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#1 of 33 Old 11-26-2001, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone tried Oak Meadow for homeschooling in the early grades? What things did you like? What didn't you like?
Thanks.
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#2 of 33 Old 12-04-2001, 04:08 AM
 
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I have been meaning to reply to your post for some time now. Unfortunately, I've only got a second...but we use Oak Meadow 5th grade. I have been very satisfied so far and would recommend it to others. I'll try to be more specific when I have a chance to post again.
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#3 of 33 Old 12-06-2001, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When you have time to reply, could you let me know if you tried any other homeschooling approaches or programs and how Oak Meadow compared with those?
Thanks - Erika
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#4 of 33 Old 12-06-2001, 08:32 PM
 
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I don't use Oak Medow, but two of my friends do. Between them, they used preschool, Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 7th and 8th grade (and talked about it on and on and on).

Both of them used the kindergarten with kids who were 4, almost 5. (the kids had October birthdays and would not have been allowed to start K that year if they had been going to school). Both found that the K was too easy and therefore somewhat dull for their kids. Both of the moms loved the curriculum, but said it was better for their 3 year olds than for their 4 3/4 year olds.

One friend started first, then got tired of fighting with her son and became an unschooler.

7th grade was a huge hit for both mom and child, and they are now doing 8th grade.

I don't mean to sound so negative. These are the only people I know who've used it.
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#5 of 33 Old 12-09-2001, 05:41 AM
 
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We've used the Oak meadow 4th & 5th grade. I've also played around with Live Ed as well. OM is very user friendly, very easy to plan out weekly and I have found, comprehensive in it's contents. We purchased the package only and do not use their teacher support. I haven't really felt the need for that backup what so ever. Live Ed is much more Waldorf inspired and pure than OM but far more difficult to use. A lot more planning and work on the parents part. But a beautiful ciriculum.
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#6 of 33 Old 12-12-2001, 09:09 PM
 
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Hi! I'm very interested in that Live ED ciriculum you mentioned-- is there a web site for it so I can learn more? I am currently unschooling my 5 yr. old son, and 4 yr old daughter, and using the Oak Meadow ciriculum for back up if we just don't know what to do-- they have lovely craft ideas! I got the feeling from my son that he was a bit bored using ONLY the O.M. stuff, that's why we decided to supliment it with our own ideas.
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#7 of 33 Old 12-17-2001, 02:18 AM
 
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I have an OM related question. I like the philosophy behind it but worry that it is too babyish for ds who is 7. He loves animals and nature, but leans toward the dramatic: dinosaurs-always the meat eaters, sharks, snakes, volcanoes, tornados, etc. I have only looked at the OM sample page but I think he would think this is work for babies. It is hard to tell without being able to read more. What do you all think?
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#8 of 33 Old 12-21-2001, 07:56 PM
 
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Oak Meadow is Waldorf-inspired, so it's intentionally more geared to the heart than to the intellect, especially for the early years in order to preserve the magical, believing time of childhood. This is rooted in Steiner philosophies that children are not to be hurried, that we are not growing "cubicle drones" but citizens of the world who are creative and whole people - not just minds competing in a material world. Many people are uncomfortable with Waldorf education because it doesn't seem "meaty" enough, and mostly, because children learn to read later. Parents fear their kids aren't competing.

I've been very happy with Waldorf education and with Oak Meadow. My son taught himself to read and write at age 4. He's very academically oriented, and Oak Meadow doesn't interfere with this. He's just learned all of the countries and rivers in the world as part of the geography lesson. So, why am I doing the letters with him when he can read? It's partially method as well as content, and I'm also a believer in not hurrying children. Oak Meadow is very nurturing, and using it has made our home more harmonious and our lives richer and more beautiful. Often, my son will read the fairy tales to our baby. He's learning Spanish and German too. I realize that I could follow a more-accelerated program with him - something core knowledge like maybe, which would probably make his grandparents and some friends more comfortable - but that's not the right fit for us.

If it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't. I trust other parents to know in their hearts what works best for their own families and children. I'm very happy that I stumbled into Waldorf education, and I do thank the Utne Reader and Mothering for that as I wouldn't have heard of it otherwise. I've also personally experienced that Waldorf Education is a very natural outgrowth of attachment parenting and natural family living. Most of the children we've met through the local Waldorf school's outreach program have experienced extended nursing, the family bed, and childlead play. It's nice for me as I feel some sense of community. I also find this approach to education and to life very whole and hopeful. Some people criticize it as being crunchy and earthy. That's fine - we all have our own ideas. Before I had children, I probably wouldn't have been into Oak Meadow or Waldorf or homeschooling at all. I was an academic and an engineer, but my children have changed me and my life. Yippee!!!
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#9 of 33 Old 12-22-2001, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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what are you using to teach German and Spanish? Those are the languages we want to work on as well.

