In comments and emails from you readers, I get lots of questions about what our family likes and dislikes about Mother of Divine Grace. I told you how we had made the switch to MODG last January, but I haven’t given an update for quite some time. I thought it might be helpful for those of you considering this curriculum if I give an honest review of Mother of Divine Grace now that we’ve been at it for over a year.
We started our homeschooling journey as eclectic homeschoolers, picking and choosing curriculum as we went, but as my oldest got to mid-level elementary, I felt the need to simplify and create continuity in our homeschool. Enter Mother of Divine Grace. (If you want to read more about the process we went through of choosing MODG, you can read more about that in my post Mother of Divine Grace: Why we Chose it.)
My review of Mother of Divine Grace
MODG is all laid out…
I love the MODG syllabus. It is our homeschool year on paper, and the best part is I didn’t type it all up! I just do the next thing on the list, and in 32 weeks we are magically done with another grade level. No more scouring homeschool catalogs, googling for good grammar options, or spending hours concocting checklists. My summer planning is so much simpler! I can focus on organizing our daily schedule, building workable routines, reworking our student binder, and purchasing the curriculum which, I might add, is work enough!
This summer I experienced the fruits of using MODG. My friends could mention curriculum and I wouldn’t run home and google it! I felt confident enough in MODG that I didn’t need to be shaken by the mention of other good options.
Room for additions…
While it is true that MODG is all laid out, it isn’t so overly demanding that you can’t add something else into the mix. MODG is a complete curriculum, but many families choose to add something else in. This year for our family that is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with our co-op friends once a week. Other families I know also do Classical Conversations in conjunction with MODG. This sort of arrangement is possible especially in the early elementary years (school takes less than 4 hours per day around here).
In fact, the MODG syallabus only schedules Math for 5 days a week, all other subjects are 4 days per week or less.
Easy to Edit…
It is easy to add to MODG, but it is also easy to take things away or substitute curriculum. To many of you, that may seem to defeat the purpose of a boxed curriculum, but I’ve found doing editing (within reason) can be a fun way to tailor the program. After all, isn’t that part of the beauty of homeschooling?
My son loves geography and reads maps for fun. So I schedule him to work on geography just 1 day a week versus the 3 days outlined in the syllabus this year. I don’t care for the traditional elementary science and prefer to approach science in an unschooler fashion (Right now Husband is working through The New Way Things Work several nights a week with the kids. This summer it will be nature study incorporating art and writing.) Many people don’t like The Writing Road to Reading (WRTR), which MODG uses for Spelling, and use All About Spelling instead. After learning the phonograms, we choose to use the WRTR in traditional spelling list style.
While we are not enrolled, it is my understanding that MODG is more flexible with substitutions and changes than other enrollment programs like Seton.
Of course, there is the hazard of editing so much that it defeats the purpose of using a box curriculum. There is definitely a fine line to walk here!
Here are some of the ways we have edited the program while still following the basic outline:
- Dropped elementary science (I prefer self led learning for elementary science).
- Use the history texts primarily as required reading.
- Listen to all 4 audio volumes of Story of the World in rotating fashion while we are in the car to supplement history.
- Use Writing Road to Reading as a source for weekly spelling lists versus following the program as outlined.
- Combine art appreciation, art instruction, and music.
- Add in a required reading list which includes a little history, science, religion, and literature.
- Assign a daily journal entry for extra writing practice.
- Continue daily math and journal entries during summer break.
- Memorize geography and Bible verses as a family unit.
- Add in penmanship practice as needed.
You may want to read about how I streamline this box curriculum.
Puts homeschooling in a box…
Before switching to MODG, I waffled between attempting too much or throwing my hands up in frustration and doing too little in our homeschooling. As a well-planned curriculum, MODG helps me define the parameters for our homeschool day and year. Before the big switch, we homeschooled hard-core year round (a sure path to burnout!), but now I allow our summers to be mainly math review, reading, a little writing, and a few other extras (like the arts and nature study).
I still like to homeschool lightly through the summer because it allows us more flexibility and allows for “cushions” to our homeschool year.
You may want to read:
MODG has the perfect level of rigor…
I find MODG to be the perfect level of rigor for our family. If you are starting with the early elementary grades, you may have the impression that MODG is a little too light. In fact, this is a main complaint I’ve heard about the program – that is lacks structure in the younger age range.
MODG focuses strongly on the R’s of education in the lower elementary ages and gradually ramps up the intensity and demands on the student as they approach middle school.
I often think people mistake busywork for rigor in their curriculum. If you are looking for “rigorous busywork” then MODG is not for you. However, if you are looking for a program that provides mind nourishing and purposeful work, then I would encourage you to look into MODG.
MODG fills our young children with wonder through good literature and contact with the real world.
MODG is low on busywork…
This point follows closely from the one above.
I consider us Classical, Charlotte Masony-type homeschoolers. As a student of Charlotte Mason, I love her philosophy of short but intense lessons. I steer clear of anything that wreaks of busywork!
I find that all the work that my children do within the MODG tends towards learning. I rarely wonder if a particular aspect of the curriculum is simply busywork.
High on living books…
As Classical, Charlotte Masony-type homeschoolers, I have always been drawn to living literature. When I couldn’t get my 5 year old boy to sit for traditional lessons, I taught him by reading to him for endless hours out of well written books alternating difficult books with easier ones. I also create an Intentionally Catholic Booklist for my readers every year (right now I’ve only got one reader!). Vocabulary curriculum? No, thank you. Just hand over some good books and you are all set!
Knowing that MODG encouraged reading of good literature was a major attraction for me. We’ve enjoyed the booklists immensely and it makes creating my reader’s yearly reading lists even easier.
You may enjoy reading:
Simple early years and building complexity as your child grows…
While some people see the lack of structure in MODG’s early elementary as a draw back, I see it as a blessing. I have learned that with Preschoolers and Kindergartners the best thing I can do for them is read good books and do some short lessons on the 4 R’s (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic, and Religion). I kind of do my own thing until my kid is really good at reading, then I begin to slowly give them more and more school responsibilities and transition them to MODG.
I’ve enjoyed seeing my oldest (now in 4th grade) ramp up his work every year. MODG provides the perfect stair-step increase in rigor without driving children and mom batty! Last August, I was a little apprehensive about what needed to be done the coming school year, but I’ve found the MODG expectations hit my students’ abilities exactly.
You may want to read:
- Preschool at Home Your Way
- Preschool at Home: Simple Goals, Simple Days
- 10 Things to Do with your Catholic Preschooler
Varying levels of assistance…
Right now, we are not enrolled in MODG. BUT, I love knowing I have the option to enroll in an accredited school if I choose. I definitely see this as a strong possibility for our family in the future.
Besides enrollment, there are also many classes that can be taken online through MODG. Help is around every corner!
As a frugal minded kinda gal, I love the fact that many of the texts for MODG are non-consumable. I pay a good chunk of money up front every year, but I know those same texts will be used for my future students. I’m not throwing out a Math, Spelling, Grammar, Religion, or History workbooks every year.
I’ll keep you updated on how things are going as we continue our MODG journey!
Are you considering MODG? I’d love to know your thoughts on the program! Post a comment or shoot me an email!
You may also like reading:
- Must Reads for Young Catholics
- 10 Things to do with Your Catholic Preschooler
- Working the MODG syllabus
- Streamlining a Boxed Curriculum for Multiple Ages