FAQ’s

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You will find information below on the following topics:

  • The Balanced Child Workbooks
  • STEM Toys
  • Related Educational Products        
  • Making Payment        
  • Shipping & Returns
  • Other
THE BALANCED CHILD WORKBOOKS

Question:
What learning principles are TheBalancedChild workbooks based on?
Answer:
Our specialist Maths, Science & English workbooks are from Singapore, and are based on the Singapore educational system that has consistently produced the top primary and secondary school students in the world. Singapore students have consistently come top in the 4-yearly worldwide TIMSS (Trends in International Maths & Science Study) evaluation conducted by global educational researchers in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 across 63 countries (primarily developed countries) covering some 600,000 students. The study and the results can be found here. The 2011 worldwide survey results were released in late 2012. The 2015 evaluation results will be published in late 2016.

Singapore also topped the 2015 OECD Global Student Rankings (click here). It consolidates the evaluations of the TIMSS and PISA studies.

The Singapore teaching approach, referred to in the global teaching community as ‘Singapore Math’, draws from leading education research worldwide. The term ‘Singapore Math’ has also come to refer to the general Singapore approach to teaching Maths, Science and English, employing a ‘concrete to abstract’ approach. It pays particular attention to the fact that children have different thinking styles, and that consequently different learning strategies and techniques are required for any one learning situation, to address the various learning styles. In addition, it systematically revisits key topics at each learning level, but with added complexity and sophistication each time. For more details click here.

Click here for more 3rd party information on this topic (from the BBC, The Australian newspaper, etc).

Question:
What is the basis of the global TIMSS evaluation (the Trends in International Maths & Science Study), which Singapore repeatedly tops?
Answer:
TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) is a project of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). The IEA delegates responsibility for the overall coordination and management of the projects to the International Study Center at Boston College. The United States, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Project, and participating nations pay for and carry out the data collection according to international guidelines. In the United States, TIMSS is supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). More info can be found here.

Question:
What is the difference between the TIMSS and PISA global evaluations?
Answer:
TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and its sister study PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) are projects of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), partnered by the World Bank, the UN Development Program and the US Dept of Education. TIMSS commenced in 1995.

PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) commenced a few years later in 2000. Much of the PISA methodology follows that of TIMSS, and the reading component of PISA is inspired by the IEA’s (PIRLS).

Both of these international assessments are now included in the National Assessment Program agreed by the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA), and each assessment cycle involves a sample of Australian schools and students. More info can be found on Wikipedia here.

Question:
Are TheBalancedChild workbooks the ‘actual’ Singapore books or are they just written using the ‘Singapore approach’? 
Answer:
Our workbooks are indeed the ‘actual’ Singapore books, published by two of the major publishers in Singapore, and are used in several schools in Singapore.

The ‘Singapore approach’ itself is developed and owned by the Ministry of Education, and not the publishers. This curriculum approach is then licensed to the publishers, who then publish books with the aid of recognised curriculum specialists groomed in the ‘Singapore approach’.

Question:
Who are TheBalancedChild workbooks suitable for?
Answer:
Our specialist kids Maths, Science & English workbooks, focused on primary and early middle school levels, were selected to supplement learning at school or at home. They help to extend and anchor the child’s understanding of the key concepts & principles of the respective subjects.

Depending on the learning level used, the workbooks are effective learning-aids both for children who need to build a stronger foundation, as well as for gifted & talented children who need advanced challenges.

Question:
Which level of TheBalancedChild books is suitable for my child?
Answer:
As a general rule, the scope and emphasis of the Singapore school curriculum is not directly comparable to those in Australia & New Zealand, particularly in the early primary and middle school stages.

As indicated on our website (click here), generally if a child’s ability is about a 7 or more on a scale of 1 to 10 in his/her current class level, it would be worth working on the equivalent Primary level in TheBalancedChild series initially. However, my own children’s experience in Australia suggests that, for example, a Year 7 child coping moderately well in school here would be better suited to the Singapore Primary 6 books offered by TheBalancedChild. This is also borne out by the NSW educational testing process. Of course a child who needs a stronger grounding initially would benefit by starting at one step lower to build a firm foundation, then working up to the equivalent year level.

Question:
Where can I view more details on TheBalancedChild books – prices, sample pages, etc ?
Answer:
All the information you need is available on TheBalancedChild website, at the description for each book. The prices of the books are listed in detail on the website, both individually and in discounted sets.

In addition, we also provide brief descriptions of each book, as well as sample contents of the books for each grade.

Question:
Why do the Maths, Science & English sets have more than one workbook each? How are they intended to be used?
Answer:
Our workbooks come in a graduated series from 1st grade (referred to as ‘Primary 1’ in Singapore) through early secondary school, typically including worked examples to help your child understand new concepts.