I'm glad your "academic" child is enjoying Oak Meadow. I think mine will as well, particularly since she loves fairy tales and play-acting.
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#10 of 33 Old 12-22-2001, 11:57 PM
 
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I am reading this thread with interest too. I only have a 1 year old so I have quite a bit of time before I get into homeshooling for real (although we are learning body parts right now! lol!). My dh is very academic, has a chem. eng. background. I had a liberal arts education and we both have college degrees. We want our children to get both liberal arts education at home as well as some "hard core" academic things. My dh is worried that OM is not academic enough, meaning he is wondering how it will prepare a child for college as well as higher sciences and maths if our children show an interest in it. I am attracted to OM's philosophy as being well rounded members of our society and being in touch with themselves and the earth. Just wondering how it is academically. We are not out to raise brain children but would like to prepare them well for college should they choose to go.

I am a bit concerned because I have known children who are now teens who did OM and they can't spell very well or compute simple equations. And while I know life is more than spelling and math, we would like our children to be able to write an essay. One of the teens had a father who, ironically, was a public school teacher, but the children were homeschooled. Says something about public schools doesn't it? lol!

And while we are on the subject are homeschooled children required to take state exams like Iowa Test of Basic Skills and AIMs?

Thanks!

Darshani

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#11 of 33 Old 12-23-2001, 02:05 AM
 
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I can't answer your Oak Meadow questions, but as far as testing goes, each state makes their own rules.
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#12 of 33 Old 01-02-2002, 10:11 PM
 
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I used OM for 4th grade after removing my daughter from a
Waldorf school. I found it -- okay. The 5th grade curriculum
follows more of a public school outline -- American History et al.
Then we discoverd LIVE -- that was great from a creative
standpoint, but takes more prior planning for Mom.
This year, 6th grade, we are only using OM for Math -- now that
they have created their own program and have chucked Saxon
Math. I purchased OM - 6th grade and will use it as outline
and suggestion materail, but I'm creating my own.
It is almost impossible to DO Waldorf at home -- for me.

I did discover another Homeschooling road which I find works well
with Steiner/Waldorf and that is Charlotte Mason. It is called
a "living book method" (of sorts). Mason and Steiner were
around at the same time and the two approaches, blended
together , have restored my sanity.
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#13 of 33 Old 05-08-2002, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cassidy (or anyone else), I bumped this up because I wanted to get your opinion on why Oak Meadow didn't work for you. I'm thinking of getting it next year, but $ is tight so I don't want to be wasting any! My dd (5-1/2) is really into stories and loves for me to read absolutely everything, but she is not much into 'doing work' like workbooks. She also loves projects and 'experiments', etc. Oak Meadow 1st grade appeals to me because it seems like we could do a lot of stories and activities through which she would learn a lot of concepts without having to spend a lot of time on formal work. What do you think?
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#14 of 33 Old 05-08-2002, 01:39 AM
 
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Have you thought about Five in a Row? It is very inexpensive -- we get all the books through the library. We read wonderful books out loud and then do activites based on things in the book. Very fun, very open ended.
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#15 of 33 Old 05-08-2002, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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we've used five in a row - that works off and on for us. she loves the stories but wasn't always very interested in doing any activities. we've already been through vol 1 and 2, and i didn't think we could spread 3 across all of last year.
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#16 of 33 Old 05-09-2002, 11:51 PM
 
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A fourth vol. for FIAR is due to be released sometime this fall, if that idea appeals to you. If your DD mostly likes to be read to without doing lots of projects, there are other options. Sonlight is mostly a read-aloud curriculum. You could check the books out of the library instead of buying them. http://amblesideonline.homestead.com/

has a reading list by grade level that is very impressive.

If you feel that Oak Meadow is the best option, though, you could keep on eye out for it at Veggie Source or Ebay and get it for less money than buying it new.
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#17 of 33 Old 05-10-2002, 11:03 PM
 
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erika,
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond, things have been odd around here... Anyway, we started out with Oak Meadow's first grade curriculum for my then-five-year old daughter. From the information and outlines available on-line it seemed that she was already familiar with the material presented in the Kindergarten curriculum. We got off to a pretty good start. She loved the fairy tales, we made a seasonal table, and we sang lots of songs and lit lots of candles. Then the problems started. First, we made a wind-vane. The thing didn't work. That sort of screwed up science for a while, as the curriculum expected that you would be able to use your wind-vane to chart weather-stuff. Needless to say, the non-functioning wind-vanes were a major disappointment. Then, the child who constantly begged me to read extra fairy tales discovered that her love for fairy tales was dwarfed in comparison to her hatred for word families (the language arts activities that follow the fairy tales). My own frustration began with the math. Again, everything starts out great-- there are three (I think) stories about the gnomes Plus, Minus, Times, and Divide and their great King Equal. DD loved these stories and drew beautiful pictures of the gnomes. Then the stories just stopped. It seems that I am supposed to stay up night thinking up new gnome stories to teach my child mathematical operations. Silly me, I thought that is what I PAID them for... They also suggest that you know how to play the recorder before you attempt to teach your child. When, exactly, they think a homeschooling parent is going to be able to learn to play the recorder without their child is something they don't explain.

