FAQs & Resource Links

We are here to help!

Parents naturally have questions as they explore educational options. With so many choices available and so many different reasons to homeschool, it can be challenging to determine what will be the right fit for your child and where, exactly, to start. Families have been turning to Oak Meadow for information, guidance, and resources for decades, so we’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions and put the answers at your fingertips.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?  Call us at 802-251-7250 or fill our a contact form here.

General FAQs

Educational philosophy

Our educational philosophy is built on strong academic standards with an understanding of the needs of the developing individual. We focus on both developing a strong intellect, and on engaging students 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 effectively address a variety of learning styles, children are able to engage fully with the materials, learn successfully, and enjoy the learning process. Our goal is not simply to provide factual information, but also to inspire your child to learn and thrive.

Oak Meadow’s approach to learning reflects and honors the developmental stages of childhood. Young children learn by doing, so our lessons in the early years place a great emphasis on experiential learning with activities that will involve the student through action and imagination. We actively engage student in the 2nd and 3rd grades by encouraging learning through the use of stories that unite fact with rich description and colorful detail, and that present inspiring role models through the study of noteworthy individuals. The middle school and high school years offer experiential learning while introducing even greater intellectual challenges as students learn to discern and integrate information, and eventually decide for themselves what resonates as truth. This careful approach helps our students develop into intelligent and capable life-long learners.

Our curriculum is developed around accredited academic guidelines and is written to cover the full range of subjects for each grade level. We have thoroughly studied state standards nationwide and have developed a curriculum that is in line with rigorous standards, while still maintaining our commitment to a creative, innovative and child-centered education. Our experienced faculty are involved with revising and updating our curriculum based on best practices in teaching, and we regularly add new high school courses to give students more varied educational choices. See our grade level pages for K-4, 5-8, and our high school course descriptions for more information.

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.

Families may choose to supplement our materials with additional 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.

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.

Independent use vs. enrollment?

Independent homeschool by purchasing the curriculum: You will be responsible for registering with your school district or state Department of Education (DOE) as a homeschooler and satisfying state requirements for reporting your progress. Every state is different, so we recommend you research guidelines in your state and district. You can see complete descriptions of our materials by visiting our online Bookstore. For those who are using our curriculum on their own but occasionally need some guidance, our Homeschool Support (available on our Bookstore) lets you consult with an experienced teacher when you need help.

Enrollment in our school: Students who enroll in our accredited distance learning school are still learning at home, but they earn official school credit while enjoying on-going support and guidance from an experienced teacher. Students often work with the same teacher over the course of many years, and students are motivated and inspired by this mentor relationship as they develop their skills. As the parent, you will also enjoy this support! Having someone to discuss your child’s progress with and evaluate your child’s work is helpful to many parents. You will have access to your teacher, via email, phone and video chat, whenever you have questions, concerns or just need some new ideas and inspiration. In addition, enrolling your children in Oak Meadow School may eliminate the need for you to file as a homeschooler with your state.

Upon enrollment, we provide you a dated Verification of Enrollment document. Please consult your local Department of Education or school district regarding local/state laws and distance learning regulations; they may require a copy of your Verification of Enrollment. You can view information about our tuition fees and payment options, as well as our enrollment withdrawal/refund and Bookstore return policies on our website. Enrolling in Oak Meadow is easy and our educational counselors will be happy to answer any questions you have about the process. Contact us to learn more.

Financial aid

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 curricular materials may be a financial burden for some families.

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 families enrolling more than one child, 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. We also offer a couple of discount periods each year; typically, these are offered in February and May.

Families who plan to purchase curriculum to use independently may choose to spread out their purchases over time to make budgeting for curriculum easier, or use our new PayPal credit financing option. Books can be purchased one at a time through our online bookstore, and since books can be used year after year for siblings, the costs often average out to be very affordable. However, this does incur additional shipping charges. Used and “seconds” Oak Meadow books can often be found on eBay, as well online groups on Facebook and other platforms where you can buy and sell used Oak Meadow curriculum.

Military discount

Oak Meadow is pleased to offer a 10 percent discount to all active 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 (VALID FOR 14 DAYS). This military discount cannot be used in combination with sales or other discounts.

No 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.

Technology and Oak Meadow

While Oak Meadow is primarily a print-based curriculum (you get a box of books in the mail), 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.

Enrolled students in grades 7-12 work within the Oak Meadow domain, using Google Apps for Education. Teachers provide class syllabi via Google Docs, and students submit assignments, questions, and feedback on Docs and email.  Oak Meadow maintains some social media groupings for students to connect with one another, and there are non-Oak Meadow sponsored groups for families as well.

In the lower grades, faculty may convene sessions with parents, students, or groups interested in a particular topic. Most families submit work electronically, but other arrangements can be made, if necessary.

Print books vs. online learning

Oak Meadow is primarily a print-based curriculum for many reasons (read more). Print-based learning offers students the opportunity to develop solid study skills, such as active reading and careful note taking. With a book, students can easily underline important passages, highlight details, write notes in the margins, and flag the pages to make review and essay writing more efficient and effective. Working with printed materials also allows students screen-free time, and eliminates the distractions that so often come with online learning. Also, books are highly portable and our students can study anywhere, regardless of access to the internet or technology.

However, we also recognize the benefits that technology offers and the necessity of computer literacy, so we thoughtfully incorporate technology into our distance learning school. Students in grades 7-12 are assigned a secure Oak Meadow school email account which allows them to work within our domain, using Google Apps for Education. Students are able to share work online with their Oak Meadow teachers and receive comments and responses within the document. Students are able to connect with other Oak Meadow students through email forums, and share creative endeavors on our Student Arts Blog. Students are still learning from books but are also using technology to make connections with students and teachers, and further enhance their learning experience.

