Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book review: The Well-Trained Mind

So, after talking to my sister-in-law, I decided to look at Susan Wise Bauer and Jesse Wise's book, The Well-Trained Mind. I have to say that after reading this I felt like I just about had my curriculum figured out for me. The book covers educating your children from preschool through high school. It proclaims to be a guide to classical education.

In a lot of ways it is similar to Charlotte Mason's book. But instead of just being a philosophy, it's a whole program with suggested schedules and materials. They have some fantastic lists of resources.

I love how they divide history and science into four segments: Ancient times (5000 b.c.- a.d. 400), Medieval-Early Renaissance (400-1600), pre-Modern (1600-1850), and Modern (1850-present); and biology, earth science and astronomy, chemistry, and physics and computer science. Each of the four segments is covered in a year, and each segment has been covered three times when the student graduates from high school. Reading and science are correlated with history.

They divide a child's education into three main segments. The first four grades are called the "grammar" stage, where a student learns the "grammar," or basics, of each subject. Language is the main focus during those years. Grades 5-8 are called the "logic" stage. During this time a child's reasoning capacity is developing, and so it is time to teach them formal logic and critical thinking skills. The "rhetoric" stage is high school, and the main focus is teaching a student how to effectively express themselves in multiple ways, but particularly with language.

I highly agree with what they say about technology in education. It makes a lot of sense to me, and it really has helped solidify my opinion on childhood development and technology.

I can understand why some critics say this should be a reference book for every homeschooler. It really helps you develop a holistic plan for educating your child. It makes it seem quite doable to teach your child whatever he/she needs to know.

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