on December 15, 2011
Wow... some funny reviews below. I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend whose homeschooled Kindergartner loves learning and has been reading for close to two years. I've been an English teacher for ten years and have grown increasingly disenchanted with both public and private schools; I've watched bright, creative, passionate young people have the love of learning sucked out of them by a flawed and over-burdened system, or, worse, fall between the cracks because they have learning differences, despite the fact that they have amazing minds.
To the readers who assert that this book is for rigid, obsessive parents, I would urge them to read it again. It's not about rigidity, but about fostering excellence, which does take some hard work. I'm sure that this style of homeschooling is not for every child and every family, but it provides hundreds of resources, and I think there's something here for everyone. Granted, if you're not interested in a Classical approach, you may want to look elsewhere. But I would urge you to consider it, even if it sounds foreign or daunting.
And now for my snotty asides: the reviews that are rife with spelling and grammar errors, and insist that the methods in this book are too demanding for children, are a bit hard to take seriously, you know? Other reviews are clearly written by parents who are intimidated because of how little education they themselves have... but the wonderful thing about homeschooling is that you get to learn WITH your children. It should be exciting to you, and if it's scary to confront all of the science, math, history and literature that you don't know, so much the better! Don't we want to teach our children to seek knowledge, and to try things that are difficult? And what better way to do that than to model it ourselves? If you are a lifelong learner, your children will be too.
I have the greatest respect for those deeply religious Christians who indicated that while this book has much to offer, it's lacking in religious education, and they make up for on their own with Biblical study, many of whom include Biblical languages in said study.
I have less respect for the reviewers who are worried that the lessons of "those evil Pagan Greeks" will teach their children to question. Here's my favorite quote from a reviewer below: "I pray God will open the blind eyes of those lusting after intelectualism (note the spelling error) and lead them to True Wisdom of God! What good is Homer and Shakespeare to the soul?"
What good is Homer and Shakespeare to the soul!?! Don't you actually mean What good ARE Homer and Shakespeare to the soul? I don't even know how to begin to answer that. It's a clear case of "If you have to ask..."
I begin to see why literacy rates amongst the middle class are declining, and most high school students will never take Calculus. Buy the book if you're a homeschooler or teacher interested in educating thoughtful, interesting, interested critical thinkers.
on June 9, 2010
I am a young parent based in Lagos, Nigeria. While I have been bothered with the quality of education in my own immediate enviroment, I have always been thinking about how my kids education will be world class and alas I found TWMT on Amazon, bought and read it and eversince then I have been consulting it and I've even recommended it to friends.
TWMT teaches you how to educate your child from age zero upto adulthood and the good thing is that the methodology is borderless and alot of the recommended literature readings in the book are readily available,even in Lagos for as low as $1.
For me and my family this book as given us key information about education:
1. Rote learning is better and easier done between ages 0 to 10; 2.Short 15-45 minutes consistent classes on daily/weekly basis of any subject is enough to master a subject over a period of 12 years; 3. It intorduced the concept of developing a reader in a child by recommending a jewel of a book "The Read Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease; 4. The Authors' keep a very active online forum based on TWMT [...];5. The Authors' are very responsive to your challenges even for someone like me in Lagos, Nigeria,they still responded to my family's educational challenge by profering a solution that actually worked after i mailed them on an observation.
Lastly, for those that think the system is rigid, please you don't need to follow the methodology to detail, kindly adapt to your family's challenges. And if you think it's too Language/History focused then you can get curriculum books by "Bernard Nebel" as they are science focused to use along with this "Lost but found Treasure of a book".
Good enough this book is Eurocentric but then you can replace it with titles that are from your own geographical location and faith inclination i.e. I have a list of classic Islamic books to use with my kids based on the prestine Islam for religious studies and I also keep a list of African Writers' Series by Heinemann to use for my kids at the appropriate time along with some of the other classic books recommended in TWMT. May be your bilingua interest isn't Greek, Latin... like in my case then make do with your interest(s) i.e. Arabic and Yoruba Languages in my family's case.
CAVEAT: TWTM will not make your kids people of letters alone, as Bob, Jessie's first child is a software architect, Susan is a Prof. of Literature & Writing and the 3rd child is a Police officer.
