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New to Calvert and homeschooling

Last post 06-02-2009 5:07 PM by SwicklerMama. 14 replies.
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  • 01-20-2009 12:22 PM

    New to Calvert and homeschooling

    We are new to the Calvert Curriculum and pretty new to homeschooling too. We are a christian family and I have 3 children. The oldest did pre-k this year through a compilation of resources but not any ONE curriculum. I do believe he is ready for kindergarten for next year and my daughter will be ready to enter into pre-k program in August.

    I had someone mention this curriculum. My son is ADHD and her child was as well and said it worked very well. My daughter has some special needs as well. We had started homeschooling and had planned to homeschool until around Kindergarten or 1st grade and enter them into a christian private preschool. My daughter however has an immune disorder and we were told that none of the children can enter school until at least she enters 2nd grade. We have looked at homeschooling for long term now.

    Upon first glance of the Calvert curriculum, I am quite impressed. However I have some questions.... What subjects does it include? Do you do every subject every day? Does it lay it out well for the parent to teach it? Does it leave room to add other subjects or things from other curriculums? (Like Bible) For the Calvert option, are you considered a private school teacher and an extension of Calvert School as a home educator? Is this curriculum affordable especially when you have more than 1 child? Also it talked about 2 different options for kindergarten. Could someone explain that to me??? I may have more questions later but that starts it. Also could some parents tell me what you just love about this curriculum? What are some of the negatives? (Every curriculum has negatives... )

    Thanks!

    Mommy to:
    Aidan, 4
    Lillian, 2 1/2
    JohnAlex 1 1/2
    and Proud Wife to:
    Trey, 25
  • 01-22-2009 5:59 PM In reply to

    • Faith
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-05-2007
    • USA
    • Posts 28

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Hi!  Well, I can't answer every question, but I can answer quite a few.  I have three kids and we are a Christian homeschooling family as well.  The curriculum is very affordable if you can get the financial aid.  If not, well it is quite expensive.  I was told the cutoff is $40,000, which means we will not qualify this year.  My husband wants to switch at this point, but I am upset because I really like Calvert School.  It really is a good curriculum but very costy if you have a few kids, which we do. 

    The subjects (in the lower grades) include Math, History/Social Studies, Science, English/Reading, Art, Computer Skills and a few extras in Kindergarten(Games & Activities, Music Break).  In 2nd grade, Science and Social Studies are every other day so far.  Math and English are everyday.   Art and Computer Skills are not.  You would have the time to add in Bible study or another subject you are interested in. 

    Where I live, homeschools are considered private schools... you can check the hslda website for your states requirements.  I did not know there were two different kindergarten options... I though that started in the higher grades.

    Lets see, the negatives... I would say the social studies for the younger grades (1st and 2nd) is a little bland.  It doesn't seem to hold my sons interest.  Obviously, this is a matter of opinion.  I know they changed the first grade curriculum after we finished it, so it might have been improved.  I would ask around on that one.  I also know the fourth grade history is fantastic as it uses "A Child's History of the Word" which was written by the headmaster of the school.  The only other negative would be the cost, which I mentioned earlier.  As far as positives, this seems to be the most academic (again, in my opinion).  It is a very strong curriculum and I don't have to worry that my kids are falling behind.

    Anyway, I hope this helps you. If you have anymore questions, just ask.

  • 01-23-2009 1:03 PM In reply to

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    I have to say I actually think Calvert is extremely cost friendly. We live in a Los Angeles suburb where the average private school is anywhere from $10,000 to $18,000 a year per child. For us paying about $1000 per child for the entire school year is a huge savings. We also don't have things like uniform costs, book fees, required parent volunteer hours and the many fundraisers that the schools hit you up for. I think if you look at the cost of private school vs Calvert you'll see that it's a small fraction of what you'd be paying. Yes, there are many homeschool curriculums that don't cost nearly what Calvert does but we've found it to be the most comprehensive and thorough curriculum. Maybe if you are from a smaller city/town it would seem expensive but coming from a large metropolis it seems like a bargin. Erika in CA Mom of 2 and one on the way!
  • 01-24-2009 1:12 PM In reply to

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Hi,

    I saw your post this past week and made a mental note to come back on the weekend with a reply.

    What subjects does it include?

    You'll be able to find the subjects broken down by grade on Calvert's curriculum page.

    Do you do every subject every day?

    Not always, especially in the beginning.  We've been with Calvert for 7 years, and every time we start a new grade, we find we need to break the days in half until we get up to speed.  A few weeks into it, we're comfortable doing an entire lesson a day.  You can adjust the lesson plan any way you'd like, and we've done that too...getting 2 days worth of Math, Science and Geography out of the way on a Monday, leaving the slightly easier subjects for Tuesday (when my daughter has choir).

    Does it lay it out well for the parent to teach it?         Yes.  Calvert spells out each lesson.

