Frequently Asked Questions - General | Oak Meadow School

General FAQs

What is Oak Meadow's educational philosophy?

Our educational philosophy is built on strong academic standards and an understanding of the needs of the developing individual. We focus on fostering students’ intellect while engaging them artistically and experientially. We ask them to reason and write, to paint, sing, build, act, and draw. Our lessons are designed to harness the imagination and challenge the mind.

Oak Meadow understands that students learn in many different ways: some by doing, others by listening, still others by seeing or reading. Because our curriculum is designed to address a variety of learning styles, children are able to engage fully with the materials, learn successfully, and enjoy the learning process.

Oak Meadow’s approach to learning reflects and honors the developmental stages of childhood.  Lessons in the early years place emphasis on experiential learning with activities that involve the student through action and imagination. In second and third grade, we present stories that unite fact with rich description and colorful detail and depict inspiring role models based on  noteworthy individuals.

The middle school and high school years offer experiential learning while introducing greater intellectual challenges as students learn to integrate information and discern for themselves what resonates as truth and what requires further investigation. This thoughtful approach helps our students develop into intelligent and capable lifelong learners.

Our curriculum is developed following accredited academic guidelines and is written to cover the full range of subjects for each grade level. We keep abreast of state academic standards across the U.S. to assure our curriculum is in line with rigorous standards while maintaining our commitment to a creative, innovative, and child-centered education. Our experienced faculty assists in revising and updating our curriculum based on best practices in teaching, and we regularly add new high school courses to give students varied and timely educational choices.

See our grade level pages for K-4, 5-8, and our high school course descriptions for more information.

Is Oak Meadow secular or faith-based?

Oak Meadow is one of the few providers of secular (non-religious) homeschooling curriculum on the market. Many families come to us because they are looking for an alternative to the many faith-based programs that are available. Our curriculum is creative, hands-on, and rigorous, with many nature-based projects in the early grades and a wide variety of engaging assignments and projects in every grade from K-12.

Our science materials focus on a scientific and observational approach to phenomena and encourage critical thinking and analysis. Our high school environmental science course covers natural selection, and the high school biology course covers natural selection and evolution. Some families skip the evolution studies, but most choose to present this information to help their students understand mainstream scientific theory, whether or not they agree with it.

Families can choose to supplement our materials with faith-based lessons in order to incorporate spiritual education into their homeschooling day. Oak Meadow supports the freedom of parents to choose the best way to support their child’s religious and spiritual education.

Is Oak Meadow Waldorf?

Many of our families cite our Waldorf influence as a special strength of Oak Meadow. While our approach adopts many aspects of Waldorf, we do not strictly adhere to Waldorf methodology, practices, or content areas. Oak Meadow cofounder Lawrence Williams was a Waldorf class teacher, and there is still a strong Waldorf influence in our curriculum, especially in the early grades. Students use Main Lessons Books, learn to knit and play the recorder, and learn their letters and numbers through stories.

However, our curriculum has evolved over the years to provide a standards-based curriculum that will satisfy homeschooling regulations across the country. Our K-12 curriculum provides a very creative, experiential curriculum that is playful in the early grades, rigorous in the upper grades, and engaging for all students.

Families looking for a curriculum that adheres more closely to Waldorf principles, content, and sequence may want to consider using Christopherus or Live Education.

What is the difference between using Oak Meadow independently and enrolling?

Using Oak Meadow Independently:

This option is for families who want to purchase our curriculum and homeschool on their own. Flexibility is written into the lesson plans so you can pick and choose assignments to appeal to your student’s interests and skill level and schedule your homeschooling days to fit your family’s lifestyle.

Enrolling with Oak Meadow:

This option is for families who want the structure and teacher guidance provided through enrollment in our accredited distance learning school. Students work at home with the guidance of their parents in the early grades and with increasingly more independence as they progress through the grades. Oak Meadow teachers support and communicate with students and their families via email, phone, and/or video conferencing. There are no scheduled online class periods.

  • Tuition includes both print and digital versions of all curriculum materials for a full year of study.
  • Your assigned teacher(s) provides written feedback, assessments, and semester- and year-end narrative evaluations.
  • The Oak Meadow office maintains official cumulative records and provides a certificate of completion. High school students who meet our graduation requirements receive a diploma.

Does your curriculum satisfy my state's education requirements?

Independent use:

You are responsible for registering with your school district or state Department of Education as a homeschooler and satisfying state requirements for reporting your progress.

