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Calvert Reviews

The Calvert Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grade homeschool curriculum is built on a rich foundation of reading, writing, and arithmetic. That foundation is then layered with history, science, music, geography, and the arts to ensure no gaps in instruction. Each course combines the best classroom-tested materials, teacher-created Lesson Manuals, and proven educational methodologies all in one complete, meticulously planned curriculum that guides you through each day of homeschooling with easy-to-use lesson plans. Calvert is available for enrollment in Calvert Classic, Calvert Classic with ATS (Advisory Teaching Service), and Calvert Virtual School.

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(12 Reviews)

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  1. Calvert Review by Erin
    Pros: Secular, BrainPop access
    Cons: Too expensive, not a complete curriculum, lacking old Calvert quality

    Grades Used: 3rd and 5th this year, K-8th previously

    My family has been using the Calvert homeschool curriculum, grades 3 and 5, for the 2018-19 school year for almost 2 months now, and I am ready to throw what there is of it in the trash and start again. We will not be using it again next year. A little background on our history with Calvert: this is the 14th year I have homeschooled my children, and we have exclusively used Calvert for the lower grades. Over the course of 13 full years of using the Calvert curriculum, we have covered the entire range from Kindergarten to 8th grade. We are not new to Calvert. I have always been happy with the education my kids were getting, even as things began to slip the past year or two. This year is an entirely different matter.

    Calvert has revamped their curriculum to the point that it is not recognizable as Calvert anymore. Gone are the rich science and social studies/history texts that covered topics in depth. Now, the texts provided give a few paragraphs on a subject and ask the kids to learn more by doing a project. The projects can be done by a single student, but, based on the manuals, they appear to be geared towards a classroom setting because students are encouraged to share their work/ideas/findings with other students. This curriculum was obviously not put together with the single homeschool student in mind.

    The enrichment subjects that augmented a student’s learning and became a highlight of the school day, like Greek mythology in 3rd grade, have been replaced with a physical education subject, most of which used to be covered in science.

    Grammar and spelling are a thing of the past. There may be a paragraph or two in the manual each day regarding some grammar rules, but often the rules they introduce are glossed over so there is no real understanding of them. Forget about being able to put the rules into practice. There are no workbooks, worksheets, or any form of practical usage in which to apply the rules and build a solid foundation in grammar. Spelling does not exist. At all. My kids actually asked me to supplement spelling for them because they missed it – and this is a subject that one of them doesn’t even particularly like. When kids can see something is lacking in their education, there is a problem with the curriculum.

    One bright spot is that Calvert has kept its own art curriculum. Unfortunately, even if you bought the physical books for the 2018-19 curriculum, like we did, the art text is not included. It is only available online, and the links to the current chapter take you to the beginning of the book, so you have to scroll down to get to the appropriate chapter. Every. Time. This might not be an issue for the first couple of chapters, but there is no reason why a student should have to scroll through an entire book to get to the last chapters. Luckily, my family has a physical copy of the book from previous years, so this is not an issue for us, but it would be a great annoyance if we did not have that available.

    In their quest to push everything online, the Navigator that students can use to access their daily schedule and online materials, such as videos and texts, is fairly useless. Calvert does not, in my view, provide adequate assessments anymore. There used to be short online quizzes for each subject that students could take after covering that day’s material. Then there would be longer online quizzes at the end of a unit that were used to review material before taking an in-depth, offline test on the material that had been covered to that point. I’m not one for subjecting kids to a lot of testing, but providing the short quizzes did allow the students to see if they were understanding the material. Now, the only assessment on a daily basis for a large portion of the material is answering the question, “How well do you feel you understand the concepts from this lesson part?”. There are some longer quizzes that briefly review material at the end of a unit but no formal tests, which may or may not be a positive, depending on your view of testing.

    Links to videos, activities, and online articles are often broken. They either won’t open a page, or if they do, the page is broken, or it is the wrong page, or it requires a login, or the page is filled with ads, or the video just won’t play. A lot of time is being wasted with a poor product. BrainPop is a big hit in our household, though, so there’s that.

    The Navigator also does not allow the home teacher to clear out assessments, so if a student enters a manual answer, that day’s lesson will always stay as pending. I guess Calvert is expecting all of its students to use the ATS program.

    Manuals are filled with errors. It is obvious that no one took the time to proofread them with mistakes like the following sentence being common: “What do ou think it are?” That’s an easy mistake to just laugh off, but when the manuals consistently get the page numbers for math work wrong, too much time is wasted trying to figure out what information is supposed to be covered and what workbook pages are supposed to be used. Quite often, titles that are used in the manual for subjects such as English, science, and social studies do not match titles that are used in the texts, so, again, a lot of time is wasted trying to get your kids on, literally, the same page as you.

