Preschool Through Grade 8

102 Top Pick for homeschool curriculumIndicates that the item is a Top Pick. The full review is available in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

The Core Knowledge Foundation offers free curriculum online. Resources are presented in different sections on their site. The Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) curriculum is available for preschool through third grade, while Core Knowledge Classic Lesson Plans (CKLP) are available for preschool through eighth grade. While Core Knowledge resources were written for classroom situations, most activities can be easily adapted for homeschooling. Core Knowledge products and the lesson plans created by other contributors are secular in outlook. However, I have found the Core Knowledge community to be generally supportive of Judeo-Christian values, and their lesson plans and resources are likely to work for both secular and Christian home educators.

The Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA)

CKLA teaches phonics, reading, vocabulary, handwriting, spelling, and the writing process with a complete curriculum. While you can purchase print versions of all of the course components, they are quite expensive. Realistically, homeschoolers will download free versions of the resources to read or print. (Make sure you've got a reasonably speedy internet connection since many of these are large files.)

At each level, lessons are divided into two strands: listening and learning in one strand, and skills in another. Preschool adds another strand, "Starting the Day." CKLA uses a unit study approach to some extent, presenting material in "domains." Domains are topical areas from social studies, science, and literature within which reading comprehension and vocabulary are taught. For example, the domains for first grade are fables and stories, the human body, different lands/similar stories, early world civilizations, early American civilizations, astronomy, the history of the earth, animals and habitats, fairy tales, a new nation, and frontier explorers. You can see how this might provide your complete coverage of history and some coverage of science at these early grade levels.

While supplemental books, videos, and other resources are recommended, the core lesson material is supplied in the curriculum. Lesson plans show you exactly when to use flip books, anthologies, readers, and other resources, even providing thumbnail pictures of the images from flip books within the lesson plans. Plans include guided conversations with questions and suggested answers. Questions challenge students at various levels of thinking from simple comprehension up through higher levels (e.g. inference, evaluation) as is appropriate at each grade level. Hands-on activities are included for many lessons.

Kindergarten begins a complete, phonics-based reading program that continues through subsequent grade levels. There are teacher guides, student workbooks, readers, "flip books," assessments, and other components for the various levels as you find in typical complete course packages. Flip books and readers are heavily illustrated with high-quality art work, and they are in full-color. There are also Assessment and Remediation Guides and ancillary items such as posters, letter cards, Blending Picture Cards, and a Vowel Flip Book. There are even resources and teaching suggestions for advanced learners as well as those who need extra assistance!

Lessons need to be taught from the teacher's guides since they are very interactive with lots of discussion and activity. Student complete worksheets, and student readers are introduced the second semester of kindergarten. (You might want to print out the teacher's guides and student worksheets, but display the full color readers and flip books on your computer or other device.)

It will probably take a little time at first to sort out the components. Some components, such as the cards, might not be as nice when created from your printouts as they would be if purchased ready-made. Still, once you've printed out what you need, the lessons themselves are laid out for you in detail so that you will not need to spend a lot of time on preparation

CKLA resources are all relatively new, so the recommended supplemental resources should generally be available. CKLA resources are aligned closely with the Common Core. You can examine samples from both strands at www.coreknowledge.org/ckla.

CKLA is so fully-developed and ready to use that it's surprising that all of this is available for free.

Core Knowledge Classic Lesson Plans (CKLP)

While CKLP includes lesson plans for a number of subjects for preschool through eighth grade, the history/geography lesson plans for kindergarten through eighth grade are what I think will really interest home educators. These lesson plans reflect Core Knowledge's recommendations of topics to be covered at each level.

Lesson plans have been created by various contributors rather than by the Core Knowledge Foundation, so they vary from one another. Some lesson plans were written to meet particular state standards, so you will need to check each lesson plan to ensure it covers topics you want to teach. Also, lesson plans have been written over a number of years, so resource books recommended to be used with the plans are sometimes out of print. Unfortunately, some lesson plans are very dependent upon the Pearson Learning Core Knowledge History and Geography series, an outstanding series which was in print for only a short while. Core Knowledge does not endorse or take responsibility for the lesson plans even though they are made available through their website.

