Classical Education/The Well-Trained Mind

The Well-Trained Mind (WTM) is the first book I read about homeschooling. To summarize as briefly as possible, WTM is like the Tiger Mom of homeschooling. It covers everything, and more — more than you’d ever want to actually do. This is great because my biggest fear (and I suspect the biggest fear of most new homeschooling parents) is that I’ll miss something and my child’s education will be woefully lacking in some way. WTM is intense, but that’s good because its intensity is what convinced me I can do this. Reading WTM1 gave me the information I need to build a foundation for our homeschooling. It gave me a good grasp of “the what” of homeschooling — what we want to learn.2

Here is a good overview of WTM.

What I’m Taking From The Well-Trained Mind

“Seize this early excitement. Let the child delve deep. Let him read, read, read. Don’t force him to stop and reflect on it yet. Don’t make him decide what he likes and doesn’t like. . . .”

“The immature mind is more suited to absorption than argument. The critical and logical faculty simply doesn’t develop until later on. . . . There is nothing wrong with a child accumulating information that he doesn’t yet understand. It all goes into the storehouse for use later on.”

“Remember, classical education teaches a child how to learn. The child who knows how to learn will grown into a well-rounded — and well-equipped — adult . . . even if he didn’t finish his first-grade science book.”

In elementary grades, prioritize reading, writing, grammar, and math.

Subject areas to cover: reading, writing, spelling, grammar, math, science, history, geography, art, music.
1. Full disclosure! I didn’t read the whole book. It’s huge. I read the parts that apply to elementary education. I figured I don’t need to overwhelm myself by reading about middle and high school yet and can read that stuff later.
2. My next discussion of “the what” will focus on curricula. When it comes to “the how” of homeschooling, I’m leaning toward Charlotte Mason and Montessori.  Apparently as a legal type, I like to break things down into substance and procedure.