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Oak Meadow families, pros & cons?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

I'd love to hear feedback on folks who use Oak Meadow.  I can find a few threads, but not a lot of yes, I loved this part, but this part didn't work for us kind of reviews.

 

So, if you used it, what do you think?

 

Did you use it for K? How did the K work for you?

 

 

I am just speaking of the curriculum, not the enrolled school bit.

post #2 of 31
Thread Starter 

No one?  Anyone? Bueller?

post #3 of 31

We used it for K. It didn't work too well for us as far as the learning of the letters, because DD went racing ahead and independently taught herself to read! :D The science projects and nature projects are really cool and fun and DD still loves to make pine cone bird feeders. DD found the nursery/ fairy tale story format kind of boring, but again, this was because she chose to advance in reading MUCH faster than the curriculum. 

 

I have a few objections with some of the teachers' materials that came with the course. If you're capable of taking some rather sexist viewpoints with a grain of salt you should be fine.

post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 

Sexist viewpoints, huh?  I would love to hear more about that.

 

I have a feeling my DD will be much like yours, given that she already is able to read simple words on her own.  That I can adapt if the other things are there though.

post #5 of 31

We love it, although we are supplementing HWT for handwriting since DD doesn't just "get it naturally". I haven't seen anything I would regard as sexist so far.

post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 

What do you love about it?  How does the melding of Waldorf-y and academics go?

post #7 of 31

We love the fairy tales and stories, art, I like how each number in mathematics represents something and is explored, my kids love the stories and nature projects that go along with science. The blend of Waldorf and academics is just enough for us, although DD who is ready for the academics now wouldn't mind if OM waited until 1st grade like in traditional Waldorf style.

post #8 of 31

Re: sexism, there are some passages in one of the teacher's guides, I'm pretty sure it was The Heart of Learning, about how "the mother" should stay home with the kids, basically. If I can find the book and post some actual quotes, I will. Definitely highly assumptive that all kids come from a heterosexual two-parent home and IIRC, slightly derogatory of single moms. Sticks out in my mind since I was a single mom at the time :D

post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 

I sort of got that vibe from all of the Waldorf literature so far.  I mostly ignore it, but I did have some serious rolleyes.gif moments. LOL

post #10 of 31
We used OM grade 1 with my 7 year old last year. The content of their curriculum matches up uncannily with our local school so I just went with grade 1 even though i was sure it would be too easy for him.

He was already reading fluently and constantly going into it...and i was a little worried about how he would feel about creating an alphabet book, etc. However, it ended up being a great foundation upon which we could build using our own creativity! We ended up really enjoying it!

He absolutely loved the fairy tale/alphabet block. I swapped out a couple of the tales because i started to go a bit nuts with all the kings and queens. innocent.gif haha also, we didn't approach it as learning the alphabet, obviously, but the lesson book was more a way to develop writing and art. He was weak at both going into it...so we used the coloring as a way to develop his artistic skills. We also started a family poetry night...each week focusing on a couple of letters. So he and i both wrote a poem featuring that particular letter and then we found a few to read that fit the theme as well. It was so much fun! We made a poster each week advertising the week's poetry night theme, complete with the night's dinner menu. Lol This was not part of the curriculum, but we came up with so much fun stuff to bulk it up.

Word families was a slightly more boring block for me, but ds enjoyed it. We made up our own lesson book ideas using construction paper...he had to do a lot of tracing, cutting, and pasting, all of which he was pretty weak at before. He springboarded off into writing his own little word family stories.

We did the gnome math, but used Miquon along with it, which he loved.

We loved the idea of learning about animals and nature through stories, but i found a lot of their stories a bit contrived for my tastes, so i subbed them with the Thornton Burgess animal books which are excellent and have been a huge hit around here. We used OM's suggestion of keeping a nature/science journal and that has been a lot of fun.

The crafts were good, we supplemented with other waldorf craft books.

At the end of the year, i felt like a packaged curriculum wasn't necessary for us, as there really is no one size fits all and it can get expensive. I figured since i was substituting so much of it, that i would be able to do a better, cheaper job of it myself. So this year i started out with a more traditional waldorf approach...and can i just say how NOT working it is for us! Haha. It takes soooooo much time and energy, i am just pouring through sources constantly...after the holidays we have pretty much let it go completely. I am pregnant and have a toddler as well, and i really miss having the structure of OM. Sure, we don't have to do everything listed, sure, i substitute things here and there, but the key for us is that we did it. My ds was so proud of the lesson books he made last year, showing them off to everyone. I felt more creative without the pressure of having to do it all myself. If we were having a hectic week, i would just do whatever was listed even if it wasn't wowing me and often i would be surprised by how ds would get into it and grab an idea from it to run with on his own.