You can find the lesson plans by beginning at this page, then clicking on the grade level you want. While the CKLA lessons incorporate reading on topics from science and social studies under "domains" or topics, the CKLP lesson plans focus primarily on history and geography while only sometimes branching out into other areas of the curriculum. Each year, students cover topics from both World and U.S. History as well as some geography.

Each lesson plan should take a few weeks to complete, so you will be using quite a few of them for a complete school year. For example, at fourth grade level, lesson plans are presented under 11 headings: Geography, Europe in the Middle Ages, Spread of Islam and "Holy Wars," Early and Medieval African Kingdoms, China: Dynasties and Conquerers, Home Sweet Home (state history study that can be used for any state), American Revolution, Making a Constitutional Government, Early Presidents and Politics, Reformers (battles for women's rights in the 1800-1900s), and Amercan Symbols and Figures. While some topics have only one lesson plan, most have at least four or five. Some of the lesson plans overlap in content, so you will not use them all.

Lesson plans incorporate historical fiction, biographies, and other resource books, often including What Your First Grader Needs to Know and other books from that series written by Core Knowledge founder E.D. Hirsch Jr. Some lessons use videos. Most lesson plans incorporate some sort of hands-on activity. Timelines are a common feature, but some plans include more arts-and-crafts projects. All lesson plans appear to have printable worksheets at the back of the printable book.

Every lesson plan that I looked at was very thoroughly developed with instructions, background information, step-by-step procedures, lists of required resources, bibliographies, and student pages. Every lesson plan is dependent on the use of some other resource books, so that is a key thing to examine up front before deciding to use a lesson plan; make sure you can access the books you need or find reasonable substitutes.

The lesson plans will certainly require quite a bit of preparation work, first in sorting through and choosing which ones to use, and secondly, in gathering resources and preparing and presenting the lessons. Nevertheless, the lesson plans are top-notch and provide great course material for those willing to expend the effort.

Homeschool Complete began with their Kindergarten Complete program and is gradually expanding to other grade levels. As of Spring 2016, First Grade Complete Semester One and Reading Complete Levels A, B, and C have been added, with First Grade Semester Two coming soon. I have only reviewed Kindergarten Complete thus far.

Kindergarten Complete is a comprehensive, traditional kindergarten program designed especially for Christian homeschoolers. The program is divided into two semesters. Each semester has its own three-ring binder teacher’s manual that includes one set of student workbook pages.

While this is a complete program, you will need to obtain a number of children’s storybooks to use with every unit. Book lists are divided into the required books and extras that all relate to the themes used for each unit. The program is presented in multi-lesson units, most of which take four days to present. The program schedules lessons for four days per week to allow a flexible fifth day. Many themes follow the calendar with units on Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Winter, Martin Luther King Jr., Valentine’s Day, George Washington, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, Easter, and Summer. Interspersed are units on topics such as Me and My Family, Farm Animals, Shapes and Patterning, Fire Safety, Health and Nutrition, Behavior, Creation, Transportation, Ducks, Plants, Solar System, and Senses.

The program covers a broad range of knowledge and skills under language arts, math, social studies, science, physical development and fitness, fine arts, character development, and Bible. While this is a Christian program with a Bible verse for each unit, Bible stories and other explicitly Christian content appear sporadically. For example, the story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho is used in the unit on Shapes and Patterns, Lesson 17. (In case you are wondering about the connection, the comprehension questions include two on patterns: “What pattern did the Israelites follow when they walked?” and “How did their pattern change on the seventh day?”) Similarly, Bible stories show up from time to time within other units. Units on Christmas, Easter, and Creation are thoroughly based on Christian content.