How is Oak Meadow Waldorf-based?

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 co-founder and president 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 in response to the need to provide a standards-based curriculum that will satisfy homeschooling regulations across the country. Our K-12 curricula 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.

Learning challenges & special needs

Homeschooling allows many opportunities for families to tailor their child’s education to his or her unique learning abilities and needs. Our curriculum is designed with multiple learning styles in mind, and offers a variety of projects and assignments to choose from in each lesson. This helps students find ways to successfully engage with the material, which can build confidence and 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, 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 those who have struggled with their schooling in the past, and allows them to express themselves creatively while developing academic skills.

If you have specific questions about your child’s needs, please contact us.

Does the curriculum cover everything?

Yes! Whether you’re enrolled or using the curriculum independently, our books cover the four core academic subjects for the full year.

Grades K-8 can be purchased in the Bookstore as complete grade-level packages; they include everything you need for a full year- English language arts, math, science and social studies, (plus music, movement, health and arts for grades K-3).  Each K-8 Curriculum Package includes a coursebook with 36 weekly lessons (including content and assignments) for all subject areas, and all of the reading books for the literature curriculum. Teacher Manuals are included for grade 4-8, including math and science answer keys. Craft kits are available with the materials needed to complete the craft projects in the K-7 curriculum. Craft items can also be purchased separately.

Our high school courses can also be purchased on the Bookstore. There are not grade-level packages, but rather each course is available separately. Courses vary, but each will have a Coursebook, with perhaps a textbook, literature books or lab kits for science. When possible, we have put together course packages. Teacher Manuals are available for most of our high school courses; these are only for families using the curriculum independently. Enrolled students should contact their Oak Meadow teachers directly with questions.

We invite you to view our curriculum samples and grade pages or course descriptions for more information about our curriculum. In addition to selling complete curriculum packages, we also offer single subject materials for sale individually for those families who do not need a full grade level, or who want to mix and match grade levels in order to customize their child’s education.

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.

Support for independent homeschooling families

Complete curriculum for grades K-12: By purchasing our curriculum to use on your own, you can feel confident that you are providing your children with a well-rounded and academically complete education. Our curriculum is organized into 36 weekly lessons across all subject areas and follows accredited academic standards while encouraging a variety of learning styles and authentic engagement. Our curriculum can be used by itself or in combination with other materials as best suits your family.

Accredited distance learning school: For families who want the support of a teacher and official school records, we offer a fully accredited K-12 distance learning school. Students complete their work at home, under the supervision of a parent (or “home teacher”), and send it into their Oak Meadow teacher regularly for assessment and grading. Our dedicated, responsive teachers are experienced in providing encouragement and support for both students and parents. By enrolling in Oak Meadow School, you have the freedom and flexibility which comes from learning at home combined with teacher support and full academic credit.

Homeschooling Support Service: 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 Homeschooling Support Service. 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. Through this fun, supportive, informative forum Oak Meadow offers excellent links to online resources for homeschoolers around the world.

Instagram: Such 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. Since we are continually pinning and adding new boards, we invite you to visit frequently.

Living Education Journal: Our free journal, Living Education, is published three times 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, samples of student work, student and family profiles, and news designed to enlighten and entertain. Available online.

K-8 resources: Our K-4 and 5-8 grade pages include detailed curriculum descriptions and grade overviews that list of the content covered in each subject in each grade. These overviews are helpful in determining correct grade placement, particularly if you have a student working at different grade levels in different subjects. The overviews can also be used when submitting a Letter of Intent to Homeschool to your state Department of Education.

High school resources: Our high school page includes a suggested course schedule for each grade, based on the graduation requirements for students enrolled in Oak Meadow High School.  Full descriptions of our high school courses are searchable by subject or grade level. Information about dual-enrollment, and tips on how to use the homeschooling or distance learning experience to your advantage in the college admissions process can all be found here.

College Counseling: For high school students planning to attend college, check out our college counseling page. There you will resources and links to useful sits, like FAFSA. Oak Meadow also offers a free webinar series about the college admission process. See dates an sign up here. We also have a free college admission guide that gives information on what to expect. Choosing courses and extracurricular activities that will prepare you for college and career begins long before the college application process does. The Guide also includes information on creating a portfolio, the Common App, college admissions exams, and more.

Curriculum and Grade Placement

Common Core

After studying the Common Core Standards in depth, we have determined that our curriculum already addresses the vast majority of these standards in our own way, while maintaining a creative, hands-on approach and adhering to our core, founding principles. Our curriculum does not teach per Common Core methodology, but rather address the best-practice learning objectives that align to national standards.

We recognize the value of using widely-accepted standards as a framework, while at the same time acknowledging that no single set of guidelines can serve the needs of all children. Starting in 2015, any course that is revised will include a list of lesson objectives to clarify the educational goals for all home teachers. For those places where our curriculum does not meet CC standards, we have created free supplements to augment our curriculum for those wishing or needing to be aligned to the Common Core.

It is of great benefit to many homeschoolers to know that by using Oak Meadow curriculum they can easily comply with their state’s standards-based homeschooling regulations while providing their child with a truly unique, engaging, and child-centered approach to learning. We also understand that there is a large portion of homeschoolers who are unconcerned with standards, preferring to follow their own educational guidelines or a more individualized, interest-led approach. Many of them find Oak Meadow’s flexible, creative approach to be a good fit, as well.

