I am so excited to partner with Oak Meadow today to share a review of their Grade 6 curriculum.
Do you know what can be challenging? Homeschooling. Do you know what can make it a bit more challenging? Homeschooling with a toddler.
Is it worth the challenge? Absolutely. Am I going to write this whole blog post in this style of question and answer? No, I am done now. Thanks for your patience.
Last year I decided I needed something more for my son who was in Grade six. I could tell he was getting bored and I simply didn’t have the additional time to come up with daily enrichment activities to keep his mind busy and growing. And in my house, when certain boys get bored, they start to pester one another, which then begins to pester me and everything goes down the tubes.
Since my goal is to keep everything up the tubes (?) I decided I would reach out to Oak Meadow. We had used Oak Meadow before and I love their curriculum.
You likely know I have my own curriculum on How Wee Learn, but that curriculum ends in Grade three. I thought I wanted to send you over to Oak Meadow after completing your time with me, but I wanted to give the upper elementary years curriculum a really good look through before doing that. So, I thought it the perfect opportunity to both review the Grade six curriculum and help my son find some enrichment.
Who doesn’t love a good win-win!
I actually also received the Grade four curriculum, which will be the jumping off block from my Grade three to ensure the flow would be seamless. I will be sharing that with you in just a few days – but a wee spoiler – you are going to love it.
The Oak Meadow Grade six curriculum includes:
- Grade Six English
- Grade Six Math
- Grade Six Basic Life Science
- Grade Six Ancient Civilizations
All of the above included coursebooks and teacher manuals, providing lots of guidance and support. The curriculum also came with a bunch of novels which my crazy-reader son adored!
Since we were already doing our daily core skills of math and reading/writing, I was intending on only using the Science and Ancient Civilizations, but we ended up using pieces of it all.
I found Oak Meadow math to be a good fit for my son who is quite strong in math. Here in Canada our school grades are slightly different than in the U.S. and I tend to find I need to go one grade down when choosing U.S. resources. However, Oak Meadow math was a good level for Sam.
I appreciated how the math book was cyclical, incorporating lots of different math concepts together and revisiting them again and again. This has been found to be a far more effective way of teaching math and helping children to retain that math knowledge.
The main reason we ended up switching to Oak Meadow math was because the instructions for each lesson are very clear. My son was able to read the instructions and understand the assignment 90% of the time completely on his own. When you have a toddler in the house, any additional independence is a huge bonus!
The Oak Meadow English coursebook also included great instructions and I found it to be very practical with the lessons. There were two reasons we ended up using a lot of this resource as well.
First of all, many of the writing lessons were extensions from the novels included with the curriculum. This worked very well for my son, as he is an avid reader and tying writing to something he loves is always a great thing.
The second thing that is awesome about the English curriculum is the focus on vocabulary! Many of you know that my husband is a Child Psychologist and his focus in on helping children with learning differences. Did you know that vocabulary is the biggest predictor of intelligence? I did not know this, and was flabbergasted (just tossing out a big word there so you can see the scope of my vocabulary and therefore intelligence) to find out. So any opportunity to build vocabulary is definitely an opportunity I am going to take.
The remaining two resources, which were what I was truly after in the first place, were Basic Life Sciences and Ancient Civilizations. Since these were both for enrichment for my son, and since my son is not a fan of writing, we did all of the assignments orally. This kept these activities fun and exciting for him. Each day he would pop out of his bedroom to share something interesting, fascinating, or downright cool that he had learned!
A really neat part of Basic Life Sciences is the unit reviews. After about 10 units of science are complete, children are given questions to review from all 10 of those units. They are asked to read them and ensure they can think of what the answers are. It is a way to ensure the knowledge has truly been consolidated. If they can’t recall the answer, no problem, they are to simply circle the question and go find the answer. There are also options for culminating activities, such as creating learning reflections or creating an artistic choice. While we did not use the material in this way, the teacher in me loves how this is developing fabulous study habits and ensuring children are not just learning Science for the sake of a test, but learning to deepen their understanding of our incredible world.
Ancient Civilizations was the resource I knew my Sam would love. It is definitely a topic of interest for him, and this resource did not let us down. All of the topics covered were fascinating and varied. From The Stone Age to Ancient Egypt, from Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages! Some religions were covered as well, which was insightful for my son who has only been exposed to a handful of religions.
The questions that were presented in this resource were thought provoking as well – deep thinking questions – such as: “Explain what you think about what Robin Hood did. Was he a common thief, a champion of the underdog, or both?” The conversations that came from this one question were awesome!
This enrichment for my one son ended up being enrichment for the whole family. These questions were perfect to pose at the lunch table and the conversations had between the children (and adults!) were quite phenomenal.
We have been very pleased with Oak Meadow for Grade Six. Their materials are thought provoking and very flexible, allowing you to do as much or as little as works for your family. We chose to use this resource to supplement what we were already doing, but I would be completely confident in using this curriculum as a one-stop shop.
You can find out more about Oak Meadow right here:
Thank you so much for reading, my friend,