The Well Trained Mind
Susan Wise Bauer
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The Well Trained Mind

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  3,440 ratings  ·  543 reviews

"Outstanding...should be on every home educator's reference bookshelf."—Homeschooling Today

This book will instruct you, step by step, on how to give your child an academically rigorous, comprehensive education from preschool through high school. Two veteran home educators outline the classical pattern of education—the trivium—which organizes learning around the maturing c...more
Published (first published 1999)
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This book changed my life! No, really!

In 1999, my two boys started school (k and 1st grade) on the same day my daughter was born. We ran so crazy that whole school year that we decided we had to try homeschooling - just to see if life would be any simpler. Lo and behold, it was. And The Well-Trained Mind (aka WTM) was my guide to how to do it.

WTM covers the philosophy and practice of classical education in a homeschool setting. There are other resources on classical ed, but I've found this one t...more
We've been using this book for "afterschooling" for our first-grader, but it's meant to be more for homeschooling. I love most of the ideas in this book and we have found the history lessons especially interesting and helpful. It's very nice to teach Mads a chronological history of the world that isn't U.S.-centered (I feel like I'm filling in the gaps of my own education). She also loves the poem memorization part of the language lessons. We've found this book to be a great resource and guide,...more
Aug 20, 2007 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Parents
The Well-Trained Mind follows the concepts found in A Thomas Jefferson Education, but provides a step-by-step "how-to" guide on how to set up a classical home school. I refer to this as my homeschool bible. What I have learned most from this book is that I don't have to alter my life to fit the outline described in the book, but I have altered the outline to fit and meet our individual needs and goals. I have used it as a guideline. It is a great resource for curriculum, etc.
Amber G.
Great book on classical homeschooling. It gives you a great guide on what to teach each year of homeschooling, but is also a bit ambitious. The author is a homeschool scholar raising geniuses. Even though I could never do all she does in a day, I loved the book for a guide, ideas, and how to keep on track. I would never get rid of the book even if I wasn't homeschooling. I like reading it for my own continued education.
Amy LaVange
Jan 24, 2008 Amy LaVange rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents with school aged kids
Recommended to Amy by: lawn_mama
Shelves: parenting
I truly believe this book to be a necessary read for anyone planning on taking an active role in their children's education - whether they are taught publicly, privately or in any sort of home environment. The curriculum is thorough and well thought, and the writing could motivate any parent to take a stronger role in teaching their child. Loved it!
10 pages into The Well-Trained Mind, I knew I found what I was looking for. (I actually stopped reading, logged onto Amazon and purchased a brand new copy of the newest edition. I knew I was going to want to have this book forever!) I was surprised because I didn't originally think classical education was the way we would go. But it makes SO MUCH SENSE! Here's how Classical Education breaks down:

Grades: 1, 5, 9: Ancients: 5000 B.C.-A.D. 400, Biology, Classification and Human body

Grades: 2, 6, 1...more
Verrrry interesting.

* for: best for people who have already decided homeschooling is what they want to do and want established, classical curricula. Also for those who want resource references out the wazoo.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The book is written by a mother and daughter pair. The daughter is one of three homeschooled children, but no mention was made of the experiences and outcome of the other kids' educations, and it bothered me. The daughter is wildly successful by typical...more
A thick, but quick to read book, especially since several sections do not apply to me at this time. Gives a comprehensive overview of the classical approach to home school. The author has a very thorough, but practical approach to home schooling. This book really gave me the vision of what can be accomplished in the home. It is also an excellent resource, full of lists of suppliers and other books. I especially appreciated the sections on how to make up a transcript for a home schooled child and...more
Jan 02, 2010 Shannon rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Organized Types who are considering homeschooling
Recommended to Shannon by: Allison Snyder
I'm not a big reader of non-fiction, so it's surprising that I'm starting the 2010 year with it. This book was recommended to me by a friend from high school who is homeschooling her two sons this year and enjoyed this book. It's the first book of this type that I've read and while I liked some of the principles and suggestions, a few things were off-putting.