Kindergarten Complete is a multi-sensory program. Lessons seem very much like those children would experience in a Christian kindergarten classroom setting, including hands on activities. Teacher’s manuals suggest two and a half to three hours of class time per day. At first, lesson plans include suggested dialogue for the parent to show how lessons should be presented. While all lessons are explained step by step, scripting is only included when it might be helpful.

Lessons begin with “Calendar Time.” While Calendar Time includes reading and working with the calendar each day, it also includes recitation of pledges (to the American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible), counting, singing a song or reciting a poem or rhyme, and reading a story of the child’s choosing.

Math is taught with interactive activities that often include flashcards. You can create your own flashcards from templates in the teacher’s manual, or you can purchase sets of flashcards. Occasionally, some sort of math manipulative might be used (e.g., blocks, crackers, marbles). Math lessons are often reinforced with a worksheet.

For language arts you will read the storybook for the lesson or read a poem or story from the teacher’s manual. A series of questions for the read-aloud is posed in the teacher’s manuals. You might also work on letters and their sounds, sight words, handwriting, narration, or other activities. Occasionally, students might illustrate a story. Note that while the program teaches phonics, it does not present an intensive phonics approach, but rather a mixture of sight words and phonics.

Art, music, and physical education rotate through the lesson plans with games and activities. Each daily lesson plan concludes with one or two suggested “Enrichment” activities. These might be stories, games, crafts, experiments, or practical life activities. For example, Lesson 41 suggests creating a Pilgrim village out of blocks Legos, paper, or other materials, and allowing the child to act out the story of the Pilgrims and the Indians. Lesson 50 suggests practicing tying shoes and stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree.

Attractively designed worksheets (from either the teacher’s manual or the student workbook) are typical of what you find in other workbooks with some requiring writing or coloring and others to be cut and pasted.

The entire program is well laid out in a professional fashion. Lesson plans are easy to follow, with pertinent student worksheets inserted where they will be used. You are given permission to copy the worksheets and other consumable pages for an additional student in your family, or you can purchase a stand-alone student workbook if you don’t want to photocopy pages. Note that there are two separate loose-leaf student workbooks, one for each semester.

Lesson preparation and presentation time is required. You’ll need to gather storybooks and activity supplies in advance. Lists of required books and resources are included with each lesson as well as in a comprehensive list in the appendix. Bible verses for each unit are on the introductory page for each unit as well as in a comprehensive list in the appendix. Activity resources that are needed include basic school and art supplies as well as items such as clothespins, duct tape, yarn, scrap material, Goldfish crackers, cooking ingredients (for a few recipes), pebbles, sand, and plastic animals. You will want to start gathering these items in advance since there are quite a few of them.

Kindergarten Complete was written by Debra Arbuthnot, a credentialed teacher with many years of classroom teaching experience as well homeschooling experience. Kindergarten Complete takes advantage of homeschoolers’ ability to interact closely with their children with lots of discussion plus hands-on activities. Yet it retains much of the structure of a classroom experience. Most programs of this sort have multiple teacher's guides and student books, and it can be very cumbersome to juggle all of the resources. Kindergarten Complete makes it easy with just one binder at a time for all of your subject areas, and no flipping back and forth through the binder.

Memoria Press has been creating many of their own products for presenting a classical Christian education for many years. They now have complete grade level packages with lesson plans that incorporate their resources along with some from other publishers for preK through eighth grade. All subjects are covered, including Bible/religion.

Memoria Press resources use recitation, repetition, copywork, and memorization to develop mastery of skills and concepts. Music, and art are incorporated for grades K-3. Literature guides for each level direct students through the study of real books rather than readers. Latin is introduced in second grade. Rod and Staff’s math program is used for most grade levels. Memoria’s Christian Studies program begins in third grade; these books guide students through study of The Golden Children’s Bible. Copybooks used in the early grades include verses from the KJV.

The Spelling Workout program is used for most levels. Nature walks and nature study are an important part of science study for the younger levels. Students in third grade and beyond study other science topics such as the relatively in-depth study of astronomy in fourth grade.