I hope this hasn't sounded too negative. I really love the idea of Waldorf education, but parts of it just "aren't us," if that makes sense. Many of the rituals and verses are probably great in a classroom with lots of kids participating, but I found them to be sort of awkward with just the few of us. Some of the movement activities seemed a little weird to me as well. However, I really enjoyed the "Home Teacher's Process Guide," and "The Heart of Learning." You can buy these without purchasing the entire curriculum, and I would recommend them. Going forward, I anticipate using "Waldorf Education, A Family Guide" to construct my own "Waldorf-inspired. unschooling environment."

As an aside, we have also been using Power-Glide for Spanish, and we LOVE it.

Hope this helps; let me know if you have any other questions.
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#18 of 33 Old 05-11-2002, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks sooooo much for your response. It does help a lot! That was what I wanted -detail about the stories. I think I would have been frustrated as well at the paucity of gnome stories. I already can teach math the standard way - it's the stories I wanted. I already knew that I'd be skipping the 'verses' and circle time and movement stuff. Thanks for the reference to the other book. I guess if I get the new job I'm applying for and $ becomes less tight I might buy it for the extra ideas, but otherwise it sounds as though I can use my money better by just getting a lot of good books. By the way, do you have any suggestions for a book that has the waldorf-type nature observation ideas/lesson plans? The nature connection was another thing that drew me to OM. BTW, we use power-glide German, too, and we really enjoy it. DD listens to it (her choice) when she goes to sleep every night.
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#19 of 33 Old 05-11-2002, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks, linda, for the update on the new FIAR vol! and for the website. I do find Charlotte Mason method appealing, but it seems a bit more steeped in Christianity than even FIAR. I have no problem with Bible stories, etc, but creation science doesn't resonate with me, nor does world history told through the perspective that those civilizations that followed "God's will"(Christianity) succeeded and all the others didn't. The impression I got from the Ambleside website was that it was in line with folks who do have those beliefs. But maybe I'm over-interpreting.
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#20 of 33 Old 05-11-2002, 12:53 PM
 
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I have not found ready-made lesson plans or curricula that really show you how to incorporate nature (Waldof-y or otherwise). I have found some ideas of things to do in books like "Seven Times the Sun" and "Festivals, Family and Food," but that is not the main purpose of these books, which makes finding what you are looking for rather hit-or-miss. If you just want ideas for things to do, and are willing to come up with your own context for the projects, there are general books like "Outdoor Activities for Kids," "Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots," and even "(however-many) Things to do When You Turn Off the T.V."

My big challegnge, and the reason I started the Unschooling plan thread, is to figure out how to connect all the really great ideas so that I can be selective (you can't do everything all at once) and have some sort of overriding sense to it all. I think it is good for kids (and adults) to do lot of things and then get that "ah-ha" of seeing how it all ties together. I want the kids to have choice in what they do (or don't do), but I also want there to be some sort of "sense" to it all. I could also use suggestions for how to keep younger children occupied during big or intricate projects. If I can't do my own knitting with my 13 month old around, how can I possibly help my 6 year old to knit?

I'm open to suggestions on either front...
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#21 of 33 Old 05-12-2002, 11:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by erika
, but it seems a bit more steeped in Christianity than even FIAR. I have no problem with Bible stories, etc, but creation science doesn't resonate with me, nor does world history told through the perspective that those civilizations that followed "God's will"(Christianity) succeeded and all the others didn't. The impression I got from the Ambleside website was that it was in line with folks who do have those beliefs. But maybe I'm over-interpreting.
I'm pagan, but I have an easy time taking what works for me and leaving the rest. Most of the books listed on Ambleside are classic books than have nothing to do with religion. I want to base my kids' education on great, living books.