So if you want a qualitative and quantitative education for your kids then get this "Treasure of a book".
on August 31, 2009
I've read this book twice. The older copy from my library was so helpful that I purchased the newer one and read it too. I just spent some time reading the 1-star reviews of it and find myself thinking, "These people just don't get it." First of all, you shouldn't take on anyone's homeschool philosophy whole-heartedly without researching and evaluating yourself and your kids. Also, the book does not claim to be Christian. In fact, the chapter on Bible specifically mentions that they are not going to presume to make your religious/faith-based-education choices for you.
Most importantly though, this is a how-to on classical education. The opening chapters say that yes, it's strenuous, yes, it's language oriented. It will be focused on reading, writing, and discussion. And I fail to see how anyone could say you get a shell of an education when the same topics are covered three times with increasing thought given each time. The whole purpose is to introduce ideas and then analyze them.
The authors introduce these ideas and expect you to analyze them too.
Use your own thinking here. If you want to introduce faith AND analytical thought, just teach your children about God's truth AND greek philosophy. We have been studying Egyptian gods this week with my first grader, and she completely understands that there were people with a different way of thinking and that they did not know and worship the one true God. (In fact, of her own thinking, she reasoned that they would not live again in heaven and was very sad. I wouldn't have intentionally addressed that at a young age.) Teaching the ways of other cultures does not water-down faith and it doesn't worship the Greeks, as some critics said.
Also, if the time schedules don't work for your family, don't sweat it! You can teach this method without following the authors advice to the letter! Every home school is different and completely customizable. That's the great thing about it.
I love the ideas behind this book of exploring a topic at early ages, analyzing it at the analytical age, and expressing your own genuine thought at the creative age. So different from my own education where we were not encouraged to have analytical thought until upper level high school.
It's definitely worth a read. But not a hard-and-fast rule for everyone.
on October 8, 2009
If you want to school your child to be an intelligent and more than competent member of society this is the way to do it. The best thing about this kind of education? No text books! The child learns out of books which have been written for the sake of learning facts and have not been polluted with some sort of agenda. The child gets a pure education the way children are designed to learn. Then when they are older they learn how to think and react logically. It's painful how children grow up and never learn how to think critically. We chose this curriculum because there are lists of resources starting from preschool aged kids all the way to 12th grade. These lists are key, however, you should not stick to them completely but use your creativity and find other books or projects that might be better. For example, I did not like their suggestion for grammar stage anatomy. The Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia. In fact, I find that I don't care for the Kingfisher series of encyclopedia's very much at all. There is a serious lack of content in them. I chose the First Human Body Encyclopedia by DK instead. But here is the beauty, you really don't even need the kids encyclopedia. There are enough resources out there that allow you to make you're own curriculum for anatomy fun. Get books like "Uncover the Human Body" by Luann Columbo, "My Body" by PATTY CARRATELLO, "Head to Toe Science" by Jim Wiese, and since kids love visuals get an adult illustrated anatomy book like "Human Body" by Martyn Page, being careful with the reproductive pictures of course. The adult anatomy book then can be used in grades 5 and 9 to give the student a more in depth study of anatomy and you save money by not getting a kids encyclopedia. This is assuming that your kids aren't squeamish. My 7 year old is just fascinated with whats inside his body and finds the adult anatomy books much more interesting than the children's books which tend to give dumbed-down information under the guise of "age appropriate material". Kids are capable of understanding so much more than we give them credit for. Mine surprise me on a daily basis. The down side of The Well Trained Mind? It takes time to research your books...lots of time! Time to: find books at your library, place holds and wait for them, choose the best ones, look through them once you get them and teach out of them. It's worth it when you see just how much better your kids understand the subject and you'll swoon when your child repeats facts to his friends from some random lesson a few weeks ago. Its worth it if you are prepared to spend the time making it successful. The program is designed to help your child get a world class education, but it's up to give it to your kids.
on April 22, 2011
I really didn't think I was going to like this book. I guess I thought a classical education sounded stiff and boring. But a page or two into this book, I realized that I completely agreed with the authors about how to teach children, and how they learn. When they described teaching your child to read, I realized it was exactly the way I taught my kids -- a method that worked great! This book is very thorough for those who are starting homeschooling and wondering how to do it. I really appreciated the section on high school and grading, and how to apply for colleges. My eldest is still just in sixth grade, but I think it's good to be prepared, especially since I plan to homeschool her through high school. It helped encourage my husband, too, with our decision to do this because he could see how homeschooling will not put her at an academic disadvantage -- by any means.
