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Oak Meadow Review


Oak Meadow (Kindergarten and Grade School)
http://www.oakmeadow.com/

Oak Meadow Kindergarten

Kindergarten, for me, brings to mind the following: Playing. Sharing. Imagining. Creating. Co-operating. Building. Crafts. Music. Movement. Read Alouds. Educational Toys. Bright colors. Conversation. Imitating the adults in your life in regard to chores and activities. It's that sweet, magical time that's past the toddler stage but not yet at the student stage, where you get to just "be a kid." Where you are gradually prepared for moving on to "real school." That's how I remember it, anyway.

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Making an Ice Sculpture


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Raking Leaves


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Paper Bag Puppets


For my daughter, when she attended public school Kindergarten, it was nothing like that. It was a very long, very academic day. Worksheets, homework, sitting at a desk all day long, barely getting any recess whatsoever, silent lunches. I thought that was a real shame. I thought there should have been more to a five year old's day. More fun. More getting outdoors. More wonder. More joy.


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Building With Beans


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Making Nature Silhouettes


When I began homeschooling (my daughter was in third grade when I pulled her out toward the end of that year, and my son not yet ready for any sort of formal schooling), a friend introduced me to Oak Meadow's Kindergarten curriculum. I looked through it, and I fell in love. I knew that when the time came, THAT was the kind of Kindergarten curriculum I wanted to do with my son. And I eventually did!


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Pumpkin Painting


Oak Meadow K does not push academics or deskwork or worksheets or anything of the sort. It is sweet and gentle, laid back and slow-paced. I LOVE that about it.


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Playing With Pattern Blocks


Instead of having to learn to read and add and things of that nature by the time a child is five years of age, Oak Meadow K focuses on imagination and creativity. On the developmental needs of a child as a whole. There are sweet stories and fingerplays and poems. There are fairy tales and crafts. There are nature walks and movement activities. There's gardening, cooking, painting and games.



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Helping To Bake




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Examining Trees


Kids learn the uppercase letters of the alphabet by finding them in nature, forming them with twigs, with your finger in a tray of salt, with a stick in the dirt, with tape on the ground so you can "walk" the shape, by forming it out of clay and bread dough. By listening to stories and drawing pictures. They learn numbers in similar ways, through play-based, hands-on activities, stories and crafts.



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Hammering Nails Into The Shape Of A Capital N


Work is done in a "Main Lesson Book" (like an artist's sketch pad), which I know I will cherish for years to come.

I love the whole Oak Meadow philosophy, and I was excited to share in the experience with my son- Kindergarten in the way it SHOULD be experienced.



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Farm Tour




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Field Trip To Butterfly House


If you want to know more about what Oak Meadow K is like, see the following link for a "Detailed Oak Meadow Kindergarten Schedule Sample"- it shows how I broke down the first weekly lesson into a daily lesson plan, shows pictures of some of our first week's activities, shows a picture of what I used for our "Main Lesson Book," includes a bit more information about OMK as a whole, and links to my daily journal entries where I blogged about Kindergarten:

http://nancextoo.livejournal.com/125979.html


Oak Meadow, Grade School Years

Around the same time I decided that I would definitely do OMK with my son when the time came, I found out that another friend in my homeschooling group was also doing Oak Meadow. She was past the Kindergarten stage and into 1st and 2nd grades, I believe. I was able to look at some of the work her children were doing, and I continued to be impressed with it and excited about the idea of using it- for both of my homeschooled children.

So after finishing up the last two months of my daughter's third grade year in an eclectic fashion, not using any particular curriculum since the school year was nearly over at the time I pulled her out, I started searching for Oak Meadow used. Like any curriculum, it's not cheap to buy new. I lucked out in a major way when I found someone selling OMK all the way up through OM8 in one big lot. It was an older version of the curriculum, and it was listed at a price that was way too good to pass up.

I actually called Oak Meadow and asked them if there were any significant changes, curriculum wise, from then to now, and there weren't. Nothing major enough to be concerned about, anyway. (This might be a good place to add that Oak Meadow has wonderful customer service, any time you call or email with a question, they are so friendly and helpful. I've heard that from other people, too)!