Grade Placement

Oak Meadow believes parents are in the best position to determine what grade level to choose for their child. Instead of requiring placement tests, we encourage parents to study our grade overviews and sample lessons to make an informed judgment based on their knowledge of their child. Because we know that many students work at different grade levels in different subjects, Oak Meadow curriculum is designed to be easy to modify and adapt so you can customize your child’s education to serve his or her particular strengths, challenges, and needs.

If you have questions after reviewing our materials, please contact us or call our educational counselors at (802) 251-7250 for free assistance.

In kindergarten through 3rd grade, our curriculum is integrated across subject areas and contained in a single coursebook. In grade 4, the math curriculum is printed separately, and in grade 5, the math and science are each their own coursebook. In 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, all four core subjects (English, social studies, science and math) are in printed as separate coursebooks. This allows you to choose the best grade placement for your child in each subject in the middle school years. This type of flexibility makes Oak Meadow an effective way to learn for students of all abilities.

Upon receiving and reviewing our materials, if you feel a different grade level would be a better fit, you have 30 days to return your materials (restocking fee applies) and to place an order for new materials in the bookstore. If you are enrolled, speak with your teacher during the first 30 days (60 days for grades K-4) of your enrollment.

Starting Preschool

We recommend waiting until around 4 years old to start preschool. While it’s tempting to jump into homeschooling with young children, we encourage families to give their two and three year-olds lots of unstructured playtime and a stable routine. That’s the best preparation they can have for the educational journey ahead.

Young ones can be included in the homeschooling routine of older siblings, but little should be expected of them in terms of focused academic work. They benefit most from imitating practical work and exploring nature and materials on their own—this provides a solid educational foundation without any formal lessons.

At about age four, many children are ready for a little more structure to their learning. Our preschool curriculum is designed to help parents introduce arts, music, physical games, and stories in a gentle way that still respects and honors the freedom and joy of childhood. At Oak Meadow, letters and numbers are not formally introduced until kindergarten. Through stories, games, songs, and nature explorations, young children may begin to become familiar with abstract academic concepts like letters, phonics, numbers, time constructs, and scientific classification. Trying to teach these concepts intellectually in the early years often backfires—children are quite capable of repeating back things they have memorized but if they lack experience of the concept in the real world, the knowledge is meaningless.

For these reasons, we urge parents to relax and enjoy the early years with their children. Turn a deaf ear to critics who worry your children will “fall behind” if they aren’t learning to read when they are three. Protect the freedom and wonder of childhood. When your children turn four or five, they will be wonderfully equipped to embrace the world of conscious learning.

In the meantime, books like All Year RoundSeven Times the SunA Journey Through Time in Verse and RhymeA Child’s Seasonal Treasury, and The Rhythm of Family are just a few of the excellent resources that are available for families of young children.

Starting Kindergarten

In general, our kindergarten curriculum correlates developmentally with ages 5 – 6 and grade 1 with ages 6 – 7. Therefore, we encourage families to wait until age 5 or 5 ½ before beginning kindergarten.

However, every child’s development is unique, and so there really is no one-size-fits-all recommendation. Families following a Waldorf pedagogy often don’t start first grade until their children are 6.5 or 7 years old. The idea behind waiting is to let the children mature into their physical bodies and abilities so that the rigors of formal education (including learning to read and write, and being comfortable working quietly and focused for a span of time) come to them more easily.

Our curriculum is designed to follow nationally accepted educational standards for each grade level so the academic level of children using Oak Meadow is comparable to their peers at that same grade level. This means, for example,  that a child who uses Oak Meadow for 4th grade should be able to enter public school the next year in 5th grade without being held back. Of course, this is always at the discretion of the school, and how thoroughly the family works through the curriculum will make a difference in the child’s readiness for the next grade.

One last consideration regarding developmental readiness is that starting children in kindergarten at 4 years old (which seems to be more and more common in public schools today) may put them at a disadvantage in future grades, when curriculum content addresses issues that are appropriate for a more mature audience. Also, if children who began their schooling sooner than is recommended enter a school or group educational setting later, they may be a year or more younger than their grade-level peers, which can sometimes make social connections challenging.

Looking at each child’s development on all levels (physical, social, emotional, and intellectual) can help parents determine when to start formal schooling. Sometimes a child will excel in one area, such as reading or math. In that case, parents can add extension activities or other challenges in that one area to enhance the grade-level curriculum. If a child who has completed kindergarten at a young age does not seem ready for the challenges of first grade, repeating the kindergarten year may be a gift that yields benefits far into the future.

If you still have questions about grade placement after looking at the grade pages and curriculum overviews, please contact us or call our experienced educational counselors at (802) 251-7250 for free assistance with grade placement.

Teaching vowel sounds

Why do we teach long vowel in kindergarten? There is much advice to teach short vowel sounds first, but Oak Meadow introduces the long vowels first in kindergarten because long vowels sound like the letter’s name: A, E, I, O, and U. We introduce letters verbally first, with stories, songs, and verses, and the long vowel sounds are easy to hear. This is an auditory approach and a whole language approach (from the whole to the parts). It differs from phonics, emphasizing decoding written words (from the parts to the whole), which is introduced in 1st grade.

We don’t do anything more formal in kindergarten. In first grade, long and short vowel sounds are introduced at the same time, beginning with letter A in lesson 1. We use a combination of phonics, auditory training, and whole language so students are coming at the new skill of reading and writing from many directions. We also don’t expect every student to be reading in first grade, thus we take a more rounded, gentle approach to reading. Phonics-based programs often include a lot of writing and decoding in the early years, so it makes more sense for them to introduce short vowels first because many short vowel sounds don’t need extra letters (short sounds like bed/hat/hop make good first words for decoding and sight reading, as opposed to long sound beet/field/play, which are tricky).

Reading and writing in K-3

Oak Meadow’s curriculum and philosophy encourages parents to follow their child’s individual pace when introducing reading and writing. The development of literacy is a complex task that involves two primary skills: decoding (forming a sound according to the printed symbol, i.e. reading) and encoding (creating the symbol that corresponds to the sound, i.e. writing). The acquisition of these complex skills takes time and should not be rushed. When children are allowed to come into reading and writing in a relaxed way, they often seem to acquire the skills magically, as though there is an innate ability that is waiting for the right moment to emerge. The beauty of homeschooling is that you have the flexibility to move forward at a pace that honors your child’s unique needs.

The primary focus of the language arts in the early years is building an appreciation of the richness of language, and strong foundational skills for later work in reading and writing. Our approach is gentle and there is no pressure; children will begin to read when they are ready.

In kindergarten, letters are introduced individually each week through stories and illustrations. Students are not expected to read by the end of kindergarten, but rather are encouraged to engage with reading at their level by listening to their parent read aloud, following along, or reading themselves.

First grade begins with a review of letter recognition and awareness of vowel and consonant sounds through more stories and images in a very creative, imaginative way. The parent is encouraged to integrate this story/letter work with daily life so the child is able to take in this new knowledge in an organic, relaxed way. In the course of learning to write, the child naturally begins to learn to read by reading what he or she has written. In kindergarten and first grade, children create a Main Lesson Book, which is a large blank book that eventually becomes filled with letters, drawings, sentences, stories, poems, etc.

Later in the first grade year, students who are ready begin working with a Reader, expanding on the work they have done with word families (-it, -at, -ag, etc.). “Readers” are books that a child reads independently, although young students may need the support of the parent (or “Home Teacher”) when reading. Beginning readers are included with 1st and 2nd grade curricula. These books are often used as read-aloud books by the parents of children who are not yet reading independently, or used as read-together books to solidify skills and instill confidence in emerging readers. A list of these books can be seen on the grade-level pages.

My child is behind in math

It is not uncommon for a student coming to Oak Meadow after studying elsewhere to find gaps in content or skills that need to be addressed.  Many children are uneven in their acquisition of academic skills, which is one reason homeschooling is so wonderful.

When you come upon material that assumes prior knowledge that your child does not yet have, simply stop the lesson and take as much time as needed to go over the new skills or information. Once your student is comfortable, you can resume the Oak Meadow lessons. With adaptations like these, each student can feel successful with the material.

Let’s say your child is in 3rd grade, but working below grade level in math. Our 3rd grade math curriculum does assume prior knowledge of most of the multiplication tables. While memorization is not expected at this grade, it is necessary for them to have a basic comprehension of all four processes. This can often be done very informally, using math games and manipulatives. Sometimes working for a few weeks before beginning the curriculum is enough to familiarize the student with the necessary basics.

Once the grade level work is begun, you might have to adapt the math lessons to your student’s abilities. For instance, you could sit with your 3rd grader as the work on their practice problems,  helping guide them through the borrowing and carrying until they are more comfortable with it. You might also let them use a multiplication table (one that you’ve created together by hand—it can be very colorful and beautiful, if you want) until they start to memorize their times tables.

In grades 5-12, you can easily allow your child to work at a lower grade level in math, if necessary, since we print math as a separate coursebook beginning in 4th grade.

My kindergartener is already reading

Many students come into Oak Meadow already knowing how to read, or being familiar with the letters. Our approach to letters and numbers is so imaginative and artistic that many children who are already reading find themselves thoroughly enjoying the creative look at something they already know. It is often a wonderful experience for students to “play” with the letters in kindergarten, even if they already “know” them. Therefore, we highly encourage student to enroll in the grade level appropriate for their overall development.

For students who are eager for more challenges, it is relatively easy to add depth and complexity to the assignments without having to stray very far from the lesson framework. For example, if the assignment is to memorize a four line verse emphasizing the long “a” sound, you might have your child write and illustrate an original poem instead. Or she might create a list of 10 rhyming words with the long “a” sound, and then see how many sentences she can make up using those words. Or she might draw a picture that only has long “a” things in it. In this way, you are staying within the framework of the lesson, but doing so in a creative, challenging way.

Our kindergarten curriculum is designed to allow the child to learn and experience many concepts beyond letters and numbers, through the use of archetypal fairy tales, fables, myths and legends. Using an artistic approach, the student will write and illustrate their Main Lesson Books centered around the foundational themes of these stories. Careful attention to the artistic expression of these themes and ideals fosters a child’s inner growth and the development of persistent, focused awareness. All the material is presented in a natural, informal way which encourages learning to be a process that comes from within instead of something that is forced from the outside.

My first grader is already reading and writing

Choosing a grade level for your child is an important decision, and we generally recommend a placement based on age, regardless of the reading level. Most often, a child who is already comfortable with reading by the beginning of first grade is not developmentally ready for a second grade curriculum across the full range of subjects. We feel it is better to add supplementary activities and assignments to keep the 1st grader excited and feeling challenged than to skip a grade. Another consideration is that if your child eventually joins his peers in a school setting in later years, having him be a year (or more) younger than everyone in class could present challenges.