    As a long-time Calvert user, I am disappointed to say that I can no longer recommend it to anyone. The company has decided to put profits over performance, and it shows. The program is too expensive for what it provides, and your money would be better spent putting together your own curriculum.

  2. Calvert Review by Candice
    Pros: Lessons are all planned out for you
    Cons: So much busy work

    Grades Used: Preschool-4th grade

    Let me preface this by saying that I was a Calvert homeschool kid. Most of my relatives were also Calvert kids. We all transitioned easily into college, which was the biggest reason why I choose Calvert for my kids. But we won’t be coming back next year. They switched to a new “project based learning” model which might as well be code for massive amounts of busy work. I’ll give an example, my 1st grader was assigned to read/listen to the children’s book Stella Luna every day for several days. The point was to be able to understand plot/characters etc. He understood that on the 1st day. Every day after that just made us both hate the poor book. Also there is no phonics, for my 1st grader! There are, however daily paragraphs assigned for him to write. Similar issues with my 4th grader. She has no spelling words assigned, and once you wade through the ocean of busywork; math, history, and geography are a solid 1-2 years below what she last year in Calvert 3rd grade. I’m so very disappointed. This is not the private school education on a budget that it used to be. It’s public school busy work that’s even been dumbed down. I had two kids who loved school, now they dred it.

  3. Calvert Review by Rod
    Pros: None
    Cons: Tons

    Grades Used: K-1

    I highly recommend staying away from this program. That is, unless you want to spend a ton of time(wasted time) trying to figure out how to use it, want your child to be bored, enjoy unnecessary repetition, have 8 solid hours a day to commit, have no other children also needing attention, want your home schooled child to be bombarded with public school propaganda and more.

    I am so disappointed in Calvert I am considering spending time setting up a Facebook page and a couple other avenues to warn parents to avoid this program.

    I badly want to go another direction but they don’t give refunds and we used(wasted) our funds for the year so we are stuck.

  4. Calvert Review by Julia
    Pros: they use to be better
    Cons: Confusing platform, expensive for the quality of the material

    Grades Used: Kindergarten thru 5th

    I used Calvert Kindergarten-5th Grade. We are in our 5th Grade year now. I have witnessed the steady decline of Calvert over the last three years. They changed their format to a more online presence. It used to be a nice blend of books and online. I am a single working mom and I was happy to pay more for Calvert as they made my life so much easier. The curriculum was solid and all organized for me. Now, however, that has all changed. The schedule is all online and very confusing to follow. I spend a lot of time looking for links that don’t exist. Most the time the videos that I spent 15 looking for are a one minute and thirty seconds long and not worth the effort. They have made a decision to switch most of their academics to online only. The people, like myself, who still value books and working offline are finding this to be a very difficult transition. The schedules exist online, and is confusing anyway. So I gave up on that and decided to course out my own schedule. Which, was the reason I wanted to do Calvert in the first place. After a few days of working in the 5th Grade curriculum it is sub par what I have experienced in the past. I was so dissatisfied with their Social Studies and Science curriculum I decided to drop those. It was as if someone just copied from an Encyclopedia. It was very dry and not written in an engaging or even interesting way. There are so many better programs for those subject for much cheaper. Next year I will not continue with Calvert. The quality of their support, education and platform have all gone down hill. Which is very upsetting for someone who thought we would use Calvert from Kinder through high school. I feel like they are choosing profit over product right now. I would not recommend them.

  5. Calvert Review by Anna JJ
    Pros: all-in-one box of school. great history & tradition with the name.
    Cons: too much busy work. not enough basics. too time-intensive

    Grades Used: k-3 this time, k-7 and 5-8 used in the 90's, royal road used in the '50's.

    it’s okay, but disappointing compared to the Calvert of old.

    my grandmother was in the Calvert day school as a child, she purchased their ‘royal road’ devices and some other helps to assist my dad when he was a child, and my brother and I were both fully homeschooled with Calvert in the late 1980’s and early ’90’s.

    now my mom is using Calvert with my nephew who is 8. She started with Kindergarten and they’re now up to 3rd grade. Compared to the older version this has basically been dissapointing. We love that everything you need still arrives in the box. Unfortunately this is so strongly geared to checking all the boxes and looking exactly like a public school. It is filled with extraneous, unnecessary extra ‘busy work’ with lots of pages to fill in and tons of ‘make a chart. fill in a graph’ while missing out on some key foundations that should be there for a true Classical education. There was WAAAY WAY too much writing at far to early an age. There should have been copywork and fun story reading instead of this making up stories. Mom has cut out things along the way to try and handle this problem with math and writing. Meanwhile there should be more basic memorization, and less insistence on learning sheer masses of data. it is so like modern curricula that try to teach STEM and all kinds of things that amount to parlor tricks done by a child whose brain isn’t developed to understand and manipulate and truly use that information yet.

