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Mother of Divine Grace Syllabi

by Laura Berquist

Review by Martha Robinson

Mother of Divine Grace Syllabi, 32-week day-by-day lesson plans for classical Christian education for kindergarten through twelfth grade, by Laura Berquist. Prices vary. Published by Mother of Divine Grace Curriculum. Please support HomeschoolChristian.com by buying these through our Amazon affiliate link.

So many parents are excited when they read about educating their children using the Trivium, but they have trouble implementing all those great ideas. Laura Berquist, author of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum has done all the planning for you in her 32 week daily lesson plans or syllabi. Mrs. Berquist's materials are incredibly popular among Catholic families, and with slight modification, most non-Catholics will be equally thrilled with them.

One syllabus is used per grade from kindergarten through eighth grade. During the youngest grades, the material is basic. The first grade syllabus, for example, includes daily assignments for math, phonics, religion (catechism, the 10 Commandments, prayers, sacraments, etc.), art appreciation, and poetry for discussion and memorization.

In the grammar stage (third through sixth grades) syllabi, Mrs. Berquist's experience truly shines. Especially helpful is her guidance in using the reprinted antique texts by Emma Serl, Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons. Mrs. Berquist also includes religion, math, spelling, poetry using The Harp and Laurel Wreath, science, history (U.S. and ancient world), geography, art, music, and Latin in the syllabi. The fourth and fifth grade syllabi explain a unique way to use Latina Christiana over two years to best suit the child's learning curve. Timelines are emphasized throughout the grades.

Dialectic stage syllabi continue to increase in depth. The seventh grade syllabus, for example, offers all of the above subjects plus editing and vocabulary. The syllabi help the student develop study skills by suggesting specific amounts of time to spend on activities and by showing how to divide up work over time to meet a deadline.

The rhetoric stage syllabi are specific to a subject. One tenth-grade syllabus, Ancient History Using the Founding of Christendom, and two twelfth-grade syllabi, The Study of British Literature and The Study of American Government, were reviewed. All three of the syllabi have extensive writing assignments that relate to the required reading and encourage the student to delve deeper and draw conclusions. In Ancient History Using the Founding of Christendom, Mrs. Berquist uses the Bible, classic works by authors such as Plutarch, Homer, and Demosthenes, as well as textbooks to bring to life the early years of the church. The Study of British Literature syllabus guides the student chronologically from Beowulf up to the literature of C.S. Lewis in the twentieth century. The Study of American Government syllabus uses primary sources to allow the student to learn about the formation and operation of our government.

Recommendation: For a very small investment, the syllabi can give confidence to new classical Christian homeschoolers and offer ideas and guidance to veterans. If your family likes the basic approach that Laura Berquist outlined in Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, you may enjoy having more specifics in a day-by-day format to make customization even easier.

Mrs. Berquist shares pearls of wisdom from her many years of homeschooling experience throughout the syllabi, but she is especially helpful in reminding us that the early years are the time to allow children to enjoy accomplishments without excessive pressure. Her suggestions on Emma Serl's language lesson books in grades three through five will be welcomed by all who enjoy these books but are not quite sure how to use them.

At the high school level, parents can pick and choose syllabi by subject to best suit the child's interests and academic needs. The specific writing assignments make the rhetoric level syllabi a serious bargain!

HomeschoolChristian.com Resources Related to This Review:

Interview with Laura Berquist
Question and Answer session with Laura Berquist
Review of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist
Review of The Harp and Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist
Review of Laura Berquist's Syllabus for Henle Latin
Review of Ancient History from Primary Sources
Review of Christian Studies
Review of Classical Studies Guided studies of Famous Men of Rome and D'Aulaires' Greek Myths
Review of Horatius at the Bridge
Review of Introduction to Classical Studies
Review of Spencerian Script Penmanship Kit

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