FAQs: General Information

Does Oak Meadow offer financial aid?

Oak Meadow is committed to doing everything possible to offer families an affordable independent education. While we do our best to keep our prices reasonable, we understand that the cost of tuition or curriculum materials may be a financial burden for some families. For families who enroll in Oak Meadow School, tuition assistance is available in the form of a payment plan that allows payments to be spread over time. We also offer a sibling discount for families enrolling more than one child, and a military discount for active service members and veterans (this military discount extends to curriculum purchases as well). Details about these programs are found on the tuition page. We also offer a couple of discount periods each year; typically, these are offered in February and May.

Families who plan to purchase curriculum to use independently may choose to spread out their purchases over time to make budgeting for curriculum easier. Books can be purchased one at a time through our online bookstore, and since books can be used year after year for siblings, the costs often average out to be very affordable. Used and “seconds” Oak Meadow books can often be found on eBay. There are also online groups on Facebook, Yahoo, and other platforms where you can buy and sell used Oak Meadow curriculum.

Does Oak Meadow offer a military discount?

Oak Meadow is pleased to offer a 10 percent discount to all active military service members and veterans. The military discount is valid for all curriculum and bookstore purchases and enrollment tuition. Proof of military status required. In order to receive the discount, active service members must provide a current pay stub (with all financial information blacked out) and contact information for a commanding officer; veterans may submit form DD214. Please scan and email the documentation to info@oakmeadow.com. Once received, Oak Meadow will send out a coupon code that will be in effect for TWO WEEKS ONLY. Please time your request accordingly. This military discount cannot be used in combination with sales or other discounts.

Why doesn’t Oak Meadow require standardized tests?

While test taking skills are important to learn, we believe that allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge of curriculum material in a wide variety of ways leads to more meaningful and memorable learning. Since different regions of the country use different standardized tests, it would be impossible for Oak Meadow curriculum to cover all the material for tests nationwide in any given grade.

“Teaching to the test”–or using curriculum for test preparation with the primary goal being to get a high score on a standardized test–is not a concept that Oak Meadow supports pedagogically. As professional educators, we question the value of curriculum that is aimed at preparing for a test rather than preparing for life. As a private school funded solely by tuition, Oak Meadow School is free from public funding constraints, which often require standardized testing, and can focus our energies on providing students a meaningful, appropriate education that is based on best practices, not on best test scores.

We respect and honor those parents who would like their children to take standardized tests, and suggest they contact their local school district to see if they can arrange test taking. Most Oak Meadow high school students take college entrance exams, of course, and these are arranged individually through the College Board. It is interesting to note that homeschoolers, many of whom have never taken a standardized test before, tend to score above their public school counterparts on college entrance exams, despite the latter group being regularly exposed to tests and test prep.

Why does Oak Meadow still use books when most distance learning schools are completely online?

Oak Meadow is primarily a print-based curriculum for many reasons (read more). Print-based learning offers students the opportunity to develop solid study skills, such as active reading and careful note taking. With a book, students can easily underline important passages, highlight details, write notes in the margins, and flag the pages to make review and essay writing more efficient and effective. Working with printed materials also allows students much needed screen-free time, and eliminates the distractions that so often come with online learning. Also books are highly portable and a student can study anywhere, regardless of access to the internet or technology.

However, we also recognize the benefits that technology can offer, and incorporate them with a very well-designed, thoughtful approach. Students in grades 7-12 are assigned an Oak Meadow email address which allows them to work within the Oak Meadow domain using Google Apps for Education. Students are able to share work online with their Oak Meadow teacher and receive comments and responses within the document. Students can participate in online class discussions and collaborate with one another on assignments and projects. Students are still learning from books but are also using technology to make connections with students and teachers, and further enhance their learning experience.

What is the difference between purchasing Oak Meadow curriculum to use on our own and enrolling in your distance learning school?

Curriculum-only purchase: You will be responsible for registering with your school district or state Department of Education (DOE) as a homeschooler and satisfying state requirements for reporting your progress. Every state is different, so we recommend you research guidelines in your state. We also recommend consulting the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which is an excellent resource for parents who are trying to navigate their state’s regulations regarding homeschooling. You can see complete descriptions of our materials by visiting our online Bookstore. For those who are using our curriculum on their own but occasionally need some guidance, our Homeschooling Consultation Service lets you consult with an experienced teacher when you need help.

