Calvert Home School Curriculum Review
by Mary Jean Schweiter-Lowe
(San Antonio, TX, USA)
Classic Calvert Home School Curriculum
Classic books, challenging lessons and optional services makes Calvert home school curriculum worth the money, for parents looking for a quality non-religious education.
I have used Calvert to teach two of my kids first through seventh grade. Some years I have used the option not to use Calvert math; some years I have used the Calvert math.
By and large, it is an excellent curriculum. In particular, Calvert does a fine job of teaching good writing skills and strategies to younger children. They also use excellent books to teach reading, classics that my kids mostly enjoyed.
However, I personally found the math program to be not as strong as the language arts. It was way too easy for my son, and the number of problems assigned in the daily lessons, is, in my opinion, excessive. It is easy enough to deal with that, by only assigning some of the problems. However, it took me a long time to get comfortable with doing that, since I had been in the habit of just using the teacher's manual as written.
Calvert history and geography I found to vary strongly with the books used. We all loved *A Child's History of the World*, but the fifth-grade book was terrible. The ancient history books used in sixth and seventh have some good points - and I think it is important for kids to learn at least something about ancient history, but we found the books biased to some degree against Christianity, which I was quite unhappy with.
Calvert is quite pricy, especially if you use the optional Advisory Teaching Service, but I always looked at it as much cheaper than the least expensive private school. I would only use the ATS, myself, if I felt a strong need for a transcript; for instance, if I planned to put my eighth grader in high school the following year.
I would use Calvert again, and in fact, plan to with my youngest child, but I also plan to do quite a bit more tweaking now that I am more comfortable with the curriculum. Thanks Mary Jean, for sharing how Calvert works for you. Including some of the struggles you've had is helpful to others. I also like that you included how you overcame Calvert's short-comings - it will give other home educators some ideas when facing curriculum problems.
I don't think there is a "perfect" curriculum, but with a little creativity, you can find ways to make almost any curriculum work with your family.