International Students

Using Oak Meadow outside the United States

There are Oak Meadow families all around the world. We have students from over 40 countries currently enrolled in our accredited distance learning school, and many more who are using our curriculum independently.

International families wonder about adapting the curriculum based on their country’s history, culture, and climate. In the early grades it is very easy to adapt the curriculum as needed to suit your unique living environment and life situation, and our teachers will work with families to craft a meaningful education for our enrolled students. If you are homeschooling independently, feel free to adapt the lessons and activities to suit your family’s needs. Supplementing our materials with language lessons, a traditional art or craft, or any other cultural enrichment is encouraged.

In grades 5-8, the two most U.S.-centric courses are social studies in grades 5 (U.S. History) and 8 (civics), but it is not that hard to adapt them to your country when using our materials independently. For example, a lesson about U.S. colonial history can be modified to focus on your country’s early history (or when it first became settled by non-indigenous people). A lesson on the U.S. Constitution can be replaced with one in which students research and report on the founding governing documents of their country.

You’ll find you can usually use the lesson framework and make modifications as needed. It may take some time to locate resource materials specific to your country for your child to use but you might be able to get good ideas from your local school district, teachers, department of education, or other homeschoolers.

Enrolled students, however, must follow the curriculum or arrange adaptations individually with their teacher. Families can substitute assignments in the older grades, but not lesson materials. For instance, all 8th graders will learn about the U.S. Articles of Confederation, but when asked to do research, they can learn more about their own country’s historical documents.

If your country uses the metric system, the math curriculum only needs adaptations when working with weights and measures, or when working word problems that use weights and measures. Families can easily change these problems from feet or inches to centimeters, from yards to meters, etc. This would require, again, some work on your part, in either recopying the problems or in just making changes in the text. Most of the math work is solely numeric (with no unit measurements) and will not need modifications.

Digital delivery of all grade levels (including PreK) is available.
The digital curriculum is a replication of our print curricula, and does not include textbooks, novels, or other supplementary materials. Also, the content is not interactive, printable or audio-capable. This option was developed in response to feedback from families who travel or live remotely, or for whom high shipping costs and long delivery times discourage purchase of print materials.

English fluency

Students need to be fairly fluent in English in order to use our curriculum successfully. Since our curriculum is very dependent upon reading and writing skills, it is sometimes not the best fit for children who are not experienced in English language skills. Families wishing to use Oak Meadow are advised to allow time for their child to develop English writing and spelling skills before using the curriculum or enrolling.

Grade placement

In general, children enter kindergarten at five years old, and 1st grade when they are six, so you can calculate grade placement in higher grades based on that. It is also a good idea to consider the content of each grade when determining where to start a child in the upper grades. See grades K-4 and 5-8 for information on each grade, and read our high school course descriptions  for a better idea of what content is covered in each grade level or course. You can also contact us if you have questions about proper grade placement.

While most children begin the formal schooling of 1st grade at age six, we encourage families to consider each child individually when making the decision about when to begin kindergarten or 1st grade. In the Waldorf community, it is common for children to enter 1st grade at age six and a half or seven, while in public school, many 1st graders are only five years old. The idea behind the practice of delaying 1st grade is to allow children more time to mature physically before asking them to bring their awareness to the focused work of academics, and many families using Oak Meadow follow this practice.

Of course, it often happens that children seem to fall in between grade levels, making grade placement more challenging. When this happens, it helps to consider whether or not a child is eager for new challenges and enjoys striving to master difficult material; if so, the higher grade is appropriate. If the child prefers to have plenty of time to master and review material, the lower grade makes more sense. You can find more good information here about grade placement in our FAQs. Remember, every child is different and you know your children best!

Shipping times, costs, and other considerations

Shipping time for orders can vary greatly depending on the method of shipping and the destination country. While we do our best to ship orders promptly, packages can get held up in transit, most commonly during customs processing in the importing country. These delays can be unpredictable, of course, but you will receive an emailed notification from the shipping company with a tracking number, so you can monitor its progress.  If you are not familiar with importing procedures in your country, you may want to do some research to see what information they may be requesting from you (this is different in every country and can even vary depending on who is processing your package). Please note that customers are responsible for any additional charges for duties and taxes when using the US Postal Service.  For enrollments using UPS Worldwide Expedited or Worldwide Saver (Express) shipping, we will pay their brokerage fee and request the duties be paid by us as well.

If you enroll in Oak Meadow School, your curriculum materials will be shipped soon after we have received payment and the registrar verifies documentation and eligibility for the student’s classes. We encourage families living outside the U.S. to complete the enrollment process well in advance of their start date to ensure the materials arrive in time. If there is a shipping or other delay that will necessitate a change in the enrollment start date, please contact the office as soon as possible; we can put your start date on hold until your materials arrive.

In addition to our print materials, digital delivery of all Oak Meadow published materials is included with enrollments. This option was developed in response to feedback from families who travel or live remotely, or for whom high shipping costs and long delivery times discourage purchase of print materials. However, the digital curricula is only a replication of our print curricula, and does not include textbooks, novels, or other supplementary materials. Additionally, note that the content is not interactive, printable, or audio-capable.

Accreditation (for enrolled students)

Our distance learning school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Through this accreditation, Oak Meadow School is recognized by the five other regional accrediting agencies in the US. It is common practice for major accrediting associations to share reciprocity across international lines.

While Oak Meadow cannot guarantee that an individual school or country will accept our credits, our transcripts carry the seal of our accrediting organizations and have been widely accepted by schools and universities around the world. Of course, each country is different in how they view distance learning, so you’ll want to research this on your own. There are times when a family may need to provide additional documentation or progress reports. Oak Meadow is happy to assist you with this process in whatever way we can. Contact your educational counselor for support.

Communicating with your teacher (for enrolled students)

Oak Meadow teachers are used to working with students around the globe. Since most of the communication between teachers and families is handled via email or online, students can send their comments, ask questions, and submit work at any time. Our teachers (almost all of whom live in the Eastern Standard time zone) will respond during their work day hours, likely no more than 24 hours later. Phone calls and online video chat communication can also be arranged based on the schedule of the teacher and family.

Please reach out to your teacher if you have any questions about your course, your assignments, or any issues you are having.