My husband first bought me the book The Well-Trained Mind when our oldest child was only six. At the time, we were looking into different approaches to homeschooling our children, and the classical education appealed to both of us. The Well-Trained Mind was an excellent starting point.
Written by the mother-daughter team of Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, this book explains the classical method of teaching. It’s divided into three sections focusing on the three stages of learning: grammar (kindergarten through fourth grade), logic (fifth through eighth grade), and rhetoric (ninth through twelfth grade). Within each section are chapters discussing what to do with the students in every grade, as well as how to do it. Curriculum recommendations are also listed by grade, including ones for spelling, grammar, reading, math, history, science, and Latin. There are also chapters on socialization, schedules, grades and record keeping, standardized testing, athletics, tutors, and preparing for college.
While you may feel compelled to follow the recommendations in The Well-Trained Mind to the letter, I’ve discovered is that they are just that: recommendations. I’ve found that the books they’ve listed work well for some of my children, while others that weren’t included worked better for my other children. The authors also suggest a large number of subjects to cover each year, but we’ve never been able to get them all in during a regular school week.
But that’s okay. Not everyone’s homeschool is the same, and your homeschool should be tailored to your family’s needs. If you are interested in providing your child with a classical education, however, this book is definitely a good place to start. You may not follow it exactly, but it will help you organize your thoughts and plans so you can feel confident as you begin your homeschooling adventure.
By Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell