What I am Reviewing.
Calvert Homeschool Online.
Online homeschool, homeschool online
Individual and Family Subscriptions.
Providing quality education using multi-media lessons, hands-on experiences, customizable lesson plans, and easy to access dashboards for parent/teacher and student.
Giving you full online access to 45 courses, this online homeschooling option also provides numerous features such as interactive lessons, automatic grading, and monthly payments.
Details of Calvert Homeschool
It does take some getting used to, the system that Calvert uses as their base. You don’t go to the main site to do your learning, but to the online Calvert Homeschool site. This caused me no end of frustration until I figured that part out. 🙂 Learn from me… connect with their help department!
How we Used It
My original goal, was to have my son use the world history course. He’s currently working through material for world war 2 and I noted it had a few days on this topic. I struggled initially figuring out how to get him to this section and the amazingly helpful staff at Calvert helped me learn how to assign them and close off the rest of the course. WOOT WOOT!
He started, and he admittedly tried. But Calvert wasn’t a good fit for him. He is predominately an audio learner, and Calvert suits other learning styles better. Since Calvert DOES work for me, I stepped into the gap. I’ve been brushing up on my physics and engaging in a biology course.
Details of Calvert Homeschool On Line
Two sections to Calvert
There are two distinct sections to Calvert, the first is the parental section where you can choose lessons, customize how they will work, and grade assignments. The second section is where the student will find their assignments and complete their course work. Each requires their own login information.
In the teacher or parental dashboard you can set up your courses, school, and students quite easily. As a parent you control how your child is able to complete their course. What constitutes an A, how they answer questions, and other important details. With the 3-12 package you can assign ANY course to your student. You will find them under each grade level. These are the options I had for grade nine.
I ended up choosing two courses from grade 10 and just one from grade nine. Grade 10 was Biology and World History, and grade nine was physics/chemistry. Adding another class later isn’t an issue, just go into the curriculum set up area and you are on the way.
If you ever get lost or don’t know what you are doing they have put together helpful manuals to assist you.
My desire is to walk you through EVERYTHING but that would make this review FAR too long, so let me just walk you through the sections I used the most.
Everything is easily right at hand. Everything that is clickable is in blue. I used the assigned work and grading tasks the most.
I absolutely loved how easy they made it for me to grade the assignments. Just click on the link and grade.
One thing that I couldn’t figure was how to know what mark to assign a given assignment. Should I give it a five out six, or a 2 out of 3? It wasn’t, at least for me, always an intuitive decision. How to fix that, I haven’t a clue. But we muddled through and grades were assigned.
Like the parent/teacher board, the student dashboard is easy to navigate.
You can see at a glance what you have to work on (a report, experiment or project) and what lesson is up next. A list of items needed for assignments can be found so it’s easy enough to have supplies at hand. One of the assignment (about needing to closely observe for experiments) called for a bowl of peanuts, my son and I (cause I told him about this one and he thought it sounded fun) used a bowl of dried fruit instead. We choose to not get lost on the details and peanuts we would have had to purchase. 🙂
Lesson Set up
One of the beauties of Calvert is that you aren’t tied down to working at home on a specified device. As long as you have the internet, you can work off your laptop, tablet or phone.
Each lesson follows a predictable format. Overview, lesson pages, questions based on the lesson. Each lesson can easily be completed in a day. Stopping and starting again is not a problem either, because we all know that things happen and sometimes lessons started have to wait.
On the overview page the student is introduced to the vocabulary words used throughout. With these words comes the vocab arcade.
While I think it’s great to have a way to help students practice their vocabulary, I had to wonder why they chose to have animated characters that would clap for a correct answer. It makes sense for elementary school students, but not for high school. Neither I or my 14 year old were impressed with the arcade.
I found the flash cards to be helpful. It’s a simple platform that simply helps you learn new words.
What a lesson looks like
The overview pages introduces the lesson, showing the highlights, and giving needed vocabulary words to understand the lesson.
One of the things I really enjoyed was that videos come with transcripts! So for someone like me who would rather watch a video than listen to it. I can avoid the video and read my way through. Using this option of course is not mandatory, but it’s a lovely aid for those who have English as a second language, or other comprehension issues.
I do have a bone to pick though. Growing up in Canada, I am well used to the metric system. Using a centimeter/millimeter rule in a lesson for accuracy and then not actually being accurate. It’s just wrong. Accuracy is not guessing. If you are measuring something you DO need to be accurate but you can’t on a centimeter ruler be accurate to a 100th place value if they don’t have a 100th place value on the ruler. Anything else is just guessing.
Other than that particular math question, overall I found this secular, online homeschool option to be a good program.
Should You Use Calvert Homeschool?
There are mixed feelings in this household toward Calvert Homeschool. Read all the way through to understand why. 🙂
Normally I would have my son speak his mind, but his mind is not disposed kindly toward Calvert. He doesn’t like it. Would he adapt if I told him to, yes, but relationship is always before schooling. There are a myriad of things that he doesn’t like, but most of it comes down to personal preference and he has other avenues he’d rather pursue.
Therefore I ended up signing up the lad for two additional courses. These courses are Science300 and Integrated Physics and Chemistry. I did this so that I could review the program well. Calvert was kind enough to let us have six months, so they deserve someone reviewing their program well. The end result being: that although, like the lad, I dislike certain aspects, I do overall like the rest of the program.
What I think:
I love that if I know the material already I can skip ahead to the questions.
I love the the first page of each new section is an overview of what I will be learning about. It sets my brain in the right direction.
I dislike that for essay questions that it comes up in a F for the final grade (when you click on complete lesson). Like my lad I find that rather demotivating. I would rather it would say something like “awaiting marking by teacher”, or something, anything else than F.
I like that each page is focused. You can jump back and forth from one page to the next. You can rush through, or take your time. This aspect gives it a feel of a self-paced course. I love that the main page spells out what the next assignments are and that they are clickable.
Would it be useful for high school students?
In a nutshell yes, even though it is not a good fit for my lad, but I think I would have liked it at his age. The difference being in our learning styles. I like being able to jump back and forth, reading and re-reading and he likes to simply move straight-forward. He is an auditory learner and I’m a reader.
Calvert, I think, works best for students who like to read and who pick up on details quickly while reading. My son, reads, but when he doesn’t get something, falls back to searching for videos that will explain it better. He does not feel confident doing that with the world history course from Calvert as the questions are based directly on the lesson rather than on an overall concept.
The fact that there are a good variety of projects, it is highly customizable, and the excellent customer service makes Calvert an option you should explore further. Use the free trial period. See if it’s a good fit for your student, and give it a go. 🙂
45 members of the crew took part in reviewing Calvert. You should check out what they have to say! 🙂