High School

Courses and curricula

Both our high school and K-8 curricula are based on these guiding principles: provide an engaging, experiential learning experience built on rigorous academic standards; support and adapt to each student’s learning style and needs; and respect the sensitivity, intelligence and creativity of each individual.

Our K-12 curricula offer hands-on experiences and creative assignments. Naturally, there is more time in the early grades for craft and art projects, but we continue to integrate artistic expression into the curriculum throughout high school. As students progress from middle school to high school, they experience a greater intellectual curiosity. Our curriculum takes advantage of this by providing increasingly rigorous academic challenges, which helps prepare students for college and career.

Our high school offers a traditional range of courses (math, science, English, social studies), as well as art, world language (including Latin), and health. They focus heavily on reading, writing, critical thinking, projects, and reflection. Tests are limited to math and science, and are used for assessment and review. Find course descriptions and sample lessons on our high school page.

Graduation requirements (for enrolled students)

All enrolled students earn an accredited transcript for any classes completed at Oak Meadow. In order to graduate with a diploma from Oak Meadow, a student must be enrolled in Oak Meadow for (at least) senior year for a minimum of three credits and meet our graduation requirements. Students transferring to Oak Meadow must provide official transcripts from an accredited institution in order for previous work to be included on the Oak Meadow transcript.

Transcript reviews are conducted each spring (or any time by request) to ensure every enrolled student who wishes to receive an Oak Meadow diploma is on track. Contact us or call our educational counselors at (802) 251-7250 if you have any questions about course selection or graduation requirements.

Applying to college

College counseling consultation is included in tuition for enrolled high school students. For independent homeschoolers, you can speak to our college counselor for an hourly fee, purchase through our bookstore. With extensive experience in college admissions, our counselor guides and assists students in making the most of their homeschool or distance learning experience on college application materials.

We also offer free college counseling webinar series, open to anyone, conducted by our school and college counselors. These interactive, online presentations include several College Counseling 101 sessions, as well as other topical issues relevant to the college admission timeline throughout the year. We leave plenty of time for questions and answers at the end of each session. See the dates, topics, and sign up here.

In addition, we offer students an academic planning sheet and a free college guide. Enrolled students receive an annual transcript review each spring to make sure they are on track to achieve their academic goals. See our college counseling page for more information, resources, and helpful links.

Developing writing skills

The Oak Meadow curriculum focuses on strong reading and writing skills, and students are given a wide variety of assignments to help them develop these skills. We also incorporate writing across the curriculum, so science and math teachers will hold students to the same writing conventions as do our humanities teachers.

Students learn to write well thought-out essays and opinion pieces, conduct in-depth research, craft fiction and poetry, work with many styles of non-fiction writing, and produce cohesive, persuasive writing. The amount of writing each week varies. In general, students can expect to spend approximately one hour per day per subject, or 5 hours per week per subject. Of course, every student is different and some may need more time with particular assignments or subjects.

If your student is looking for extra writing practice, check out 100 Ways to Improve Your Writingpart of our 8th grade English course. It contains 100 writing activities along with instruction and examples, great for a writer of any age.

Student support services

Oak Meadow has an licensed school counselor on staff, who is available to work one-to-one with enrolled students and families. This is a unique program for a distance school. Keri works to promote students’ academic, personal, emotional, and social development. She lends a compassionate ear and provides advice for students who might be struggling in school, at home, in a relationship, or other situation. Keri will work with the high school director and other staff to help devise a strategy for the student’s success. Our counselor also encourages students to let her know when things are going well, too! She is available for confidential conversations via email, phone, or video chat.

For students who need academic support, Oak Meadow can provide your student with a customized learning plan. This plan, written by our counselor and high school director, gives a student the accommodations s/he needs in order to be successful. Learning plans are also used as official documentation for students needing special accommodations on standardized testing. Talk to Keri or your educational counselor if you have questions about getting a learning plan.

In addition to one-to-one counseling conversations, there are several resources to enrolled students included with tuition:
OM Awesome: Enrolled students are invited to participate in this email forum. It’s a safe space for students to connect and to discuss topics of shared interest. Teachers, the high school director, the college counselor, and other staff post messages of interest as well.
Student Discussions: The school counselor periodically invites students to participate in a live, online chat to help students connect with one another in an informal way.

Textbook-independent courses

Oak Meadow has recently developed several textbook-independent high school courses. These courses consist of a coursebook (syllabus), and a student can use any textbook, or any resources, to complete the assignments and research laid out in the coursebook: there is no specific text associated with the course.

In the past, OM used textbooks mainly as research tools. What is essential to a course is not the textbook, but the essential questions presented in the course and the ability of students to answer those questions by learning how to evaluate information. Understanding information in the context of a topic or the real world requires students to analyze material from a variety of sources.

Textbook-independent courses encourage and challenge students to develop strong research and technology skills, engage in critical thinking, and take charge of their learning. Rather than seeing students as passive receivers of information, our textbook-independent curricula are organized around important central questions that challenge students to think critically about subject matter and help them engage with key knowledge by making it relevant to the world in which they live. We achieve this by both freeing our courses from simply following the content of any one textbook and, simultaneously, challenging students to answer questions and complete their lessons by consulting one or more sources.