Each set of workbooks (in any year level) is designed for students to work through in a period of about a year, as a supplement to their normal school work. Each of the books in the set provides different perspectives on the key topics. This helps different children who have different thinking styles. In working through the workbooks, the child also gets an in-depth grasp of the key topics at that year level.

They are designed to be easy to understand and work out (with answers and workings at the end of the book), such that the student can ‘self-teach’ if necessary. In addition to gaining the important information and insights on the respective topics, many of the situations are presented in a problem-solving format, to strengthen the student’s critical thinking and conceptual skills

Question:
Are TheBalancedChild books ‘textbooks’?
Answer:
Our books are not ‘text books’ in the traditional sense, but supplementary workbooks that aid learning in kids Maths, Science & English. However, some teaching programs and parents often use them as student guides because they include illustrations and worked examples. They contain numerous problems and questions presented in a variety of ways, allowing for various solution approaches, thereby helping to anchor the fundamentals of each topic. They are ideal both for gifted & talented children as well as for those who need additional assistance, using workbooks from the appropriate learning level. Most of the books have worked examples, but they are most effective when the child has an adult as a guide when working through them.

Question:
Is my child able to work through the books, (i.e. do they contain exercises for the child to work out), or are they teaching guides that assist the parent to teach the child?
Answer:
All our books are ‘workbooks’ that contain exercises & questions for the child to work through, and are not ‘text books’ or teaching guides to assist the parent to teach the child. They contain answers at the back of the book so that you can verify if the child’s work is correct. Some answer sections come with explanations and workings that children find useful as learning or reference tools.

Question:
How do the Singapore books and approach compare with Kumon?
Answer:
The focus of Kumon is practice, practice, practice, which is an important aspect of the Singapore system as well. However a key difference is that the Singapore approach (click here) uses it in increasingly complex ‘spirals’, with a variety of subtly different problem-solving approaches introduced for each topic, such that a child gains a better understanding of the linkages between the various perspectives (eg the operating relationships between decimals, fractions and percentages in Maths). In the process different children who think differently (eg ‘right-brained’ children who arrive at solutions intuitively, or ‘left-brained’ children who use deductive reasoning, etc) discover the method or approach most suited to their personal strengths and learning style.

Question:
Do you have an agent or bookstore where we can view TheBalancedChild books?
Answer:
We market these books primarily on the internet, so as to keep the cost of the books as low as they are, to share with others the same benefits that our own children received. As a consequence we do not have any agencies, retail outlets or distribution channels, thereby avoiding overhead costs. These savings are passed on to you.

Instead, we have provided illustrations, detailed descriptions and specimen pages of TheBalancedChild books on the website, and would be glad to provide additional information by email if required (click here).

Alternatively you might wish to order a small selection from our range of books initially to see if they are appropriate for you. As indicated on the website we offer a refund of the full retail price of the books (that is, excluding postage & handling costs that have already been incurred) if you subsequently find that they are not what you’re looking for, and return them in their original, unused condition within 14 days.

 

STEM TOYS

Question:
What is STEM?
Answer:
Educators, governments and thinkers worldwide agree that the way forward in this modern world is the core disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – aka ‘STEM’.

The focus of STEM learning is the inter-relationship between these subjects in a practical way. Underlying STEM-thinking is the need to identify real-world needs and their solutions, with a focus on problem solving. This is particularly required for the rapidly evolving world we live in and the direction it takes, and it has implications for economies and the workforce of the future.

Question:
Why STEM Toys?
Answer:
STEM toys encourage children to develop skills in the core disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. STEM learning is most effective when it happens both in and outside school. And what engages kids outside school? TOYS, of course.

We are proud to bring you this specially selected range of STEM toys because they have clear goals, and encourage kids to acquire all-important STEM skills while having fun.

Question:
What STEM Toys do you offer?
Answer:
We carry a very select ‘high-value’ range of STEM toys that we believe stand out from the numerous products available in the market. They currently come in 4 categories:

  • Coding for kids
  • Science
  • Electronics
  • Mechanics/Engineering
RELATED EDUCATIONAL PRODUCTS

Question:
Does TheBalancedChild offer other related educational products?
Answer:
Yes, we offer the creative and fun Gems of Success series of reference & activity books, as well as a range of Maths & English educational games & activities to supplement the child’s learning.

Question:
What are the Gems of Success books suitable for?
Answer:
The Gems of Success is a series of 12 separate reference & activity books, a children’s ‘encyclopaedia’ of sorts, each designed to broaden the child’s knowledge and understanding of the world around us, with interesting articles & nuggets of information. In addition they contain creative exercises in English, Science and Maths (without being obvious about it), essentially to develop the child’s critical thinking and process skills.

