I am looking at Oak Meadow for a curriculum for first grade. We are kind of unschooling Kindergarten but I think DD1 and I would do better with a little more structure. I looked at some Oak Meadow sample lesson plans and I REALLY like it. However, I am curious what other's experience is with it. I am worried it might be TOO much structure but then again, DD loves to "do school". I also wonder exactly what grade level I should get. My DD is 5 but she has almost mastered all of her upper and lower case letters and many diagraphs and blends. She has worked a little bit with addition, can count to 100 by 1s and 10s. She knows about 60 or so sight words. We have talked a lot about the sun and moon, butterflies and seeds.We have not done a whole lot of culture studies but have talked a bit about Native Americans through books and stories.Anyway, it looks like a truly engaging and interesting curriculum that I think she would enjoy, but I want some other people's insight before I shell out 300 bucks on materials
I am hoping a more specific question can stir some responses. I do think after some more research that we are going to go with Oak Meadow for first grade. However, is it possible to start a new grade now rather than in the Fall? I feel she is ready to do the First Grade curriculum but not sure if this particular one is conducive to starting in the middle of a school year.
We love Oak Meadow! It has been our spine program since kindy, ad we are now using 4th grade. That said, we supplement . A lot.
-You can start anytime, and don't need to buy the package new! I never have. Join the yahoo group and check out oakmeadowseconds. Other Waldorf yahoo groups often have postings of materials for sale as well.
-I would NOT move ahead. I made that mistake, as my son had been independently reading for years when we started. The curriculum, like all Waldorfy stuff, is very developmentally appropriate , imo. Quick example, I put my 6 year old in grade 2 and, although he was able to easily read the books and do the LA, he didn't really get the stories ( Like Jolly Robin). I put it away for a year, and it was perfect. He was able to see the humor and understand the situations better and LOVED it!
-Do what you love of the program, and supplement the rest. I like Christopherus and have done many of the main lessons from that.- We also break up our OM into blocks, but that's a whole other conversation :) As my son got older we looked at other programs and I do add things in ( mainly LA).
- We didn't do third, but came back to it in 4th. Why? The LA was " missing" for us in a big way. I actually called the company to see if I had a faulty book! There was a book list, and I liked it, but there weren't any lessons to go along with it. It just said "continue reading this book with your child"....We like to integrate our learning through the arts and literature, so this didn't work for us. Fourth grade is better.
-I like that its accredited. It makes reporting to my town a snap, and I know we can continue through the years.
-There is enough there to give you some good jumping off points and you will have time, to explore things further.
-The math ( all Waldorf math, actually) rocks. Again, I supplement . But that's just me. There are complementary programs that match up well, and getting OM used at good prices allows me to be able to gather other programming that I feel is a good match for my child.
Hope that helps!
We are currently "doing" (more or less) Oak Meadow kindergarten, and I am thinking ahead to whether we will continue to use it in future years. I was very happy to find it as a kindergarten resource. I really like the weekly schedule (not really a schedule, just a bunch of activities suggested for the week)--I looked at several resources that had daily schedules, but that's way too much structure for us, especially at this age, when we want to keep school stuff pretty informal. I really don't think you'd find it to be too much structure. I do actually make a daily schedule each week to try to plan which activities I want us to do and roughly when, but we don't follow it very closely. I just do it to make sure that I notice whether any of the activities I really want us to do need any preparation ahead of time.
In terms of cost, after looking around at the materials and what others said about them, I didn't get the whole curriculum, just the syllabus. That's the part with the core information and activity suggestions. Also, if you don't find what you need secondhand, I believe they have a sale on all their materials each year (in April or May, I think). I buy the extra art/craft supplies we need locally and look up online how to do some of the craft suggestions I'm not familiar with, although if I do it again next year I'll seriously consider getting at least the craft instruction book (if that's still how it works in first grade). We don't care for Beatrix Potter, so we chose not to get the book of stories, either, since it looked like it had a lot of Potter. My husband is a writer, so he is writing a story for each letter. DD loves the stories, and often makes requests for what will happen or who will be involved next week. (Some of her suggestions have included a talking pretzel and a return to minor characters mentioned in earlier stories.) Although we do try to keep to a gentle approach, we do supplement with various materials, since DD does like to do schoolish activities. We work with Miquon math, Italic Handwriting, and the Developing the Early Learner workbooks each about once a week. We also look at Sonlight (Core A) and Ambleside Online for book suggestions, and many of them we have really liked. We picked up some Timberdoodle resources, too, and many of those have also been great.
As others have said, I wouldn't jump ahead with Oak Meadow, but there's definitely no reason not to start whenever you want to. The activities are divided into 36 weeks, and the science/nature stuff is quite seasonal, but you can just look in the appropriate season for activity suggestions and move them around as needed (the syllabus even explicitly suggests this). My daughter knows her letters and numbers, too, but I really like Oak Meadow's qualitative approach to these things--we spend time with each letter and number and get to know it personally, so to speak. I feel like this will be advantageous in the long run. Everybody seems to say later on that they wish they had taken things slower at the beginning (with the possible exception of handwriting), so I try to keep that in mind!
I hope my collection of random thoughts is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!
DD 7/07 DS 1/11
Thanks everyone, this is all very helpful and answered a lot of my questions. Thanks!
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