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Anyone familiar with the UU Church's "Our Whole Lives" program?

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We do not attend a UU church but I am thinking about sending ds, age 6, to the OWL program this fall if they have space in it for him. I've heard generally good things about the program but don't actually know anyone who has participated in it.

 

Have your children been through the OWL classes? Your thoughts and experiences?

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My church has OWL but only for the middle school grades. I've never seen the younger program. I have considered purchasing it for home use though.

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I know that there is an OWL program for every age, including adults, but our church only does the 7/8th grade and 11/12th grade programs.

 

My son did the 7/8 program this year and I was very happy with its content. DD will do the program next year.

 

Here's the description of the K-1 program, from the UUA website (uua.org).

 

Supports parents in educating children about birth, babies, bodies and families. Following a Parent Meeting and Parent/Child Orientation, the 8 sessions engage children with stories, songs and activities and include a weekly HomeLink - a homework project for parents and children to do together. Promotes dialogue between parent and child.

 

If you have more questions, I suggest calling any local UU church, or contacting the UUA (the national organization).

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I'm a trained OWL facilitator. I've only taught the big program for grades 7-9 because our church doesn't offer the classes for younger children, but I am a huge fan of OWL in general. I think it's a wonderful thing for children to get their sexuality education in an atmosphere so grounded in love and respect, and so free from shame.

 

The K-1 program covers boys' and girls' bodies, where babies come from, families, and abuse prevention. I'm assuming that you wouldn't be considering sex ed through a UU church if you weren't okay with this, but be aware that UU curricula present gay and lesbian families as normal and equal to straight families.

 

An OWL program always starts with a parent orientation that goes over the content and methods of the class in detail, so that parents know exactly what will go on in class before they commit to sending their children. I know that the K-1 and 4-6 programs are also very focused on including parents and encouraging child-parent communication.

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I'm a trained OWL facilitator. I've only taught the big program for grades 7-9 because our church doesn't offer the classes for younger children, but I am a huge fan of OWL in general. I think it's a wonderful thing for children to get their sexuality education in an atmosphere so grounded in love and respect, and so free from shame.

 

The K-1 program covers boys' and girls' bodies, where babies come from, families, and abuse prevention. I'm assuming that you wouldn't be considering sex ed through a UU church if you weren't okay with this, but be aware that UU curricula present gay and lesbian families as normal and equal to straight families.

 

An OWL program always starts with a parent orientation that goes over the content and methods of the class in detail, so that parents know exactly what will go on in class before they commit to sending their children. I know that the K-1 and 4-6 programs are also very focused on including parents and encouraging child-parent communication.

 

 

Thanks for explaining this and OP, thanks for starting this thread. DH is deploying soon (which will be another thread all on it's own) and I've made the decision to attend the local UU church that we have tried in the past.

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I'm assuming that you wouldn't be considering sex ed through a UU church if you weren't okay with this, but be aware that UU curricula present gay and lesbian families as normal and equal to straight families.

 

Considering that my sister and her wife are to be our children's guardians if anything should ever happen to dh and me then yes, it's safe to assume that we're totally okay with that. ;)

 

Thanks for all of the information. I spoke to the director of religious education over the summer and the dates for this school year's classes had not yet been determined. I have it written on my calendar to check back in with her sometime this week. I'll make that call tomorrow!

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I'm a trained OWL facilitator. I've only taught the big program for grades 7-9 because our church doesn't offer the classes for younger children, but I am a huge fan of OWL in general. I think it's a wonderful thing for children to get their sexuality education in an atmosphere so grounded in love and respect, and so free from shame.

 

The K-1 program covers boys' and girls' bodies, where babies come from, families, and abuse prevention. I'm assuming that you wouldn't be considering sex ed through a UU church if you weren't okay with this, but be aware that UU curricula present gay and lesbian families as normal and equal to straight families.

 

An OWL program always starts with a parent orientation that goes over the content and methods of the class in detail, so that parents know exactly what will go on in class before they commit to sending their children. I know that the K-1 and 4-6 programs are also very focused on including parents and encouraging child-parent communication.

 

This sounds wonderful. I had no idea it existed. I so wish we had a UU church near us.

 

astrid

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This sounds wonderful. I had no idea it existed. I so wish we had a UU church near us.

 

You're in CT? It seems so surprising that you don't!

 

I do love OWL, and I feel so privileged that families trust me to lead their teens through it. The program values and assumptions are wonderful. I know that UUs have a rep for being permissive, but OWL is very much not an "anything goes" curriculum - it's very good at bringing teens to an understanding that sexual relationships are an incredibly serious responsibility.

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Bumping an old post, hoping someone can tell me which volumes I'd need to work through this with my 6yo. It seems there is  'Our Whole Lives K-1' by Barbara Sprung, 'Sexuality and Our Faith K-1' by Johnson, Barrett, Morriss and Hoertdoerfer and 'The Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives' by Patricia Hoertdoerfer. Do I need all three?

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Talk to Rivka! Also, my daughter did the middle school program through her youth group (a 4 church collective). It was put on by the UCC, not UU... So that might also be a source for the poster interested in finding the class locally.

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My daughter will be doing the 8th grade level next month. The larger UU church here does all the levels through high school, but ours joins in with them for 8th (possibly 11th/12th and the Coming of Age program in 9th/10th). It's a program jointly developed by UCC and UU. The way it was explained to us (for the 8th grade level, anyway, is that there is a core secular sex ed program and then the UUA and UCC have their own religion-specific add-ons used by their respective churches, so OWL at a UCC church would look a bit different than one at a UU church.

