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  1. #1

    Default Anyone have experience with Oak Meadow?

    Looking to chat with anyone who's used Oak Meadow curriculum for the lower grade levels.
    Good/bad/neutral, whatever you thought of it, how you used it, how it worked for you.

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  3. #2

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    My personal experience with boxed curriculum of any kind is that it is great if you have the money to spend on it and need all the planning and scheduling of materials to be done for you so you can run on auto-pilot for a while but it is really easy to get burned out on trying to implement everything as written for whatever boxed curriculum you choose.

    It is intimidating at first to use curriculum that isn't all planned out for you or to cobbled everything together yourself but, in our experience, that's where the most memorable lessons happened. My 21 year old son still remembers making a paper cutout of his body and gluing all the different body organs to it as we learned about them when he was about 6yo. He also remembers rolling out a strip of freezer paper long enough to draw a life size giraffe on it and hang it on the wall only to find out a real giraffe would not fit in our living room lol. He remembers nature walks and certain books we read. What he doesn't remember much of is the year that his dad was a contractor overseas for a year, we had just moved back to the United States from living overseas for almost 5 years and I was juggling 4 kids, ranging from 10yo to 2yo and I was pregnant with baby number 5. I needed school to be on autopilot that year. So I ordered a year of Sonlight (Book Shark wasn't around back then), tweaked out the parts that didn't align with our family beliefs on the fly and just used the curriculum to basically say we were doing school and meeting the legal requirements (we were actually in NC that year lol) But ds21 doesn't remember much school-wise from that year even though he was 10. By the end of that year, I was tweaking so much and doing our own thing that it didn't even resemble the Sonlight lesson plans anymore. That was the only year we ever did a complete boxed curriculum and we have never done it since lol.

    One of my favorite curriculums for kindergarten and even into first and second grade is Five In A Row(FIAR). There is a little bit of religion but it is entirely in the teacher's guide and there really isn't much. Most of it is in the Bible Supplement which is a separate book that you don't need if you aren't wanting to do devotionals or things like that. What I really like about FIAR especially for new homeschoolers is that for one, it is gentle but full of learning. It is amazing how much kids learn AND retain from FIAR lessons. The second thing I like about FIAR especially if you use it as your main curriculum (all you really need to add to FIAR is a phonics/learn to read curriculum and a math curriculum) is that it teaches you, the mom/teacher, how to draw out educational content from almost anything. Once you have used FIAR for a while, you start seeing teachable moments everywhere and the world becomes your classroom. I've used FIAR and FIAR style lessons that I have created on my own all the way into middle school. I had trouble in middle school though feeling like I was doing enough with just FIAR but I know people who used FIAR all the way up to junior high successfully and their (now grown) children are delightful and successful young adults.

    If you want to give it a look, I would suggest the regular FIAR for a 5yo. Before Five In A Row has some titles that you could use with a 5 year old but you are going to have to build up the lesson some so it's not ideal for someone just learning how to teach their children. There is also Beyond FIAR and Above and Beyond FIAR but those are for much older kids. There are 4 volumes of FIAR, I would suggest starting with the first one but it really doesn't matter, any of the first 3 volumes are fine starting points. Volume 4 is a bit over a 5yo's head in some places, that is the only reason I don't suggest it for a kindy. There are also several individual units that the author wrote outside of the published books and the author's daughters have recently started making more units using more recently published books. One that I think almost any 5yo boy would love is based on the book "Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site". I haven't used the newest units that the daughters have made but I'm sure they are just as lovely as the original FIAR units in the original manuals.

    I was going to write some more but this has already gotten really long and I've got to get off the computer and get some school and housework done. I can write more later if you would like to know more about FIAR. Bottom line though, there is nothing inherently wrong with Oak Meadow but it is expensive and likely to cause burn out. There are lots of other options out there that are less expensive and just as helpful at helping you teach your son. ;-)

  4. #3

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    We bought Oak Meadow for preschool for my older son. I was attracted to its gentleness, its emphasis on routines and more organic, scarfy warfy stuff - like Waldorf, without the crazy cult aspects.

    Depending on your level of allerjesus, you could look at FIAR as MHA suggests. (Their Before 5 in a row was too religious for me.)
    You could also look at the fully secular Build Your Library. Their kindergarteny level is a trip around the world (and appropriate for any of the earlier elementary years).

    Really, though, the best advice I think is 1) dont spend a lot of money on a curriculum, and 2) dont feel the need to do everything as laid out in whatever you buy. Use libraries for books youre only going to read once! Some box curriculums supply you with all these additional books (and additional cost) when you will read them, at most, once.

    FIAR, BYL, and Bravewriter are all more appealing in that they provide the guides, and let you source the books. Moving Beyond the Page is another multi-subject sort of program, but I dont know if they supply all the books or not.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  5. #4

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    MapleHill, please do come back and write more about FIAR or anything else you'd like to suggest.
    In the meantime, I will take a peek at it.
    I like the idea of a boxed curriculum because as I'm only just beginning I feel I need somebody to tell me what to do.
    I think, as I move along and gain confidence and experience, that may fade.
    I already love to add and enrich the simple curricula I have used with my own activities, so that sort of thing isn't a problem for me.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    Depending on your level of allerjesus
    ALLERJESUS

    Best thing I've ever heard.
    I actually do have quite a high level of allerjesus, and, to be completely honest, my son doesn't even have any idea who he is.
    His piano teacher was doing some Christmas songs with him a few weeks ago, and he came asking me "Mommy, who is the Baby Jee?"
    I had to laugh.

    I will check out Build Your Library - sounds like something we'd be interested in.

    We currently just use Letters From Afar and love it, but we will eventually need more.
    Has anybody else here subscribed to LFA?
    It's a monthly letter received from your world-traveling penpal, Isabelle, and each letter highlights a new place (wherever she happens to be in the world at the time), and is full of beautiful drawings and wonderful facts and stories.
    My son flips when his letter comes each month.
    I read it to him and he asks lots of questions and points out things that excite him in the drawings.
    Then we spend time watching educational youtube videos on the place (and animals, plants, cultures, etc) described in the letter, and we mark it on our globe and our copy of Usborne's wonderful illustrated atlas for kids.
    Isabelle also includes two mailing stamps from other countries inside each letter, and he's got a little notebook with all of those carefully glued in.
    It costs $6 a month and is completely worth it.

    Thank you also for recommendations of Bravewriter and Moving Beyond The Page.
    Will be looking into those as well.

  7. #6

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    Whoosh!
    Just checked out BYL and, while it seems great, it requires a lotttttt of books.
    We unfortunately live in an area with poor libraries so I must assume I'd need to purchase almost everything.

  8. #7

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    For any of the curriculums, you probably would only need to buy the spines (books that you use the whole year, for more than a year.)
    Dont give up on the libraries! There are interlibrary loans, and if you go the ebook route, all you need is a cooperative friend in a major city. (I ignore the paltry 20k titles of my countys library and for my own reading, use Los Angeles Public Library with around 90k books!)
    Using BYL K as an example, they give dozens of books on each continent.... pick out a few of each (we did based on what our library had), thats all you need. BYL also has amazon links for the spines, sometimes you can find them used.
    The titles Bravewriter uses are pretty common, Id be very surprised if even a pitiful library didnt have them.

    Or just buy em all then donate them to the library, or store them forever unread again in your house. (And Id rather spend my money on stuff I cant get for free elsewhere.)
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

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Anyone have experience with Oak Meadow?