Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Guide to a Classical Education

A friend of mine was homeschooling her children because the school they were living near was having issues and she didn't want her children there.  I asked her questions all the time (thanks Kendra!) about homeschooling.  When I asked her what her favorite homeschooling books were, A Well-Trained Mind was at the top of her list.

She let me borrow the book for a couple of weeks to check it out.  I read the first 7 chapters before she moved and I LOVED it.  Susan Wise Bauer is the author and she begins by telling her homeschool story.  She began homeschooling in the 1970's when it was unusual.  She started because her kids could already read when they started school and that was unusual.  She had never thought she would homeschool her children.  But she did and her children are successful and happy adults. 
 A Well-Trained Mind is the result of years of combing through available materials and trying them out. 

If you have ever been overwhelmed by all the options available for teaching your own children, this book is for you.  All her research is available in this book.  She narrows down the best teaching materials, gives descriptions according to age and ability and tells you where you can find them.

 Not only that, but there is also the practical information about how to schedule your day, what to do to approach each subject, book lists that are age/level appropriate, etc.

I love the idea she suggests of combining history with geography and the rotation of history she suggests: the idea of repetition and building by taking the children through the history of the world 4 times in the course of their schooling, building on what they knew, and reviewing what they knew before.  

In my humble opinion, this is a must-have even if you follow a different method of homeschooling.  For instance, I've also been reading about Charlotte Mason and her ideas.  It seems that The Well-Trained Mind has so many great resources that it would fit in with a variety of teaching/homeschooling styles and is an excellent resource for the homeschooling family.  Take a look with the link above.

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