Guess what showed up in my mailbox??? Bug’s curriculum for next year, Oak Meadow Grade 6. I know I say this every year, but I can’t believe how much time flies and how old he’s getting. He’s going to be ten very soon, and all of a sudden he’s turning into a little man.
It’s fitting that his curriculum is growing up with him. Bug has been using Oak Meadow since the third grade, and it’s been an awesome journey so far. Grade three was wonderfully gentle, with lots of creative activities and time to play and explore outside. Grade four was a transition year, and helped train him to work independently, and take responsibility for his education. Grade five came with some struggles, with his transition into owning his education lasting a little longer than it would have had I not rushed him through the early years of his education.
Luckily, we’ve all made it through with only a few bumps and bruises. I am so excited to have this stack of sixth-grade books on my table, and I am ready for a new year with a whole new set of challenges and successes to celebrate.
What’s in the Box?
Grade Six comes with these curriculum guides:
Teachers Manual: Includes all the assignments, answers, instructions and teaching tips, as well as assessment tools for parents
English: Written to work in conjunction with the Ancient Civilizations book (the writing assignments and lessons tie back to history). Includes grammar, writing, vocabulary, reading and more. Included literature: The Rainbow People, Book of Greek Myths, Adventures of Robin Hood (additional reading can be picked up from the library).
Basic Life Science: A complete reading-based science course. Includes Plants, Animals, Cells, and the Human Body
Ancient Civilizations: The biggest book in the stack! Includes history, geography, art, hands-on activities, and more. Covers: The Stone Age, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Old Testament, Persia, India, China, Africa, Greece and Rome, Islam, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Mayans, Aztecs, Incas, Early Explorers.
Math: Includes fractions, decimals, multiplication and division, measurement, geometry, probability, percentages, averages, factors, and early algebra skills.
A Closer Look at the Teachers Manual
Whenever we get a new curriculum, the very first thing I start with is the teachers manual. Grade six comes with a HUGE manual. The manual includes all the instructions and assignments from the student books, along with answers to the assignments (highlighted in a different color, so they are easy to see).
The manual is divided by subject instead of by week, so I’ll be adding sticky notes to the pages where Bug is currently working. At first, I thought it would be easier if arranged chronologically- so I could turn to week one and see all of week one in the same section, but the more I think about it, having the manual divided by subject will make it more flexible. I tend to organize our homeschool year by subject, so if I fall behind in science, and am on track with history, the whole plan doesn’t get mixed up.
The teacher’s manual also includes “learning assessments” which list the specific skills your child is working on, the books they should be reading, and where they are at in those books, and also includes a section to note the scores your child received on their quizzes. As Bug gets older, I am desiring more ways to keep track of how he is progressing, and am looking for ways to measure his achievements. These pages will make it easier for me to report his progress for our state requirements, and will help ease my anxiety over if we are “doing enough.”
The very first thing I noticed is the different binding on these books. The version I have for the fourth and fifth-grade curriculum had a glue binding, and this book is comb bound, with a thick, fold-over cover. Y’all know how much I love superficial things, like thick, colorful pages, and nice binding. This set has lived up to my (admittedly high) expectations.
I am very excited about all these course, but especially the Ancient Civilizations book. Our family has tried many different programs over the years, and I feel like I could open my own curriculum store using the materials in my storage boxes. I had struggled to find history materials I loved for the middle grades and am thrilled to see that this one may be exactly what I was looking for. At this point, you could purchase just a course or two from this curriculum, so if you need just a couple subjects covered, Oak Meadow may be for you.
Overall, I think this year is going to be a fantastic fit for Bug. I love that it seems very easy for him to open and go. The teacher’s manual includes this passage:
When working on assignments, students are encouraged to find out more if their curiosity is not sufficiently satisfied. The project choices found in most lessons encourage original thinking, exploration, and analysis, which are essential elements of the learning experience.
This program feels like the perfect marriage between structured learning (and the handholding I have come to love as a teacher) and the freedom for Bug to learn and grow as a student. I want him to be curious, and ask questions, and learn through exploration. This program may be an organized curriculum, but it’s also a tool that will open doors.
We’re excited to get started! Bug and I are digging into this program the next couple weeks, so we can write a full review, and give you a peek into a week in the life with this program soon. Stay tuned for more!
*hint hint* If you’ve been a long time follower of Only Passionate Curiosity, you know our Oak Meadow review comes with something very special- a GIVEAWAY for a complete curriculum from Oak Meadow. The review is coming soon, so make sure you are following us on Facebook or subscribe by email, so you don’t miss it!