Janie's Reviews > The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
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Sep 03, 2009

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bookshelves: edupunction, non-fiction
Read in September, 2009

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 high-faluting educational standards. She finished high school at 16, was a National Merit Finalist and went on to excel at college and to homeschool her own children. It's not that this sort of profile is bad -- the person I like best of all was homeschooled, finished high school at 16, was a National Merit Finalist...

but isn't homeschooling a little bit about escaping that one profile of success and helping set up other ones? I think so. The narratives of success are already too narrow, and I feel like The WTM only perpetuates the narrowness and elitism of education.

Also, I'm not sure that a classical education is the best way to go. I do love Latin declensions, and classical education has all sorts of cachet, but there's a lot this curriculum seems to be missing out on (though at the same time it seems like it can't make a decision about what to prioritize and cut out, too).
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05/24 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Chad (new) - added it

Chad I would think that homeschooling is not so much about "escaping" any particular idea of success and accomplishment, but rather an avenue to strive for YOUR personal idea of what is success and what real accomplishment consists of. if your version of success is superficially consistent with that of the educational establishment (i.e. winning academic awards and getting degrees), then so be it. If not, then so be it. But certainly, if you can obtain success and achievement by others' standards WHILE satisfying your own personal standards that may be different, deeper, higher, or more fundamental, then that is an even better way to do it. The entire point of the book is the train your mind. Achievement in nearly any arena of intellect should naturally follow that, anyway, whether it be a joyful life of simplicity, or a joyful life of academic achievement within the establishment, either should be fine.


message 2: by Chad (new) - added it

Chad and there is nothing wrong with elitism in academia; the awarding and recognition of achievements that set some people above others. nothing wrong with that at all. some people are simply smarter and harder working than others, and deserve the recognition.


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