    Does it leave room to add other subjects or things from other curriculums? (Like Bible)

    I think it depends on a few variables, like how long it takes a child to get through the basic lesson plan, how busy you are with other activities in your life, and how much time other subjects would require.  To add to the fun, sometimes the lesson plan itself varies in intensity.  We have days where the kids blow right through their lessons, leaving a nice 2 hour window open.  Then we have days where the basic lesson plan, all by itself, will take us until 3pm (those aren't fun).  I personally don't add much else, with cursive for my 10 year old being the exception.

    For the Calvert option, are you considered a private school teacher and an extension of Calvert School as a home educator?

    The title of "private school" depends on your state.  Here in Illinois, all homeschools are considered private.  Regarding Calvert specifically, I do consider myself an extension of Calvert, and when asked where the kids attend school, I always answer "Calvert."

    Is this curriculum affordable especially when you have more than 1 child?

    I only have 2, and my husband makes a good living, so the tuition isn't a hardship for us (especially if your only alternative would be an area private school).  However, it is considered one of the more expensive curricula.  To decide if the expense would be worth it, you'd have to sit down and figure out how much your alternatives would cost (and as was pointed out by the previous poster, you should consider lunches, clothing, transportation, etc.), and then compare them to Calvert.  Again, for us, 2K a year isn't bad.  But 2 or 3K a year on a salary of $40K might be tough.

    Also it talked about 2 different options for kindergarten. Could someone explain that to me???   I wish I could, but we've been out of K for a while now.  I'm clueless!

    Also could some parents tell me what you just love about this curriculum?

    I love how comprehensive the curriculum is, as I would not enjoy having to pull together my own stuff, nor would I have been able to put together such a sophisticated program.  I also love the ATS feature, since it not only provides support and feedback, but official transcripts as well.  That they provides tests both with and without ATS is a plus, as I think it's important for my kids to learn how to take tests.  Customer support is fantastic too.

    What are some of the negatives?

    Some subjects are terribly dry.  I try to modify these by finding additional sources that convey the information in a more interesting way, using websites and books from our library.  There are also times when I chuck the entire book for a subject and do my own thing, which you can do if you aren't enrolled in ATS.   (I did this for 3rd grade History with my second daughter.  We found Famous Americans painfully boring.)

    I also question the emphasis on what appear to be minor details on tests.  For example, I'd rather my 13 y/o daughter know the basics of a country...perhaps the general political history, the general geography, the major religions, the language, and how they interact with the world today.  Therefore, I am disappointed when the Geography test asks a question about a minor resource the country provides.  To me, that's specific information one would learn if one was focusing specifically on that country for either a test or a research paper, NOT something you should remember when you're covering many countries over 20 lessons.  That kind of nit picky stuff irritates both me and my daughter, and I worry it will turn her off the subject itself.

    Ah well...can't have everything.  Big Smile

    Lori
  • 01-26-2009 11:46 AM In reply to

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Hi

    It looks like members of the community have done a wonderful job answering your questions.  I know parents appreciate being able to hear about a program from other parents who are using it.  I wanted to simply add, that Calvert only offers one Kindergarten program.  If you would like to see sample lessons or course outlines, please check our website.  Alternatively, we can send copies via the mail.  Please contact an Education Counselor via phone 1-888-487-4652, email edcounselor@calvertservices.org or live chat so we can assist further. 

     

    Emily Smith
    Education Counselor
  • 01-26-2009 12:59 PM In reply to

    • Faith
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-05-2007
    • USA
    • Posts 28

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Erika - I just want to say that I was comparing the tuition for Clavert School to the cost of other homeschool programs... not to private schools, as I'm sure that is what the parent wanted to know.  And, yes, this is one of the more expensive ones (and one of the better ones).  If you plan on having more than a couple of kids (as our income increases, we plan on having more) then of course it's not just 2K a year.  Then you have to factor in extracurricular activities.  For us, we also have to consider MY school expenses (as I'm going back to school).  That was my husbands point of view when he said he wanted to switch and my point of view when I said it can be quite expensive.

    Also, I think by saying that a person from a small city/town might find it expensive might be insulting to people from small cities/towns.  ???  On a different note, I am from California (born and raised there).  We recently moved to another major U.S. city that has many homeschoolers, and most choose cheaper curricula - but most of the homeschoolers I know have even more kids than I do.  I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder.  Smile

    Anyway, sorry if I sound snippy, sweetie.  I just wanted to respond quickly before I head of to take the kiddies to the dentist!  Have a good day and happy homschooling!

  • 01-26-2009 6:17 PM In reply to

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    I think you may have read too much into my post. Please don't put word in my mouth. I was not trying to insult people from small towns but comparing the cost to private schools vs Calvert. I was talking about the cost of private school in Los Angeles vs private school in a small town, which is obviously going to be a lot less. Los Angeles is notorious for inflating the cost of private education just so the parents can say their child goes to such and such school. My husband makes a very good living so in my opinion Calvert is not at all expensive. We actually laugh at how inexpensive it is. Again this is all relative to your personal situation. Maybe I shouldn't comment on this board anymore if I can't even express my opinions without someone putting words in my mouth? "As I'm sure what the parents wanted to know" If I'm not mistaken this board is open to all Calvert parents and we are free to post our opinions about the program. Why not just leave my post along instead of being snippy? If I think the program is not pricey then it's my opinion and anyone else is free to feel differently. Erika in CA
  • 01-26-2009 9:34 PM In reply to

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Faith,

    I'd love to hear how going back to school works out for you.  I've been kicking around the idea for some time now, but I'm worried it will negatively affect my ability to teach the kids.  Perhaps the worry is unwarranted, and I would find taking one class at a time doable, but I'm nervous anyway.  Tongue Tied  I usually put in about 2 hours of preparation a night for school, and then of course there are the kids' activities that require both my time and car keys.  Some online classes that I would need to take mention that I should prepare to dedicate 12 hours a week to the subject.  Whew!

    On the other hand, I have at the most 8 more years of homeschooling, and I'm starting to look ahead to when my younger one is more independent and heading for college.  I'd love to be able to at least have an Associate's degree by then.

    Finally, the idea to get a part-time job in the field in which I'd like to work, saving school for later years, crossed my mind.

    I was going to PM you, but then I thought other parents might be considering something similar, so I decided to put it out there.  So as not to hijack the thread, if anyone would like to chat about this further, I'm happy to start a new thread.  Big Smile

    Lori
  • 01-26-2009 10:43 PM In reply to

    • PacWest
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 07-02-2007
    • Pacific Northwest
    • Posts 250

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Laughing Water,

    Oh my gosh, I've been thinking about this for a while now.  I've not truly pursued investigating options, but it's on my mind.  I've been out of the work force for 13 years now, and although I've a small handful of homeschooling years ahead of me, I've been wondering what I'd like to do after we finish homeschooling. Going back to school, earning a different degree, or pursuing training for an entirely new career path are just some of the things circling in my thoughts. Working from home, starting a new business, writing, figuring out my niche ... there's a whole myriad of paths and plans to consider.  Boy, I'd sure love to hear what other homeschooling parents are considering. Smile

    Paula

  • 01-27-2009 12:55 AM In reply to

    • Faith
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-05-2007
    • USA
    • Posts 28

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Erika, I actually didn't put much thought into your post at all, nor did I put any words in your mouth.  I simply stated the fact that people from small towns might be offended by your statement.  I didn't want someone from a small town to read that and feel badly - I wanted them to know that not everyone feels that way.  That was my opinion and I'm allowed to post that as well.  Also, I never said you cannot think the program is "not pricey".  I'm just saying that for people with large families it can be.   Also, out of all of the homeschool programs I have looked into, this is one of the more expensive ones.  Obviously, compared to a private school, it's more affordable.   Maybe we can agree to disagree now, as I have no interest in arguing this - it really isn't a big deal, nor do I wish any hostility.  Maybe we just had a misunderstanding.  ???

     

    LaughingWater - it has taken me quite awhile to decide!  I finally decided to go ahead and get it over with instead of putting it off.  I have roughly 2 1/2-3 years left for undergraduate school and then however long it takes me to get through law school.  I am only going to take 2-3 classes a semster so I won't overburden myself.  I figure the time is passing anyway - may as well get through school even if it is slowly.  I don't feel like it will hinder my ability to homeschool at this point.  I do not do as much prep work as you do (what grades do you teach?) - I just skim the next lesson and make sure I have everything that is needed.  Feel free to PM me any time.  Also, if you want to start a new thread, that sounds good to me!  Sounds like PacWest is headed down the same path as well.

  • 01-27-2009 10:32 AM In reply to

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Faith, I also have no interest in arguing this or dealing with someone who makes something out of nothing. If it wasn't a big deal then why did you make it one by dissecting my post? YOU alone made the words "small town" a big deal. No one else seemed to read it and try to make me look insensative. I have no interest in discussing further with you or continuing to post back and forth. I'm done with this nonsense. Erika in CA
  • 01-27-2009 12:13 PM In reply to

    • Faith
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-05-2007
    • USA
    • Posts 28

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    OKAY, sweetie.  That's fine.

  • 01-27-2009 2:08 PM In reply to

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    Paula, I've been out for 13 years too.  I was looking over an application recently, and the Employment History section made me chuckle.  You wanna contact my former employer?  Uh...okay.  I can't guarantee he'll remember me though.  Or that he's still alive.  Big Smile

    Faith, I have 2 girls, 8th and 4th grade.  The lower grades don't require as much time, but as the work got more challenging (starting with grade 6), I felt it was necessary for me to really be on top of it. 

    For those interested in exploring "Life After Homeschooling," I started a new thread:

    http://group.calvertschool.org/Community/forums/p/1390/6119.aspx#6119

    Lori
  • 01-27-2009 3:05 PM In reply to

    • Faith
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-05-2007
    • USA
    • Posts 28

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    LaughingWater,  that is what I hear.  Guess I better hurry before I have to deal with more prep work.  See you on the other thread!  Smile

  • 06-02-2009 5:07 PM In reply to

    Re: New to Calvert and homeschooling

    I know this post was put up in January but for the price of more then one child I wanted to add for anyone reading this that for K and on you can re-use the program you have and pay a lower cost for the things that have been added and workbooks ect. That's what I'm looking forward to.

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