I hear a lot of people complain that OM was too easy for their kid. For us, i loved having an "easier" foundation to build upon. We always took it way further, but for us, we did better having somewhere to "start". Maybe i am the exception, but at this phase of life, it was good enough for us.

We will likely get it again next year for third, as there will be a newborn in the mix!

I wrote a book! Hope this is helpful, sorry i don't know about K.
post #11 of 31

 

I love OM great spine for homeschooling structured enough for mom but nice and loose for the student. not true waldorf but a great waldor flair and easy to tweak a bit for more waldorf or for a younger student.

I have pre-k K and 6th my only issue is in the K stories book it's mostly Beatrix potter stories which I don't care for. Beatrix potter stories are complicated long and difficult to understand and there is ALOT of non AP parenting in them such as hitting them with switches or boxing their ears and sending them to bed with no food.

But that is just the one book everything else is great and I just find another story to work with ,the K curriculum isn't dependent on the story book so it's not an issue to work around it.
post #12 of 31

Hi Adina:

 

If you do plan to use them, know that Oak Meadow always goes on sale n the Spring.  I think usually around the end of March/early April and it goes through June, I believe.  

 

:)

post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 

That's great to know! :) Thanks!

post #14 of 31

With dd1 we used OM for kinder, have been using Moving Beyond the Page for first, and are strongly considering going back to OM for second.  My pros and cons are a bit jumbled up, so bear with me!

 

DD1 attends a 2 day/week homeschool enrichment program that is strongly Waldorf influenced but not "100% Waldorf".  Since OM is also not entirely Waldorf, they mesh pretty nicely.  We've had some dissonance this year using MBTP and I know that using OM at home would resolve that.  There are a few articles on the OM home page that discuss how OM varies from traditional Waldorf that make for interesting reading (in a nutshell, OM removed references to the various saints and christian holidays found in Waldorf, OM is more in line with state/national standards so includes reading/math from the start, OM doesn't use the original Grimm's fairy tales, and OM avoids some of the more "philosophical" elements of Waldorf education).

 

DD1 is very focused on arts/crafts and the OM curriculum works arts/crafts into just about everything.  However, dd1 found the Kinder crafts to be pretty simple (make a pinwheel, make a crayon leaf, paint with colored water on snow), and we ended up purchasing the First Grade Nature Craft book to.  I guess that the art focus of OM is a pro, but the match between child and "grade level" might be off for some kiddos.  You can purchase the individual bits (either from OM or a second hand vendor) so it's not a big deal, but it was a bit frustrating.

 

We are a very academically oriented family.  Dh and I, and most of our relatives and friends, have multiple advanced degrees and feel that a strong "traditional" academic foundation is crucial.  OM is a bit more "relaxed" than other programs we explored, but it does meet national standards and their middle/high school program is kick-butt.  With a babe due more or less the first week of Sept and two kiddos to homeschool/get to enrichment classes I am not about to complain that the OM program is a bit "gentle" in terms of the amount covered in a day/week/month/season but it's right on the edge of what I consider "enough" for the early grades.  I think being on board with the basic Waldorf philosophy of grow/slow is important... OM does move more quickly than traditional Waldorf, but I'd guess most kinder kiddos already know their alphabet and numbers, the names of primary colors and shapes, and things like that.  I found the Kinder program to be a nice "review" and it encouraged dd1 (and I) to explore some concepts in more depth, but she didn't "learn" anything new.  Eventually dd1 got bored and, after reviewing a friend's 1st grade OM curric and finding that dd1 already "knew" that material too we went with MBTP for 1st grade to avoid further "boredom".   

 

From the parent side, the OM teacher/parent guides are NOT as detailed as those provided by Calvert or Sonlight (for example).  Instead of breaking things down by day and showing you what will happen that day/week, the guides set the entire week out at once and leave it to you to decide what will happen when.  Again, I appreciate the flexibility but kind of wish there was a little more structure.  Also, you need to plan ahead for nearly everything.  Check out the sample on the homepage and you'll see what I mean... for instance, the "this week, make bread with your child and shape the dough into letters" bit.  Yes, there is a recipe in the craft book but there is a lot of prep/time "hidden" in that one sentence!  For the kinder year it wasn't a big deal... I'd just skip what I didn't have supplies for... but it was frustrating.  It's actually one of my main cons and the reason I'm not 100% sold on using OM this coming year.

