Choosing Mother of Divine Grace

Friday, June 16, 2017

Linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!

It is homeschool planning time for us! This year I will have a Kindergartner and a preschooler, with a newborn making an appearance early on in the year. I will be using 26 Letters to Heaven with my preschooler this year, but with some added adaptions to help it better fit into our year and my daughter's specific needs (more on that later!)

For my Kindergartner we have decided to enroll in Mother of Divine Grace (MODG). There are a lot of pluses to the curriculum in the early years that I thought I would write down - partially for myself to read when the "February Dull-drums" hit and I need a reminder!

Rigor not busywork

Somehow education discussions have come to view being busy as equivalent to rigorous in a curriculum. I think what one truly means when one says "I am looking for a rigorous curriculum" is, "I am looking for a curriculum that asks enough of the student that they must keep striving ever further, even in areas they may not personally enjoy." I believe busy work always comes back to bite you. It does not foster sustainable learning in the child, and is a recipe for burnout for the teaching parent.

Just like any other healthy plan, having reasonable and achievable goals is the sweet spot.


MODG is beautiful. I would be remiss if these early years did not involve learning to see and appreciate beauty. Because this window for true awe and appreciation just does not open again in the same way.
All the art, and music, and poetry are not just beautiful extras but important in their own right. Learning how to notice detail in art, pick up tone and audible difference,  memorization and performance - these are all skills that might be fudgable for a while, but their lack does become painfully obvious further along in life.

I love that MODG teaches kids these skills early, while simultaneously familiarizing them with a cultural heritage that could seem far away and unreachable.


There is a lot of wiggle room in MODG in terms of which books you end up using for each kid. It's flexible and allows for adaption from kid to kid and family to family. I love that I can tailor the curriculum but I don't feel like I have to right off the bat. There is nothing that I greatly dislike or feel the need to avoid in the curriculum as it stands.

It forces me to have limits

MODG is very simple in the early grades. It's all about building a solid foundation. A newborn is expected to make an appearance in the early part of our school year, and the reality is I need to know what is important and focus on THAT.
Because I am type A and would totally try to do all the things if the curriculum did not reel me in a bit.

Solidly Catholic

I do not need to pay money for materials that undermine the Catholic base I am trying to instill in my kids. That being said, the curriculum does not feel the need to make anything and everything about specifically Catholic things. MODG utilizes books that are not from Catholic specific publishers but produce solid materials with nothing anti-Catholic in that specific book. I like the attitude that secular or Protestant materials do not automatically need to be excluded. We are still meant to live in this world after all.

Enrollment and Accreditation

While enrollment is certainly not strictly necessary when I only have a Kindergartner and a Preschooler, it is comforting to be able to enroll in the school and have a consultant on call in the event that an issue does arise. If we feel like we need to change a book, if something is just not working, or specific learning issues come up, I can email, call, or text my consultant and know that she is familiar with our materials.

Accreditation is something I don't worry about until the middle/high school grades, but it does not hurt to have it - especially when talking to people who are unfamiliar with homeschooling.

It's Familiar

The big reason MODG initially stuck out to me is it uses the materials I largely know and would have chosen anyway. Many of you know I was homeschooled up until high school so I've made the transition from homeschooled kid to homeschooling mom. Living through the experimentation of the 90s Catholic homeschool world left me with big opinions about what does and does not work for me.
Starting out with what I know helps my confidence that we will arrive at important destinations without (too many) tears.

We are adding in a few things to the curriculum, such as: Little Lambs Family Formation, Ballet, science and history plans, etc. A post on our specific curriculum adaptations will be in the works soon!

What do you love about your curriculum? How do you envision next year in your house? 


  1. I'm curious, did your mom use a formal curriculum for early grades or do a "build your own"? What was it like in the 90s?

    1. The vast majority of homeschool materials available at the time were quite overtly evangelical Protestant in flavor, so a build your own was necessary. Also pre-internet so finding resources was dependent on writing to companies, making friends, and having a decent library system.

      In the very beginning we just used what STA used, but re-creating a brick-and-mortar school at home just does not work out. We ended up using a mix of Abeka (which we still use in MODG for early grades math), Sonlight, Faith & Life, and a few other curricula. There were some weird stuff - like having to skip over the Creationist section of the science books and the anti-Catholic portions of others - but we tried to use it as a discussion point. Catholic friendly homeschool has come a long way!


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