Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Well-Trained Mind

When discovering your homeschooling philosophy it's important to research different approaches to homeschooling.  

One popular homeschooling method is the classical approach.  Classical education is an approach which links the study of world history to literature and science.  Essentially, the study of world history can be divided into 4 eras.  Each era represents a year of study.  The 4 eras can be cycled through 3 times during the entire schooling experience.  

The first 4 years, grades 1-4, are the grammar stage, also referred to as the poll-parrot stage. At this stage children are exposed to information for the first time.  

The second cycle, grades 5-8, is the logic stage.  At this stage the material is presented again, but the learner is more mature and is able to ask questions to help gain understanding in the "why."
The final cycle through the curriculum is the rhetoric stage. This is the culminating stage of the classical education in which students learn to write and speak about what they have learned in an intelligent and persuasive manner.

The Well Trained Mind, by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise-Bauer is an excellent guide for parents who are interested in learning about classical education and how to implement it. 

We use this book as a spine to guide our home schooling.  Although we use an eclectic approach it is based on the Classical format.  There is a tremendous amount of information in The Well-Trained Mind.  It is clearly presented and well researched.  

The one caveat that I have in recommending it is that if you tried to do everything they outline, you might go mad!  It covers everything very extensively.  It is being revised and updated for publication in 2009.  This book is 800+ pages of valuable resources.  Check it out!

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