Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Oak Meadow School

When I was about 32 I was raising one biological child from my first marriage and two step kids from my second marriage. We lived in Mt. Shasta, California at that time and our kids were all in Mt. Shasta Elementary School. However, because there was a bumper crop of kids they moved the 4th grade to the junior high school there. Within one month an 8th grader broke a 4 grader's jaw. So we decided to take all our kids out of public school in protest and enrolled them in Oak Meadow School which is a correspondence school for kids 5 through High School. It was then in 1980 a very reasonable price to educate our kids in a home school setting which worked out well for us as we moved then to 10 miles from the nearest little town of McCloud and three miles from the nearest paved road and about 7 miles from the nearest electric line or phone line.

This began one of the most memorable and happy times in my lifetime. We home schooled our kids and went skiing with them as Gym and hiked in the forest and learned all the animals and birds of the forest together and learned the names of all the trees and mountains nearby. We also traveled to Idaho and Canada with the kids until the oldest was 12. We then moved to the San Francisco Bay area and bought a business there when the oldest asked to return to public school for Junior High School and 7th grade. Though the younger two were not as interested in returning to public school they were happy to make new friends there and to move on to the next phase of their lives.

Today, the oldest is a Fire Captain, the next oldest is a lawyer and the youngest is a senior in college and will be a nurse by next December 2010. In 1985 we were fortunate to leave our business to be managed by a relative and to go to India, Nepal and Thailand for 4 months. This was an amazing part of all our education but especially in India where often there were dead or dying people in the streets as we traveled it was very very Real. I think these four months changed all our lives maybe more than any other four months in any of our lives. But this was also a part of our children's education.

What I found most strange about this experience in 1985 was that even though the culture shock was not bad in Japan because it is very westernized and still not that bad in Thailand, especially as long as one was in Bankok. However, in Nepal and then finally India the culture shock was just so extreme at that time that one always felt like one needed to have one's mouth open in shock in order to cope especially when hundreds or thousands of people might surround one or one's family to stare at one and one's family which was the custom there at that time and still might be. So, realizing that even with a High School education and some college that one at that time was in the upper 10% or 20% of the whole country education wise. Though this likely has changed now, then most people did not have any education at all because there was no public education. In fact, we left money for two boys around 7 to 9 years old in Rewalsar for them to go to school for one year when we left there in 1986.

However, if you need to protect your child because of dyslexia or some other reason from the inadequacies of public school in the United States, Oak Meadow School as a correspondance School is one alternative as long as one of the child's parents has the time to actually teach the child or to hire someone capable(hopefully with a college education) to provide schooling for your child or children. It is important to supervise whenever possible to ensure your child or children are progressing so that they can successfully go to college if they wish to when the time comes.

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