We are considering pulling our son out of his private school (long story) and home school for the next few years. He is a kid who thrives when he has regular routines and knows what to expect each day. I have some cousins who attended the Calvert school in Baltimore and they rave about the school. The also have a home school program:
Does anyone have experience with it and/or currently using it? Would love any and all feedback. thanks!
Pardon me while I
I do not have any personal experience (yet) with using it myself.
It is a popular program with people who have just begun homeschooling and want the security of knowing what to do each day and having all the materials put together for them. Many people use it their first year. It is fairly expensive. After the first year, a lot of people decide they have enough of an idea of what they want to pull materials together themselves, from less expensive sources. Some continue with it because they like not having to do any of their own research and planning. I have read posts saying that it is somewhat dry and boring; and I have also read posts saying that the parent loves that all the bases are covered and they can just do the work each day and not worry.
DH and I have agreed that we want to get more structured as time goes on, and eventually use a full correspondence program for high school. So far, for K, 1 and 2, I have been pulling materials together myself and following a very loose weekly schedule. At some point in the future - probably the upper elementary or middle school years - I will switch DS1 to Calvert, eventually with the advisory service so he can get some practice before getting into a correspondence HS program.
and 3 , in our happy secular
We bought Calvert material used for Kindergarten this year. It is great if you want the type of material that is all laid out for you, basically telling you exactly what to say to your child. I found that the material was all on the easy side for my son. We decided to use it anyway along with a lot of reading aloud books from the library. But I am for sure looking for something different for next year. At this point we are hardly using the materials.
i've only used calvert preschool not the higher grades but i wont be buying them.
- great for states with strict HS laws
- all in one unless you want to change something
- the 'extras' as in not the books but all the little educational stuff that comes in the box is really great. we are still using some of those materials.
- costs $$$$$ - although not a problem if your state has HS funding
- very scripted - it tells you what to say to your child and how to present things. - you can ignore it of course but i found it a little annoying
- there were several 'group games' which with only the 1 kid (at the time) i didn't have a group
- the materials were easy really easy for my ds OR way too hard
Ak Hippie mama Yamia DSD '03 DS '07 DS2 '09 & DS3 '12
I tried Calvert with my older son (3rd grade materials) for a few months this school year as a first-time delving into packaged curriculum for us; it was free with enrollment in a local online school.
My opinions --
Pros: The daily lesson plans are SUPER great if you're at all disorganized or unsure of how best to get all the subjects tackled on a regular basis. There's a list at the top of which books are to be used that day and which pages, and there's actual verbage you can use when presenting the materials. There's an online "Checkpoints" thing the kids can do each day where there are 3-4 multiple choice questions on each subject which sort of skim the surface of the info they learned that day -- not a thorough review, just a quickie thing, but if you want to keep track of what lessons you've completed it is good for that as well as when you log in and do a checkpoint, the system counts your student as "attending" that day if that is something you're interested in or required to track. There are some fun online Math games connected with many of the lessons, and the online spelling program is also fun (which you can do in addition to or instead of the book/paper version).
Cons: Social Studies text (3rd grade) is ULTRA boring. IMHO it is a "weird" subject anyway - I think pure History is more interesting myself, and so do my kids. Read the book, look at a few pictures, write down new vocabulary words. The Science text tries hard with a lot of nice photographs and there are occasional online links for more exploration, but in general I thought the book was pretty lame. The hands-on stuff is pretty much non-existent, and it made my thrilled-about-science kid say he "hates Science" after doing a few months of "Science" using the textbook. The Composition work was quite challenging for my reluctant/inexperienced writer -- they do start very simple with having the parent write out sentence phrases for them to copy into their compositions, but it seemed quick to me that they jump to having the kids write 3-4 paragraphs all on their own. I'm sure a kid who enjoys the act of writing would be just fine; my guy *loathes* it (he's happy to narrate things and comes up with stories on his own, but the physical act of writing really blocks his creativity).
Good luck with your decision!
One more thing with Calvert's math -- their approach is where they'll briefly visit a topic, hop to something else, and a week or two later come back to the first thing; some people prefer math programs that present one thing at a time and allow for "mastery" of it before moving on to the next thing.
We got started on Calvert from the beginning when my kids were enrolled in an online charter school. We got the whole curriculum for K, 1 & 2 but we are more unstructured so we didn't use most of it. Ultimately, we didn't stick with the charter, but I did stay with Calvert - math only though. I like their math program; the concepts are well-explained, and now that dd can read well she practically teaches herself the concepts. The skipping-around-pattern a previous poster mentioned does seem a little bizarre at first, but it works well for my kids.