My “second” year of home school arrived. I spent countless hours reading and deciding what would be the best curriculum available, listened to recommendations from other parents and educator friends, and invested way too many hours in creating a curriculum for my two students. I spent at least twice as much time putting materials together as I did teaching them. And I found myself to be a latent curriculum junkie, because as soon as something became not “fun”, I was back at the bookstore, looking for the next Holy Grail of instruction to keep them interested. I spent way too much money on books and materials, and only utilized about half of what I had.
At the end of that year, the knot at the end of my rope was slipping and a friend suggested that I look at the Calvert curriculum. She said that the issue I struggled so much with – that of putting together lesson plans – would be surmounted with the Calvert program, and she introduced me to a local family who were using the curriculum with their three daughters.
What drew me was the fact that there was an instructional manual that outlined everything I would have to do in a day – no more lesson planning. In desperation I thought that this might be the answer.
I weighed the fact that everything was completed up front for me – the lesson plans, the exercises, and importantly for me, the answer keys (I have an inherent dislike of being wrong!) I liked the fact that the entire year was complete. That it came together in a box, and that it was integrated – so what we were studying in history was also what we were studying in geography. I REALLY liked the fact that Calvert offered me the ability to test my student’s readiness for a grade – so I knew up front that I had purchased the correct grade level, and I did not have to guess if I was “shooting over their heads”. The final rung of the ladder for me was the fact that there were teachers I could contact when I did not understand, or my student did not understand. I actually remember talking on the phone with an education counselor and insisting that she clarify the number of times I could call – I could not believe that this was part of the service Calvert offered, and that there was no additional fee. I had not found that at ALL, in ANY other curriculum I examined.
So that fall, I ordered my first Calvert curriculums, not really having explored the whole world of homeschooling, but rather exploring vicariously the world my friends were living in. It was my friends’ recommendations that drew me to Calvert – and pointed me in the right direction. Truthfully, I had to hastily justify what seemed like a significant upfront expense for Kaely and Lucas’ education. My husband’s only comment was that it seemed like a lot of money to spend. I just knew there was something more here than I found other places. The accounting would REALLY come later.