The first homeschool curriculum I ever used was the Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum. I really love their curriculum and will miss it. I used it from K-2nd grade with my kids after I had a friend recommend it to me. Oak Meadow uses a homeschool curriculum based on the Waldorf Method. Waldorf education is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner. This style of schooling puts importance on educating the child completely… mind, body and spirt.
In early elementary they use music, art and movement as the base of their education. Older children are taught to develop self-awareness and taught how to reason things out for themselves. A traditional text book is not used and tv and computers are frowned upon. The Oak Meadow Homeschool curriculum is a more laid back version of the Waldorf program. It has researched education standards so your child will still get what they need to graduate, but in a full body experience.
What I Loved About Oak Meadow
Oak Meadow does not feel the child should be rushed into school at an early age, instead, a starting age of 6-7 is usually the standard. This is the main reason I decide to use their homeschooling curriculum. My children had spent 2 years in Japanese preschool and kindergarden. We live in Okinawa, so I wanted my children to learn the Japanese language and culture. I figured the best way to do that was put them in an all Japanese school and let them learn out of necessity. Well that worked wonderfully and when I took them out of that school they were both conversational in Japanese and my oldest could read and write in basic Japanese.
The problem came when my eldest was going into first grade and was not able to read and write in english very well. The Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum was a perfect fit. The kids were able to learn at their own pace and learn in a fun way. There is tons of hands on learning and observations. As a matter of fact, my son learned his letters with his whole body. He danced them, drew them in sand, and made them with clay. He even baked them into bread. This is a great way to learn, as demonstrated by the amazing strides in learning that my two eldest kids experienced.
At night we would read the kids their Language Arts story, which was usually fairy tale type stories. In the morning they recalled what we read and drew pictures. My eldest child wrote sentences to go with the pictures. The Oak Meadow math curriculum is designed to teach math through life. Matching socks or dividing food up so everyone gets a equal share. It also used stories of Gnomes (Plus, Minus, Times, Divide and King Equal). The stories were simply word problems, but the kids loved them. My eldest liked the sories but needed more help in math so we supplemented with Math U See.
For science it was all about observation. Going outside and seeing nature happen and figuring out why. They learned the moon phases by watching the moon change every night. We enjoyed the Oak Meadow homeschool science curriculum, but did end up supplementing since it was hard to do some of it due to the tropical climate we live in. We used Science Odyssey, which I could teach to both my older kids at the same time.
The Social Studies area from Oak Meadow was one of my favorite parts of the entire curriculum. It was all done through story telling. Then we would delve deeper on the Internet. The stories are so interesting and the little activities were a lot of fun for the kids. History was thrown in throughout the entire Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum. The kids learned it through stories in Language Arts and Social Studies. I loved all the reading aloud and being able to do things as a family.
Final Thoughts on Oak Meadow Homeschool Curriculum
I would highly recommend the Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum to anyone. If I had to pick out my favorite portions of their program it would be Language and Social Studies. In fact, even though we have switch to a different curriculum this year I went ahead kept the reading list for Language Arts .I would have stayed with them for our entire homeschooling time, but I needed a curriculum that I could teach to multiple ages at once.
If you are not in this position, or you can handle teaching multiple ages different courses, then Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum is hands down the best home school curriculum I have come across. Feel free to download a couple of their homeschool sample lessons that are below. This will give you a better idea about how they are set up.