This book is definitely an excellent reference for those considering the homeschool option because it lays everything out so clearly. I appreciated how the authors give different options for curriculum, and highlight the strengths and weaknesses therein.
Still, I do have some issues with TWTM, especially now that I've been using it for a year. I disagree with teaching Latin. I see the point the authors are making about why it's important, but I think it's much more valuable to teach living languages. The spelling workbooks we are using provide background on where words come from, and I think that as my children learn languages such as French or Spanish, they will be able to find the patterns and the Latin base.
I also don't know, having done science this way this year, if TWTM's got the best plan. My eldest especially wants to have more of a book to study. We're doing what they recommended and using science kits and library books, etc., but have had terrible luck with the kits that were recommended by the authors. So many times I've had to say, "So what this experiment was supposed to demonstrate is..." which doesn't seem to me like a good way to teach science. Also, I don't think that teaching just one subject (i.e. physics one year, chemistry one year, etc.) for the whole year is that great of an idea because it can get... well, a bit boring after a while. My kids, four years apart, have both been working on Earth Science/ Astronomy this year. They are growing weary of it. Granted the year's almost over, but I can't count the times they've said, "Can we plant something for science?" or "When are we going to study... (some living organism, or a human body issue)?" They are really inquisitive and do lots of reading outside of school, but it would be nice if that work counted for their work this year.
Basically, though, my biggest critique is with some of the suggestions the authors make for curriculum. As I mentioned, the science kits have been disastrous. But also, when I was trying to decide what encyclopedia to get for my 6th grader's history, I found that the authors' suggestions were not the best-reviewed. We have liked Saxon Math, but the Language Arts I've been doing with my 2nd grader (Primary Language Lessons) is not one I plan to use for my youngest -- at least not when she's in 2nd grade (maybe 1st, we'll see...). But that's another review. It's interesting, though, because I've spoken with a good friend who is thinking of starting TWTM with her pre-K son, and she has had the same feelings about the suggestions.
Anyway, this is a valuable starting point. But I think that in the coming years, we're going to tailor it to meet our needs and interests a little better.
on October 9, 2011
This is my #1 choice if you want an academically rigorous homeschool. As it turns out, that's what we want! Not everyone wants or needs that though, so check out some general homeschool books first.
Although this is an excellent book, please PLEASE PLEASE do not attempt to do every thing in the book exactly like they do. The authors even admit on their web site that they did not follow the schedules in their book. They stuffed the book with all the info. that you could ever need so that you can pick and choose what works for your family.
This technique is all about classical education, and mean it is history centered, writing intensive, and includes Latin, logic, grammar, and classical literature.
This is the first book I got when we began homeschooli ng 9 years ago. It has been extremely useful and well worth the price. Get the newest version for the most current curriculum suggestions.
This book will introduce you to the concept of the trivium. This is a four year cycle of history study that repeats 3 times in your child's education. It outlines a full curriculum for Kindergarten through high school.
The best part of the book is the curriculum and book suggestions. The history and literature suggestions are fantastic and they hit upon the most used homeschool curriculum in each area. Every year I open up this book and start ordering up a storm at Amazon (and the library!).
The science section is a little lacking if you have a very science-y kid. My oldest son wants to be an engineer, so we have looked elsewhere for more hands-on science. However, the list of science classics is very useful. The authors' also have written their own curriculum to use in several subject areas (phonics, language arts, writing).
Is it Christian? No. Can it be used by Christians? Yes! This is a book for a parent to read and learn a educational technique. Learn the technique and then make your school a Classical Christian Homeschool if that's what you want. No bible curriculum suggestions are included in WTM but here are a few from me: A great bible study for little kids is Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings.