They are all pitched at a similar level. Each book is unique, but all address a common level of maturity and understanding (ie they are not graded from 1 to 12). They have a similar ‘look-and-feel’ but contain different topics, many of them in humorous settings. They are generally ideal for children aged 10 and above, and likely not suitable for children below Yr 4.

Question:
What are the Educational Games & activities suitable for?
Answer:
These educational games, focused on Maths & English, were specifically selected to supplement the child’s understanding and learning of the respective subjects, and in particular TheBalancedChild workbooks. They are intended to provide experiential learning in these basic academic disciplines, to anchor the intellectual learning that they will gain from the workbooks. Equally importantly, the games provide the element of fun and enjoyment necessary in learning.

Question:
Does TheBalancedChild carry workbooks appropriate for High School (secondary school)?
Answer:
We no longer offer High School workbooks from Singapore, as they did not appear to have significant demand here in Australia. This is likely because the focus of education at the high school level becomes curriculum-dependent, whereas the fundamentals of Maths, Science and English are universal at the primary and early middle school stages. In addition, the greater need was in primary and early middle school levels, following comparisons that we made with the help of school teachers of the learning stage of the average child in school here (both public and private).

 

MAKING PAYMENT

Question:
How do I pay for TheBalancedChild books?
Answer:
You may place your order online on our website, or if you prefer by phone or email.  We offer a range of payment options:

  1. By PayPal: This is an automated, secure and safe online payment facility, accepted worldwide. If you are not already a PayPal member, you can register for a free account on the checkout screen that appears when you use TheBalancedChild shopping cart, or at http://www.paypal.com.au/au. You can then choose to pay by credit card or make the payment directly from your bank account. On completion of your transaction, PayPal will send you confirmation of your transaction, and automatically send us your order details as well as your mailing address, so that we can complete your order. Your credit card details will remain with PayPal, and will not be divulged to us. (You will also be able to use the same PayPal account to make other secure online purchases on other websites such as eBay.)
  2. By Credit Card, using our safe and secure payment system. We operate within the ‘Site Lock Secure’ ‘https’ environment, and none of your payment details are stored or available to us.
  3. By Bank Deposit or Internet Bank Transfer in Australian $: You will need to contact us by email/phone for our bank details, so that you can make the transfer. You will also need to send us the exact details of the books you wish to order, as well as your mailing address, so that we can mail the books to you once we have received cleared payment. All our costs (the cost of our books, as well as postage costs) will remain the same.

 

SHIPPING & RETURNS

Question:
Do you have a return policy?
Answer:
Yes. All our products are brand new and shipped in good condition. However, as indicated on the website if you are not satisfied with the products for any reason, we will refund you the full retail price of the products, no questions asked, on return of the unused products in their original, good, unopened condition within 14 days of delivery.

You will of course need to absorb the related shipping costs, including those already incurred, as well as any return shipping costs, unless the return was due to an error on our part.

Question:
Do you ship by normal post or by courier, or by registered post, and insured?
Answer:
We treat shipping charges as cost recovery, and attempt to keep the costs of our products as low and affordable as possible. We normally despatch orders by Australia Post ordinary mail, with Australia Post charges based on weight and destination, with a minimal handling charge added on.

However, where you specifically request us to do so, we will send you the books by courier, or by registered post, or insured. You will of course need to bear these optional additional costs.

Question:
How long will it take before I receive my order?
Answer:
We normally despatch orders within 1 business day of receiving cleared payment, and you can expect to receive your package within 5 business days of your order if you are in an Australian metropolitan area that is well serviced by Australia Post (it may take longer if you are outside a city area).

Question:
Do we need to pay the same postage on each product, or will this be discounted according to the total weight (based on Australia Post charges)?
Answer:
Our postage charges are on a cost recovery basis, based on weight and destination, with a minimal handling charge added on. The workbook sets and toy+books value bundles would therefore have a reduced postage charge, compared to the charge for individual products. In addition, we would be happy to bulk your order on request, as there might be some savings if the order were sufficiently large. You will need to place your orders directly with us, by phone or email.

Question:
Do you ship your products internationally, outside Australia?
Answer:
Yes, international shipping can be arranged, but shipping costs will be higher (again on a cost recovery basis), depending on location, and must be agreed and paid in advance. Delivery times will of course be greater as well.

 

OTHER

Question:
How can we reach you or contact you?
Answer:
You can contact us as follows:

  1. By email:    info@thebalancedchild.com.au
  2. By Phone:  +61 (0) 439 445 855