Cathy Duffy Reviews home > Math > Calvert Math, Courses for Grades 1 - 4

Calvert Math, Courses for Grades 1 - 4

Publisher: Calvert School
Review last updated: 2009
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Calvert Math, Courses for Grades 1 - 4

Calvert's math program is available both for students enrolled in complete grade level programs or to those who want to use only the math courses. Students enrolling in grade level programs may also be placed in the appropriate course depending upon their ability in math rather than their overall grade level. Books have hidden symbols to show grade level that prevent there being any stigma from using a "younger" book. As with other Calvert courses, the Advisory Teacher Service (ATS) for additional assistance is available at extra cost.

These math courses follow the NCTM math standards and are quite advanced. Each course includes a Lesson Manual, text, Practice and Enrichment Workbook, and manipulatives. The text and workbook are consumable, while the Lesson Manual must be returned to Calvert.

The Lesson Manual provides detailed lesson plans that coordinate use of the other two books through lessons presented by the parent. Manipulatives are frequently used in lesson presentation. Many of these are provided in the form of heavy cardstock sheets with "poke-out" manipulatives bound into the back of the text. Others (linking cubes, Cuisenaire Rods, flash cards, and other items) used to be available in an optional manipulatives kit, but it appears they now come with each course. The manipulatives are essential if you wish to present lessons as explained in the Lesson Manual.

Each course includes tests. Although answer keys to text and workbook problems are provided in the Lesson Manual, answers to tests are not. They are available only through the ATS. Still, parents can give the tests to their students and figure the answers themselves if they so choose.

The program generally teaches concepts in a consecutive fashion rather than spiral—it concentrates on one concept almost exclusively for a number of lessons, then moves on to the next concept. There are chapter reviews and cumulative tests, but otherwise there is little review in the first two levels. The Practice and Enrichment book provides more problem solving practice on the same concepts covered in corresponding lessons.

Lessons require some preparation time for you to gather the necessary materials and review what is being taught to ensure that you understand how to present the concept to your child. Children complete much of the workbook and practice pages independently.

[Note when I reviewed Calvert Math they had only grades 1 through 4 available. The program now includes courses for grades K through 8.]

Calvert Math 1 Course
$125; $105 for optional Advisory Teacher Service

The first grade program reviews readiness concepts (e.g., identifying similar objects) and counting, then moves on to addition and subtraction up through regrouping for addition with 2-digit numbers. Lessons also concentrate on geometric shapes, fraction introduction, time, money, and measurement, with lesser attention given to graphing, set theory, and skip counting. An abundance of illustrations coupled with use of manipulatives should make it easier for children to grasp many of these concepts that might be too difficult if presented in more abstract fashion. Problem solving skills are also stressed.

As I understand Calvert's present policy, even without the ATS, you can get help if there is something you don't understand in a lesson presentation or have a particular problem with your child. Those who need even more assistance should sign up for the ATS.

Calvert Math 2 Course
$125; $105 for optional Advisory Teacher Service

Grade 2 continues with the advanced scope and sequence evident in the first grade program. It covers addition and subtraction, geometry (e.g., symmetry), fraction recognition, measurement, time and money, moving on to multiplication with single digits up to "5." Roman numerals, graphs, and probability also get some attention. While it continues to focus on only one topic at a time, reviews, tests, and problems with mathematical applications help keep students from forgetting previously learned concepts.

Calvert Math 3 Course
$125; $105 for optional Advisory Teacher Service

Grade 3 continues with the advanced scope and sequence with more complex addition and subtraction, money, measurement, time, geometry (e.g., beginning area and volume), beginning fractions, an introduction of decimals, multiplication with single-digit multipliers, and simple division.

Basic computation skills are not really ahead of schedule at this point, but many other concepts are taught that stretch children in other directions. For example, statistics, probability and graphing have an entire unit of coverage. Other topics that get lesser coverage are Roman numerals, the abacus, patterns, palindromes, Venn diagrams graphs, arrays, and number coordinates and grids.

 Since there is lots and lots of problem-solving practice and skill-building between the Lesson Manual, the text, and the Practice and Enrichment Workbook, students are likely to master their computation skills fairly well with this program. While I'm not enthusiastic about covering all the other concepts at this grade level, this course does a good job of presenting them in age appropriate fashion.

Calvert Math 4 Course
$125; $115 for optional Advisory Teacher Service

The format changes significantly at this level. The student text is now a hardcover book, so students will need to copy problems and solve them on other paper. They can still work directly in the Practice and Enrichment Workbook.

Instead of the poke-out manipulatives in student books for earlier levels, the Lesson Manual has a section of black-and-white pages which, apparently should be reproduced and used as you teach the lessons. Pages feature pictures of coins, place-value charts, cube patterns to cut and paste, and other such learning aids. This might be sufficient for student who need minimal hands-on work at this level.

While daily lesson plans are provided, students might well be able to work independently through many of the lessons since instruction and examples are included within the textbook.

While this course teaches a single concept for a while before going on to the next, it also features "mixed review," "problem solving," "try these," "mind builder," and "solve" sections within lessons that stretch students into more challenging thinking while drawing on a range of math concepts.

As with the third grade program, basic concepts are not advanced, but the range of concepts covered is quite broad. Multiplication goes up through 2-digit multipliers, while division is taught through only single-digit divisors. Students learn to add and subtract both fractions and decimals, but they do not get into fraction multiplication and division which is very often taught in fourth grade. Other concepts covered include addition and subtraction, place value, mental math, problem solving strategies, data interpretation, measurement, geometry, exponents, points on a grid, Venn diagrams, graphs, and an introduction of line graphs on grids.


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Instant Key

  • Learning Styles: all
    Suitable for: one-on-one plus independent work
    grades 1-4, although Calvert Math is now available for K-8
    Need for parent/teacher instruction:
    Prep time needed:
    Educational Philosophy: traditional
    Religious perspective: secular

Publisher's Info

  • Calvert Education Services

    10713 Gilroy Road Suite B
    Hunt Valley, MD 21031

    888- 487-4652
    410- 785-3400
    410-785-3418 FAX

    e-mail for general information on Calvert's Home Instruction Program:

    Questions regarding curriculum, specific courses, lessons, or placement of a student: