Finding the Right Fit: Part II

Posted on August 6, 2013 by Chris Arnini

In our first blog post on finding the right fit, we looked at homeschooling styles to fit every type of family and learner. Now we’ll look at the many ways Oak Meadow can be part of your homeschooling journey, no matter where it takes you.
How does Oak Meadow curriculum fit into my family’s style of homeschooling?

Finding the right homeschooling style and curriculum to fit your family can be an adventure, a quest, or a confusing jumble (depending on how you look at it!). As children grow and family circumstances change, it’s not unusual to change how you homeschool.

20 Questions About Homeschooling: Finding the Right Fit, Part II. Photo: Moreland family
Photo Credit: Moreland Family/Oak Meadow

“We love Oak Meadow! This our 5th year homeschooling. The first couple of years I tried all kinds of curricula, texts, teaching methods, etc. Nothing seemed to fit my kid’s learning style, my teaching style, or our lifestyle. Then we found Oak Meadow. It was like coming home!”
Whether you use traditional schooling methods, an eclectic approach, unschooling, or something in between, Oak Meadow curriculum can fit your homeschooling methods, allowing your teaching style to flex and adapt as your family’s needs change. Over the years, we’ve heard from many families about how they use Oak Meadow, and we’ve included their thoughts as well to help you imagine the possibilities.
“I wanted to share this with you. Our daughter has hated the idea of going to school for the last 3 years. The last time she was this excited was her 1st day of school and she has begged to stay home every day since. We have been working baby steps in getting her prepared for home schooling. Everything so far has been amazing. Thank you so much for providing such a great learning experience and more so a great life experience. I am overjoyed at the thought that our daughter will look back at her elementary years and love every second of it. And it all started with a box.”
20 Questions About Homeschooling: Finding the Right Fit, Part II: Loving Oak Meadow's box of possibilities! Credit: Stonehouse family
Photo Credit: Stonehouse family/Oak Meadow

Boxed curriculum: Oak Meadow curriculum gives you a full year of lesson plans for each subject (in 36 weekly lessons). Families love receiving their Oak Meadow boxes! We often hear stories about children diving into the box and wandering off to read the books long before they are assigned. Students who are working independently, which usually begins in earnest around 6th or 7th grade, often find it very satisfying to know in advance exactly what they will be studying, how many more lessons there are, which assignments will be covered in a particular week, etc. Oak Meadow’s K-8 curriculum is integrated, particularly in relation to English and social studies, which is another benefit of having a complete curriculum set rather than piecing things together from diverse sources.

“I have to tell you how excited we were to receive our 2nd grade curriculum. We opened it together. One of the twins took off with his reader and read and laughed his way through the afternoon… The other twin looked at the song book (from 1st grade) and asked if I knew any of the songs. Luckily, I remembered “Oh how lovely is the evening” from my first grade so many years ago. So he learned to sing it gleefully. When Dad came home, our son looked up  at the sky and noted, “Mom, it’s evening. Let’s sing our song.” So we did. We haven’t even formally begun schooling, and already our children love the curriculum. THIS is what learning should be.”

Eclectic homeschooling: For parents who enjoy the process of seeking out a unique mix of resources to create a customized homeschooling curriculum, Oak Meadow materials can be used in several ways. You can use specific syllabi, such as 6th grade math or 8th grade civics, as the cornerstone for a particular subject, or you can use our materials to supplement another program. You can also use our grade overviews (found in the K-8 catalog) or high school course suggestions by grade (found in the high school catalog) as you plan your yearly studies. These resources can help you feel confident that your eclectic approach will be built on a well-rounded educational foundation.

“We have created an environment in our home which is “prepared,” everything has a component of learning and children naturally go toward what they are attracted and will learn by doing. Oak Meadow is wonderful in that it helps create wide open parameters without the pressure…”

Traditional schooling at home: For families who prefer a textbook and worksheet approach, Oak Meadow’s math books in grades 4-8 include worksheets with practice problems and answers in the back of the book for students to self-correct their practice sets. Test answers are included separately for the parent to use in grading the work. Beginning in grade 4, the curriculum is designed for the student to read and use independently (with parent support as needed). Our high school courses are also designed to be self-paced, and the science, math and social studies courses are textbook-based with an Oak Meadow course book that includes a full year of varied and engaging assignments to accompany the textbook readings.