Additionally, while we are eager for our children to advance along the continuum of academic skills, there are several points to consider when choosing the right grade level for a child. The first consideration is the importance of a thorough and creative exposure to the sound/symbol connection of our alphabetic system. A solid review of the sounds and shapes of letters, especially with the artistic, imaginative methods used in our curriculum, can be enjoyable for children already reading. Each letter is introduced first through a story, and then is “played with” in nature, art, crafts, rhyming, and song. This method of learning letters is probably very different from anything they have experienced before, and we find that many children who are already reading take delight in the creative exploration of each letter and sound.

A second consideration is one of balanced development. Early reading is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment, but parents should remain mindful that to read a book is primarily an intellectual experience, and a solitary one. At Oak Meadow, we seek to foster a healthy balance with all skills—academic, social, physical, artistic, imaginative—and we encourage young children to be involved in a wide range of activities. If our first grade curriculum represents a more relaxed pace for your child, this may offer a good opportunity to reinforce acquired skills while exploring new abilities in other areas.

Mixing and matching subjects from different grades

Starting in 4th grade, you can mix grade levels for different subject areas, depending on your student’s needs. In the early grades, all the subject material is integrated into a single coursebook. Beginning in 4th grade, math is printed as a separate book, so parents can choose to purchase a different math grade level if that works best. In 5th grade, both math and science are in separate texts, and in grades 6-12, all subjects are in separate texts so grade levels can be mixed and matched as needed.

If you need assistance, please contact us or call our educational counselors at (802) 251-7250 for free guidance to grade level selection.

Homeschooling multiple children in different grades

We have many families who are homeschooling multiple children, and while the task may sometimes feel daunting, the rewards can be wonderful. Our curriculum is designed to be easy to adapt to all sorts of family situations, including have two children work together. For example, you could have your 4th and 6th graders working together on 5th grade curriculum if you like, and simplify it for one and add complexity for the other. Another idea is to have your students work at grade level in some subjects (math, in particular), and then have both students work together on the same material in other subjects.  If you view our sample lessons, you will get a good sense of which subject areas will best suit your children for working individually and working together.

If students are closer in age and ability, you can purchase two grade levels (e.g. 1st and 2nd grade) and pick and choose among the various assignments in each coursebook to create a custom-designed curriculum. Using a variety of lessons from each grade, you can teach both children simultaneously. They will be completing the same assignments and projects, working together when possible, yet each will be working at her own level, producing work that differs in mastery and skill. [NOTE: An enrolled family who would like to modify a lesson should pass it by a teacher first.]

Every family dynamic is different and you know your children best, so we encourage you to experiment to find what works well for your family. You also might enjoy perusing many useful articles from our seasonal journal, Living Education, which is full of homeschool tips and tricks.

Adding complexity and challenge for students who want more

It is such a pleasure to see a child eager to learn and while it is never a good idea to pressure a student to learn more quickly, for students who are ready for more challenges, there are many ways to offer complexity within the context of the Oak Meadow curriculum. One great idea is to expand the assignment into another subject area. Making connections across the curriculum adds relevance, encourages skills in practical applications, and helps develop a flexibility of thought that allows creative problem solving.

With a little creative thinking, you can come up with new ways to expand each lesson. If there is a science assignment to research the discovery of electricity, your student might also write (and perform!) a speech or write an advertisement announcing Nikola Telsa’s AC current. Your student could draw sketches of the clothing people wore during that time period, and list ways in which electricity changed life in the late 1800s. Another idea is to have your child see if she can find out which of her ancestors would have been alive when electricity became widespread, and what that was like for them. You could work math into the lesson by having her calculate the additional number of hours worked per year after electric lighting lengthened the work day, or estimate the increase in factory output with longer hours versus the additional expense of electricity.

Each lesson or topic can be expanded upon in this way, and it can be fun to come up with lesson extensions that challenge and intrigue your student. If you are looking for more ideas and inspiration, you can join our Facebook or Instagram communities and see what great ideas others have come up with. Your child will probably also come up with interesting ideas, and can be encouraged to explore those ideas exponentially. That’s the benefit and joy of homeschooling!

Homeschooling Basics

Homeschool support services

For families using Oak Meadow’s curriculum independently, we offer our Homeschool Support consultation service and Oak Meadow teacher tutoring services. Both are fee-based and available to independent users only.

  • Homeschool Support: Whether you are a new homeschooling parent with lots of questions, or a veteran with specific topics in mind, an experienced Oak Meadow teacher can provide you with student-centered educational guidance. Topics might include organization, pacing, planning, teaching multiple grades, and more. Upon purchase, you will be asked to fill out the form, and an Oak Meadow teacher will contact you to discuss a plan of action. Purchase here.
  • Oak Meadow teacher tutors: We understand that our independent curriculum users may need extra support when teaching their children at home—especially with certain subject areas. Several of our teachers are available privately as tutors. Click here for more information.

For enrolled students, your Oak Meadow teacher can make adjustments and modifications, so ask them if you need help. They will be able to point you towards resources, as well as recommendations for assistance in your area.


This is a very common concern we hear from families new to homeschooling, and it is a question homeschoolers hear from other people on a regular basis. Experience has shown that most children who homeschool spend plenty of time interacting with others. Since homeschoolers generally have more free time to be involved in community activities than children who attend “regular” school, there is no end to socialization opportunities.

Homeschooled children learn how to navigate and enjoy the company of peers, elders, younger children, parents, and grandparents while going to art and music classes, scout troop activities, volunteering, participating in sports, and playing with neighborhood kids. Most homeschooling families take advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling to include field trips and travel as well.