  • Every state is different, so we recommend you research guidelines for your locality before purchasing our curriculum. Several states/districts require families to submit some form of documentation. Many have templates families can use.
  • For grades K-8, your state may accept the scope and sequence charts available on our website (for a PDF download, go to K-4 or 5-8 and scroll down to Curriculum Overview) or the coursebook table of contents, which you can find on our curriculum samples page.
  • Many states require families to document the minutes or hours per day the student devotes to schoolwork. Our general recommendation is to plan on one hour per day per subject, five days a week. Along with instruction and desk work, this time can include reading, going for walks, helping with household chores, playing games, and conversations about what the student is learning.
  • We also recommend researching homeschool associations in your state. These associations can often provide information about state requirements as well as tips and suggestions on how to fill out required forms.

Enrollment:

Oak Meadow does not submit documentation on behalf of the enrolled student; parents are responsible for submitting any required forms and paperwork to their public school, district, or state.

Upon enrollment, we provide a dated Verification of Enrollment document. Please consult your local Department of Education or school district regarding state/local laws and distance learning regulations; they may require a copy of your Verification of Enrollment. Because Oak Meadow is fully accredited, enrolling your children in Oak Meadow School may eliminate the need for you to file as a homeschooler with your state.

Click here for information for international students.

Does the curriculum cover everything?

Yes! Whether you are enrolled or using the curriculum independently, our coursebooks cover the four core academic subjects—language arts, math, science, and social studies—for a full year.

Grades K-4

  • The full-year, integrated curriculum includes 36 weekly lesson plans for all subjects (plus art, music, movement, and health in grades K-3). In Grade 4, math is separated from the other subjects and presented in a separate coursebook.
  • Coursebooks include assignment checklists, planning pages, materials lists, and learning assessment sheets. Parents are the primary teachers at this level.
  • For independent users, the K-3 Essentials Package is optional but strongly recommended as material in this package helps guide the parent teacher and is often referenced in the K-3 coursebooks. It is a one-time purchase. (Enrolled families of students in K-3 receive this package as part of their tuition.)
  • Craft kits are available for separate purchase.

Grades 5-8

  • Curriculum for the four core subjects is offered in full grade packages or separately by subject.
  • Coursebooks include assignment checklists, planning pages, materials lists, and learning assessment sheets. The curriculum is written directly to the student.
  • Teacher Manuals are offered for independent users and included in the course packages.
  • Craft kits are available for separate purchase.

High School

  • High school courses are available individually so families and students can create their own course of study. View our suggested course schedule.
  • Course packages vary: each has a coursebook with, perhaps, a textbook, literature books, or science lab kit and lab manual. All materials can be purchased separately.
  • Teacher Manuals are offered for independent users and are available for separate purchase.
  • Single semester courses are available.

We invite you to view our curriculum samples for more information about our curriculum. With Oak Meadow, you can feel confident that you are providing a comprehensive, well-rounded education as well as a meaningful and enjoyable learning experience.

Do you offer financial aid, discounts, or payment plans?

Oak Meadow is committed to doing everything possible to offer families an affordable independent education. While we do our best to keep our prices reasonable, we understand that the cost of tuition or curriculum may be a financial burden for some families. For families with multiple children, the curriculum can be reused as our coursebooks do not contain consumable worksheets.

Families who purchase curriculum to use independently can spread out their purchases over time to make budgeting for curriculum easier, or use our PayPal credit financing option.

We typically offer a couple of discount periods each year, usually in February and May. Used and “seconds” Oak Meadow books can often be found on BST (buy, sell, trade) sites such as eBay, as well on Facebook and other platforms where families buy and sell used Oak Meadow curriculum.

For families who enroll in Oak Meadow School, tuition assistance is available in the form of a payment plan that allows payments to be spread over time. We also offer a sibling discount for each additional sibling who enrolls in Oak Meadow, and a military discount for active service members and veterans (this military discount extends to curriculum purchases as well). Details about these programs are found on the tuition page.

Do you offer a military discount?

Oak Meadow is pleased to offer a 10% discount to all active U.S. military service members and veterans. The military discount is valid for all curriculum and bookstore purchases, as well as enrollment tuition. Proof of military status is required.

In order to receive the discount for bookstore purchases, active service members must provide a current pay stub (with all financial information blacked out) and contact information for a commanding officer; veterans may submit form DD214. Please scan and email the documentation to info@oakmeadow.com.

Once received, Oak Meadow will send you a coupon code in 1-2 business days (VALID FOR 14 DAYS). This military discount cannot be used in combination with sales or other discounts.

How does Oak Meadow approach standardized testing?

“Teaching to the test”–using curriculum for test preparation where the primary goal is getting a high score on a standardized test–is not a concept that Oak Meadow supports pedagogically. As professional educators, we question the value of curriculum that is aimed at preparing for a test rather than preparing for life. As a private school funded solely by tuition, Oak Meadow School is free from public funding constraints, which often require standardized testing. Thus, we can focus our energies on providing students a meaningful, appropriate education that is based on best practices, not on best test scores.

