Foodways: Sustainable Food Systems

Food is fundamental to human existence. Historical events, cultural traditions, social structures, geographic features, and economic practices all factor into our food choices and options. Many people are fortunate enough to not have to think much about where our food comes from, but many others experience food scarcity or a lack of access to healthy food. Whether we are growing food and eating it right from the garden or buying it at the supermarket, we all are impacted by the food we consume. Food directly influences our health, energy, family traditions, and our budgets.

This single-semester course explores the many interconnected systems that work together to bring food from the farm to our tables. Learning about sustainable food systems helps us understand how our food choices impact our communities and the wider world, and allows us to make more effective and intentional decisions about what we eat. Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry (recommended but not required)

A teacher manual is available for this course.

Forensic Science

Forensic Science is a hands-on laboratory and project-based learning course that will lead the student through a foundation of law and criminal justice, history of forensics, and modern scientific advances in the field. Hair, fibers, DNA, ballistics, serology, poisons, drugs, arson, explosions, fingerprinting, forgery, and entomology are studied in detail. The scientific method, data analysis, and powers of observation and critical thinking to solve a problem are addressed in all aspects of the course.

This course recognizes the growing interest in jobs within the sciences, medical field, engineering, and law enforcement. These fields all overlap within the study of forensic science. In addition, the foundational aspect of this course will prepare students to then take college-level courses in physical sciences. Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry

Course Disclaimer

Being enrolled in forensic science, it is important that both you and your parent/guardian are aware of the topics covered as part of this course. In this course, you will study several controversial topics, which include the following:

  • Crime scene situations and evidence
  • Fingerprint analysis
  • Hair and fiber analysis
  • Blood spatter evidence
  • Handgun and bullet analysis
  • The effects of a fired bullet on objects and people
  • Detection of alcohol and drugs (legal and illegal) associated with a criminal/crime scene
  • Detection of poisons in blood
  • Impressions from weapons, footprints, and bitemarks
  • Handwriting analysis as it relates to the forgery of documents
  • Arson, explosives, and hazardous materials
  • Decomposition of a body and forensic entomology
  • Cyber crime and the use of mobile devices by criminals and detectives
  • Case studies on infamous crimes and serial killers

It is important that you are comfortable with these topics and understand that at several points during our study of these topics you may encounter graphic images, videos, and illustrations in order to further your understanding of certain topics. It is important to note that to convict criminals, one must first understand the circumstances of criminals, the crimes they commit, and the tools they use to commit them. This course is not a criminal’s “how-to” guide, but the science behind how criminals are caught; and they are almost always caught!

Should you or your parent have any questions or concerns regarding the materials being used in this course, please contact your teacher. Make a note in your course doc that you have read this course disclaimer and shared it with your parent/guardian.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

The course is a single semester, 0.5 credit course with a lab component. It is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. There are 11 lessons over 18 weeks; lessons are 1–3 weeks in length and there is a lesson timetable in the introduction. The lessons include the following topics:

  • Human Body Systems
  • Nervous and Endocrine Systems
  • Respiration and Circulation
  • Immune System
  • Digestive and Excretory Systems
  • Skeletal System
  • Muscular System
  • Integumentary System
  • Reproduction and Development

Course includes comprehension and critical thinking questions, activities, and labs. Online resources and activities are an integral part of the course. A lab kit is available for purchase. There is a list of materials in the appendix. Prerequisite: Biology

A teacher manual is available for this course.

Dual Enrollment

Oak Meadow encourages dual enrollment to support students who wish to pursue academic interests beyond the Oak Meadow course offerings. Courses taken at other accredited schools can be included, with approval of our high school program director and registrar, on the student’s Oak Meadow transcript. Oak Meadow students frequently participate in classroom science labs, group language courses, and other classes at their local high school or community college, and through study-abroad programs. In addition, Oak Meadow course credits are transferable to most U. S. public and private schools.

Life Experience Elective Credit

To honor the rich possibilities of the distance learning experience, Oak Meadow encourages students to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Through our Life Experience Elective Credit program, enrolled students can earn up to one full elective credit per year for their work experience, music lessons, sports activities, visual and fine arts projects, dance, martial arts, and more. Students can also earn LEEC for non-credit bearing elective courses taken at other institutions as long as the course meets regularly (at least once per week) and is taught by a qualified instructor. View LEEC application form.

