not purchase the wrong level books for their children. We also have sample pages of every resource and listed the contents, and we have produced a video for each book. We hope that this helps parents not order incorrectly.
Also, I’m sure you will understand and appreciate that returned books are immediately ‘used’ due to them not having come straight off the print press and into a package, but rather they have travelled, been handled, then travelled again to be returned to us. So our experience from the past is that the resources being returned arrives looking somewhat ‘second-hand’. So we put them on the missionary shelf and make them available at a discounted price to orphanages or they are placed in the bargain box.
So, we do not ‘usually’ accept returns because I am sure you can imagine what that could incur – lots of management and lots of loss.
Just yesterday I received a return request from a mom who had done 2 lessons in Orange LLATL with her child and asked if she could return the Orange Book because she thinks she should rather have ordered Purple Book!
Of course there are always exceptions to the greater rule but thus far, due to us being a ministry whereby we do not build in extra charges to cover such losses we prefer to not handle returns as far as is reasonably possible, thereby keeping the books more affordable for you.
We are aware that although the majority of American, and some South African companies, offer full money back guarantees, we however, are not in a position to offer this in Oikos.
I’m sure you can appreciate, if I were to purchase a book from Exclusive Books for example, I would not be able to return it a few months later. On researching this we have found that the companies that offer such policies have built-in additional charges to cover this service.
If you need to contact us regarding the matter of returns please do so and we will do our best to help.
View the video here.
Special note: All Sale Items are excluded from returns.
Registration is simply a means to ensure that your ordering process with Oikos is smooth and simple.
Registration enables us to capture your details. We have a very strongly secure site which holds all individuals details in the strictest confidence. Although registration steps may seem bothersome, we ask you to please take them and try to not send your order in an email as placing orders online is very much more efficient for you in every way.
We sincerely hope that you will discover that these steps are worth your effort as you will be kept informed as to the current prices, new titles, special offers, and supportive videos and articles to hopefully make your home education experience that much more supported.
You will also find that once you have registered, your login details will be captured which will then result in a personal history record of your activity on the site such as previous orders placed and your progress through the various courses.
Please relax, register, login and then experience the support we hope you will discover by having taken these steps.
To change your password or username, simply follow these steps.
Go to the Login tab
Click on either ‘Forgot your Password’ or ‘Forgot your Username’
Enter your email address and click ‘submit’
Open the email that will be sent to your inbox
Follow the related steps provided for you in the email
Enter your new password or username into the login panel.
With regard to visits at Oikos, rest assured, we have not forgotten you. In fact it is because of the many more families out there that we are setting, ‘blocks of time’, for filming the video clips which are required, to attend to the growing needs. In this way we hope to be helping you in such a way that not only can we keep the support coming your way, with publishing and printing the resources, but also produce video series on practical tips for your Oikos learning lifestyle and information and explanation videos for each resource.
Regarding those who are travelling on route to their holidays and want to pop into Oikos to collect orders. Often the motivation for this is two fold:
Families want to save on having the order couriered. (We now offer free courier for orders over a certain value, so that is no longer a factor) It’s always nice to meet those who are serving you in your home education journey.
However, with the fuel prices doing what they are we have found that in fact it is not always working out for families to collect orders from Oikos due to us being +-30km’s from the nearest town (Howick) on gravel roads in the Karkloof (KZN Midlands). These roads are not always passable, so it can become complicated.
With regard to meeting and having time.
This has become more difficult to slot in with peoples travel times and us having blocked studio times. But, we also know that the studio time is all for the sake of being able to help more effectively than a pop-in visit because we can do so much more for families by getting these videos produced.
We hope this helps bring understanding to why this plan is now being implemented as we continue to endeavour to keep improving our support of you in this chosen lifestyle.
The last point, which we would prefer to not have to include but it is a fact and reality is that we are no longer able to have people come to the base without us having public liability insurance! We do not have this insurance cover currently hence this being yet another reason why we have had to find other ways to support, hence us doing the video productions for you.
We look forward to seeing you on 'cyber space' through the videos we produce and upload to the Oikos site.
View the video here
Unfortunately not. We have had to have numerous meetings with various courier companies to then eventually find a company who were willing to drive out to us on gravel roads. Our past experience with ‘own couriers’ being sent to collect, has always resulted in them refusing to allow their vehicles to travel on gravel roads and the customer having to then use our couriers. We hope that the Courier service we offer from Oikos to you, meets with your needs and you get your parcel in good time and order.
View the video here.
I know it is difficult when you purchase a programme which then doesn’t necessarily give you the results you hoped for. It happens. It may be an expense you could have done without but at the same time if we consider how ‘little’ we need to spend on our children’s education when keeping them at home we can overlook the odd mistake purchase here and there. However, don’t panic or be sad because its probably possible that whatever books you have can be slotted into your home library for use through your home educating years.
What is not good to overlook however is trying to press on with a programme that is NOT working simply because it cost money, it’s just not worth it.
And I can be bold enough to share with you that we don’t get returns of LLATL or Excellence in Writing, or other Oikos resources, with parents saying it hasn’t worked for their child.
To be honest, I had one mom last year who told me that LLATL is not working for her son, he was 14. I then made a big announcement to our Oikos team that this was the first mom who had ever told me this in 20 years! It turned out that the mom was approaching it all wrong and she wrote to me to tell me so and that now her son is enjoying LLATL again.
Then there is my own experience. Our daughter just loved LLATL but our son did LLATL with lead feet, but he loved Excellence in Writing. So the truth is our son did not love doing LLATL, in all his home education years LLATL was his least favourite, but just because of that it doesn’t mean it ‘didn’t work’! It was an area we had to encourage him through, which was good character building opportunities and thank goodness for Excellence in Writing which gave him confidence and passion to write and now he composing the most heart felt letters and also formal and business letters when necessary. So does he remember his grammar? No, he does not. Does he write and communicate exceptionally well? Yes, he does.
So there you have it. If you have a curriculum which simply is wrong on every level, move on and put it down to a lesson well learnt, and if you have a resource your child is struggling with it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the wrong, it could be the way it’s being used.
View the video here.we hope you will find this helpful.
Please also look at the question and answer regarding returns or email us if we can assist further - [email protected]