Saturday, 27 February 2016

Looking into IGCSE

Nau mai, hoki mai, and welcome back!

Bear with me as I record my IGCSE research/mission.  Really, it's just a bunch of notes, but I've decided to share them here in case anyone is considering the same path.
  1. Joined the kiwi yahoo group (NZHomeEdCambridge) and the FB group - (Cambridge Homeschooling NZ).  Sought help by canvassing a few questions seeking advice - printed that out so I can refer to it.
  2. Read this page on the ACSNZ website and noted the school for our area. (Western Heights High School, here in Rotorua.  I rang and spoke with the lady who deals with IGCSE.   One of the things she pointed out is that we need a passport for tama 1 as ID.  I doubt we'll be sitting anything this year so I won't worry about that at this second but as a 'just in case' I'm noting it as a reminder.)
  3. Printed out the Private Candidate Handbook.  I added dividers to make it easier to locate Resources and IGCSE Subject Overview sections.  I also wrote the Subject Code Number on the table located in the Resources area.  Now I know what those numbers mean!
  4. The Cambridge International Examinations website is where I spend the bulk of my time. This link takes me directly to the Subject area.  Clicking on a subject, I can then see the Syllabus for 2015, 2016, 2017-2019.  I have so far printed and comb bind the 2016 syllabi for Business Studies, Geography, First Language English, English Literature, Geography, History, Mathematics Extended, Combined Science and Spanish.  From what I can see - and I'll need to inquire on the groups to be sure - Latin is not until AS level.  (I could be wrong). At this stage these are some of the subjects we're interested in, so I've printed them out to help choose which ones we'll start with.  Having them in print is just loads easier for me to read rather than too much screen use.
  5. Textbooks?  On the same CIE website, under Support Material are suggested textbooks.  Can also see a list of recommended text at the IGCSECentre web site.
  6. Purchase books from?  I have used Book Depository and TradeMe.  Also, I purchased a second-hand text from within the Cambridge homeschooling community.  I researched many other sites to see if they:  (a) sold them; and (b) were competitive.  Basically, no, they're not.  I ran into a glitch sourcing the recommended text for Spanish too because BD doesn't have it in stock (but yes!  I did ask to be notified when it's back).  As expected, nobody is selling it on TM.  I quizzed others if they had something to recommend and in response to my query, another lady suggested ¡Listos! which BD does have in stock. Have yet to decide if I'll get it, or rely on the list of vocab etc I found via Syllabus, past exams, revision material even for a while.  If we don't sit it November 2016 then I can push the purchase of a textbook further out into the year (ie  when homeschooling allowance comes in). Hopefully I won't disadvantage tama 1 with that decision.
  7. This is a link to online revision courses.
  8. Unfortunately the BBC Bitesize video clips do not work outside the UK.  They do provide links to other sites though.  I added one example to the Romankids Homeschool Facebook page.

Will we succeed in following IGCSE, or will we take the NCEA route?  Preferably not the latter, but it's too hard to answer at the moment.  Everything feels very foreign still. I've managed to answer some questions for myself, but these are some of the points I've yet to figure out:

  • There are Papers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.  Does the student receive all the Papers in one sitting, or how exactly does that work?
  • How many papers would be ideal this first year?   ...    Two?  ...    More?    ...    One?
  • Research assignments - how and when do we submit those?
  • Some exams have group activities ... ?? I realise there are options, so do I presume we opt for an exam question that is not a group activity?
  • Scheduling - any advice?  We work well with a schedule.  Could do with some guidance.
  • Tutors - when should I get in touch with someone?  Wait until we've muddled along for a while?
  • Ditto for Workshops.  I feel like we need to do things ourselves for a while before venturing to workshops - especially as they are in Auckland etc.

As at today's date, I have only purchased one Teacher's Resource (First Language English).  I won't even describe how it makes me feel when I started glancing through it!!

Purchasing textbooks via BD and/or TM is a must for me.  The cost of freight will make the price escalate out of control otherwise.  Although, in saying that, buying second-hand through Amazon can sometimes be a massive saving, so I'll continue to check prices that way.  Like many families, we are on one income, so it's important to be economical.

I would seriously welcome having a Cambridge homeschooling buddy!  How about an IGCSE for Dummies?

Anyway, that's pretty much everything I had scribbled down.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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