Classical, Highly Structured, Catholic
Product: Mother of Divine Grace (Day by Day Lesson Plans)
Subject: All, Catholic
Levels Used: 2nd Grade
Dates Used: 2009-2010
Likes: Laura Berquist, the author, believes in Classical education and her lesson plans stand on this premise. If you are looking for a structured, Catholic curriculum, this is it.
The Mother of Divine Grace program spells everything out for you in each year's lesson plan. I love how the texts used in the lesson plan are listed in the first pages, along with companies that stock the books. I like that she goes on to share why she has chosen certain books, the rubrics for the different subjects, and the objectives for the year. She even includes a suggested schedule (that won't work for everyone, but it at least gives you an idea). The syllabus is set up for 32 weeks. The book is divided in subjects, which I found very helpful (I stuck tabs where each new subject begins for easy flipping/finding).
The most valuable part of the lesson plan (and what I like the best about this lesson plan) is found on the first page of each subject. Each subject begins with a break down of how the week is divided up (using texts, activities, experiments, notebooks, etc), how to teach this subject, how to add extras if needed (like extra drills in math or tests in science), and any additional information that will help you. Every week and day is detailed for each subject; you aren't left guessing or confused.
Dislikes: On top of buying the books needed for this curriculum (which can get expensive), there is also the cost of this lesson plan (though you can usually find this at a used curriculum sale).
There are no texts in this curriculum you can teach simultaneously to different ages (i.e. Story of the World can be taught to all your elementary grade children at the same time), so if you have multiple children in different grades you can't do combined history or science together. The poetry book required can be used by all students, but again, they are learning different poems.
Although, the thorough instructions and step by step details is what first attracted me to this curriculum (and I believe gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to successfully homeschool), I have since learned that I don't do well with this kind of structure. So my dislike maybe someone else's like.