 

Rosie, you may be able to get some guidance and assistance through the Church of the Larger Fellowship, the online branch of the UUA designed to support those without access to a congregation for whatever reason. http://www.clfuu.org/

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Bumping an old post, hoping someone can tell me which volumes I'd need to work through this with my 6yo. It seems there is  'Our Whole Lives K-1' by Barbara Sprung, 'Sexuality and Our Faith K-1' by Johnson, Barrett, Morriss and Hoertdoerfer and 'The Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives' by Patricia Hoertdoerfer. Do I need all three?

 

I teach the first grade OWL at my church.

 

There have been some recent changes to OWL and I am not familiar with all the changes. Here is what I think, but you might want to call the closest OWL UU near you to double check:

 

I am pretty sure the "Sexuality and our Faith" book is the UCC addition to OWL. It has bible based discussion. It has bible things you can plug into the OWL lessons.

 

I think the other two would be useful, but expect some overlap. The whole thing is very group oriented. I think it would be difficult to teach OWL one on one. Not impossible just not the same thing. I think it would be  more likely that you get ideas and vocabulary and use it in your regular interactions.  It is very discussion oriented. I did 40 mins on "Why do babies need families" and we talk about what babies are like when they are born and how they change and grow. There are a couple classes about human bodies and the differences between men and women/boys and girls. We have a fun class where we list all the parts of the body we can think of as well as all the slang. Then we talk about correct names for things and establish that in OWL we use proper names, but it is ok to use slang with family and friends, as long as you know the real names etc.

 

I think one on one you could cover each topic in about 10 mins. It is the group activities that take up the time. It really is mostly short and sweet. I have a vision that ideally done one on one it would culminate on a child's birthday. The last class is always a quick review of the basics and then we have a 'birthday party' for the kids and any parents who want to come. You could even go over the lessons over the course of two weeks before the birthday. First grade OWL is maybe officially 8 weeks long and I think I did it over 6 weeks. I think each lesson is 30 mins with a group, so short. We only have the kids for 40 mins or so and then there is the opening of class and joys and sorrows and settling in..so, 30 mins.

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I was wondering about this. I know they had the info session but I had to sign up before going to the info session. From the registration we got from my church I was a little leery on what they were going to teach because they called it a comprehension curriculum on human sexuality. I doubt they would spend the whole time talking about sex but I really wanted information on how that topic is going to be covered. I am okay with the basics being taught and I am guessing that is all they would do and it would be age appropriate but I really wanted more details. I haven't even gone over the birds and the bees yet. I didn't end up signing up and it is too late now but I am wondering if I will regret that since they don't have another until 4-6th grade.

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First grade OWL does cover how babies get started. That is in the second to last class.

 

At the info session they go over every session in detail. They hand around all the materials and show you what is going to be done in each class.  You can ask as many questions as you like. I bet you could have gone to the info session and then changed your mind if you liked. We also sent home a handout after every session detailing what we had done in class and suggesting follow up activities. And parents are welcome to sit in and participate in every single class along side their child. I loved having parents in the class while I taught.

 

I have also taught the grades 4-6 class.

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First grade OWL does cover how babies get started. That is in the second to last class.

I can handle that. That is what I figured but I was wondering if they were going to spend weeks talking about human sexuality. The paper we got sort of made it seem like that. I didn't think they would talk to a bunch of 5-7 years olds about sexuality for weeks but you never know. ;) It just wasn't clear what they were going to be covering. Plus they way this church handled something without informing parents also gave me pause. It is too late now but maybe my younger ones can take it in 1st. I will do it in 4th as long as I can trust our church then.

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Thanks for the info. I think I can safely leave the 'Sexuality and our Faith' book out. My daughter has a language disorder so a class wouldn't work for her anyway. I'm not even sure if the topics this curric covers will be suitable for her next year, but I won't know until I look at it. I think it will be a useful guide for me anyway.

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Did you end up getting the guide Rosie? I am umming and aahing over buying "Our Whole Lives K-1' by Barbara Sprung. There's not any samples that show the layout of the lesson, etc, and the only site doesn't even show post costs to Aus,, but I am over awkwardly flapping around this area. I just have a feeling I will fork over a chunk of money for a book that has under an hours total lessons. I wish they just had online versions of this :(

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Did you end up getting the guide Rosie? I am umming and aahing over buying "Our Whole Lives K-1' by Barbara Sprung. There's not any samples that show the layout of the lesson, etc, and the only site doesn't even show post costs to Aus,, but I am over awkwardly flapping around this area. I just have a feeling I will fork over a chunk of money for a book that has under an hours total lessons. I wish they just had online versions of this :(

 

Have you checked with the Australian and New Zealand UU Association to see if they might have it available? http://www.anzuua.org/

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My congregation does the K-1 curriculum with 2nd- and 3rd-graders. If you read "It's So Amazing," you'll cover the material.

 

The difference with the live class is getting to know more about different people's experiences and being invited to ask them questions. (DS's class included a child with two moms; I believe one adopted child whose family told their adoption story; and a guest speaker was a trans woman in our congregation whose daughter is a year or two older than the participants.) This meant DS could see that not all families are structured like ours.

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