Anyway, I bought the lot, and I'm so glad I did.

When Fall came around that first year, I was excited to start Oak Meadow 4 with my daughter. I loved it. By fourth grade, Oak Meadow is definitely more on par with what other students of that age would be doing and learning (as opposed to their earliest grades, which are less academic). But with that said, they still manage to make their curriculum interesting and creative. It's not textbookish. There aren't many tests. There aren't worksheets. There isn't an abundance of busywork.

We used the "main lesson book" approach and my daughter kept a daily journal (in colored pencil with illustrations), wrote poems, listened to stories, did writing assignments wherein she was given a handful of creative choices as to which way to go with her reports (maybe one book report would be a storyboard, another might be a letter to a main character, another might be changing the ending to a story and so on). For spelling review, she got to do things like drawing a "small town map" and naming the streets and buildings after spelling words. She made "windsocks" out of paper plates and crepe paper streamers, and wrote the words on the streamers. She wrote her words on the sidewalk with chalk. She made big bubble letters for the first letter of each word and decorated them. Fun, creative things like that in addition to the "write some sentences, put the words in alphabetical order" type stuff.

We did art, we played math games, we did colonial crafts, and more. There were many hands on activities, science and social studies projects that enabled us to get out and do things in a more physical or artistic way, with a lot of discussion and integration- what I'm trying to get at is that it wasn't boring. And I liked that about it. A lot.

Learning does not have to be dull to be effective!

It might be worth adding that toward the end of fourth grade, I ordered the CAT from Seton and had my daughter take a test ("for fun"). It wasn't a required testing year for us, but I was curious to see how she would do after over a year of relaxed/laid back homeschooling, using a curriculum like Oak Meadow that doesn't consist of worksheets and busywork. She scored right where she was supposed to. No worries.

It might also be worth adding that here in PA we must hire an evaluator at the end of each school year to look over our portfolio- well, my evaluator had never encountered anyone using the Oak Meadow curriculum before I came to him with my daughter's Oak Meadow 4 portfolio- and he was perfectly impressed with it. The superintendent at my school district accepted it with no questions or problems.

If you want to know more about what Oak Meadow 4 was like in particular, see the following link for a "Detailed Oak Meadow 4th Grade Schedule Sample." It shows how I took a random weekly lesson from the OM4 syllabus and broke it down into a daily schedule. There are also pictures of some of the activities and schoolwork we did that week, and there will be a link at the end to my very first blog entry for the 4th grade school year.

http://nancextoo.livejournal.com/126472.html

I continued on to Oak Meadow 5 with my daughter. I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed Oak Meadow 4. It continued to pose interesting questions for discussion and a choice of creative writing assignments. It continued to offer hands on activities, crafts and projects. My daughter especially loved Oak Meadow 5's Environmental Science. She's done some really neat things, such as making a multi-media forest mural, burying items in the yard which she later dug up to examine for changes (if any), starting a simple worm bin, "interviewing" a friend about what they grow in their garden, and more. I'm happy with my choice to use Oak Meadow. My daughter seems happy with my choice. I rave about it to everybody and will continue to do so.

If you want to know more about what Oak Meadow 5 is like in particular, see the following link for a "Detailed Oak Meadow 5th Grade Schedule Sample." It shows how I took the first weekly lesson from the OM5 syllabus and broke it down into a daily schedule. There are also pictures of some of the activities and schoolwork we did that week, and there will be a link at the end to my very first blog entry for the 5th grade school year.

http://nancextoo.livejournal.com/126296.html

We are now doing Oak Meadow 6. I'm still a fan. Much more reading, writing, research and so on, but it's still creative, not too textbookish, gives the student creative choices and hands on activities and so on.

For more details on Oak Meadow 6, see the following link:

http://nancextoo.livejournal.com/176844.html

There's also a link at the very bottom of that page to Ben's first day of 1st grade, as we have since moved on to that.

I should probably add that Oak Meadow is a secular curriculum. So those who would prefer NOT to use a religious curriculum, this one's for you (and me)! Those who are religious could still very much enjoy this wonderful curriculum and add in their own religious teachings and studies as they see fit.