For the whole family- Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God
The important thing to remember is to not drive yourself crazy with this book! I read it every year and then I read The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom to counteract it. Somewhere right in the middle is where we try to stay!
Background: I bought this book two years ago when my oldest was about 3. I did not read this cover to cover because it is not necessary to do so. This is a reference book. I read the parts that are important to us which are easy to find due to the well organized indexes and references provided in the book. I homeschooled my son's pre-K and we are getting ready to homeschool K this year. I followed many of the suggestions in this book, ignored others. I still feel this book was a great base to start out.
About the book:
It is intended as a comprehensive guide to choose homeschool curriculum for each academic year of your child's school years. They have a few recommendations for each topic and how to approach various subjects with flexibility.
I don't believe you need to be a classical homeschooler to find this book a useful addition to your library. Whatever your homeschool philosophy it is always good to be informed about other ways of approaching teaching your children and having so many well organized resources in one place can come in handy sooner or later. You never know what will work for your child. You just have to try it and see.
I know that many times I found myself googling "reading lists for preschoolers" to then remember they have a good list in this book by age. They have whole long pages on social interactions, time you should spend with your kids doing homeschool, learning reading before writing and so on.
on January 18, 2014
In 1999 I discovered Classical Education and wanted my son to have one. My son had attended Public School for years , but the whole thing began to sour in Middle School: He was not being challenged because what he was learning in school was either trite or crude. At about the same time, I heard about Susan Wise Bauer and her mother through an on line interview. Learning that Susan herself, taught by her mother, was a successful home school story got my attention. I ran out and bought the book. Actually I bought it here on Amazon. To make a long story short, Susan gave me the courage to homeschool and give my child a Classical Christian Education, as I am a Christian. WTM also gave me the tools, course ideas, AP and SAT suggestions, a book list, and helped me with college admission. I sent her a thank you e-mail when my son graduated High School and another one when he got into an Ivy League University.
on April 10, 2011
This book is a valuable resource for anyone desiring to learn about Classical Education. It gives many resources to help a an educator new to the classical schooling model get started. One thing I didn't like about the newer edition is that it so obviously promotes using the author's other writings as texts as opposed to previous editions that list a wider variety of curriculum resources. Definitely worth reading, however you should review recommended curriculum before buying.
on April 13, 2011
This book has been helpful to me, mainly with regard to some of the suggestions for books, curricula, etc. For our homeschool, the prescribed way of homeschooling is too complicated. We loosely follow the Robinson Curriculum method and this is much better for us. The Robinson Curriculum is a self teaching method in which children do a Saxon math lesson daily, read from an extensive library of excellent books and write a page (give or take according to age and ability) per day. The Robinson Curriculum provides a library of books on disc which we use some but do not limit ourselves to this. There is a reading order provided but we don't use it, and it is not very good anyway. Dr. Robinson didn't do this with his children anyway. He just required that they read excellent books including classics, great books, biographies, etc., and they did it in an interest lead manner. So basically, subject content is learned through the reading.
The author of The Well Trained Mind warns parents that they must teach Saxon math, that they children can't use it to self teach or they will be confused. This is utter nonsense, and runs 180 degrees opposite to the experience of Dr. Robinson, and thousands of Robinson curriculum students. Dr. Robinson's children and the children of many people who use Saxon as a self teaching curriculum, have tested out of multiple years of college math. My own childern use Saxon in a mastery learning, self teaching way, and I have been thrilled at their improvement in and enjoyment of math. I have seen their skill at independent, resourceful, problem solving increase dramatically. They are allowed to take the time needed to solve a problem, and can look up tutorials online, but I do not help them. They NEVER fail to solve the problem. They have whined to me once in a while, that they can't do it, and I reassure them that they can and remind them to reread the instructions, or take a break and come back to it later, or look for tutorials. When they do these things they always solve the problem. I think that she is just parroting John Saxon's insistence that you must have a teacher, that Saxon is not a self teaching curriculum. And I think he said this either because he is brainwashed, like most others that no one can learn anything without a person teaching them, or because schools are a big market for his curriculum and would be offended if the author and/or publisher were indicating that teachers are not needed, and in fact really a hindrance to students developing the highest level of confidence and proficiency.