Thursday, February 9, 2012

Calvert Home Curriculum - Ready lesson plans

Being the homeschool junkie that I am, I am always on the lookout for homeschool curriculum to try out and I have also previously put up a post on Adventures in Learning where it is a ready-packed curriculum with daily lesson plans as well as lesson and basic art materials.

Calvert is the first homeschool curriculum I tried out last year when I stumble upon it reading up on the web. What attracted me was that it was organized (clear progression path for the child) and it is an established organization. Additionally, for a first time homeschool mum, I like that the website seems useful (can track your child’s progress, etc.) and it is accredited in the US.

When it ran a promotion then, without any hesitation, I shipped the set in. Here’s a quick look:

What the whole kit consists of

There are manuals for lesson plans, read aloud along with art supplies like modeling clay, safety scissors and even construction paper.

The lesson manual comes with clearly daily plans but the teacher definitely needs to read prior and prep the materials. 

The materials are quite comprehensive as it includes Stories and Poems book, the lesson manual and even activity books as below

The inside page of Road to Reading Activity Book

The inside page of Math Readiness

The lesson plans are very thorough as it includes various areas from Discussion to Number Readiness to Stories and Poems to Games, etc. These correspond with the books that they have provided as part of the kit

However, I struggle with this curriculum a bit. The compilation of Stories and Nursery Rhymes, etc., seem to be designed for older kids or for read aloud because they are very wordy and the font size is small with hardly any pictures. So while the parent can point and read along, for younger children, this will definitely not be ideal since a young child would likely look or walk away. So, I did not feel that this would aid in early literacy. 

Additionally, one of my other gripes is though the lesson plans are thorough, but they seem very "dry". There are no crafts lessons mentioned (at least in the front part of the manual) and the activities are not as creative as Adventures in Learning. Rather, the art part is very "free form".

So I have to improvise and extend a lot on my own. With the help of another friend who also ordered the same curriculum, we searched for craft ideas and writing exercises online and shared the files.

Below are our extended sessions:

One good thing about this curriculum is that Music is included and it comes with a CD and music scores too so it is great for homeschoolers who are able to play instruments.

Below is a sample from "Poems"

Here, the free form art part from then lesson plan suggested for the child to paint based on her / his understanding of it.

I then extended to ask Dumpling how would she depict "fresh air" sandwiched in between and she chose a "happy colour" - yellow.

For me, I do not think that this is enough as a core and comprehensive curriculum. In fact, I stopped barely 1/3 through the curriculum and am struggling to start on it again. But for parents who want to supplement what the school is already doing and do casual home activities without having to research much, this may be enough especially if you are not really into craft sessions.

Here's Calvert's website: And for a limited period, they are offering 30% off their curriculum. :)  

I took a break from this curriculum for more than half a year because Dumpling was just not engaged when I read the stories from the book as the format is basically 1 page / story with only one picture and it is in black and white.

However, when I continued with the program earlier, she was more ready. She sat through the story and read out some parts too. We finished the session in 30 mins. The Math bit at the earlier part of the book is quite gentle, more to build readiness through sort, games, introduction of concepts. So for this area, I feel that it is a tad too slow for Dumpling. For parents looking for a supplementary program for like a 30-40mins session, I think this would be enough as it is quite direct and fast.

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