Lesson Plan books each cover a full school year. They have specific teaching instructions in about the first ten pages followed by detailed, daily lesson plans showing what resources to use, which pages to cover, and extra instructions as needed. Check-off boxes can be used if you want this Lesson Plan book to also serve as your record book. Guides have a suggested schedule for how much time to allot to each subject and the order of subjects, but this is followed by a blank schedule for you to customize your own schedule. Appendices at the back of each book include prayers, memory work, and other helps appropriate to each level. They also feature read-aloud book lists, poetry lists and music and art lists showing which selections correlate with each week’s lesson for grades K through 2. Lists of read-aloud books that correlate with lessons are included for grades 3 through 6.

The curriculum is very structured and depends very much on interaction with the teacher. The same curriculum can be used with either class groups or individual students, although things like discussions, public speaking, and some activities might be more enjoyable or profitable with more than one student. On the other hand, it will be easier to oversee and interact with a single child rather than a group.

The Jr. Kindergarten (preK) program teaches number and letter recognition as well as how to write all of them. The program includes other resources such as Richard Scarry's Mother Goose, Hailstones and Halibut Bones, Big Thoughts for Little People, and The Book of Crafts: Jr. Kindergarten.

The kindergarten program assumes that children can count to ten, print their names, and recognize most letters. In this half-day program, kindergartners learn to read, mastering short-vowel words and a basic sight-word vocabulary using Memoria’s First Start Reading course, Classical Phonics, Christian Liberty Press’ Nature Reader K, and EPS Primary Phonics Readers. While science and social studies topics come up within other subject areas, each is given only one dedicated lesson per week. Phonics, math, recitation, and copybook/memory work take place each day. Music, art, read-aloud books, poetry, social studies, and science rotate, sharing a half-hour time slot at the end of each day in the recommended schedule. The priority given to math and phonics is entirely appropriate for kindergarten level.

The first grade program continues to develop phonics and reading skills along with other subjects in a manner similar to that for the kindergarten program. Cursive writing is also introduced at this level. Classic children’s literature begins to play an important role in the curriculum with fifteen read-alouds and the Memoria Press StoryTime Treasures study guides. The program can be completed in about three to four hours per day.

Second grade introduces Latin with Prima Latina and brings in more social studies content within the classic literature selections with books such as The Courage of Sarah Noble and Little House in the Big Woods.

Beginning with third grade, there are two options. Memoria Press found that their original third grade course moved too quickly for many students so they now offer both the "Classical Core" and the "Accelerated Classical Core" options for grades three through eight. Pacing is the primary difference, although those using the Accelerated Classical Core will work through more resources.

Third grade in both Classical Core and Accelerated Classical Core builds the historical foundation for a classical curriculum with D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths and a Christian foundation with Christian Studies I. Students also use Memoria's States & Capitals set, Memoria Press's Introduction to Composition and English Grammar Recitation Book One. Classical Core students study animals and living things for science, and study four longer novels this year: Farmer Boy, Charlotte’s Web, A Bear Called Paddington, and Mr. Popper's Penguins. They continue the study of Latin with Latina Christiana I. Those in the Accelerated program will complete most of these courses in one year while others will spread some of the course work out over two years. In the Accelerated program, students work with most of the same resources, but using many of them a year earlier than in the Classical Core program.

Fourth graders in the Classical Core continue with D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths, Latina Christiana I, Christian Studies I, States and Capitals, English Grammar Recitation, and Introduction ot Composition. They also study astronomy, Rod and Staff's fourth grade math, and Classical Composition: The Fable Stage. Fourth grade literature includes the study of Homer Price, Dangerous Journey, The Cricket in Times Square, and The Blue Fairy Book.

