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The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition) Hardcover – May 4, 2009
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“An excellent resource for any family.”
- Educational Freedom Press
“[Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer] are thorough and pragmatic, offering a detailed curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12, as well as opinions on everything from Latin (an indispensable language) to the Internet ('a mixed blessing').”
- The New Yorker
“An A for Home Schooling... a remarkable compendium of information designed to help home-schooling parents give their children a traditional liberal education.”
- City Journal
“This book would be entertaining simply as the story of how Jessie, then a schoolteacher, decided to teach Susan, who now teaches literature at the College of William & Mary, at home.... But it's so much more than a good yarn. It's a mind-stretching tome.”
- Robert Holland, Richmond Times Dispatch
“Has caused a revolution within the homeschool community.”
- The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
“Homeschooling parents on a mission to find the ultimate resource―or parents of traditionally-schooled children interested in an excellent supplement―are all well advised to peruse the pages of Wise and Wise Bauer's classy guide to classical education at home.”
- The Boox Review
“An invaluable road map.”
- The Daily Democrat
About the Author
Susan Wise Bauer is a writer, educator, and historian. Her previous books include the Writing With Ease, Writing With Skill, and Story of the World series from Well-Trained Mind Press, as well as The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, Rethinking School, The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory, and the History of the World series, all from W. W. W. Norton. She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, as well as an M.A. in seventeenth-century literature and a Master of Divinity in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature. For fifteen years, she taught literature and composition at the College of William and Mary.
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Parents do need to know that the authors mean for you to choose from among the recommendations. You are Not expected to fit in every single thing. They thought they made this clear, but they have recieved complaints about 6 or more hours of schoolwork every day.
You are supposed to decide what is most important to you, or come up with a year-round schedule that balances it all.
We save art and music, and science for Summer, but continue with math all year long. History and writing we do in the Fall/Winter.
We use Dou-Lingo free online for Spanish. It is quick and is less involved than Rosetta Stone. My son is learning to speak Spanish from the neighbor kids he plays with, which is more a real-life application he can actually use, along with the formal word training he gets online.
I also highly recommend the podcast downloaded for a small price from the authors' website. You'll see they are much more human and like the rest of us than the book makes you think they are. Its not meant to be heavy and grueling, or perfect and ideal. This is very doable if you catch the way it is intended to be used. This edition simplified it for me.
The schedule recommendations, once I understood that they are just showing the different subject possibilities to choose from and I'm not actually supposed to do every one of them, are one of the most helpful features of this book. And the steps and how-to's were more clear this time around.
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.
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.