Advanced Study Project

The Advanced Study Project (ASP) offers students the chance to engage in an exciting and relevant academic, professional, or hybrid study of their own design while earning credit and preparing for the challenging work of college and beyond. During this single-semester (0.5 credit) project or full-year (1 credit), students have the opportunity to develop a specific area of interest by working with both a local mentor and an Oak Meadow faculty advisor, who guide them through the initial process of shaping and fine-tuning their proposal, developing an outline and planning sheet, all the way to the completion of the final project.

Students must be enrolled in Oak Meadow School to take advantage of this opportunity; single course, semester, or full year tuition fee applies. Students may choose to design and complete a full-year study project or two single-semester projects spread throughout their Oak Meadow career. There are three Advanced Study Project options: an academic project, a professional work experience, or a hybrid approach. (Please note: Students may enroll in the Advanced Study Project to earn transferable credit, without enrolling in any other Oak Meadow courses. An application form is required.)

Academic Advance Study: In the Academic Advanced Study Project, students engage in a research-based learning experience that culminates in a final project that can take many forms: a research paper, a portfolio of experiments or essays, multimedia or video presentation. Topics for the project can include any area of interest, broadly categorized into the subjects of science, literature, and history. Examples include alternative fuel sources, bird migration, current foreign policy, peace studies, multicultural literature, graphic novels, the Civil War, etc. Our faculty advisors work with students to clarify interests and create clear guidelines for study and assignments.

Professional Advanced Study: In the Professional Advanced Study Project, students spend a minimum of 4.5 hours per week gaining hands-on experience in an active work environment. Through mentorship of a skilled professional, students gain skill and experience in a range of disciplines: musical or visual arts, crafts and trades such as carpentry and building, weaving, farming, cooking, film production, business and accounting, web design, education, etc. The final project includes a well-maintained weekly journal, documented hours and accomplishments, a mentor review, and a final essay reflecting on the learning experience and future ambitions.

Hybrid Advanced Study: The Hybrid Advanced Study Project allows students to develop projects that combine the benefits of both the academic and professional programs, incorporating onsite, experiential learning with academic research, writing, and presentation. This hybrid option can be used to blend academic, professional, and creative elements, or to incorporate several threads of study and experience.


World Religions: Finding Common Ground

World Religions: Finding Common Ground is a project-based course that asks students to consider one of the greatest puzzles of world history: How can members of diverse religions come together as one community in which the specific practices of each are honored? Students spend the semester researching a wide variety of world religions and, using their findings, design an interfaith center that takes on this question, aided by frequent teacher feedback and discussion. Students are invited to incorporate their own interests into this endeavor—past projects have focused on food, clothing, history, and social justice—and to shape it in the manner that is most meaningful for them.

Physical Education

Oak Meadow students can meet their Physical Education requirements in many ways. For example, students may belong to a local gym, take formal lessons in martial arts, or take swimming at the YMCA. For students who are not taking formal lessons or who may not belong to a gym, their PE requirements can still be met by keeping a log of the physical activities they are involved in.

Integrated Health & Fitness

Integrated Health & Fitness is an in-depth evaluation of health and wellness, exploring all aspects of health, including physical, emotional, and social well-being. We cover anatomy and body systems as a basis for understanding the body. We take a refreshing look at diet; while examining in detail the components of food, we also simplify the elements of diet to make it accessible. Some of the many topics covered are personal health care, drugs, sexuality, aging, alternative medicine, and the environment and health. An integral part of the course is fitness; students engage in a regular aerobic and strength building fitness program, using a heart rate monitor as a tool. Students learn the value of exercise for optimal brain function. This course includes a variety of project choices, including research, interviews, multi-media presentations, introspection, and more. The course reading incorporates cutting edge research, and students are encouraged to tune into the media for health related topics. Societal and medical influences on diet and health are explored.

Introduction to Photography: The Eye, the Shutter, the Light, the Color

Photography is a relatively new art, less than 200 years old, but one that changes the way we interpret the world around us and, quite simply, the way we see. This course will teach such fundamental concepts as frame, focus, and composition, while also exploring the more interpretive side of photography. Students will complete weekly assignments, getting hands-on experience and a chance to convey their unique vision of the world. Students will also keep a journal and collect ideas, magazine clippings, inspiring images, and some personal writing about their experiences. Students are expected to have a working knowledge of and general familiarity with the camera they choose to use for this class. Either a 35-mm camera (point and-shoot or SLR) or a digital camera is required.