Many homeschooling families report that their children become better socialized than their school-going peers because they are not limited to peer-group interactions, which are not always healthy, but are surrounded by people who model positive ways to communicate, problem solve, and resolve conflicts.

Read more about socialization here.

Teacher manuals

Teacher manuals come with grades 4-8, and are available for purchase for non-enrolled high school families (if you are enrolled in high school, ask your Oak Meadow teacher for help).

Grades K-3: Teacher guides The Heart of Learning and the Oak Meadow Guide to Teaching in the Early Grades can be purchased in the K-3 Enrichment package or individually through our bookstore. For our enrolled students, the K-3 Enrichment package books are provided with the curriculum materials at no additional charge. You only need one copy; these books will be re-used in grades 1, 2 and 3.

The K-3 teacher guides provide inspiration and practical advice that many homeschooling parents are looking for. Although both books are optional, we highly recommend them for families using our K-3 curriculum. The Guide to Teaching in the Early Grades contains information on the learning process and teaching tips for art, music, storytelling, and handcrafts, as well as an extensive list of songs, verses, fingerplays, and poems.  The Heart of Learning provides ideas for setting up a learning environment and home routine that supports and nurtures the child’s natural rhythms, curiosity, and zest for learning. It explains the foundation of the Oak Meadow philosophy of education and is considered by many to be an invaluable resource.


How much time per day will it take?

This varies for each student and each family, and will change as the child gets older. In the early grades, the parent is completely involved in the learning process, but as the child moves through the grades, more and more work is done independently.

Grades K-3: roughly 3-4 hours per day

In first grade, you might begin the day with a 15 minute circle time followed by 45 minutes of reading and writing. In the afternoon, a one hour session is suggested: 45 minutes of either math or science and 15 minutes of reading. In the early grades, much of the learning time is spent actively engaged in hands-on projects, and you might expect another hour or so to be spent on projects, bringing the total up to three hours a day. As the student progresses, more time is spent doing more focused “desk work”: reading, writing, and researching.

Grades 4-8: roughly 4-6 hours

By the time students are in middle school, they should expect to work at least one hour per day, per subject. Of course, some students will need more time to do their work well, and others may be quicker in certain subjects. Every student is different but this gives you a general idea of what to expect.

High school: roughly 1 hour per course per day

Throughout all the grades, most students work best having a specific time of the day that is dedicated to doing school work, and a healthy mix of concentrated, focused book work and artistic, experiential projects. Including an element of physical activity during each school day is also vital to a healthy, happy student. We often find that students quickly discover a rhythm to their school day and week that works well for them.

Create a learning environment at home

There are many ways that families set up their homes to create a learning environment that encourages effective, enjoyable learning. One important aspect of Waldorf philosophy is to honor childhood by respecting each developmental stage and allowing your child the time and space to mature at his or her own pace. With this in mind, here are some suggestions that might be helpful:

SPACE: Some families create a school space by dedicating a room in their home that is just for school time, while others use the kitchen table. Some use a large chalkboard for lesson work or a seasonal drawing. Make sure to have all your supplies handy, and have your children keep things organized.

TOYS: Eliminating visual clutter from the child’s school space and play space can be quite calming. Rotating items for play eliminates having everything out at once and frees up space for creative uses. Some toys might be put away for many seasons and only brought out for a few weeks before they are put away again. Toys that are used year round (like blocks and dress-ups) can be neatly stowed each afternoon. Even very young children can get into the habit of helping to “put the toys to bed” when play is over for the day.

NOISE: Keeping noise to a minimum can also make a big difference. During school time, try to eliminate background noise like music, television, or computer. Transitions between activities can be made easy by singing a song–make up your own or find new ones in the library, online, or in our bookstore under K-8 Resource Books.

SCHEDULE: Daily schedules are different for every learner, and each family finds what works best for them. Most children benefit from a regular schedule and from knowing when they are “doing school” and when they have free time. Beginning and ending the school day with a regular verse or song can set a lovely tone and bring focus and intention to the work you do together.

When you receive your Oak Meadow books

Receiving a box full of curriculum materials is exciting but can be a bit overwhelming if you are new to homeschooling. Look over each book to familiarize yourself with what you have, and give yourself a day or so to read through everything before you begin your schoolwork.

Read the introduction to the coursebook(s), scan any supplemental books, and get oriented to the amount of work presented in a single lesson (which is designed to be completed in one week). If you are using K-3 material, begin reading your teacher guides, The Heart of Learning and Guide to Teaching in the Early Grades, before you begin your school year. This way, you will feel more prepared to begin your homeschooling journey.

Most families find their stride after the first few weeks of adjusting to homeschooling. If you have questions, the experienced homeschooling community on our Facebook page is always willing and able to provide supportive advice, ideas, and answers. The Oak Meadow office staff is also happy to answer any questions, so please feel free to contact us.

Enrollment and Distance Learning

Our teachers

Our teachers each had years of experience in a classroom before coming to teach at Oak Meadow. Most have advanced degrees, and their primary focus is guiding your student to success, mastery, confidence, and understanding.

Students usually remain with the same teacher through grades K-4, and grades 5-8, unless otherwise requested. In high school, they are assigned subject-specific teachers, one for each discipline. A student may have the same English or math teacher for several years in a row. This allows the teacher to get to know the student well, and provide on-going support, encouragement, inspiration, and motivation.

