We will be homeschooling the boys this year.
There. It is out there. And it really wasn’t that hard to write. I have been feeling unsure lately sharing that decision here. But now that it has actually been written, I realize it is no big deal. I was concerned some might feel I was passing judgement on public schooling, but it’s not that at all.
I am not homeschooling because I dislike our public education system, because we cannot afford private school, or because I am fearful of our society. I am not homeschooling because I worry about peer influence, my children’s capabilities, or being apart from them. I am not homeschooling out of distrust, fear, worry, or any other negativity.
I am homeschooling because, right now, it simply feels right. I love having my little ones close, I am excited about the lifestyle it will allow, and I look forward to the experiences we will have. I am eager to spend time with lovely people from our community, provide my children with a rich foundation, and enjoy this journey as it unfolds right beside them. I am homeschooling out of hope, love, excitement, and all other positivity.
And now that it has been written, turns out I have a lot to say on the matter. Please grab a cup of coffee or tea and get comfy – I’m afraid this post turned into a lengthy one! But I suppose you kind souls are used to that by now …
I am excited today to partner with Oak Meadow and share with you the grade one curriculum we have chosen. This curriculum matches my positivity perfectly. It is written from the perspective of meeting each child exactly where he is and supporting him on this learning journey. It is based on schooling as a lifestyle and centered on creating a strong foundation for all further learning to grow.
Oak Meadow revised their K-8 curriculum last year. While the scope of the content and teaching philosophy remain the same, there are a few lovely additions.
- assignment checklists, planning pages, and materials lists at the beginning of each lesson in the coursebook
- learning assessment rubrics to track student progress
- updated factual information and additional instruction
Heather, from Only Passionate Curiosity reviewed the previous version of the Grade One Curriculum beautifully. This review is meant to complement Heather’s and addresses the new curricular additions.
We chose the Oak Meadow Grade One Curriculum which came with:
- The Grade 1 Coursebook
- Grade 1 Resource Book
- Word Families Book
- Beginning Recorders Book
- And six Early Readers Books (Mouse Soup, Mouse Tales, Little Bear, Little Bear’s Visit, A Kiss for Little Bear, Frog and Toad are Friends, and Frog and Toad Together)
I had already received the K-3 Enrichment Package with our Kindergarten Curriculum. This enrichment package is very, very handy if you are new to homeschooling – and it only needs to be purchased once.
Another option is to just purchase the Grade 1 Coursebook and Grade 1 Resource book alone. Loads of options (and freedom!) when homeschooling.
All in all, I feel the package I received has everything needed to successfully teach a child.
As a certified teacher who has taught in the classroom for several years I am already coming to this role as a home teacher with some confidence. As a Mama to my Ben and Sam … well, that confidence is a touch shaky.
I am relieved to have a day-to-day plan with all I will need mapped out for me in the Coursebook.
I love how everything has been so thoroughly thought through with Oak Meadow. The curriculum is child-centered, gentle, and focuses on growing the strongest of foundations for these little people. Loads of experiences and opportunities for being outside and out in the community are present as well.
Let me tell you what our year with Oak Meadow will look like.
The curriculum is 36 weeks in length, and loosely structured by season (12 weeks in autumn, 12 in winter, and 12 in spring). Each lesson involves Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, and Health. It is suggested to teach one hour in the morning, and another hour in the afternoon, providing lots of opportunities for play, experiences, and time with others.
Many consider Oak Meadow to be a gentle and ‘slower’ curriculum. I understand that view, but it truly accomplishes almost every single thing in our local public school’s curriculum, just in a more guided, practical, and hands-on way. And since we are only working with a child or two (or three or so!), we have so much more time to delve into areas of interest, special experiences, and give children the time they need to play with and learn concepts at their own pace.
The Language Arts section is gentle and slower than typical, but little ones will still likely be reading by the end of the year. The Math curriculum on the other hand is deep and rich with concepts much bigger than I was expecting. Here is our year at a glance with Oak Meadow.
