Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Calvert School 5th grade Review

Well, there's nothing like being poky, now is there? We finished school back in early June, of course, but I've been ignoring that. Now, with Ryan starting high school tomorrow, it's time to stop ignoring everything. And I received a question from a lady named Dee Dee regarding Calvert School's Fifth Grade, with no way to reply to her directly, so I'll try to address it here.

Mark's a year ahead in math, so he used Calvert's Sixth Grade math. One of the nice things about Calvert School is that you can choose math above or below your child's grade level, and the math book is not marked with a grade level, so it's just math! Calvert starts with a test to review what the child knows, and then provides 10 review lessons that can be used to refresh the child's memory if he/she is shaky on anything. So, Dee Dee, if your daughter is a little shaky in math, as indicated by the placement test, then use fourth grade math with her. It's still more advanced than public school's fifth grade math, and fouth grade math provides an excellent review of the 4 basic math functions, followed by more advanced concepts, including fractions, word problems, probability, etc.
Calvert's fifth grade included a number of good books. First up was Shiloh, about a boy who took in a beagle. This book presented an interesting moral dilemma for my little guy, who did not like the story because the dog, Shiloh, belonged to a local lout, who abused his dogs. While Mark knows it's wrong to mistreat animals, he also knows it's wrong to steal someone else's dog. He struggled, therefore, with this book, because he had a hard time finding a "good guy" in the book. I was proud that he saw the wrong on the part of both the parties involved with this poor beagle. The next book was The Sign of the Beaver, set in Maine in the late 1700s, about a white boy who's befriended by a tribe of Indians. This was Mark's favorite book of the year. American Tall Tales was a series of short stories about legends we all know, including Paul Bunyan. Call It Courage and Sing Down the Moon both dealt with native children dealing with the process of growing up, Number the Stars was about two girls in Denmark, one Jewish and one Christian, during World War II, and the Christian girl's family helping the Jewish girl's family escape the Nazis. The last book was The Secret Garden, traditionally read by girls, but both of my boys have reluctantly enjoyed it. Dee Dee, in the scholastic version of this course, two of the books are eliminated. Calvert's teacher manual is excellent, because it gives us an introduction to read to the child before he starts reading the assignment, and comprehension/discussion questions for after the reading is complete. Since your daughter is a reluctant reader, you can have her alternate reading aloud pages with you, which will improve her reading comprehension and speed. If you're willing to work at it, she can do this.

Grammar is covered in a Calvert School written workbook, and is a very thorough course. Critical Thinking and Reading Comprehension workbooks help enhance the reading and composition processes, and compositions are assigned, with them telling the parent how to teach the child to write better. Spelling is the Scott Foresman program, and is evidently well liked by others (although I still prefer Calvert's original 10 words per day spelling program). Science and History are nationally known programs, and Calvert goes through the entire book during the year - something schools don't do. History is a US History course, and my little guy enjoyed it. The Child's History of Art course covers the history of painting, starting with the Caves at Lascaux, continuing through Egyptian art and right up to Picasso and modern artists. It's great exposure for children to a subject many adults know only vaguely!

Dee Dee, I hope I've answered your questions. If not, please leave me your email address (I promise I'll delete it from public view as soon as I write it down), so I can correspond with you directly.

For anyone looking for a great homeschool curriculum, Calvert School delivers. It's not cheap, but it is very thorough, and a lot less than any private school tuition, even parochial schools.


Debbie Cook said...

I think I'm reading backwards. LOL! Shiloh was/is one of our favorites, and we read all in the series out loud to/with each other every night. And then again. I saw the movie a few years back - totally disappointing. But then they usually are when based on books.

TavoLini said...

Oh wow...every single one of those books was really important to me, growing up. Especially Sign of the Beaver! Fascinating review--thank you.

Dee Dee said...

Thank you again for this info. Can you email me and let me know if you were recommending the scholastic version instead of the other? I wasn't sure, sorry.
Dee Dee