    It sadly contains most of what we look to avoid by homeschooling. We want more time with the sand table, poking sticks in the woods, and going along with the adults on errands, and less time wasted in needless form fill-ins. more memorization of times tables, less coloring of picture graphs. more foundation, less flimsy styrofoam-style walls of clever information that ultimately means nothing.

    More of Hillyer’s amazing designs for things like art history, grammar, truly basic math skills, mythology, etc. Less of the modern nonsense and fewer textbooks that clearly are marketed straight for classroom use in the dysfunctional American modern school system. More latin (or preferably Greek), less first-grade science. A lot of the things included are great for middle & high school but simply don’t need to be included in the youngest grades.

    We want school to fit our lives and this has been 3 and a half years of tying ourselves in knots to fit life around the school. too many books, 5x the amount of teacher manuals there should be, and just plain too much. After hoping it would change we are now giving up for 4th grade and will be shopping other curricula.

    Unfortunately there are sections of this we intended to use with the second child. We were told we’d be able to purchase re-supply kits of just the consumable items for child # 2 and now have been told they’re overhauling the system and we have to re-purchase the whole thing. UGH. now we have 3 bookcases of saved texts and teacher manuals that are useless??? sad for the planet, and really sad for us.

  6. Calvert Review by Jon
    Pros: Provides a complete and accredited high school education
    Cons: None

    Grades Used: 4-9 and continuing

    My son is a freshman in Calvert and we have used the program since 4th grade. We enjoy the fact that this program is complete, secular and accredited. If you graduate from high school at Calvert you get a real high school diploma. You do not have to explain your homeschool lessons or worry about Calvert is less like homeschool and more like a regular school provided online. We like this format since we have no opposition to traditional schools and only homeschool so that we can travel frequently. With this program you have to do the work. If you like free-range homeschool or simply want to skip lessons, or you do not have the ability to understand and assist your child in learning, this program will probably not work for you. This is especially true at the high school level. That said, even though t the format is rigid, you do have 12 full months to complete any given grade in school. That is plenty of time to slow down where your child is struggling and focus on those areas. Conversely, you can fly through areas your child has already mastered. As with any program there are some quarks but that would be true in any bricks and mortar school too.

  7. Calvert Review by Marlene
    Pros: All online curriculum
    Cons: Expensive, poor communication, no refunds given

    Grades Used: 9-10 ATS

    2nd year with Calvert highschool ATS program.
    We used the middle school ATS full time and really liked it. The highschool transition becomes an all online program which is nice. However the school needs to work out alot of issues still. We did full time for ninth grade and the core classes for tenth. We are just more then half way through and have already dropped 3 of the 4 classes. There are so many problems that we will not be returning after finishing our last class. There is a way too common of a problem with teachers not following the schools policy’s for grading papers on time. We dropped two classes because of this. It’s taking several weeks to get work graded. Also when asking for help one of the teachers would just direct my kid to sources to figure out our on her own. We dropped the history class before even starting it because of how they grade the lessons. While reading through the lesson your student would come upon 1 to 3 questions to answer. Is you miss just one of them, them you get an F. So you either score an A or an F. Then you do a quiz after the lesson which is typically 5 questions. And every day is like this, two grades. The classes are all set up that way, a very test happy curriculum. The teachers often missed the DBA appts, so they called them way back this year, so will see how it goes with the one class we have left. We are only keeping this one because the teacher actually responds back in a timely matter and usually grades things up to about a week out. The others teachers were taking 3-4 weeks to grade assignments. Also, getting Calvert to refund money is next to impossible! Once you pay them you will never get it back even though the teachers are horrible.I Seriously DO NOT recommend Calvert for your high school option, unless you maybe do the classic where you are the teacher and don’t have to deal with them. A total waste of time and money for us!!

  8. Calvert Review by Jessica
    Grades Used: K-2

    I used the Calvert program for K-2 with my daughter. For kindergarten it was great, especially the Calvert Math. First grade was ok, if you don’t count the Singapore Math. Second grade required so much restrictive writing that she truly hated school even though she likes to write stories on her own. We have since changed schools. She has now completed 4th grade. She still loves to write short stories on her own for the fun of it. So I think that for her age and attention span Calvert simply required too much writing. The readers were excellent and built reading mastery. The science books were nicely illustrated. I would highly recommend this program to anyone for kindergarten. Beyond that, it would depend entirely upon each family.