During the autumn block we will be learning:
Each night as we settle down for bed, a fairy tale or story will be read introducing the letters of the week. Each week we will be reviewing 2 or 3 letters, the sounds they make, concentrating on the upper and lowercase form, and relating them to long and short sounds, as well as thinking of them in terms of which words they can be found. This is coupled with rich oral language and read alouds.
Math this term involves puzzles, mazes, and engaging games, as well as form drawing. Counting to 100, both forwards and backwards, and learning about quantity are also taught. In this first term the four operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing) are introduced through stories, making the different math concepts truly concrete and ensuring they make sense to children.
Science provides so much inspiration for getting my boys outside, into nature, and exploring this incredible world of ours. This piece of the curriculum really nourishes a child’s natural curiosity and observation skills.
In social studies we will be making calendars, learning about the concept of time, exploring the moon cycles, locating places on a globe, visiting ‘helpers’ in our community, learning the difference between ‘equal’ and ‘fair’, and making a diorama and a map. The idea of “finding, seeing, and being” the good in the world is a current that runs through the curriculum.
In Art throughout the whole year, and among many other things, we will be learning to knit. And in Music throughout the whole year, and among many other things, we will be learning to play the recorder.
During the winter block we will be learning:
Read alouds and rich oral language development continue. With all the letters and sounds reviewed, we now move into word families. Forty word families are played with, drawing connections between how sounds work together, patterns that occur, and giving young readers confidence in their abilities to read.
Math begins to move into story problems. Children also learn about multiples of five and ten, and skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. This again is laying a very strong foundation for understanding math. A skill that is so important. Math in daily life is explored, as is nesting forms and spiral shapes. We then move into multiples of two and three and multi step problems. To further this understanding piece, relationships between addition and multiplication are explored as are multi step mental math problems.
Science continues to get us outside and exploring, while also bringing that learning to the next level. Comparing seasons, animals, and trees, and exploring hibernation, erosion, constellations, the Arctic, forms of matter, dolphins, and temperature all happen in these 12 weeks. We also will explore the scientific method.
Social studies continues to have us finding the good in our community. We will explore our neighbourhood and do some mapping, as well as explore differences in climate and cultures. We will investigate community involvement, cultural exchanges, choices, goods and services, and family roles.
During the spring block we will be learning:
Rich oral language and read alouds continue as my little one will begin to read. Consonant blends are taught as children begin to blend sounds together.
Math continues to lay a fabulous foundation for understanding big math concepts. We will be looking at relationships between multiplication and division, as well as addition and subtraction. Commutative property, odd and even numbers, and multi step story problems are explored. The year ends with more math game, solidifying with my little guy that math is fun.
Science has as out exploring ponds and forests, as well as learning about lightning, thunder, and animal communication. It also covers nesting, gardening, seeds, pollination, bees, butterflies, and flower growth.
Social studies continues to look for the good in our society, as well as building the good within our children. Family rules, responsibilities, being responsible for personal actions, learning about truth and falsehoods, kindness, compassion, and cultural explorations all round out the curriculum. This really is a whole body, whole child curriculum.
And that, my friends, is our homeschool year at a glance. I am really, really excited about it and cannot wait to share how it all unfolds with you. I’m sure we will have lots of ups and downs,but I look forward to holding a strong rhythm for my family. I am really thankful for the support Oak Meadow will offer in this regard.
If you are interested in learning more about Oak Meadow you can check out their website. They are very helpful and supportive and a true guiding light in the homeschooling movement.
Oak Meadow also offers a Homeschool Parent Planner and a course for parents entitled Foundations in Independent Learning – a great confidence booster to ensure you that you can, indeed, homeschool your children!
You might also be interested in the other posts I have written while partnering with Oak Meadow:
I wish you well on your back to school shift friends, whatever that might look like for you and yours. Thank you very much for reading!