“Oak Meadow is the most comprehensive curriculum there is. It provides structure and the flexibility to customize the program with plenty of room for creativity.”

20 Questions About Homeschooling: Finding the Right Fit, Part II
Photo Credit: Oak Meadow

Interest-led learning: Families who allow their child’s interests to guide the learning process can benefit from using a wide variety of research materials and resources to help them find imaginative ways to explore the topic at hand. Oak Meadow can be used to supplement interest-led learning and to spark ideas about new ways to work with the material. You will find dozens of social studies projects and science experiments about a wide variety of topics. You can view our English curriculum for recommended reading lists in conjunction with a particular social studies topic (5th grade for U.S. history, 6th grade for ancient civilizations, 7th grade for world history, and 8th grade for civics) and use our grammar books (such as Writing for 100 Days or The Elements of Style) for writing specifics. Math books can be kept on hand to explain concepts and provide practice, if needed (for instance, 4th grade math for long division and fractions, 6th grade math for decimals and percentages, or 8th grade math for variables and scientific notation).

“We do Oak Meadow and unschooling! We follow a slight routine for the morning and do Oak Meadow activities. In the afternoon we do whatever we feel like learning about (a chance to let the kids share their interests)… I don’t force anything either. If my kids are in [the mood for] a day for doing nothing but reading, we find a topic they like and read. Although I do have one mandatory day a week where they have to do one worksheet in each subject (reading/writing/math/arts). They call it worksheet day and have fun doing it.”

Roamschooling: Taking your learning on the road—or the high seas—can mean taking your books along, too, or learning from resources you find as you go. Today many people are connected to the internet no matter where they go, so it is easy to get online resources (including Oak Meadow’s K-8 curriculum online), but many still prefer a book when it comes to learning. Oak Meadow’s curriculum packages make it easy to have everything in one place, or you can choose to bring only those books that your student will need (such as math or novels), leaving the rest of the learning open-ended, based on where your travels take you.

20 Questions About Homeschooling: Finding the Right Fit, Part II
Photo Credit: Crawford family/Oak Meadow

“…the method makes so much sense to us, and our student is REALLY HAPPY! We are all very happy. We are so happy to have FINALLY found where we fit in. Turns out we fit in with Oak Meadow… You have made our real life (which is filled with trips to the Nature Center and just lots of time outside in general) fit into our teaching day, not separate from it.”

Unschooling: It may come as a surprise to learn that unschoolers often use books, even schoolbooks! The difference is that students can choose what, when and how they want to learn. Oak Meadow books are appealing to many students who are exploring their passions because our assignments are often creative, artistic and unique (just like many unschoolers are). Sharing curriculum books on subjects your unschooler is interested in can give your child another option in the wide world of learning that surrounds us all.
20 Questions About Homeschooling: Finding the Right Fit, Part II
Photo Credit: Bellamy family/Oak Meadow

“The curriculum has meant everything to us. We have a positive view of life, our daughter feels empowered. The curriculum teaches her what she needs but keeps enough free time for her to “know herself.” She has become such a helpful member of our family regarding chores and a daily rhythm, and she is loved by friends at co-op, soccer, etc. We are so in love with Oak Meadow. It fits us perfectly.”

Whatever your approach, Oak Meadow curriculum invites customization—and encourages you to infuse the experience with your family’s own interests, ideas, and resources. Oak Meadow also provides wonderful supportive resources and inspiration for all our families that can enhance the overall learning experience. Find great ideas on our over 50 searchable boards on Pinterest, join our lively and encouraging community on our Facebook page, and subscribe to our free education journal, Living Education, for homeschooling information, advice, research, and inspiring ideas. And of course, In the Meadow will continue to bring you resources and thought-provoking blogs throughout the year.
As you search for the right fit for your family, we’re here to help. And please let us know what homeschooling style works best for you and your family! We love to hear how families use our curriculum to support their home learning in whatever direction it takes them.

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