Generally, we choose non fiction books that present perspectives similar to those we already hold. This was the case for me when I bought Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. I knew that the author was a respected educator, with a solid Catholic background. What I didn't know at the time was just what "classical curriculum" entailed.
This was one of those books that opened my mind. At first, reading her recommendations to focus on classical material made me uneasy. It didn't seem relevant to modern education. As I continued through the book, however, two things struck me: first, that classical education is far more relevant than my first instinct had told me. Second, Berquist's ideas are helpful in much more substantial ways than curriculum suggestions.
More than simply a reading list or a pre-designed curriculum, the book offers guidelines and ideas for how to develop your own educational approach. Whether or not you use her classical material recommendations, her ideas can give you solid assistance in planning a syllabus and schedule that conforms to your family's abilities, scheduling needs, and educational objectives. The "classical" suggestions are the bonus.
Whether or not you plan to use a mostly classical approach, this book is worth reading and re-reading at curriculum planning time.
Although the bulk of the text is devoted to curriculum suggestions, which can be easily found elsewhere, the resource lists will be very helpful to any homeschool family, Catholic or not. Yet it is the introduction that I found most helpful in solidifying my concept of the philosophy of Classical Education in general, and homeschooling in particular. One caution however. The book includes an article on what NOT to do in an appendix at the end. This really should have followed immediately after the introduction since the advice is very important. I am sure that some readers will inadvertently miss this treasure, and that is a shame.