The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home

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  • Reviewed on Saturday, August 16, 2014
  • Grades Used: n/a
  • Dates used: 2011-present
I first read this book about a year before I started homeschooling.
And it was amazing.
As I read through it, I knew that THIS was what I wanted for my kids' education. A strong base in the Language Arts. World History. Science that can ebb and flow where they are interested, following a basic path over the course of the school year.
Every year I return to the book to underline and highlight and get curriculum suggestions for the upcoming year. There have been things that we have changed over the last few years (specific curricula that don't work as well for our kids, so we've switched) but our fundamental approach to homeschooling has remained the same.
I'm SO thankful for this book! It's my 'homeschool bible'!


  • Reviewed on Monday, January 31, 2011
  • Grades Used: 3rd
  • Dates used: 2010 - current
Wow! I am so, so happy with this. When my son was a first grader or even a second grader this would not have worked well for us. But, for this year I really felt we needed to step it up. I felt he really needed some basic skills and the narration, dictation, and curriculum suggestions for Rod and Staff English have really helped with that. Also, the science is so enjoyable. He loves all the experiments, the Adventures with Atoms book suggestion is wonderful! For me, I like the organization of it. I like the chronological history. I feel like a good solid academic plan is laid out for me and I can adjust it here and there to fit our needs. For instance we are not doing Latin right now for this year and I am choosing different read alouds and readers than what she suggests. This is a wonderful foundation and exactly what I needed.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, August 8, 2007
  • Grades Used: k-3
  • Dates used: 2005-2007
“The Well Trained Mind, A Guide to a Classical Education at Home”
by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

For the parent thinking of educating your child at home I strongly recommend this book. Even if you are not going to embark on a classical education this book is a wealth of information on different curriculums and methods in educating. Before deciding how to educate my child I read about Summerfield, Montessori, Waldorf, un-schooling, unit studies and a few others. I also investigated our local public and private schools before we made our decision to homeschool. I have nothing against any of the above mentioned methods and certainly they have there merits if implemented correctly. But we felt the classical education model would give our child the most options in her life.

The book lays out the trivium and takes no credit for invention and design. Basically three phases of learning used for the last couple of centuries with great success. It’s flexible enough to adapt to different strengths in children but doesn’t let skills atrophy in areas where the child isn’t particularly strong.

The book evaluates different curriculum available on the market that fits into the classical method. It also talks about some of the products that the authors sell but not to the detriment of other curriculum. I have looked at the original and the revised and have failed to find any dropped products. Everyone I’ve spoken to thought this was an extremely valuable resource in evaluating homeschool products.

The authors are obviously from a Christian background, but don’t push one brand of Christianity over another. I don’t think the book evangelizes and I don’t know what to would recommend in its steed if that’s an issue to you. There is a book by Sister Miriam Joseph, “The Trivium, The liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric”, that is, in my humble opinion written in a more secular style. However, not much practical advice is in the book for the homeschooler. I’m sure there are other books on the Trivium as well.

The authors recommend a great deal of Christian homeschool material particularly in the early grade language arts. After evaluating a lot of Language Arts programs I tend to agree with them, just not a lot of solid secular stuff out there. In fairness I haven’t evaluated the last third of the book in detail yet as I have all I can handle right now! Once again I would recommend this book for all that homeschool.


  • Reviewed on Monday, October 2, 2006
  • Grades Used: K-1
  • Dates used: current