Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Gold LLATL readers

Question: Regarding LLTAL Gold, World Literature. How important is it to have the specified publisher version of the additional novels

Answer: You do not have to use the specified versions of the literature for the World Literature course. The lessons are not tied to any specific version. There are many translations of The Odyssey, some harder to read than others. We suggest that you review a few to find what works best for your student. We do recommend No Fear Shakespeare because of the modern translation, but it is not necessary for completing the lessons.

How do I know what level to start my child at with Oikos?

We have placement tests for you on the website. (assessing your own child)

You, the parent, do the assessments, language, maths, and so on, with your child and discover where their ability and skill levels are and thereafter you are able to make informed decisions as to which books to get for them.

We, here at Oikos, do not presume to know what skill level each of your children are at. They may have come out of school and out of a specific grade level but that does not automatically mean they have understanding on all that they have learnt in that grade level. Because you are home educating you have the privilege and advantage of being able to place them at the level which is appropriate to their abilities rather than their age or grade.

Remember, schools do grades, at home you no longer need to follow grade levels. Oikos resources are colour coded not graded. We have put on the site next to the titles what the general level of that book would be if your reference is grades, simply to give you an idea of the content level but bear in mind that a second language english speaking child could be doing Red LLATL, being around grade 2 level, when that child is 10, 11, 12 or older. So we are not going to say they must do the grade 2 language book but rather the “RED” LLATL book. So you can see by this example why we leave it up to the parent to establish the level their children are at in each area of learning. We hope you will also find it helpful to watch the video production we have done on placements.

This video helps take you through the assessment steps.

Our home language is Afrikaans. Do I teach my children to read in English first, or in Afrikaans first?

There are such a variety of views on this subject. Loads of research has been done on this topic so perhaps you would like to investigate the results. What we, here at Oikos, can share with you is peoples testimonies of the different approaches to this and what has worked for them.

Thousands of Afrikaans families are using LLATL Blue book to teach their children to read in English. Some wait until their children are fluent readers in Afrikaans, while others go straight to teaching reading in English. As Afrikaans is their home tongue the children can pick up reading for pleasure in Afrikaans with ease as their age, maturity and skill level is appropriate. The parents feel that they want the children to become solid in English language skills from as early an age as possible.

Sorry this is not a straight forward answer but it is more about what the parents feel is best for their family. The simple answer though is YES, many Afrikaans families use Blue Book from the start.

If you decide to wait and lay the Afrikaans reading foundations down well before starting with LLATL Blue Book that is also ok. Families who have done it this way find their children do manage quite well due to maturity, so although they may be doing Blue Book, which is beginner reading level, at around age 8,9,10 or even later, it is ok because it is second language and they work up through the LLATL books well and systematically from that point even though they may not be doing the specific ‘grade’ level appropriate to their age. In the end it all works out, even if it means they do not get to the final LLATL Gold book because that is at an English level of around grade 13.

Hopefully this has helped to clarify this debatable point. As previously mentioned, there are a few different approaches to this and we have not heard any negative for either way, whichever the family has chosen seems to work for them. BUT, we have not spent hours researching long term effects of one way or another.

Lastly, Afrikaans families have told us that most of what the children do is English based, being computer, internet, television, etc., so they have felt it to be supportive for their children to start them with English before they have a solid foundation in reading in their home tongue. It is all very debatable, we leave it for you to pray about and follow His leading for your family.

Please try and watch the video here.

What is the latest news on IEW?

Please watch this video for the answer. If you still have questions feel free to contact us at [email protected]

This video was produced in 2017. We are pleased to tell you that although we no longer carry any IEW stock for distribution in South Africa you are able to obtain all the IEW products via the link on the Oikos online store which will take you to the IEW website.

My child hates language lessons. What do I do?

We received this from a mom

I am so desperate, I have done everything to help my son enjoy language. He is very resistant to spelling, writing, grammar, reading, basically anything to do with language studies. I have finally got him to read up to the orange books but he is 12 now and very behind. I’ve stopped altogether at times to give him a break and do only ‘fun’ related language lessons, and still he hates language studies. Can you please help me with any suggestions? I’m desperate because I know how important language is an I’m afraid he’s not going to cope in the adult world.

Firstly, I hear the cry of your heart. A son whom you have persevered with through the mud! Well done in given it your all and helping him build character while pressing on with a subject which he does not enjoy. If this were my son in this situation at this time this is what I would be doing.

  1. I’d be glad that I got him as far as we have. Knowing that he has been exposed to good literature and has a grasp on the foundations of what makes up language even if he has not enjoyed the process.
  2. I’d tell him I realise that this has been an ongoing struggle buy yet he can now read, which would not have happened if he had not had the helping hand of this resource and a parent helping him press through.
  3.  Then I would show him what the outcome would be and encourage him to persevere. Up to Grey LLATL is quite a sufficient language understanding to be ready for adult life so he does not necessarily have to go all the way to Gold LLATL. In fact, a student does not have to go as far as Grey LLATL to be able to cope in adult life. To confirm this, I know of a number of Afrikaans families whose children have gone onto college courses after reaching Green LLATL and still they were excelling in english even though it was their second language.
  4.  Finally, what I would be doing practically to keep language advancing as this stage is put LLATL aside and pick up Excellence in Writing. Here you have a tutor, on video, helping bring language to life and teaching how to apply what is learnt through this course. It moves away from all the grammar rules, sentence diagraming, etc. It inspires and motivates a person to ‘want to’ put their thoughts down on paper!

Our son went from dragging his heals, when it came to writing, to finding wings! Quite remarkable really. He only found his wings at about 15/16 years of age.

Lastly why not just take a complete break from formal language for a while and allow some distance. I know you have already taken a few breaks from language lessons but how about talking to your son about this idea so he knows you are wanting to help and support him in whichever way, to help him continue to learn. Perhaps give him some understanding of the bigger picture and the importance of literature. Maybe you can choose a book to read aloud to him which he will love. Or, we have found that audiobooks really inspire a love of the written word.

I hope this helps.

Do I need the additional picture books which go with Blue & Red LLATL?

Yes you will find having these picture books helpful. This is why.

These additional ‘picture books’ are the stories which you the parent read to your child throughout the programme. Once you’ve read one of these stories to your child then he/she will do an activity based on that story.

Later on, once your child has completed the Blue book and Red book reading programs, he/she will be able to read these “additional blue and red picture books” which you have read to them during the teaching process.

I found that my children developed personal favourites from these picture books. Later they read them themselves, we also used them for reference books for illustration/art lessons.

Some parents choose to use the picture books they already have at home or from the library so as to avoid having to buy these additional readers. This then requires them to adapt the activities in the student book to suit the story. It is of course preferable not to do this as it requires adapting the lessons, this extra work could be avoided if one uses the suggested picture books for the programme.

We have them indicated as ‘additional’ because in some cases parents already have some of these picture books in their homes and so they need not purchase again. (e.g. Peter Rabbit) hence them not being sold as a pack/set and being offered as individual additional books.

Watch the video here.


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