Calvert’s mission is to provided “trusted curriculum” and support to the student and homeschooling family or group in order to maximize success for both student and instructors. Calvert also has a day school in Baltimore where the instructional method and curriculum were developed.
In keeping with its service goal, Calvert offers three different support options, including:
- Calvert Classic, a full program including lesson manual; books, workbooks, and supplies; answer keys; access to the Calvert website; online tutorials.
- Calvert Classic with ATS, which ads the Advistory Teaching Service whereby a Calvert Advisory Teacher participates in reviewing student work, additional online resources are provided, online recordkeeping is provided, and there are online tests.
- Calvert Interactive featuring ATS, which steps up the program with live virtual classes including student interaction.
The curriculum focuses on reading, writing, and arithmetic, supplemented with history and geography, science, music, and the arts. Topics are treated in multiple subject areas when appropriate.
The curriculum comes in two versions: academic and scholastic. The “academic” option is for students who are well-prepared. It provides more complex assignments and more advanced work. The “scholastic” option provides more structure and support.
Optional courses, also referred to as “enrichment courses” at 8th grade include Ancient Greece, Vocabulary for Life, King Arthur, a reference library, Discoveries in Reading, Discoveries in Science, Discoveries in Art, Civics in America, A Child’s History of Art, Intermediate Math Manipulatives, Algebra, French, Spanish, and Latin, as well as Tests.
If you check to see what the course materials are at, say, http://www.calvertschool.org/engine/content.do?PUBLIC_ID=29758&BT_CODE=CES1650&TT_CODE=SUBPAGE
Calvert’s website has a picture of their materials, but not enlarged enough to see who most of the publishers are, though it’s clear that 1) they aren’t all Calvert materials and 2) the Elements of Language is from Holt. I find this lack of a straightforward identification of materials in the program troubling. This means the customer makes a purchase in the dark, relying on the Calvert name, without being able to judge for oneself.
It’s also notable that some of the materials in 8th grade are literature, but none was written more recently than 1943 (Johnny Tremain) the other authors are Dickens, Conan Doyle, and Twain.
Samples are extremely difficult to locate, but are found at the bottom of each grade’s curriculum page. About the Revolutionary War, the Calvert sample (Lesson 26) says that the Battle of Saratoga was “the turning point” in the war. The Library of Congress timeline of the war, http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/timeline/amrev/turning/turning.html, refers to the entire period 1777-1778 as the turning point, and points not only to Saratoga, but also to the battles at Oriskany and Bennington, the British peach proposal, and the decision of the French to support the Americans based on both the series of victories and the terms of the British treaty proposal. If you think an eighth grader is capable of understanding a more complex situation than a single battle being defined as the turning point, you might want to look elsewhere for grade-appropriate materials.
The spelling words may come from the vocabulary, since they have no obvious (or called out) patterns that would help students learn them. This approach to spelling means that each word has to be learned as a separate and distinct unit, not as part of a group, in which case learning can both happen more quickly and each word is learned in a context.
The ballad “Edward, Edward,” difficult because it is written in dialect, is typically taught as part of a ballads unit in 12th grade British literature. It is not clear that it will be within the grasp of most 8th graders.
In the grammar sample, the last two sentences on the page read:
“Here, yet is used as an adverb. Remember to always put a comma right before a conjunction that joins two sentences.”
This is disjointed instruction: the punctuation for conjunctions should be discussed with usage of conjunctions, not with usage of adverbs.
Calvert Educational Services, unlike some other curriculum suppliers, is accredited. It has accreditation from both the Commission on International and Transregional Accreditation (CITA) and the Commission on Elementary Schools, a division of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, its curriculum is approved by the Maryland Department of Education.
Cost varies by bands of grades (in addition to an enrollment fee):
|Calvert Classic||Calvert Classic with ATS||Calvert Interactive w ATS|
|Grades 4-5||$780||$1,140||$2,905 (pilot at Gr. 4)|
I don’t see any warranties listed.
Some users find the Calvert early years curriculum boring, repetitive, and not challenging. In 2008, people were complaining about 10-year old science curriculum for which ancillary (and necessary) supplements were out of print and unavailable.Phonics and social studies curriculum has been criticized as disorganized. One person who complained to Calvert was told they could only revise one year at a time.
Some users appreciated having scripted lessons, and found the program well-organized, and useful.
Sources – homeschoolreviews.com/reviews/curriculum/reviews