In our exploration of distance learning, we have highlighted a number of individual programs with a brief description of their approach and how programs are tailored to various students and their interests.
Why does Calvert School deserve even further exploration, you might ask? We at Magellan Montessori think there are many reasons, not the least being that it is one of the oldest distance learning schools in the country and has been offering a homeschooling plan since 1906. We also think that Calvert may be the one program that is most compatible with the Magellan Montessori homeschooling plan.
“Ease” and “supervision” are two of the words Magellan Montessori founder Suzanne Rouaix uses in discussing the benefits of the Calvert program, acknowledging that it offers homeschooling parents and students some things that Magellan cannot. Many homeschooling families enjoy freedom from authoritative oversight in educating their children in the manner of their choice. For those parents or guardians who prefer some form of authority overseeing their progress, Calvert offers legitimacy via official transcripts, accreditation and communication with education counselors, online instructors and advisory teachers for support.
History of Calvert
Developed by Harvard graduate Virgil Hillyer, the Calvert homeschooling program was first presented as a viable alternative to parents when it was advertised in National Geographic magazine for kindergartners. The nonprofit organization developed quickly after World War II; it began to be used by U.S. military dependents and is now recommended by the U.S. Foreign Service.
Magellan Montessori and Calvert School have many things in common for homeschoolers. Each provides a comprehensive curriculum for study and the programs can be customized to fit a child’s individual needs and learning aptitudes. Both can be implemented using subject integration, with reinforced study across subject areas developing higher-order thinking skills and content mastery.
As we have discussed previously, there are many reasons that families choose an alternative to the traditional classroom. Parents may wish to have a more direct role in their child’s education. They might desire more hands-on learning. They may find a homeschooling curriculum offers their child something better than public school in addition to what they consider to be a safer environment; or there may be health or other academic reasons that a child would be better served by individual attention.
Calvert offers parents so many different choices, in addition to a bricks-and-mortar school in Baltimore. There is a homeschooling program, a distance learning program and even a separate program for students who suffer from dyslexia and other language learning disabilities.
When Homeschooling is a Must
There are also situations that make homeschooling more of a practical necessity than a choice. Take for example the sailing community in which families embark on sailing excursions for many months or years, during which the children keep pace with their formal education. The Calvert School is a very popular choice among that segment of the population, which might also include families who spend long stints trekking, camping or enjoying other forms of extended travel.
Like Magellan, Calvert School believes that every child deserves a quality education regardless of geography or situation and both programs administer a curriculum that can be used by families around the United States and the world.
“It's a realistic and helpful alternative,” Rouaix says. “Magellan Montessori can contribute to the learning environment alongside Calvert.”
Within the close quarters of a sailing vessel on the open sea, or in various ports where traveling children are exposed to a variety of people and cultures that can pique their curiosity and stimulate learning, Magellan Montessori’s homeschooling guidebook can be used to create a more intrinsic form of learning environment. In such situations, children can be inspired to create their own work using the Magellan Montessori guidebook, which can be downloaded.
Serving Child’s Needs
The accredited program offered through Calvert covers the necessary topics for various ages K-8, while Magellan’s program for early elementary students can create a conducive environment for elective study of topics of particular interest to a child. Students can pursue them at their own pace, just as if the program were used as an adjunct educational tool in a home to supplement a child’s public school education.
Magellan Montessori suggests that parents consider all sources and programs when choosing to homeschool, and thinks its program can be very effective when used on its own, or in conjunction with another philosophy or method. The Calvert School might be just the right fit for parents looking to combine the best elements of more than one program.
Written by Brian Bixler
Brian Bixler has worked for nearly 30 years as a journalist, editor, critic and public relations professional, writing articles on various topics including arts education and special features on general education. He is currently a freelance writing and public relations consultant for a variety of clients, including Magellan Montessori LLC.
Originally posted on August 28, 2013