 

Price is another factor.  While not as expensive as some, it's a fairly big chunk of change for the Kinder year.  The craft packages are handy but you'll probably do better locally in terms of supplies.  There are lots of second hand options (and the big spring sale!) since the curriculum doesn't have any consumables so to speak... everything is done in lesson plan notebooks or kept in files.

 

We're a pagan family and found the religious neutrality of OM to be a big plus.  Traditional Waldorf is "too christian" for us but we didn't have a problem with OM.

 

We don't really like OM's math... the stories are cute, but the Kinder pace was very slow (for a child who already knows the number 2 a whole week of "is this 2?" gets to be a bit much).  We prefer RightStart math from the MBTP program and RightStart actually suggests starting in kinder... I know dd2 loves it..  Anyway, a child who is less interested in "narrative" and more interested in "numbers" might get frustrated by OM's (or Waldorf's) style of math.  However, I do like that OM introduces math from the start, and like the way it ties numbers into the lived environment, and a child who doesn't like numbers might really enjoy the OM approach.

 

Sexism/Classism/other -isms: it's more a function of Waldorf than OM, but it can be annoying.  From the anthropological side, Waldorf as an educational philosophy is very much a product of it's time and due to the nature of the system, change is very slow (since the whole point is to retain the slower/heart-hand focused/collective spirit of an older time).  OM has modernized in some ways, but in others the hetero-normative and gender-normative elements are built in.  Every king has a queen, brave princes rescue beautiful princesses, girls care for babies and boys play at knights, and so on.  OM has branched out to include more non-European source material and the older grades are more "modern" in their approach to certain issues, but...it's still an issue.  I'm not sure if there is a "perfect" curriculum out there in terms of awareness (though Global Village may come close), but I think it's easy enough to correct for in the OM program since it tends to be more of the "obvious"/"oblivious" -isms rather than an intentional filter being applied to all aspects of the learning process.

 

Anyway, we liked OM well enough but think we'll like it more for 2nd grade than we did for kinder or would have for 1st.  :)

 

 

 

 

 

post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thanks! :) That is a great review, super helpful. :)

 

I'll be honest, I'm worried about the "bored" bit.  Finding that balance of challenge and accomplishment is going to be difficult for me.  DD gets frustrated and drops things she can't do well quickly (like her mom bag.gif) and I now if I push to hard, she will get mad and not want to do anything, but if she's bored and it is too easy, it will be the same thing.

 

post #16 of 31

I held some of the same concerns about not moving quickly enough that others have already voiced.  But I agree with calynde with the idea that it provides a baseline with which to start and from their additional ideas flow pretty smoothly.  The math is not as 'mathy' as my mind wants to see, but it is perfect for my child.  We ended up supplementing math with a '1st grade math' workbook from a store, lots of concepts, etc. We also talked with our supervising teacher and she checked a book out to us from the 1950's.  It ended up being a very conceptually based math teaching text that used almost no numbers for K-2.  And my 7 year old loves it.  

 

The reading list is pretty basic and since my child taught himself to read before K I knew I would be frequenting the library for the additional reading materials.  Which we would have done anyway.  The craft ideas and art are great.  DS has really blossomed in his drawing and creative mind as a direct result of more creative outlets in 'school work'.  

 

We will continue with OM.  I like the base it provides for our family.  Plus I really like the secular nature of the curriculum, you can add religion to it if you desire to do so.  


Edited by Max'sMama - 2/6/11 at 4:00pm
post #17 of 31

Hi,


Does anyone out there find the Oak Meadow Fairy Tales for First Grade harsh? We just read the one for "I" about Prince Ivan and the part about where the sisters ask Ivan to chop off their brother's head to set him free of the enchantment, made me and my daughter a bit horrified.

 

post #18 of 31

We have purchased some of the elements of OM and I was happy with what I found. I plan to use OM for the middle/high school years as it seems like a great option.

 

post #19 of 31

I have been happy with it. I just question some of the fairy tale content and was wondering if anyone else did as well?

 

Thanks

post #20 of 31

I am reading the fairy tales for grade 1 now and don't see much of anything that bothers me.  We talk about how 'silly' that idea is and how it's a fantasy world and such. I have read some Shel Silverstein and Grimm's Fairy tales before to the kids and these are very mild, imo, comparatively.  So we just talk about how it's not the way the world is, but this is not reality either (the fairy tales in the book)!

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