First, I found the introduction a bit arrogant. Some of the authors' assertions about this method of schooling leading to smarter, brighte...more
This book is often called the Bible of classical homeschooling. Like the Bible, the book offers life-changing experiences for its followers. Many parents happily homeschool (or "afterschool") their kids based mainly on its contents. However, many of the items are best understood not as literal truth, but as metaphor. For example, the first grade reading list includes "Anything by or about Aristotle and Cicero". While that sentiment is noble, I challenge anyone to come up with books about (never...more
I've been reading as many books and blogs about homeschooling as I can get my hands on, because in preparation for beginning this journey with my daughter this fall for her first grade year I want to have much of a grasp of my educational philosophy and goals as possible. This book was recommended to me early on in my "just thinking about it" stage by a friend who homeeducates her children, but because the book is well over 600 pages in length I had put it off until I've read other, shorter, boo...more
Why have I resisted this method of Classical Homeschooling for so long? I've read about this method online, have read snippets of the book in the past, and have even incorporated a few bits and pieces of the Well-Trained Mind philosophy (and products) into our homeschool. But I've never identified myself as a classical homeschooler. I've resisted the method for one reason or another.
Not any more.
Today alone I have read through the section on the grammar stage twice (as well as large chunks of...more
This is a superb and complete educational program to follow as a homeschooling parent or as a parent who wishes to supplement their children's public school education. The program however is very intense and actually requires more academic time than public school (unusual for most homeschool programs). There is also very little focus on the joy of learning, and truly is focused on "training" young minds. If you are looking to educate at home so that your children have a superior education, this...more
David Withun
Every parent who cares about their child needs to read this book. That's not an overstatement; that is the honest truth. Classical Education, especially at home, is the very best education that a parent can give their child, teaching them to grow into logical, reasonable, intellectual, fulfilled, and happy adults, while exposing them to the wonders of God's creation and the marvels that man has created over the past thousands of years. And this book is the standard introduction to just how to do...more
First off, I don't plan on homeschooling my kids because I don't have the patience, organizational skills, patience, discipline, or patience to do it. But when I saw this book at the library while looking for ways to teach my rising Kind. and 1st grader during the summer, I was intrigued so I checked it out. This was my first exposure to the theory of classical education and it really makes sense. I like that it's reading and literature centered and that history is taught from ancient to modern...more
Nov 15, 2008 Jeanne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all parents
I would recommend this book to every parent, whether they plan to home school or not. Since most parents I know did not receive a classical education, they don't know how to give one to their children. This book is over the top in a lot of ways and can be intimidating, but it gives parents the knowledge of what a classical education entails, and gives options and lists of recommended resources. I also love The Well-Educated Mind, and really like Susan Wise Bauer (Susan and her mother Jessie, wro...more
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, but was intimidated by it's thickness. When I finally opened it, I was thrilled to discover that though it does include some wonderful philosophy, it's more of a guide for each age level. So, I was able to skip huge parts of it (i.e. middle and high school), and still felt I came away with great insights and direction.
Megan Larson
This book lit my fire for giving my kids a classical home school education. It explains the benefits of the classical method (which are many!), as well as how it breaks down, and then thoroughly explains how each subject will look at each level, and gives bibliographies of all the best curricula, texts, and supplements, with plenty of choices and the benefits of each. I have already begun to collect a lot of the literature and some of the early curricula it suggests, since my kids are still in p...more
I just love this book. I read it over and over. It is like a bible for homeschooling. All of our old favorite text books, philosophies, and methods are to be found recommended in this great resource, plus so much more that is new to me and WONDERFUL! I am getting ready for the coming school year with much excitement. I only wish some of my siblings were ready to delve into this great book with me; but alas, with children a younger than mine, they have a few more years until they will need such a...more
I was disappointed that the author(s) chose to focus on how wonderful she/daughter turned out, how brillant/successful she became and seemed to attribute it all to homeschooling. Yet, they don't talk about the experiences the brother had at homeschool. I would have liked to have read about his experiences as well. Still, if you're considering homeschool, or wanting to supplement, they have a very nice outline, ideas, suggestions on how to do it.
I'm less than 30 pages in, so I might not be qualified to leave a review yet, but I am literally shaking with excitement. I often refrain from writing and marking in my books because I might eventually want to sell them, but not with this one. It's going to be hard to put it down, and will be a great resource as we embark and travel along on our homeschool journey.
If you are just starting out homeschooling or are considering it, then this book is a great resource. It lists out everything your child needs to know from first grade through high school. There is a bias in the book, as the author has written many other educational material, these obviously are the first recommended; however, others options are usually given as well. The book is geared toward parents who will be homeschooling from the beginning of their child's education and while there is a sm...more
From an Australian, non-religious perspective...

This is a guide for Neo-Classical Education rather than Classical, eg. the way the "stages" are divided to fit the western 12-year school model rather than applied concurrently in varying degrees as was once the case (and is better-reflected in Charlotte Mason's classical style). It is very rigorous in a fashion more-closely designed to compete with public/private school graduates, but using classical elements to achieve generally higher results (p...more
May 24, 2010 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone considering or even curious about homeschooling and classical education
Recommended to Amy by: LeShel
I only read the beginning, middle section about elementary and then skipped to the end summaries and suggestions, but this book gave me the motivation I needed to get excited about homeschooling my kiddos. It is also full of great resources and it a great jumping point for me to get started with.
I really love this concept. If I could incorporate even a portion of this into future home education, my children will be "well trained." It gave me much more of a focus and plan for homeschooling, however it does seem daunting to do with more than one child.
Courtney Clark
The systematic and rigorous approach of classical education appeals to me and I appreciate the lack of bells and whistles. While I think the schedules get intense this book is not to be missed, and essential to me every year come planning.
This is a good book if you are into classical education. Sadly, I discovered my education was a bit lacking. As for using as a homeschool method at my house, I am too lazy. So my kids will be lacking as well.
Aug 17, 2009 Tracie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-education
This book will remain on my "currently reading" list indefinitely because it is the Handbook for Homeschooling--the Bible, if you will. If you can purchase only one book for Home Education, this is the one!
The meat of this book is an excellent resource for the homeschooling parent looking to give a classic education. The latter sections of the book are only of use to American readers.
This book is full of useful information for the parent wanting to educate children based on the classical method; it's really more of a reference book. The authors have listed extremely detailed resource information, by grade and subject area. I already respected the classical method of education prior to reading this, but I believe the authors spent a little too much time trying to "sell it" based on their personal results from homeschooling. I found the boasting in the Prologue to be a bit ove...more
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From the author's website:

Susan’s most recent book for Norton, The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade (2010) is the second in a four-volume series providing a narrative world history; the first volume, The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome, was published in 2007. Her previous books include th...more
More about Susan Wise Bauer...
Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 2: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade

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