It’s that time of the year again! New curriculum has started to arrive at my doorstep, and I am SO excited to announce we’ll have another Oak Meadow review for you this year. My family has had the privilege of using Oak Meadow materials for a couple years now, and we’ve used Grade 1, Grade 3 and Grade 4 so far. This year, we’ve received Grade 5 and I wanted to share with you some of my initial thoughts now that “Box Day” is here.
First, let me tell you how excited I am to be back in the land of quick mail delivery. For the past three years, I’ve had to wait 4-8 weeks for packages to make their way through the U.S. and Military mailing systems. Not only did it take forever for boxes to arrive, but I had to make the trip to base each day to check the mail to see if there were packages (no such thing as door-to-door service in the Military APO system!). My Oak Meadow materials took a grand total of FOUR days to arrive this time.
The speed of delivery isn’t the only thing that is changed.
Fifth Grade Oak Meadow is set up totally different from previous years. One of the things I really like about this program is that it really does adapt and change as your child grows. The format is not one-size-fits-all across the grade levels. When you teach Third Grade, the lesson plans are laid out totally different than when you teach fifth grade. The curriculum accounts for maturity changes, and the need for independence as kids get older. Fourth grade was a huge transition year for the program and it’s very neat to see where it was headed.
Fifth grade looks fun, right?
The fifth-grade curriculum is broken down into four core books with accompanying literature (instead of everything being in one syllabus as with younger grades):
The Fifth Grade Teachers Manual:
The teacher’s manual has all the answers, definitions to words, and background information you need to evaluate your child’s work. Oak Meadow at this level is written directly to the student at this point, and while earlier years had a lot of information for the parent’s on how to teach the lessons, or encourage their children to work on their own, at this point the materials coach the child, not the parent. I have heard people debate whether or not they need this element of the program, and I have to say, at first glance I don’t see how you could get by without it. (Maybe if you really were smarter than a 5th grader, but I don’t remember that far back!)
Fifth Grade Science:
I am SO in love with the looks of the science program this year. I’ll just say upfront that if you need 5th-8th grade science, you want to stick around for the review in a couple of weeks because this book looks awesome. Basically, each lesson is a week’s worth of material. It includes reading, 5-8 tasks to choose from, and every other lesson has questions to answer. This is the same hands-on, creative activities you are used to, but tied together with serious science.
Fifth Grade Math:
Math is separate again this year, like last, and I really appreciate when a complete curriculum sets it up this way. Bug is asynchronous, and is working way ahead in Math. We did get the fifth-grade book to use with him, because I like to keep my reviews together so I can give feedback on level, and he’ll be using it mainly for review. If you were purchasing this program for yourself, you can mix and match levels as you need. If you don’t want to have your child copy out the questions onto a separate piece of paper, this is the one consumable part of the program.
Fifth Grade U.S. History and English:
I am excited this level goes to a more chronological approach to history. Younger years are more focused on cultures and stories than history in “order” and I am a bit excited to be able to pull out a timeline and really dig into the foundations of this country. I do love that this is still the core of the program. The reading is all centered around social science, and all your language arts lessons are integrated into the program right there.
I am really excited about this level. I feel like I say this every year, but I am so excited about the layout and content of this year’s lessons. I love being able to see the progression of the program, from third grade, when the lessons were mainly me telling a story and the kids creatively responding; to fourth grade, where most of the year was spent training Bug up to take more and more ownership of his lessons; to this.
This level is written right to him, with very little expected of me. It’s broken up in very clear, manageable chunks as well, which is a nice break from the big syllabus. I feel like this format is a little less intimidating for a kid who is going to be taking charge of his own lessons. I am excited to give him his materials, and take a supporting role instead of a leading one. I really feel like we are both up for the challenge, and I can’t wait to return and report on how it went!
It’s broken up in very clear, manageable chunks as well, which is a nice break from the big syllabus. I feel like this format is a little less intimidating for a kid who is going to be taking charge of his own lessons. In this level, the assignments he needs to complete each week are written in bold, so they stand out well from the reading, and he’ll easily be able to see what he needs to do each week. He still will need to break down his work into what he is doing each day, so we’ll have a “planning meeting” together to see how he wants to approach it (ownership, remember?)
I am excited to give him his materials, and take a supporting role instead of a leading one. I really feel like we are both up for the challenge, and I can’t wait to return and report on how it went!
We’ll have the full review, and a closer look at a week in the life with Oak Meadow’s fifth-grade curriculum soon… and, you may remember a giveaway in the past? *cough* That may be coming too! *cough* so stick around on Facebook, or subscribe by email so you don’t miss a thing!