We started using Calvert when my oldest son was 5 years old. The curriculum was provided by the cyber school that we had chosen to use, and we were excited to get started. I had previously been a bit of a homeschooling "snob", turning up my nose at "boxed curriculum", envisioning a more unschool-y lifestyle. As it turns out, the dreaded boxed curriculum was just what we needed.
I opened the lesson manual and immediately fell in love. There in front of me was a list, with boxes to check, of every single item on the day's schedule. Check boxes! Well, aside from my beloved check boxes, I discovered my son loved his books just as much as I loved mine. He liked the colorful workbook pages and the hands-on activities. He continued with the Calvert curriculum through 2nd grade and it worked well for him. My second son (who has a completely different learning style, interestingly) has also enjoyed the same curriculum. We found the K4-2nd grade work in Calvert thorough, engaging, and well-paced, as well as easy to follow for me as the teacher. I found the readers to be pretty typical fare for these grades. Not lofty literature. Not grand classical education, surely, but a good beginning. Useful for the purpose of teaching reading and engaging the children in a story.
Now, I must say that if we had done *only* Calvert and stuck rigidly to the books, it might have been boring. For us Calvert was just a jumping off point. We found it easy to complete the required work in time (or ahead of time, as my oldest finished K5 and 1st grade within one year). Then we moved on to other learning activities. What I appreciated about this setup was that I, as a new homeschooling mom, had everything laid out for me and the reassurance that we were accomplishing everything that needed to be done (according to PA state standards), and more, and in an enjoyable way. It also gave my husband, somewhat of a homeschool skeptic, tangible, regular "proofs" that his children were learning and that his somewhat absent minded wife was actually managing to teach them.
I did run into one issue with K5, the suggestion to allow my kindergartner to use "creative spelling", which I personally think is counter productive to good spelling habits. However, since the rest of the phonics and spelling program is perfectly reasonable, I chalked that one up to human error and ignored the suggestion.
(Sachse, TX USA)
I used Calvert Kindergarten for a short time with my son. I liked the stories and poems and the games in the program. I was a new mom to a second child, though and found it hard to focus on all of the directions for each lesson (I had an older version of the program). In the end, I stopped using it a little less than 1/2 way through.
Product:Calvert Spelling CD-ROM
Levels Used:4th grade and 6th grade
Dates Used:08-09 school year
Likes:LOVED this program. Just load it and let the kids begin spelling. This program gives a pretest at the beginning of the lesson. Then the child must complete a series of games that teach the missed words. Each lesson also presents a spelling rule that applies to the list of words. After completing the exercises the spelling test is given. There is also a creative writing assignment to complete the weeks work.
Dislikes: The only thing I didn't like was that the program doesn't keep track of the grades. When the kids finished a test I had to look at it and write it in the grade book.