The following post was lost on a longer thread, I would love to see thoughts in response to tankgirl73's questions as I have a daughter the same age and am planning on doing a trial run of homeschool this year.
Thanks for this thread and the reviews therein. :) I'm sure I've looked at Oak Meadow before but for some reason, this isn't what I remembered or thought it was lol...
I'm very Waldorfy-inspired too, but my 4yo daughter is precocious, so it's difficult to balance the delayed academics with her capacity for early learning in some areas. For instance, we're already doing RightStart math... she's doing simple addition with the abacus, finds symmetry lines in shapes, we're up to about lesson 38 I think in level A and she loves it. She can also read simple words -- so something that includes beginning-level phonics, or that teaches the numerals, is not a good fit for us. But the stories, the crafts, the songs (she's learning the piano, can read off-the-staff notation), the nature study etc -- I'd love something spelled out for us along those lines.
We're currently using a lot of the Teachers Book Bag unit studies, which have book recommendations, crafts, projects, etc. But I'd love something that's actually Waldorf, since we have the paints and the beeswax crayons and the lesson books and the playsilks... I've got some Christopherus materials, and they're useful, but not really what I'm looking for.
So now I'm re-looking at the Oak Meadow, and like a lot of what I'm seeing. I actually think the grade 1 level might be the best match for us. A few questions, though:
Holy smokes that's expensive stuff. I'm guessing the Syllabus must have a gazillion pages to cost $190 all by itself?? We wouldn't need the craft kit, we already have all the stuff in fact (and then some). We can also get the storybooks from the library (and own a couple of them already too). How interdependent are the rest of the things? Could I use another recorder book (I have several -- I'm a music teacher by profession) or are the stories too integrated into those lessons?
We're learning cursive handwriting, not printing (though she prints several letters on her own -- was never taught it, she just figured them out). I don't mind doing an alphabet book with her, in fact I think she'd love it, even though she's known her letters for years. But since the shapes of the letters are drawn from the stories -- would it be compatible if we substituted in the cursive shapes?
How essential is the Word Families book? What about the teachers' manuals, which must be purchased separately? I think the "Process Manual" must be essential, it seems to include the actual instructions for crafts, form drawing, etc (though I have other Form Drawing materials) -- but is the Heart of Learning essential? If it's only about the philosophy of home learning and Waldorfiness, I'm already VERY well read on that and have strong ideas on how we do our scheduling, etc, already. :)
If these are truly great and $200-$300 is all I have to spend each year for my daughter (well, plus the RightStart materials but that's a given for us anyway heehee), then it's not a bad deal. But I need to be more sure before committing that much...
Also, I just noticed that there's an Online Curriculum option -- $200 which says it includes everything. Just on your computer screen rather than printed format. I'm a big fan of e-books, in fact it saves on shipping for me since I'm not in the US. Has anyone here used the Online option?
I'm curious about the upper level studies as well, for my 12yo son who is "in" grade 7. I glanced at their grade 8 curriculum looking ahead for next year... The math reviews fractions, decimals, etc and introduces early algebra. That's what he's doing this year. And the novels -- he's already read 2/3 of them lol... And I'd bet the "Civics" stuff is all American ("Champions of Freedom"???) Oh well... maybe for high school then. ;)
I can only answer the grade 8 questions, and that only partially. :)
We are using Oak Meadow English and Science for Grade 8 this year. We didn'tgo with the Civics, as it didn't appear to follow the curriculum we were looking for for US history, and we didn't use the math as we are doing algebra this year and used a different curriculum.
We're only four weeks in, but here is what I see so far:
The English curric seems very light. My dd is a big reader and writer, and they're asking her to read only a few short chapters per week in the novel, and do only a couple of paragraphs of writing. I know it will pick up as the year goes on - there's an essay due next week - but for a girl who's been used to writing every day and reading a lot, it's not as in-depth as we were expecting. We've been supplementing with writing prompts, Daily Spark poetry, and other reading materials (she does get annoyed at having to stop a few chapters in every week to the assigned books - if it keeps bugging her we will probably just work ahead and let her finish the English curric early). She too has already read some of the novels they're covering, but they are good books and she doesn't mind reading them again (it will probably just let us move through the text even more quickly).
The Science book, conversely, is a lot of work so far. Where the English text is a quick two or three pages per week with two short assignments, the Science text is 15 pages per week with five assignments and experiments. The first three weeks were reviewing things like units of measurement and scientific theory, which DD found a little boring, but we hope it will pick up in interest as we move into it.
Heehee... My ears are burning! :)
If it's any help to you, since posting that some time ago, I decided not to go with Oak Meadow but to keep piecemealing stuff together the way we have been. I still like a lot of things about the Oak Meadow program, and still think grade 1 would be the best fit for my daughter right now, and still go back to look at it now and then... But I don't think it's *perfect* for us, so we'll just keep doing what we're doing.
What we're doing is RightStart for math -- she's now almost finished level A, got very keen when her level B books came in the mail! We're also going to try out the new Life of Fred elementary math books with her, she's very excited to read about Fred "just like big brother" does.
We've signed her up for Reading Eggs online when it was on sale at the HBC. Also using Progressive Phonics (free online). She's really starting to read by herself, which is really cool to watch.
Continuing unit studies, the Teacher's Book Bags and some Homeschool Bits, she loves making lapbooks. Doing stuff with trees and plants a lot lately, that's what she's interested in.
We've got NOEO Science, Physics level I... it was actually mailed to us by accident, they mixed up someone's order (we use NOEO with my older son so they had my address in their files). When I told them about it they said to keep it as a gift! I'd been contemplating using it anyway, so now we will. :) She's keen but we'll probably wait until she's writing more independently before starting.
We've got the ABeka 4 cursive lesson books. Also doing some large-motor writing prep stuff, based on brain gym and Waldorf form drawing ideas.
And of course she's singing, learning piano, just started violin lessons, and continuing dance classes. And starting Sparks this year.
All that being said -- we still follow a waldorfy, unschooly kind of day most of the time. We do 'circle time' when we can, and NONE of this schooly stuff is on any kind of schedule. She loves laying out a plan of what stuff we'll work on each day, but if we don't get it all done, no big deal at all. Following her lead. She just plays independently most of the time.
This is all working for us right now, so I didn't see a need to spend the money for a program telling me to do things differently... Not this year anyway. :)
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