When you enroll with Oak Meadow, your teacher is there to help you. Whether you are enrolled for a single course for a single semester, or five full-year high school classes, you can expect your teacher to provide feedback on submitted work, grades, guidance, support, and semester evaluations. Teachers also work with parents (grade K-6) and students to modify or adapt the curriculum as needed to suit a child’s needs, skills, passions, and goals.

While teachers work one-to-one with each student, they do not take on the role of tutor. Most of the teaching comes from our print-based materials, and your Oak Meadow teacher is available to guide progress through the feedback they provide. They are available by email, phone, or video chat, but please note that (for the most part), teachers are not involved in implementing of lesson material. If you feel like your student would benefit from in-person assistance, you may want to consider working with an on-site tutor, who can work with the Oak Meadow curriculum and co-ordinate with the Oak Meadow teacher. If you have questions, please contact us.


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.

Enrollment options

Our accredited distance learning school begins in kindergarten (we do not enroll students for pre-school). A student can enter Oak Meadow at any grade, and stay for a single semester, a few years, or for all 13 grades levels. We have rolling admission throughout the year, so you can begin your full-year or semester enrollment at any time.

A student can enroll in a full course load, or just a single subject (available for grades 5-12). Grade k-4 are integrated across the curriculum, and should be done together. Starting in grade 4, the subjects are broken out into separate books, so it is possible to mix and match grade levels. High school students also have the option of dual enrollment, taking classes at other schools in addition to Oak Meadow. Contact us to learn more.

A full-year enrollment consists of 36 weekly lesson completed in ten months. You can also enroll for a single semester (18 lessons) over a five month period. If your child is ill or your family travels, lessons can be postponed or done ahead of time, since each weekly lesson is self-paced. Just let your teacher know of any planned trips or lengthy absences.

For students needing more than ten months to complete their lessons, two-month extensions are available for a flat fee. If more time is needed beyond the two month extension, the student must re-enroll for an additional semester in order to finish the course and receive credit.

Summer courses: It is possible for a student to complete a one-semester (.5 credit) course over the summer, particularly if they are only taking one course. Of course, it is not easy! It all depends on the student’s motivation and ability, and is usually only accomplished by high school students, doing one course at a time.

Your role as a parent

As in any school environment, the success of a child’s school year depends largely upon the support and encouragement from the parents, and this support will take several forms. For our distance learning format, it is primarily the parent’s responsibility to maintain contact with the teacher (especially in the younger grades) and ensure student work is submitted in a timely manner.

In order for the teacher’s feedback to be helpful, student work should be submitted on a frequent, regular basis, and the lesson comments should be reviewed. Work is submitted after every two lessons (biweekly) in grades 5-12, and once a month in grades K-4. The parent can serve as a resource person, helping students locate information needed to complete the lessons, and can engage the student in conversations about the material.

Especially important in distance learning, parents need to help their student develop good organizational and time management skills. Many parents assist by writing out a weekly schedule to help their child budget their time wisely. Checking your child’s progress on a daily and weekly basis also encourages steady progress and instills a feeling of accomplishment.

Depending on your child’s age and temperament, you may need to be a very strong presence during the homeschooling hours. Mathematics often requires daily assistance; checking your child’s work as it is completed, helping him or her to focus on the assignments, and answering questions as needed. Incorrect answers may be due to not understanding the mathematical concept or working too quickly. You will need to determine which of these is taking place and work with your student (and your Oak Meadow teacher, if necessary) to avoid continuing difficulties.

Let your Oak Meadow teacher know how much support you and your child need. Also, let your teacher know how evaluative feedback is received. While all students need encouragement, some work well with concrete suggestions and others need more gentle guidance.

Grades and evaluations

Grades (letter or pass/fail) and lesson comments are received for each lesson a student submits. Additionally, teachers write narrative evaluations for each subject area at the mid-year and end of year points, which give a cumulative and informative compendium of a student’s progress, triumphs and challenge areas. These lesson comments and semester evaluations also help develop the one-to-one relationship between the student and the Oak Meadow teacher.

In K-4, students receive a pass/fail grade for each lesson. In grades 5-8, students receive letter grades (but can choose to continue with the pass/fail system). In high school, students receive letter grades. However, grades are not visible to the student until the course is completed, as the lesson comments from the teacher are more indicative of the student’s progress, and will highlight those areas that need more attention. These comments are the basis of the guidance and active teaching from the Oak Meadow teacher, and provide concrete feedback which the student can use to improve his or her work.

Documentation and state requirements

Upon enrollment, we provide a Provisional Certificate of Enrollment which states that your child is enrolled in our accredited distance learning school. This will be replaced with an Official Certificate of Enrollment within 90 days of the student’s start date, pending the receipt of all required forms (see your Gateway), the submission of student work, and teacher verification that the student is submitting work of sufficient quality to be considered “in good standing.”

Oak Meadow does not deal directly with any local or state bodies related to enrollment. Please contact  your local Department of Education or school district regarding local laws and distance learning regulations; they may require a copy of your Certificate of Enrollment document and possibly other documents or testing.

Supporting students with learning challenges

The level of support Oak Meadow is equipped to provide for students with specific learning needs differs between our grade divisions. As a small organization and per our distance learning model, our support for learning challenges is limited.

For K-8 students: We are able to modify a child’s workload and adjust the curriculum to reflect different learning needs. When combined with the one-to-one support that students receive from both their Oak Meadow teacher and their parent (home teacher), these adjustments often help students overcome challenges that made learning in a traditional school setting difficult.