P.S. A word about "Main Lesson Books"- Main Lesson Books can be ordered from Oak Meadow's website. However, I have found that buying simple spiral bound "Artist's Sketch Pads" from Walmart works just fine! You can see pictures of them and how we used them under the "Detailed Oak Meadow K Schedule Sample" and "Detailed Oak Meadow 4th Grade Schedule Sample" links- see sidebar to left.

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This Entry Last Updated December, 2012

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
tekar1
Jan. 18th, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
I don't read a lot of blogs, but I found yours by searching for "oak meadow." We are leaving online public school and going to Oak Meadow first grade. We are also a secular, homeschooling family. I have read several of your blogs now, and I LOVE THEM!! I am so excited about where we are going with this, and it is so reassuring to see someone successfully use this curriculum. Thank you for sharing all that you have in your blogs!!
nancextoo
Jan. 18th, 2013 10:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks!
Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment! :) I'm glad you have found my blog helpful, and I hope you love Oak Meadow as much as we do!
(Anonymous)
Apr. 21st, 2013 01:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Thank you for your review! I plan on starting Oak Meadow with my oldest going into first grade this upcoming year. I've been going over so many different curriculum options and keep coming back to Oak Meadow. It sounds like a great program and I enjoyed seeing the various things you have done through the year, thank you! It goes on sale next month, so I'm definitely going to snap it up!
nancextoo
Apr. 21st, 2013 01:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank you!
You're welcome! I'm glad you found it helpful! I hope you enjoy Oak Meadow as much as my family does! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! :)
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Hi! Thanks for this great review! We will be moving to Pittsburgh this summer and I will be attempting to homeschool my oldest, 7. She is very creative and I think she would enjoy oak meadow. I'm curious if you would suggest buying the whole 'package' oak meadow offers or just the syllabus? Since I'm new, not sure what is best, but I suspect I'll be modifying it a bit as she leads me..... ;). Thanks! Daria
nancextoo
May. 19th, 2013 12:30 pm (UTC)
Hi,
Not sure which grade level you'd be looking at but for 1st grade for example I do use the syllabus, the fairy tale book, and perhaps the craft book. I don't tend to buy "craft kits" or main lesson books directly from Oak Meadow because I can get artist sketch pads at Walmart and craft supplies from Michael's (where there are often 40% off coupons) etc. We, too, modify some as desired. :) Good luck with your move and I'm sure you'll love Oak Meadow however you choose to do it!
Nance
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2013 02:45 pm (UTC)
Hi! Thanks!

We'd be using second grade. Even with the current sale on the whole package, it is a bit pricy for us, but the syllabus is doable. (I imagine with lots of library trips!) Can you suggest anywhere I might find a used one other an eBay? Any FB groups?

I've looked at your blog more since my last post. Thanks so much for posting all the info specific to PA. :). I also have a SN daughter, although she is only 4. She is the reason for the move to PA as it seems that state has incredible resources.

Daria
nancextoo
May. 19th, 2013 03:00 pm (UTC)
Hi,
Try Googling Oak Meadow seconds to see if that helps with the price. On Facebook there's a group called Oak Meadow Families and you can try seeing if anyone there is selling used. The Well Trained Mind forums and the Vegsource forums both have sections for buying and selling used curriculum and you might be able to Google similar groups. Some of the individual books might be found on Amazon or eBay. For 2nd grade I won't be using the recorder book (we do our own thing for music requirements until old enough for private guitar lessons or some such), but the other books I will use. You could probably get away with just the syllabus if necessary and figuring out your own nature crafts and clay crafts pretty easily, I'd think. There are tons of free ideas online obviously! :)
Nance
(Anonymous)
Jul. 25th, 2014 12:46 am (UTC)
Our Experience with Oak Meadow
Hi. I have homeschooled 3 boys for nearly 10 years, and have used Oak Meadow for most of it. I am struck with how much our school days have looked like your pictures. One of my sons looks so much like your son in many of the pictures, too. Not too much to add...just that it's the only curriculum that would work for us----because it isn't about memorizing and facts. I would do Oak Meadow, or unschool.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT:


THE FAMILY:

Shawn - 40, Husband, Dad, Tattoo Artist, Body Piercer, Business Owner, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Cook, Mr. Fix-It.