We respect and honor those parents who would like their children to take standardized tests, and suggest they contact their local school district to arrange test taking if desired (or required by their state). Most Oak Meadow high school students take college entrance exams, and these are arranged individually through the College Board. It is interesting to note that homeschoolers, many of whom have never taken a standardized test before, tend to score above their public school peers on these exams, despite the latter’s being regularly exposed to tests and test prep.

While test-taking skills are good to learn, we believe that allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge of curriculum material in a wide variety of ways leads to more meaningful and memorable learning. Since different regions of the country, and different countries, use different standardized tests, it would be impossible for Oak Meadow curriculum to cover all the material for tests nationwide in any given grade.

Why does Oak Meadow use print materials?

Oak Meadow is primarily a print-based curriculum for many reasons, first and foremost because we believe that reading on paper encourages more effective comprehension skills than reading on a digital screen (read more about what makes our curriculum different).

Leading research on learning and cognitive development shows that:

  • Reading printed materials encourages active reading skills such as writing margin notes; highlighting key phrases and vocabulary; and noting questions, thoughts, and personal responses.
  • Reading on screens drains mental resources and diminishes the brain’s ability to integrate information in the context of an entire text, thereby decreasing overall comprehension.
  • Excessive screen time during adolescence reduces attention span, lowers executive functioning skills, and impairs relationship with adults and peers.

Working with print materials promotes more screen-free time during a student’s day and eliminates the distractions that so often come with online learning.

Our K-3 curriculum can be taught entirely without electronic devices. However, we recognize the necessity of computer literacy in a well-rounded 21st-Century education; therefore, we introduce and incorporate technology into our curriculum in a thoughtful and appropriate manner through the grades.

What is the difference between the print and digital versions of your curriculum?

Our K-8 print and digital coursebooks are identical; however, non-Oak Meadow publications, such as trade literature and textbooks, are not included in digital format due to copyright laws. Families who purchase our digital curriculum will need to buy these materials separately.

Once purchased, you have access to the Oak Meadow digital curriculum for four years. Internet access is required (a high-speed or broadband internet connection is recommended). For more information, see About Our Digital Curriculum.

Is your curriculum appropriate for children with learning challenges and special needs?

Homeschooling allows many opportunities for families to tailor their child’s education to their unique learning abilities and needs. Our curriculum is designed with multiple learning styles in mind, and it offers a variety of projects and assignments to choose from in each lesson. This encourages students to successfully engage with the material, which can build their confidence and help them overcome obstacles to learning. As a homeschooling parent, you have the freedom to adapt and modify lessons as needed to help your child get the most out of the material without being overwhelmed. If you are enrolled with us, you can ask your teacher about modifying lessons or activities.

While our curriculum does not have specific recommendations for students with special needs, many families have used it successfully for children with all types of learning challenges. With its imaginative, artistic approach, the curriculum often sparks the interest of students who have struggled with their schooling in the past, allowing them to express themselves creatively while developing academic skills.

If you have specific questions about how our curriculum can meet your child’s needs, please contact us.

What support do you offer to independent homeschooling families?

Homeschool Support: For K-8 homeschooling families who are not enrolled in our distance learning school but would like to benefit from the guidance of an experienced teacher, we offer our Homeschool Support program. For an hourly fee, you can enjoy personalized phone consultations with an Oak Meadow teacher. These conversations, which can be divided into fifteen-minute or half-hour segments and used over the course of one year, can provide the inspiration and support you need to have a successful homeschooling experience.

Tutoring and executive function coaching: Many Oak Meadow teachers are available for tutoring and coaching. These services are arranged privately with the teacher.

Facebook: Our online community, accessed through our Facebook page, shares homeschooling tips and ideas, and celebrates the joys and challenges of homeschooling together.

Instagram: A fun way to find inspiration, motivation, and validation through photos!

Pinterest: The Oak Meadow Pinterest boards cover an extensive array of topics on education and parenting, as well as arts and project ideas.

Living Education Journal: Our free journal, Living Education, is published twice a year and has been a source of information and inspiration for homeschoolers for decades. Both experienced homeschoolers and those new to the journey will find articles, crafts, and news designed to enlighten and entertain.

K-8 resources: Our K-4 and 5-8 grade pages include detailed curriculum descriptions and grade overviews that list the scope and sequence of learning for each grade. The overviews can be used when submitting a Letter of Intent to Homeschool to your state Department of Education.

High school resources: Our high school page includes full descriptions of our high school courses, which are searchable by subject or grade level. You can view our suggested course schedule to help guide you with course selection.

College Counseling: For high school students planning to attend college, check out our college counseling page, where you will find resources and links to useful sites, like FAFSA. Oak Meadow also offers a free webinar series about the college admission process.

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