FAQs: International Students

Are your materials used in other countries? We live outside the U.S. Will we have to adapt your materials in order to use them?

We get this question often because families all around the world are using our materials. We’ve had recent inquiries on this topic from Australia, Ireland, Canada, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Singapore, Mali, Ecuador, and Brazil. We have students from over 40 countries currently enrolled in our accredited distance learning school, and many more who are using our curriculum independently.

International families wonder about adapting the curriculum based on their country’s history, culture, and climate. In the early grades it is very easy to adapt the curriculum as needed to suit your unique living environment and life situation, and our teachers are used to working with families to craft a meaningful education for our enrolled students. For instance, lessons in the early grades that mention the seasons can be modified to incorporate the local weather and climate. Science lessons focus on observation skills, which can be practiced at any time of year in any locale. Supplementing our materials with language lessons, a traditional art or craft, or any other cultural enrichment is encouraged.

In the upper grades of our K-8 curriculum, the two most U.S.-centric courses are social studies in 5th grade (U.S. History) and the civics in 8th grade, but it is not that hard to adapt them to your country when using our materials independently. For example, a lesson about U.S. colonial history can be modified to focus on your country’s early history (or when it first became settled by non-indigenous people). A lesson on the U.S. Constitution can be replaced with one in which students research and report on the founding governing documents of their country.

You’ll find you can usually use the lesson framework and make modifications as needed. It may take some time to locate resource materials specific to your country for your child to use but you might be able to get good ideas from your local school district, teachers, department of education, or other homeschoolers.

Enrolled students, however, must follow the curriculum or arrange adaptations individually with their teacher. Families can substitute assignments in the older grades, but not lesson material. For instance, all 8th graders will learn about the U.S. Articles of Confederation, but when asked to do research, they can learn more about their own country’s historical documents.

If your country uses the metric system, the math curriculum only needs adaptations when working with weights and measures, or when working word problems that use weights and measures. Families can easily change these problems from feet or inches to centimeters, from yards to meters, etc. This would require, again, some work on your part, in either recopying the problems or in just making changes in the text. Most of the math work is solely numeric (with no unit measurements) and will not need modifications.

New in 2016! Digital delivery of PreK to grade 8 curricula now available!
The digital curriculum is a replication of our high quality print product. This option was developed in response to feedback from families who travel or live remotely, or for whom high shipping costs and long delivery times discourage purchase of print materials. Read more.

Can students who are not fluent in English use Oak Meadow materials or enroll in your school?

Students need to be fairly fluent in English in order to use our curriculum successfully. Since our curriculum is very dependent upon reading and writing skills, it is sometimes not the best fit for children who are not very experienced in English language skills. Families wishing to use Oak Meadow are advised to allow time for their child to develop English writing and spelling skills before using the curriculum or enrolling.

How do international students or those living in different time zones communicate with their teachers?

Oak Meadow teachers are used to working with students around the globe. Since most of the communication between teachers and families is handled via email or online, students can send their comments, ask questions, and submit work at any time, and our teachers (almost all of whom live in the Eastern Standard time zone) will respond during their work day hours. Phone calls and Google Chat communication can also be arranged based on the schedule of the teacher and family.

How long does it take materials to ship outside the U.S.? Can we still mail lessons to our teacher even if we live in another country?

New in 2016! Digital delivery of PreK to grade 8 curricula now available!
The digital curriculum is a replication of our high quality print product. This option was developed in response to feedback from families who travel or live remotely, or for whom high shipping costs and long delivery times discourage purchase of print materials. Read more.

Shipping time for orders can vary greatly depending on the time of year and where the package is going. While we do our best to ship orders promptly, packages often get held up in Customs. These delays are unpredictable, of course, but you will receive an order confirmation email that includes a tracking number. You can check the progress of your package, and this will give you an idea of when to expect its arrival. Please note that customers are responsible for any additional charges due to customs taxes and duties.

If you enroll in Oak Meadow School, your enrollment and curriculum materials will be shipped as soon as your enrollment is finalized. We encourage families living outside the U.S. to complete the enrollment process well in advance of their start date to ensure the materials arrive in time. If there is a shipping delay that will necessitate a change in the enrollment start date, please contact the office before the start date and they will be happy to put the start date on hold until your materials arrive.

Enrolled students are welcomed to send work submissions through the mail, but most choose to submit work electronically since it is less expensive, quicker, and all the original work stays at home. Those who plan to use the postal mail to send lessons to their teacher are advised to keep a copy at home (packages do occasionally get lost or misdirected), and to let their teacher know when a package is on the way. If there will be a delay in shipping for any reason, notify your teacher as soon as possible.

If we enroll, is your program accredited in other countries?

Oak Meadow is accredited through the The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) and by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Oak Meadow is the first distance learning school ever to receive such recognition in NEASC’s prestigious 130-year history. We also are recognized by several other regional accrediting agencies:

  • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Association of Accredited Schools
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

While Oak Meadow cannot guarantee that an individual school or country will accept our credits, our transcripts carry the seal of our accrediting organizations and have been widely accepted by schools and universities around the world. It is common practice for major accrediting associations to share reciprocity across international lines. Of course, each country is different in how they view distance learning, so you’ll want to research this on your own. There are times when a family may need to provide additional documentation or progress reports. Oak Meadow is happy to assist you with this process in whatever way we can. Read more about accreditation.

We live outside the U.S. and are unfamiliar with the different grade levels. How do we figure out which grades would be appropriate for the ages of our children?

In general, children enter kindergarten at five years old, and first grade when they are six, so you can calculate grade placement in higher grades based on that. It is also a good idea to consider the content of each grade when determining where to start a child in the upper grades. See K-12 grade overviews and High School course overviews to help you decide which grade to choose when you are trying to balance content with what has already been studied.

While most children begin the formal schooling of 1st grade at age six, we encourage families to consider each child individually when making the decision about when to begin kindergarten or 1st grade. In the Waldorf community, it is common for children to enter 1st grade at age six and a half or seven, while in public school, many first graders are only five years old. The idea behind the practice of delaying first grade is to allow children more time to mature physically before asking them to bring their awareness to the focused work of academics, and many families using Oak Meadow follow this practice. Other families look for signs that their child is ready for reading and writing, and they begin 1st grade at that point.

Of course, it often happens that children seem to fall in between grade levels, making grade placement more challenging. When this happens, it helps to consider whether or not a child is eager for new challenges and enjoys striving to master difficult material; if so, the higher grade is appropriate. If the child prefers to have plenty of time to master and review material, the lower grade makes more sense. You can find more good information about grade placement on this page of our FAQs. Remember, every child is different and you know your children best!