Nance - 41, Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Bookworm, Writer, Field Tripper, List Maker, Planner, Chauffeur.

Melissa - 22, Special Needs. Is in a sheltered workshop/life skills day program. Likes music, movies, shopping, and reading.

Alexa - 14, Left public school in March of 2009 and has been home since, happily homeschooling with Oak Meadow and an eclectic mix of other things. Currently in 8th grade. Enjoys reading, writing, arts and crafts, Girl Scouts, Judo, singing and music, doing her nails, and sleepovers with friends.

Ben - 8, Has never been to any outside school. Currently doing 3rd grade at home. Enjoys computer, video and board games, especially Minecraft and shooter games, silly jokes, soccer, rough-housing, and occasional cuddling and reading.

Adelaide - 13 months and my little ray of sunshine. :)

We are a relaxed/eclectic, secularly homeschooling family living in Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoying Life Without School!

CURRENT CURRICULUM/MATERIALS:

Alexa is using: Oak Meadow 8 Civics; Oak Meadow 8 English; Oak Meadow Basic Physical Science; Story of the World Middle Ages; and Teaching Textbooks Math Pre-Algebra.

Ben is loosely using the Oak Meadow 3rd Grade curriculum (minus the math), Teaching Textbooks Math 3, and Reading Eggspress.

I've always been a fairly relaxed homeschooler. While I've buckled down more this year with my 8th grader, in general we do school around life, not life around school. We use mainly a fun, hands on curriculum that isn't overly time consuming and isn't dry or textbookish, and we're always willing to drop it for the time being if something fun, interesting, or educational comes up outside the house. Living is learning!


ABOUT ME & MY BLOG:

Welcome To My Blog!


MY ARTICLES, ESSAYS, & RAMBLES:

The ABCs Of Relaxed Homeschooling

A Perfect Day

Affidavits, Objectives & Samples, Oh My!

A Kindergarten Dropout

Homeschooling, A Year Later

Preschool Or Not?

I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

A Day In The Life Of A New Homeschooler

Homeschool Poem

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day?

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day Part 2

What About Socialization?

Why Homeschool?!

Dear Judy Molland

What I Really Mean When I Say I Homeschool


MY REVIEWS:

Funnix Beginning Reading Program Review

Getting Started With Spanish Review

Growing, Growing Strong Review

Insect Lore Negative Review

Life of Fred Math Review

Little Passports Review

Meet The Masters Review

Movie Review: Snowmen

Oak Meadow Review

Sentence Composing For Elementary School Review

Story Of The World Review

Teaching Textbooks Math Review

Times Tales Review

Typing Instructor For Kids Platinum Review


OUR BOOK LOGS:

Alexa's Third Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fourth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fifth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 1

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 2

Alexa's Seventh Grade Book Log

Ben's Pre-K Book Log

Ben's Kindergarten Book Log

Ben's First Grade Book Log

Ben's Second Grade Book Log


SCHEDULE SAMPLES:

Oak Meadow Kindergarten Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 4th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 5th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Our 6th Grade Stretched Over Two Years Plan

Some Of Our Most Fun/Interesting Projects & Activities, Oak Meadow 5th Grade


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Homeschool Affidavit

Homeschool Objectives, Elementary and Secondary Level

Homeschool Portfolio

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 1

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 2

Standardized Test Results


MISC:

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles A-I

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles J-R

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles S-Z

52 Books In 52 Weeks, Mom & Daughter Style, 2011

Homeschooling Quotes & Funnies

Our Fresh Air Fund Experience

Funny Things Alexa Has Said

Funny Things Ben Has Said

My Favorite Links

How I Got Alexa's Eczema Under Control!

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 1

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 2

UPDATED!My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, Part 3UPDATED!

The Family Who Wouldn't Change The Toilet Paper

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