Enrollment option: Students who enroll in our accredited distance learning school are still learning at home, but they earn official school credit while enjoying the on-going support and guidance of an experienced teacher. Students often work with the same teacher over the course of many years, and students are motivated and inspired by this mentor relationship as they develop their skills. As the parent, you will also enjoy this support! Having someone to discuss your child’s progress with and evaluate your child’s work is very helpful to many parents. You will have access to your teacher, via email and phone consultations, whenever you have questions, concerns or just need some new ideas or inspiration. In addition, enrolling your children in Oak Meadow School may eliminate the need for you to file an “intent to home school” with your state. Upon enrollment, we provide a dated Verification of Enrollment document for you to keep with your child’s academic records. Your local Department of Education or school district should be consulted regarding local laws and distance learning regulations, and they may require a copy of your Verification of Enrollment document. You can view information about our tuition fees and payment options, as well as our enrollment withdrawal/refund and bookstore return policies on our website. Enrolling in Oak Meadow is easy and our educational counselors will be happy to answer any questions you have about the process.

What is Oak Meadow’s educational philosophy?

Our educational philosophy is built on strong academic standards with an understanding of the needs of the developing individual. We not only focus on developing a strong intellect, but also on engaging students artistically and experientially. They are asked to reason and write, but also to paint, sing, build, act, and draw. Our lessons are designed to harness the imagination and challenge the mind. Oak Meadow understands that students learn in many different ways, some by doing, others by listening, still others by seeing or reading. Because our curriculum is designed to effectively address a variety of leaning styles, children are able to engage fully with the materials, learn successfully, and enjoy the learning process. Our goal is not simply to provide factual information, but also to inspire your child to learn and thrive.

Oak Meadow’s approach to learning reflects and honors the developmental stages of childhood. Young children learn by doing, so our lessons in the early years place a great emphasis on experiential learning with activities that will involve the student through action and imagination. We actively engage the older grade school student by encouraging learning through the use of stories that unite fact with rich description and colorful detail, and that present inspiring role models through the study of noteworthy individuals. The middle school and high school years offer experiential learning while introducing even greater intellectual challenges as students learn to discern and integrate information, and eventually decide for themselves what resonates as truth. This careful approach helps our students develop into intelligent and capable life-long learners.

Our curriculum is developed around accredited academic guidelines and is written to cover the full range of subjects for each grade level. We have thoroughly studied state standards nationwide and have effectively developed a curriculum that is in line with rigorous standards, while still maintaining our commitment to a creative, innovative and child-centered education. Our experienced faculty are involved with revising and updating our curriculum based on best practices in teaching, and we regularly add new high school courses to give students more varied educational choices. Grade overviews for K-8 can be found in our K-8 catalog, and curriculum samples for kindergarten through high school are available on our website.

Is your curriculum secular or faith-based?

Oak Meadow is one of the few providers of secular (non-religious) homeschooling curriculum on the market. Many families come to us because they are looking for an alternative to the many faith-based programs that are available. Our curriculum is creative, hands-on, and rigorous, with many nature-based projects in the early grades, and a wide variety of engaging assignments and projects in every grade from K-12.

Our science materials focus on a scientific and observational approach to phenomena, and encourage critical thinking and analysis. Our high school environmental science course covers natural selection, and the high school biology course covers natural selection and evolution. Some families skip the evolution studies, but most choose to present this information to help their students understand mainstream scientific theory, whether or not they agree with it.

Families may choose to supplement our materials with faith-based lessons in order to incorporate spiritual education into their homeschooling day. Oak Meadow supports the freedom of parents to choose the best way to support their child’s religious and spiritual education.

I’ve heard that Oak Meadow is Waldorf-based. Is that true?

Many of our families cite our Waldorf influence as a special strength of Oak Meadow. Oak Meadow co-founder and President Lawrence Williams was a Waldorf class teacher, and there is still a strong Waldorf influence in our curriculum, especially in the early grades. Students use Main Lessons books, learn to knit and play the recorder, and learn their letters and numbers through stories. However, our curriculum has evolved over the years in response to the need to provide a standards-based curriculum that will satisfy homeschooling regulations across the country. Today Oak Meadow provides a very creative, experiential curriculum that is playful in the early grades, rigorous in the upper grades, and engaging for all students.

Families looking for a curriculum that adheres more closely to Waldorf principles, content, and sequence may want to consider using Christopherus or Live Education.

How does Oak Meadow use technology? Do students have to be on the computer all day?

While Oak Meadow is primarily a print-based curriculum, enrolled students and families utilize technology for communication, collaboration, creativity and community. We value the developmental growth that springs from the printed page, yet acknowledge the power of technology as a tool for connection.

Students in grades 7-12 work within the Oak Meadow domain, using Google Apps for Education. Beyond the exchange of assignments, questions, and feedback, the platform is also used for class discussions, interactive projects, presentations, and more. Oak Meadow maintains some social media groupings for students to connect with one another, and there are non-Oak Meadow sponsored groups, as well. Students who live in areas where online access is limited may need to problem-solve to participate in synchronous opportunities.
In the lower grades, faculty may convene sessions with parents, students, or groups interested in a particular topic. Most families submit work electronically, but other arrangements can be made, if necessary.