Fifth graders move on to the Famous Men of Rome while also using Memoria’s Geography I that covers Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East, the primary regions encompassed by the Roman Empire. Geography is studied both historically and as it is today. The Book of Insects, along with its companion workbook introduce students to classification and the insect world as they observe, study, analyze, and sketch, while also answering questions in the workbook. First Form Latin continues the Latin instruction. Fifth grade novels are Heidi, Lassie Come Home, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Sixth grade history progresses to the Famous Men of the Middle Ages. In keeping with the Middle Ages historical emphasis, students read King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Adam of the Road. Geography II also fills in social studies. Students will use Classical Composition: The Chreia/Maxim Stage and they might study either First or Second Form Latin depending upon their progress to this point. Birds are a major topic for science with a number of books and activities, but students also read the fascinating book Exploring the World of Medicine.

For seventh grade, students journey back to Greece with Famous Men of Greece, Horatius at the Bridge, and The Trojan War. They also study U.S. History with a number of resources. Science uses Memoria's Book of Trees set then addresses the larger world of living things with Exploring the World of Biology. For language arts, students use resources such as Rod and Staff English 8, Spelling Workout H, and Classical Composition: Refutation-Confirmation Stage, while also completing some resources used the previous year. For Latin, students might use Third Form Latin or another level. Novels read are Anne of Green Gables, The Trojan War, The Bronze Bow, and The Hobbit.

Eighth graders continue study of the ancient world. However, moving beyond the grammar stage they study history and literature at a deeper level as they tackle the Iliad and the Odyssey along with study sets for Dorothy Mills' Book of the Ancient World and Book of the Ancient Greeks. For literature, students study Poetry and Short Stories: American Literature, Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare,The Wind in the Willows, As You Like It, Treasure Island, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. For language arts they also complete Rod and Staff's English 8 course along with Memoria Press' Classical Composition: Common Topic. Science uses Exploring Planet Earth. For math, students study algebra. Students can continue with Fourth Form Latin or select an appropriate level of Latin if they are newer to the study of Latin.

For the Accelerated program for eighth grade, students can use the same math and Classical Composition courses as for the Classical Core. But for history, they study Book of the Ancients: Romans and The Aeneid. For literature, students study Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Henry V, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as well as the text Poetry, Prose and Drama Book One. For science, they study Exploring the World of Chemistry, Exploring the World of Mathematics, and Exploring the World of Physics. Students also read The Story of Christianity by David Bentley Hart.

Each grade level uses a number of resources beyond those I've listed. You can check their website for more details. You are welcome to pick and choose resources rather than purchasing complete packages so that you can tailor your program to fit each student. You also have the option of either Classical Core or Accelerated packages. For the younger grades, Memoria Press is beginning to offer yet another option for students with special needs, the Simply Classical Curriculum. Levels A through C for ages two through five and Level One for ages five or six are now available with levels two through eight under development.

If you like Memoria Press’ approach to classical education, these grade level packages are a terrific resource that will make your job much easier.

Landmark offers a complete curriculum for grades K-12. Students can enroll in the complete program or purchase individual courses, all at very affordable prices.

LFBC believes that it is parents' responsibility to pass on knowledge, wisdom, and values to their children, so the curriculum is strongly oriented toward inculcating a Judeo-Christian value system. Most people would describe the philosophy as very conservative. History shuns modern social studies, choosing to concentrate on history and geography.

English takes a back-to-basics approach with phonics, reading (using McGuffey Readers), parts of speech, diagramming, and plenty of writing. Science is Bible based, teaching the creation science viewpoint. Bible courses use the KJV. The courses are uneven in quality, both graphically and in content, but they are gradually being revised and improved. The curriculum is very academic through the elementary grades.

The scope and sequence varies somewhat from other Christian publishers. For example, high school science includes four courses: Physical Science, Biology, Health and Dynamic Biblical Living, and Scientific Creationism. Neither chemistry nor physics is offered. Math courses offered for high school are two years of Algebra, Geometry, and Business Math. Electives are Penmanship, Home Economics, Shop, Personal Development, Spanish I, and Principles of Music, with more being created.

