We’ve completed two levels of Oak Meadow now (First and Third grade) and are starting on Fourth grade this year with Bug. After a year with the program, finally feel like I can pinpoint why Oak Meadow works for us.
It lets me be ME
This is a big one for me. I never thought I would be the kind of person who could use a “boxed” curriculum. But, I’ve said before, Oak Meadow is the anti-box box. There aren’t textbooks in here. There’s not a big, intimidating schedule you have to follow. The work provided isn’t overwhelming, or time consuming, or scary.
What is in the box is a flexible program. In the younger grades, I get a book, written to me, with suggestions and lessons and rhythms and things that work with our family and it’s natural balance. In older grades, I get an appropriate amount of work, written to the student, in a format that is easy for me to tweak. I can squeeze it all into a busy three day week, or take it at a leisurely pace. I can do everything written, or I can choose to use it as a loose guide for our days.
Either way I slice it, it’s flexible, and friendly, and puts me first. After all, I know best for my kids.
It lets my kids be KIDS
Have you heard people say that Kindergarten is the new First? Kids are being pushed to do more, at a faster pace than ever before. There is a huge push to be at a “standard” and be just like the kid next door.
Oak Meadow isn’t like that. It’s gentle. Now, before you go off, and think gentle is bad….. it’s not. Let me tell you why, it’s still covering everything it needs to. I’ve sat down with my syllabus, and the world book suggestions for the same grade, and all the skills and topics are covered.
The difference comes into how they are covered. Some curriculum will have a child reading about moon phases in a book, and maybe do a cutesy craft with them. Oak Meadow will send you outside with your child to look at the moon, and talk about the moon as you drive through town, or on your camping trip. When you’re outside, and you see that moon, you’ll note what phase it’s in, and maybe write it down on your calender. You’ll sit back, and sip your wine on the porch while your child plays in the moonlight, and one day, when your child notices that it’s been a month since the last full moon, and what do you know, it’s back again, you’ll know they get it.
It’s just like that. You’ll be teaching, and it will look like relaxing on the porch. You can thank me later.
It gets us out of the house
This may be my favorite part, and also the part I love to hate. We live on the third floor, in a (admittedly large for Europe) box of an apartment. We have a balcony, but there isn’t much room out there, and I hardly call spending time on it enjoying nature.
Oak Meadow has nature written right in. It gets us all outside. We have to learn about plants and weather, and the moon, and the earth from being out and seeing it. We don’t have to go far from home, but we go out.
The kids are so much happier with a little sunshine.
It leaves me with free time
The combination of flexible lesson plans, and a gentle way of teaching means that we have plenty of free time. I like to do unit studies. We like to travel. I do blog reviews of curriculum (which means I *use* the curriculum). Right now, I have Bug working on Spanish and Latin, as well as doing a review of a history program on top of Oak Meadow. We still are done by 2 every day.
I have time to teach the other kids. We have time to play. We have time to run errands. We have time. And it’s the most wonderful thing about using Oak Meadow.