As a homeschooling mom, I'd heard of Calvert Homeschool before and had it on my list of possibilities to check into for next year. So I was elated when I was offered the opportunity to review Calvert Homeschool Online! We decided to test it out with my older two so they can work more independently on math and science.
I'm a mom, so I understand how busy life can get. Sometimes things are running great and you have time to sit down and watch a movie. Other times, you're trying to figure out how to multitask while brushing your teeth. As a homeschooling mom, my children's education is very important to me so I'm always searching for the perfect curriculum to help them learn in the best way possible. Some seasons of my life have allowed me to spend a lot of time working on guiding the boys through lessons and their pain points. Other seasons…let's just say having a curriculum that allows the boys to work independently is a sanity saver.
What's included in Calvert Homeschool Online?
Calvert Homeschool Online comes in individual and family plans. Each plan had a teacher dashboard, so you can set up your school year, add your students, choose their courses, and assign their lessons. They offer over 45 classes online from 3rd to 12th grade, covering the core subjects: math, language arts, science, and social studies.
Setup is a breeze and the dashboard is really well set up and easy to get to different aspects. I take pleasure in the little things in life, so I loved the themes. It was super easy to change mine to better fit me. And change again later. They have plenty of options for everyone or you can leave it as the default.
They offer automatic grading, recordkeeping, and easy communication between parents and students. My boys work independently for part of the school day while I work. When they are doing bookwork, I often have to stop to answer questions or they have to wait for me to help them with something.
What are some of the features of Calvert Homeschool?
One of my favorite features of Calvert Homeschool is the notes. They can send me notes when they have a question about something or even when they want to learn more about something. They still interrupt me when they need help understanding something about the actual assignment but followup questions are done via notes now. It's a HUGE timesaver for me and saves all of us a lot of frustration.
And I can send them notes back! They have essay/written questions that I have to manually grade. Since it isn't an English class, I let a bit slide on grammar and spelling. I grade based on their understanding of the course material but I often include notes to help them write better.
Another feature I used recently is the assignment rescheduling. We got hit with a nasty cold that lasted 2 weeks between the kids and then I ended up with a super fun sinus infection. While the boys were down sick, everyone missed a bit of school. Bookwork was easy to just pick back up, but I was worried about the boys having assignments showing as overdue. No need! I logged in, looked at their calendar, and saw this nifty reschedule button.
It took me a few to figure it out (probably from sleep deprivation and this horrid sinus headache) but I was able to pull their missed lessons into the future while completed coursework was left alone. I was also able to change the days of the week we do school. We do school 6 days a week, but on Fridays, the boys all attend classes through a local program. Now I can remove Fridays from their schedule and easily add it back once their Friday courses end for the term.
How do I know which grade to start my child on?
Calvert Homeschool offers online placement testing for grades 3-12. With placement testing, you can identify any gaps in your child's education, where they excel, and where they may struggle. It is not unusual to have one child doing coursework in several different grades.
How did our family like Calvert Homeschool?
We only used Calvert Homeschool for my 14-year-old and 12-year-old. A family plan only covers 3 students and I couldn't pick just one of the twins to try something out.
Connor, my 12-year-old, has never liked science. To be honest, he doesn't like anything but math. Algebra threw him for a little bit of a loop “Mom, I think they made a mistake. There are letters are in my math.” but he quickly adjusted and continues to excel there. Every other subject is a struggle to find an in. Language, I've cracked with our curriculum, Goosebump books, and book vs movie debates.
Science though…I think part of his refusal to enjoy it is because my oldest LOVES science and can talk about new scientific discoveries and random science facts for hours. While doing his first science lesson on Calvert Homeschool Online, Connor started sharing information and looking up related information. In the last month, he has actually reminded me that it was time to do his science several times!
The student dashboard was really easy for him to navigate. It lays out each unit with a start date, so both of us can see at a glance what he will be learning when (which makes it easy for me to plan books to check out from the library to complement his class) and it doesn't mark a unit as complete until after I've graded essays and he's completed any work I've sent back to him.
My oldest really prefers book work over computer classes. I keep hoping he'll change his mind on that, but no luck so far. He does his coursework on Calvert Homeschool, but he doesn't get excited about it the way he does his books and documentaries. If electronics time wasn't tied to completing their daily schoolwork, I think we'd struggle to get him to do it. I prefer for the kids to find joy in their schoolwork and truly learn, so we've agreed that after this term he can switch back to his preferred curriculum.
I will probably be removing him and letting the twins try out Calvert for math after this term ends. They've watched Connor do some of his science and seem quite interested in it.
Overall Thoughts on Calvert Homeschool
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