Textbooks are not courses; they are just a tool students can use to find condensed information. While textbooks can be valuable sources of information, the skills and perspectives a student gains by seeking out other sources and evaluating information can lead to more meaningful learning than simply turning to a textbook for answers. With textbook-independent courses, Oak Meadow has taken an important next step forward in developing courses that offer students the opportunity to continue an outside-the-box education.

Practical tips: Students can use ANY relevant textbook or other research materials to learn about the topics listed in each lesson. Ideally, students will use a wide variety of print and online sources, such as non-fiction books, educational websites, films, textbooks, journals, novels, artwork, news archives, and podcasts. Students may need help locating relevant sources and developing good research and note-taking skills. Having adult guidance in the first few lessons can help them set up effective habits. The introduction to each course includes tips on how to read research materials and evaluate internet sources.

Our bookstore offers a textbook that can be used with each textbook-independent course, but there is no specific text that must be used.

Dual enrollment (for enrolled students)

Oak Meadow fully supports dual enrollment, enabling students to broaden their education by taking courses elsewhere. Dual enrollment means taking classes at other schools, community colleges or academic programs, and applying those credits to  your Oak Meadow transcript. Conversely, our course credits are also transferable to public and private schools.

For fully-enrolled students, courses taken at other accredited schools can be applied to your Oak Meadow transcripts, counting toward graduation requirements (including AP courses). Students can take classes at local public or private schools, online schools, or community colleges.

Many benefits are realized by dual enrollment: a student engages in diverse educational environments, adjust to the expectations and systems of different teachers, and learn to navigate a varied schedule.  It is fairly common for high school students to take a college level course or two before enrolling in college, and those who do get a taste of the college experience, and college admissions personnel can see how the student fares in a college setting.  Summer programs, domestic or international, may also provide opportunities for credit.

Advanced study project (for enrolled students)

Enrolled juniors and seniors are required to participate in a self-directed Advanced Study Project (ASP). This one- or two-semester project is similar to an independent study; each student designs his or her own project in the academic or professional field of their choosing. You’ll work with both a local mentor and an Oak Meadow faculty advisor to create a proposal and outline for your project, and these mentors will guide you throughout the semester. There are three options for the ASP: an academic project, a professional work experience, or a hybrid project that combines both.

For the academic projects, students can write a research paper, compile a portfolio of experiments or essays, or produce a video or multimedia presentation. Topics can include any area of interest broadly categorized into the subjects of science, literature, or history. Our faculty advisers work with you to clarify interests and create guidelines for study and assignments.

For a professional study, students immerse themselves in an active working environment for valuable hands-on learning. A professional in the field of your choice mentors you as you gain skills and real-life experience. Your final evaluation is based on your weekly journal, documentation of hours and accomplishments, a mentor review, and a reflective essay.

Life experience credit (LEC- for enrolled students)

Oak Meadow enrolled high schoolers are encouraged to pursue their passions and to integrate fully into their communities, as well as to explore widely through travel and other experiences. Through our Life Experience Credit (LEEC), students can earn up to one full elective credit per year (four total possible during high school) for these activities. Work/community service experience, music lessons, theater involvement, sports activities, visual and fine arts classes, dance, martial arts can all earn LEC.

A student can also petition to receive subject specific (e.g. language or art) LEC credit for high levels of independent work. This is done on a case-by-case basis, and requires prior approval from the registrar and high school director. Contact your educational counselor if you have questions.

Technology use in high school (for enrolled students)

While Oak Meadow is primarily a print-based curriculum, enrolled students and families utilize technology for communication, collaboration, creativity, and community. We value the developmental growth that springs from the printed page, yet acknowledge the power of technology as a tool for connection and research.

Students in grades 7 to 12 work within the Oak Meadow domain using Google Apps for Education. Each student receives a school email address through which they communicate with their teachers and peers, and submit lessons. Brand new courses are often delivered on a website as opposed to a printed coursebook. There is also an open email forum, OM Awesome, for enrolled high school students to connect, and, along with teachers, to comment in an informal setting on a range of topics.

Students who live in areas where online access is limited will need to problem-solve in order to access their email, submit lessons, and (if necessary) connect with their classes for our selection of discussion-based synchronous courses.

High school teachers (for enrolled students)

High School teachers provide instruction related to the curriculum that expands the content of a course, and they challenge students to think about the deeper meaning and purpose of the material. This instruction will come in the form of additional materials and resources that teachers deliver through email, phone conversations, or live video chat. Working alongside the curriculum, this material and engagement will help students:

• Develop a solid understanding of the lessons to be learned from the material as they relate to the specific discipline/content of the course
• Develop perspective on how the course relates to student life and larger issues in the world
•Foster curiosity and the generation of new knowledge and new ways of seeing and being
• Prepare for citizenship in the global community
• Prepare for college and life beyond school

Depending on the subject, teacher, and type of coursework, lesson submission may be weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Teachers provide instruction, guidance, and written and verbal evaluation. Teachers provide a written feedback of each submission of student work, along with a lesson grade. These comments and grades are located on the Oak Meadow Gateway, which both the student and the parent can access. At the end of each semester, the teacher provides a formal comprehensive student evaluation detailing the student’s performance during the course.