It all started with a conversation with a friend’s mother in law in the late spring. We weren’t talking about curriculums or home schooling even and honestly, I can’t remember what exactly we were talking about. I do know that that conversation sparked an urge to looking into home school curriculums.
The next few nights I did some online research. All the curriculums I was seeing looked terrible! I didn’t want to replicate school at home! While I was sitting thinking I must be crazy to consider a home school curriculum I had a phone call with a friend and she suggested I look into the Oak Meadows curriculum.
I was hesitant at first glance at the Oak Meadows site since every other curriculum I looked at was so wrong for us but was quickly drawn into the overview for each grade. It seemed fun and gentle. It’s nature based and open to different learning styles. Was it too good to be true?
I searched out reviews and the only negative reviews I could find were that this curriculum isn’t structured enough! That’s perfect for us, especially coming from using an unschooling approach up until now.
Why do we want a curriculum after never using one before? Unschooling has been good for us but I’ve noticed that Lily seemed to want more and we didn’t really know how to get “more” without some help.
Last year Cam and I spent a lot of time focused on finishing our house so we could move and we weren’t as active outside or with the kids as we usually are. I think every week I wrote to our Self Design Learning Consultant that we’d kind of been ignoring the kids and that I didn’t know what they were up to. I don’t want to discount the time they spent entertaining themselves (often in the forest) while we were working on the house but I know I was feeling a bit disconnected from them at that time.
Before moving forward with the Oak Meadows curriculum I wanted to talk to my Learning Consultant and my kids. My LC didn’t think I was as crazy as I worried I was and suggested I give it a go, so long as I was open to giving it up if it didn’t work and she reminded me that it wouldn’t be a failure if we decided to not continue. My kids heard about the various topics and projects in the curriculum overview and were excited about how it sounded.
We bought the curriculum and you know what? We love it! It’s the “more” we wanted and needed and we still work on it at our own pace and inclination.
i looked at OM at the wrong time for us (as in waaaaaaaaay too early for curriculum, but with material that was really far behind what eliza could do and was interested in), but have wondered if it would give us a skeleton to focus us a bit. would love to hear more – are you doing it with both of them, or mostly lily but leif comes in and out? happy to hear you sounding happy about how things are going!
I’m so happy you found something that fits so well. Yay! I look forward to hearing more about the journey and taking a glance at your curriculum package at some point, just for curiosity sake.
i totally hear you, annie. as a fellow unschooler, i have to say i don’t think unschooling should mean anti-curriculum. if that works for a family, then i think it’s awesome. but that’s just it- it should be about what works for your family’s learning style! i think the dogma of unschooling can be just as hemming-in as any other dogma if we let it. i have definitely been introducing curriculum into quinn’s life slowly but surely. last year we delved into some JUMP math, which if you are ever looking to supplement your math curriculum, is a super cool, affordable, and i would daresay, unschooling-friendly math curriculum based on scaffolding (making sure they have one concept down before building on it with the next one; JUMP is canadian, and we kind of giggle at the money units here). quinn is now 6 and is actually attending school- a whole other world of how i no longer probably fit the unschooling cookie cutter, but i still identify myself that way; maybe because we do school in an unconventional way where i go to school with him (and teach), and the school is democratic and built on non-violent communication…. and is in a home environment. JUMP math is also used there, as well as handwriting without tears, but much of the curriculum emerges as we go along, based on the kids’ interests- hmm a lot like unschooling. it’s good to hear of other curricula that pass with someone whose opinion i would trust (you!) because i have to agree, there are a lot of big turn-offs out there in the school-at-home world.
and since i haven’t said hi in a while, hi! hope you are all doing well. the photos are great! i love the way the kids are jumping into the sky. :)
Thank you for sharing this! I’m not so happy with the choice I made for my son’s first year of homeschooling. I knew right away it wasn’t for us when I went to the orientation and came home with a foot high stack of worksheets and workbooks. He’s in kindergarten! But every other program I’ve looked at has been the same or heavy on the electronics.
This curriculum looks gentle… I like gentle!
Thank you! So nice to hear from you all! xx
Debbie- I am using it for both kids although we started early with Lily’s year first just to see if it would work for us. Both years are really enjoyable to each of my kids and for different reasons. Leif’s year (one) has stories with all the activities, including “math” and he loves each story. It keeps him interested for sure. I’m not sure if it would be a good fit for you but you describe what I like about it- it’s a skeleton to focus. I like that it’s just structured enough to give us ideas but it’s still at my own children’s paces and interests.
For example, for social studies we had to study a spot of our choice here where we live. I imagine that this spot would look very different for the different kinds of kids that use this curriculum. For some in the city that could be a man made spot but for us where it’s very wild, it’s a spot on the river that we particularly love. The only thing there is a diving board attached to a rock next the river and a small cabin perched above a little ways down the river. The curriculum asks that you pick a spot and a local kind of tree and then imagine what that tree has seen over it’s life time. It’s more detailed than this but you get the idea, right? We talked about this spot as we rafted by and stopped for lunch, Lily drew sketches of the place and made notes of interest and then she made a diorama of it. Pretty cool!
L- Would love to show it too you!
MB- I think we are on the same page. I’m not anti schooling (well generally speaking anyway) or maybe it’s better to say I’m not anti structured learning but I am really interested in learning when it’s actually interesting to my child. I have heard of JUMP math! A teacher that my dad knows was telling me about it a while back. She uses it at her school. I’ve heard great things about it from a few places. It sounds like you guys have a good school compared to most!
Hello to you too! I’ve been so far away from some of my online world this past year. It’s so nice to take a minute to just say hi again. I have been trying to make time for blogging and have really struggled to keep up with all the blogs I like to follow since the google reader went west. :( I’m using feedly now and it’s just not as user friendly to me. xx
Kim- it is so gentle and so few books actually! It’s so so nice. Really, I’m just glad my kids enjoy it as much as they do!
Hi Annie! We are using OM this year too, for language arts and history 7th grade. I was so surprised to see a National Geographic World History textbook from them, but we are really enjoying it. I wish I would have started OM earlier.