Generally, the curriculum is designed like Alpha Omega's LIFEPAC and School of Tomorrow's PACE curricula. Most LFBC courses work well for independent study, although there are only one or two large books per course.

LFBC allows parents to purchase materials to use as they wish, but they encourage home schooling families to work under the auspices of some oversight organization for accountability.

See reviews of selected LFBC products:

Landmark's Freedom Baptist Curriculum: Bible
Landmark's Freedom Baptist Curriculum Literature Courses
LFBC Champion Baptist Kindergarten Program
Landmark's Freedom Baptist Curriculum's Algebra I and II
Penmanship (LFBC)
English 3 (LFBC)
Landmark's Freedom United States Government
U.S. History course (LFBC)
Great American Heroes
Culture Wars/Current Issues, course H155

Oak Meadow, founded in 1975, is one of the most experienced providers of curriculum and support programs for homeschoolers. They are best known for their distance learning programs for homeschooling for grades K-12. (They also have a preschool program which I did not investigate.)

Families who enroll students in Oak Meadow's accredited distance learning school receive full teacher support, evaluations, and record keeping. Enrolled families work with a teacher via email or telephone. Online opportunities such as class discussions, student collaboration, and real-time teacher feedback are also available for students enrolled in grades 7-12.

Alternatively, families may purchase either complete curriculum packages or selected resources without enrolling. After third grade level, you can mix resources from different grade levels to tailor a program for either a single student or for two students you might want to work with together. Grades K through 3 integrate all subjects: language arts, math, science, social studies, and the fine arts, so you cannot pick and choose from subject areas for different grade levels. In grade 4, math is separate, and in grades 5 and 6, math and science each have their own syllabus. So you can see that it might be challenging to mix resources from grade levels. Beginning in junior high, each of the four core subjects (English, social studies, science, and math) has a separate syllabus, and it is easy to pick and choose resources.

Oak Meadow's books The Heart of Learning and Home Teacher’s Process Manual are included in each K-3 curriculum package. The Heart of Learning presents the philosophy of the curriculum while the Home Teacher’s Process Manual provides concrete instructions for implementing the philosophy within the Oak Meadow curriculum for the early grades. Oak Meadow’s philosophy is eclectic, but in grades K-3 one can find the influence of Rudolf Steiner, founder of both Anthroposophy and the Waldorf schools. This philosophy, which is probably best classified as New Age, is reflected in some aspects of Oak Meadow’s curriculum in grades K-3, but it is very subtle—influencing the methodology and some course content rather than being taught. For example, they believe that a child is both physical and spiritual. In The Heart of Learning, they explain, “The ‘being’ of a child is already present at birth, created by forces far beyond us….if we accept that the child is already a complete being who comes to us at birth with unique inherent attributes, then our attitude becomes one of respect for the child’s uniqueness, and sensitivity to his or her needs; and we have a desire to create opportunities for the child to manifest those innate qualities” (p. 23). Consequently, Oak Meadow’s program is child-centered to some extent. This is especially evident in the early grades where kindergarten learning focuses more on experiential learning and the arts in contrast to primary emphasis on reading and math that is common to most current kindergarten programs.

Stories are an important part of the curriculum, and these stories include folk tales, fairy tales, fables, and mythology as well as other works of literature. For example, students read The Chronicles of Narnia as well as Native American legends without distinguishing either as being more true than the other. Children hear the stories without commentary. As they get older they can reflect upon and write about what they have read, but it is left to the child simply “take in” the story and its lesson or meaning. Children are allowed to decide for themselves what might be true. This provides a broad exposure to cultures and ideas—many of them religious—without advancing any of them.

Elements similar to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy are present—narration, nature walks, drawing from nature, teaching science through observation and drawing, recitation of poems, and hands-on learning. While Charlotte Mason stressed the formation of good habits which are taught by parents, Oak Meadow’s approach is more open to learning styles and preferences of the child. For example, there are a multitude of lesson assignment choices so students can choose the specific questions or activities that allow them to learn and to express themselves most easily.