High school students: We can make adjustments to workload and the curriculum to reflect different learning needs. However, we often find that the significant degree of reading, writing, and independent work required in our high school courses can be a challenge for students who do not have dedicated home support. In addition to an Oak Meadow Learning Plan, we occasionally advise families to seek the support of tutors and other off-site learning specialists to instruct students with the directed learning assistance they require.

If required, a Learning Plan with specific accommodations will be initiated after a detailed review of official documentation of any diagnosis, the student’s prior assessments, and any previous IEP or 504 plans.  These Learning Plans are written by our licensed school counselor and the relevant program director. The Learning Plan is an official school document that becomes part of the student’s permanent record, which can allow for special accommodations on standardized testing; this allows a student to receive academic credit for an adjusted workload.

There is no fee for a Learning Plan assessment. If it is determined that a Learning Plan is needed, there is a nominal fee in addition to the tuition (this fee may not be included in our payment plan).

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.

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.

Resource Links

Curriculum resources

Homeschooling During Coronavirus: Tips, Resources, & Activities
Sample lessons
Online resources cited in our coursebooks (aka curriculum links)
Common Core Supplements
Effective Assessments (PDF)
MLA Guidelines for Citing Sources and Evaluating Internet Sources (PDF)
Academic Planning Worksheet for high school (PDF)
How to use Main Lesson Books

Oak Meadow support programs for home teachers

Homeschool Support: A fee-based consultation service for both new and veteran homeschoolers who use our curriculum independently.

Portfolio Evaluation Program for K-4: New! For families who would like support from an Oak Meadow teacher without enrollment.

Tutoring and Coaching Services: Several Oak Meadow teachers offer private tutoring to assist students with specific subject areas, executive function skills, or learning challenges.

Learning Assessments Packets (K-8): Grade-specific learning assessments are designed to help parents and teachers track student learning for support and reporting purposes.

Foundations in Independent Learning: An online parent-teacher certification course for those new to teaching at home or new to Oak Meadow.

Foundations in Social Justice: This online course helps parents and teachers bring social justice principles and action into their communities and classrooms.

Oak Meadow articles, newsletters, and journals

Oak Meadow catalog: Published Jan 2019
Oak Meadow blog posts
Living Education: Oak Meadow’s free educational journal
Oak Meadow newsletters: Grade-level topics, published monthly

Organization and preparation

Study Skills Toolkit (PDF)
Time Management Tips for Students (PDF)
Creating an Effective Learning Environment (PDF)
Guidelines for Home Teachers
Rhythms, Routines, and Rituals and Homeschool Rhythms
Organizational Tips from a Homeschool Parent (PDF)
Using a Weekly Planner to Find the Rhythm in Your Homeschooling Life
Getting Comfy in the Role of Home Teacher

Common homeschooling topics

What About Socialization? and The Socialization Myth (PDF)
Motivating Middle Schoolers
Challenging the Advanced Student (PDF)
Homeschooling with Large Families (PDF) and Homeschooling Multiple Children
12 Reasons Why Handwriting is Important
Addressing Concerns about Homeschooling
Finding Community as a Homeschooler

Take a deep breath: You can do it!

Yes, You Can!
Three Things I Do to Make Me a Calm Mom
10 Ways to Create and Maintain Balance as a Homeschooling Parent
“What I Wished I’d Known Before Two Decades of Homeschooling”
10 Reasons Why Oak Meadow May Be the Perfect Fit for You

The Heart of Oak Meadow

What makes Oak Meadow different? 12 characteristics that define the heart, soul, and pedagogy of the Oak Meadow curriculum.
Oak Meadow and Waldorf
The Heart of Learning, by Lawrence Williams: “A beautiful book to read. The most valuable resource I have for understanding and enjoying my time with my children.” ~ OM parent
Learning Processes: This guide covers topics such as creating a daily schedule, morning circle activities, crayon drawing, watercolor painting, working with clay, storytelling, and more.

Curriculum reviews and articles

Please note: Some materials may have been updated since a review was posted, but our curriculum scope and sequence remain the same. Visit our grade web pages or our bookstore for current information.

OM Curriculum Reviews & Overviews – Playlist

Only Passionate Curiosity (a selection)

Healthy Living from the Start (K-3)
Oak Meadow Grade 5 Review
Oak Meadow Grade 6 Review
Oak Meadow Grade 7 Review
Oak Meadow Grade 8 Box Day
Oak Meadow Grade 8 Overview
Oak Meadow Grade 8 A Week in the Life
Oak Meadow Middle School English
Distance Learning with Oak Meadow
Middle Schoolers and Independence in Learning with Oak Meadow

How Wee Learn
A Few of My Favorite Things – Review of Homeschooling Resources
How to Teach Your Child to Play the Recorder
Teaching Kids to Knit
Learning to Read with Word Families
The Heart of Learning
Our Grade 1 Homeschool Year at-a-Glance
Oak Meadow Kindergarten Review
Why Teach Cursive Handwriting?

How to Homeschool
Oak Meadow Grade 8 Civics

Pepper and Pine
Oak Meadow Curriculum Review: 1st Grade (video)

Up Above the Rowan Tree
Review of the Oak Meadow Sixth Grade Curriculum

Cathy Duffy Reviews
Oak Meadow: Overall Review

Green Child Magazine
Green Child Talks with Oak Meadow Homeschoolers: The Kluver Family
Green Child Talks with Oak Meadow Homeschoolers: The Doughty Family

Spiritually Aware Parenting
What About Socializing (and Grade 8 Civics)

The Canadian Homeschooler
Oak Meadow Review: A Complete Curriculum (Grade 6)

Affinity Magazine
Here’s Why I Totally Recommend Taking This Media Literacy Course