CM style homeschooling is about methods, not content. Nature study, using living books, narration, copy work, creating a book of the centuries, composer study, and picture study are some of the hallmarks of the style, not an adherrance to a particular world view.
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#22 of 33 Old 05-13-2002, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Linda,
I'm with you on the great, living books part, and i did see a lot of classics on the site. I think what threw me were the books I knew nothing about (Hillyer's Child's History of the World, for instance - which was lauded on the site for supporting a belief in God but criticized for referring to Bible stories as myths) -I am interested in a book covering that material, but when it's on an overtly Christian website it is hard for me to evaluate whether it contains what I am looking for (and that one in particular is not available at our public library). Of course, I'd also like a comprehensive history book for children that doesn't focus on war - and where am I going to find that???
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#23 of 33 Old 05-13-2002, 12:07 PM
 
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Erika,
Have you tried Usborne's book of World History? It's what we use for history and we really like it. It focuses more on the cultures than their conquests (so far at least, we are still in the begining).

I agree with what Linda said about Charlotte Mason, it's all about the methods and attitude, rather than her content (I mean, I wouldn't use materials for science and history that are that old anyway).

Cassidy,
I keep a bin of toys for dd to play with during school time- it's her "work", I also allow her to climb in my lap and be part of school when she wants.

USAmma,
As far as the academics of Oask Meadow goes, you can always supplement with a different math or writing program if you feel that area of the program is weak. Just because it comes as a package deal doesn't mean you have to use all of it and nothing else.
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#24 of 33 Old 05-13-2002, 03:50 PM
 
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This is T

I just want to say to Linda that she have a PM


End of this T


Valérie   
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#25 of 33 Old 05-23-2002, 05:02 PM
 
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I was originally going to try OM but decided against it after hearing from friends who used it with their kids. They said that the science is wonderful but the spelling/reading lessons were not great and they had to supplement.

My friend with a 4 year old bought the OM package which had 2 books and a set of art supplies. After her son got bored she bought the Calvert pre-K and it came with a huge box of books, worksheets, and art supplies, all for the same cost. Calvert is working a lot better for them, but then it might depend on the child.

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#26 of 33 Old 06-08-2002, 04:48 AM
 
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We love the Oak Meadow science for grades 5 and 6. They can be purchased separately.
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#27 of 33 Old 06-08-2002, 09:56 AM
 
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Question ---

What is your purpose in using Oak Meadow?

Do you want to educate your child using Waldorf methods?
If so there are more "Waldorf" ways to go.
LIVE curriculum is one that is planned out for you.
Also if you contact Anthroposomorphic (I neve can spell that) Press they have all kinds of books from which you can learn to plan and teach all subjects in a Waldorf way -- alot of work, but interesting. I just purchased a book on teaching Chemistry in grades 7-9 written by a Waldorf teacher.

Oak Meadow is good -- but it is not real and true Waldorf.
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#28 of 33 Old 06-22-2002, 09:47 AM
 
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OK, I wish I would've seen this thread before last night. I just ordered the 5th grade curriculum for my son. I just started homeschooling last year and while I'm very "unschoolingish" I kind of worried that we didn't do much at all. I bought a lot of books and kind of pieced them together but didn't really have a plan. I thought if I could do one year of someone planning for me, then I could see how it worked and go from there. Now I'm worried that I made a mistake. I didn't order the kindergarten or First Grade curriculum. I considered it but I really think we have enough stimulating activities here that can teach math and reading. Well, we'll see what this package has to offer and then learn from our mistakes if it doesn't work, I guess.

Thanks for the great info everyone! This is really the best resource!

Amy - Blessed wife to Jesse (the best dad in the world), mother of 10 on earth plus 8 in heaven.   PROUD to be a Catholic! : winner.jpg familybed2.gifhomeschool.gif

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#29 of 33 Old 06-24-2002, 05:24 PM
 
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We are using the OM Second Grade curriculum with my Kindergartner/First Grader. She loves it and we have been pretty happy. We do supplement with Miquon Math, which she really enjoys. We went very gradually into using it and are still not following it to the letter, though we will be a bit more structured about it in the fall (at least I'm planning to be anyway). I like the way it focuses on the children's hearts and souls (in a non-religious way). I don't think it is for everyone, my son would probably hate it when he gets to this age, but my dd is very interested in nature and animals and doing crafts and handi-work. We also do additional reading than what is recommended in the syllabus. I used "Teach Your Child to Read With Children's Books" as a basis for how I plan those "lessons." I have no complaints. I like that you don't have to buy the entire curriculum package and can pick and choose what you want. There were books I could easily get at the library or second-hand that I didn't want to pay for. Since we are easing into a more ecclectic style from an unschooling approach OM was a great choice for us.
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#30 of 33 Old 06-24-2002, 05:40 PM
 
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Thanks! That's good to know! I'm anxiously awaiting my package. I guess if he doesn't love it then I won't do it next year. I really think my dd would like it, though.

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