 

How does Oak Meadow support families who choose to homeschool?

Complete curriculum for grades K-12: By purchasing our curriculum to use on your own, you can feel confident that you are providing your children with a well-rounded and academically complete education. Our curriculum is organized into 36 weekly lessons across all subject areas and follows accredited academic standards while encouraging a variety of learning styles and authentic engagement. Our curriculum can be used by itself or in combination with other materials as best suits your family.

Accredited distance learning school: For families who want the support of a teacher and official school records, we offer a fully accredited distance learning school. Students complete their work at home, under the supervision of a parent (or “Home Teacher”), and send it into their Oak Meadow teacher regularly for assessment and grading. Our dedicated, responsive teachers are experienced in providing encouragement and support for both students and parents. By enrolling in Oak Meadow School, you have the freedom and flexibility which comes from learning at home combined with teacher support and full academic credit.

Homeschooling Support Service: For K-8 homeschooling families who are not enrolled in our distance learning school but would like to benefit from the guidance of an experienced teacher, we offer our Homeschooling Support Service. For an hourly fee, you can enjoy personalized phone consultations with an Oak Meadow teacher. These conversations, which can be divided into fifteen minute or half hour segments and used over the course of one year, can provide just the inspiration and support you need to have a successful homeschooling experience.

Online homeschooling community: Our online community, accessed through our Facebook page, shares homeschooling tips and ideas, and celebrates the joys and challenges of homeschooling together. Through this fun, supportive, informative forum Oak Meadow offers excellent links to online resources for homeschoolers around the world.

Oak Meadow blog: Our blog, In the Meadow, explores topics that can enhance and enrich your homeschooling. It’s also a place where our students and families can connect, collaborate, and engage in dialogue about homeschooling with Oak Meadow. Subscribe to In the Meadow and get new posts automatically delivered to your inbox.

Pinterest boards: The Oak Meadow Pinterest boards, which cover an extensive array of topics on education and parenting, are also an inspiring resource. Since we are continually pinning and adding new boards, we invite you to visit frequently. Discover additional ideas and supportive resources that celebrate lifelong learning.

Oak Meadow’s free educational journal: Our journal, Living Education, is published three times a year and has been a source of information and inspiration for homeschoolers for decades. Both experienced homeschoolers and those new to the journey will find articles, crafts, samples of student work, student and family profiles, and news designed to enlighten and entertain.

K-8 grade overviews: Our K-8 catalog includes detailed curriculum descriptions, plus grade overviews that list of the content covered in each subject in each grade. These grade overviews are helpful in determining correct grade placement, particularly if you have a student working at different grade levels in different subjects. The overviews can also be used when submitting a Letter of Intent to Homeschool to your state Department of Education.

High school planning tips and course suggestions: Our high school catalog includes course suggestions by grade, based on the graduation requirements for students enrolled in Oak Meadow High School. It also offers full descriptions of each course, information on the benefits of print-based learning, and tips on how to use the homeschooling or distance learning experience to your advantage in the college admissions process.

College planning guide: For high school students planning to attend college, we have developed a College Admissions Guide that gives information on what to expect. Choosing courses and extracurricular activities that will prepare you for college and career begins long before the college application process does. The Guide also includes information on creating a portfolio, the Common App, college admissions exams, and more.

Does the Oak Meadow curriculum contain everything we need for a full school year?

Yes, our Bookstore offers complete curriculum packages for grades K-8 that include everything you need for a full year, and you can also purchase a Craft Kit with the materials needed to complete the craft projects in the K-7 curriculum. (Craft items can also be purchased separately.) Each K-8 Curriculum Package includes a syllabus with 36 weekly lessons for all subject areas, all of the books included in the reading and literature curriculum. (Math answer keys for grades 5-8 are included with the math syllabus.)

Our high school courses can also be purchased as a complete package, which includes the textbook, syllabus, and supplemental material. Teacher Manuals are available for most of our high school courses, only for families using the curriculum independently (non-enrolled). Enrolled families and students should contact their Oak Meadow teachers directly for questions.

We invite you to view our curriculum samples and check our K-8 catalog, high school catalog, or website for more information about our curriculum. In addition to selling complete curriculum packages, we also offer our materials for sale individually for those families who do not need all the materials or who want to mix and match grade levels in order to customize their child’s education.

Our curriculum is developed around accredited academic guidelines and is written to cover the full range of subjects for each grade level. With Oak Meadow, you can feel confident that you are providing a comprehensive, well-rounded education as well as a meaningful and enjoyable learning experience.

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