This post is sponsored by Oak Meadow.
It’s that time of the year – time to start figuring out next year’s curriculum choices. I get pretty obsessive this time of year, researching new programs and wondering if I am teaching the right things and focusing on the correct subjects. Reviews and feedback from parents who actually use and teach the programs are always helpful to me, so I wanted to take the time today to write a little bit about Oak Meadow, a program we have used consistently over the last 5 years.
I found Oak Meadow when Bug was in the third grade, and we have used the program ever since then. If you are considering giving Oak Meadow a try, here is what you need to know:
Oak Meadow is Creative
Oak Meadow is not a complete-the-worksheet, check-the-box kind of program. It’s also not a busy-work kind of program (you know the kind – the ones where you have endless lists of supplies to get for activities you are never going to do). Oak Meadow is creative, in that, each lesson provides your child the space needed to explore the world around them in a way that speaks to them.
Lessons will bring them outdoors (especially in the younger grades) where they can breathe fresh air and run and play and experience the world in a hands-on way. Older students will be given different choices for assignments. Instead of being told to write a report, they may be given the option to write a report, or do an art project, or engineer a solution to a problem, write and perform a short play, or build something. All of these assignments may require the same research into the subject matter, but the output is creative and interesting.
I am not always the crafty mom or the mom who is excited to make a mess during school hours, but Oak Meadow presents so many options that my kids have taken ownership of their creative assignments over the years, and now are able to complete them with little stress and fuss from me. In the older levels, kids are encouraged to be as independent as possible, which makes it easier to embrace the creativity. In younger grades, the activities suggested are not overwhelming for a mom like me.
Oak Meadow is Complete
Oak Meadow is a tested, proven program. It’s even accredited if you choose to enroll in their distance education program (basically an at-home private school). In order to become accredited, the curriculum has to meet certain standards of rigor and completeness, so I can use Oak Meadow as-is, knowing that my kids are getting a solid education.
This program includes everything you need for all core subjects, which means you don’t need to supplement.
Oak Meadow is Gentle
Part of the reason I specifically tell you that you don’t need to supplement is that this program is deceptively gentle. In the younger grades, you can easily complete this program in 4 days with plenty of time to spare. When kids are learning in a hands-on way, you don’t need to spend 8 hours at a table. This program is efficient and child-friendly. I’ve also found that learning time often looks like playtime with this program, which makes it feel like it takes less time.
Oak Meadow is Flexible
Oak Meadow is an efficient, gentle program, which means it leaves a lot of time for flexibility. I never seem to feel behind while using this program. The assignments given are reasonable, and I am very rarely unable to finish the whole lesson within the amount of time I allocated.
This means my kids have time to explore other interests alongside the curriculum. Bug is very interested in computer coding and enjoys making videos, so he often takes the time to do these things during the week. I love that he has the time to complete his lessons and chase his other interests. You often lose this flexibility with “in a box” homeschool curriculum.
Oak Meadow is Developmentally Appropriate
I am sure I have called many other things my “favorite” thing about Oak Meadow, but now that Bug is in middle school, I can easily say that my favorite thing about this program is that it has taught him to be an independent worker. It’s been fun to watch how the curriculum changes throughout the different grades to teach study skills alongside the curriculum. In the first three grades, this program is parent-led, then slowly, kids are taught to work on their own. The transition lined up well with Bug’s development. The activities and subject matter have also changed with his maturity level. It’s obvious to me that Oak Meadow was carefully planned to line up with the developmental needs of kids as they grow.
Oak Meadow is a solid choice for homeschoolers looking for a complete, creative, flexible program. Make sure you check out the curriculum samples online to see if it will work for your family. I also have reviews for first grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade and seventh grade. You can also search “Oak Meadow” on this site to see sample lessons we have done and other thoughts about the program.