The content of the program begins to look a little more traditional for fourth grade and above. Students maintain a daily journal, learn grammar and spelling through lessons in the Fourth Grade Syllabus, and learn math through a traditional type math worktext that uses only a few manipulatives.

However, because of Oak Meadow’s philosophy, the entire program is presented in a less demanding fashion. Standardized testing is neither recommended nor required by Oak Meadow since those tests reflect a different philosophy of education that is more focused on the accumulation of factual information and skills rather than the development of the whole person. That does not mean that the program is not academically rigorous. To some extent, rigor will be determined by individual students and to what extent they choose to challenge themselves.

At fourth grade level and above, students need access to research material, most of which can be found through the internet. Literature for each level is included either in the grade level package or (for high school) as part of the subject area package. Art and music are an important part of the curriculum at all levels, although they are offered as electives for high school. Optional craft kits for grades K through 7 simplify the gathering of materials.

Syllabi for grades 4 through 8 include much course content—these are not just course planning guides. They are written directly to the student so parents can gradually hand over responsibility for learning to students themselves. For example, the Fourth Grade Syllabus contains instructions, activities, and lesson content for all subjects except math. There are a few supplemental books: Indian Legends and Recorder Duets (both Oak Meadow publications), and eight literature books. Language arts for grades 4 through 8 teach both grammar and composition. Creative writing is given more time and attention as you might expect since it provides opportunities for a child’s self-expression. Science courses include experiments and hands-on activities while social studies also offer hands-on activities along with research.

At high school level, math courses use Saxon Math texts. Science courses—biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science—use texts from Holt, Prentice Hall, Pearson, and Cengage as well as Saxon Physics. They also include lab work. Social studies courses also use an assortment of texts from secular publishers. Interestingly, they also offer a one-semester course in psychology. English courses concentrate on literature and composition with grammar skills reinforced through composition work. Literature selections offer an interesting mixture of philosophies with books such as Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Ayn Rand’s Anthem, Ramayana (a retelling of an ancient Sanskrit epic), To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn, Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, and David Copperfield. Some AP courses are available to enrolled students.

Oak Meadow's most distinguishing high school features for enrolled students include a Life Experience Elective Credit and an Advanced Study Program. For the Life Expereince Elective Credit the student earns credit for documented and verified work experience and/or extracurricular activity. Academic Advanced Study allows students to create a research paper, portfolio of experiments or essays, or PowerPoint or video presentations on areas of interest in the sciences, literature, and history. Professional Academic Study helps students gain valuable experience in an active work environment under the supervision of a mentor in the musical or visual arts, crafts and trades (e.g, carpentry), film production, accounting, web design, etc. As you can see, Oak Meadow excels in helping students gain skills and knowledge in areas of potential careers while incorporating that learning into transcript credit.

Oak Meadow would be a good choice for families who want broad exposure to many philosophies. Families pursuing faith-based homeschooling might either be attracted to or put off by Oak Meadow’s openness and inclusiveness. Many families with young children might appreciate Oak Meadow’s emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the early grades, in contrast to the increasingly common, intensely academic approach that begins in many other kindergarten programs. Older students are likely to be attracted to Oak Meadow's program that manages to be academically-challenging while allowing students to also explore and develop their own areas of interest and expertise.

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Featured Preschool Through Grade 8 Resource

Time4Learning

Time4Learning is a website for homeschoolers for PreK through high school that covers math, language arts, social studies, and science. It is built around CompassLearning Odyssey®, an online, interactive educational system that has been in existence for many years. CompassLearning Odyssey is used by many traditional schools, and it was previously available to homeschoolers through ChildU. While CompassLearning Odyssey is used by schools through other interfaces, Time4Learning provides the interface that works for homeschoolers.

Read full review for Time4Learning

Note: Publishers, authors, and service providers never pay to be reviewed. They do provide free review copies or online access to programs for review purposes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."