  9. Calvert Review by Robbie
    Pros: Everything you need in one package!
    Cons: Not balanced

    Grades Used: 6

    This is our first year of using Calvert curriculum. I chose it because I wanted something more rigorous in composition and writing. I definitely got that! Although we haven’t completed the year, I feel we have been with it long enough to give an objective review.

    I feel the grammar is really weak. It is only teaching the basics – things he learned in 3rd and 4th grade – like subjects, predicates, basic diagramming (no adverb/adjective phrases) etc. Yet the composition and writing are quite rigorous and almost overkill. The reading is so tedious that he can’t even enjoy what he’s reading. He is required to take detailed notes and complete numerous activity pages, as well as answer essay questions after every lesson. Though these are not graded, they are things that he is tested on.

    I’m not really as concerned that all the classes match with regard to topic (history matching geography matching reading material, etc.) but that the classes are challenging, yet interesting, without being overwhelming. At 6th grade he is expected to take DETAILED notes in history and reading as well as being expected to answer detailed essay questions on tests. For a 6th grade boy, this is torture. We are enrolled in the grading program, so there is no getting around this as he is being tested in the same way. It’s seriously torture, did I mention that?

    The math is great! I feel the online lessons are well done and plenty of practice is provided. We can skip what is not needed or use the extra practice if needed as well.

    Spelling is also excellent.

    Science also seems well balanced – challenging but not overwhelming. Science is my son’s favorite subject, though, and he gets it easily. For some it could be too challenging.

    Geography is good as well – challenging, requiring note taking but in an age appropriate way. The test was balanced and not overwhelming.

    I like that the lesson plans are written out – it’s easy to add enrichment or skip unnecessary busy work. But, there are things that can’t be skipped due to the rigorous testing, which is ONLY every 20 lessons. This is a LOT of material to cover in one test. I would prefer a test every 10 lessons instead. It takes us 5-6 days to prepare and then take tests. That is crazy.

    Any kind of factual test question is answered with ease but the essay questions we have to rewrite over and over. I just don’t think it’s a skill that a 6th grader, especially a boy, has yet to master, and should be required to do at the level it’s required in this curriculum.

    If you use this curriculum, unless you have to, I would not recommend the testing service. This gives you the freedom to tailor the curriculum the way you want without having to worry about what they will be tested on.

  10. Calvert Review by Arwen Weisser
    Pros: All-in-one, heavy on phonics/reading
    Cons: Repetitive, designed for large group

    Grades Used: Kindergarten

    I ordered this curriculum because I wanted an all-in-one program for my first year homeschooling. In that respect, this was great. All the bases are covered. I didn’t like that some things are designed for a classroom or that some of the supplements point towards “traditional” schooling (a book about riding the bus to school, or picking a lunchbox, or children depicted in a classroom setting). If you’re looking for something that has everything planned out, this may be for you.

  11. Calvert Review by Melissa
    Pros: I'm still thinking
    Cons: Pretty Much everything

    Grades Used: 6-7

    I was very disappointed with the Calvert program. I found that the Calvert program provided a lot of busy work. For the online resources, the computer class was a complete joke. My daughter has learned how to use MS Office programs in the fourth game. The Spelling online froze and she couldn’t get pass the one chapter so we couldn’t use it anymore. The curriculum didn’t go together. My daughter was learning about the Easter Hempisphere and then Geography about North & South America. It would have made more sense to me if the geography went with the history topics. The Literature they had me read didn’t go with the time period either. We were reading about the Middle Ages. The Grammer book was confusing and didn’t have enough exercises for practice so I had to spend time trying to find additional material for Grammer. I am very happy that I am no longer using the Calvert program.

  12. Calvert Review by Molly Lemen
    Pros: All in one no need to buy ANYTHING
    Cons: very structured, scripted lesson plans

    Grades Used: pre-k

    The positive of calvert is it really is all in one. A complete package of school for the year, even the crayons are included. I tried to use this curriculum for two years in a row though and in theory I rally like it but in actually practice I just couldn’t make it work.

    If you want something more structured, that tells you exactly what to teach and how to teach it this program might be for you. Personally I found that the topics introduced were either A)What i felt were inappropriate academics for a preschooler B) concepts already mastered by my two year old (such as color identification) or C) intended for more of a group setting rather then a single child.

    Now the ‘extras’ that came with calvert are FANTASTIC! My now almost 4 year old son still loves to use the letter puzzle that came with the program and it was a main tool used to learn is letters. The packets with songs / stories / and such were very good. The craft packet had some excellent printable to use.

    Overall I give the pre-k a 2 1/2 stars and I suspect that if you have an OLDER child who needs a lot of structure and instruction calvert may be the program for you but for pre-k I wouldn’t buy it again.

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