Well-Trained Mind: A Classical Approach

Since making the decision to home school my children, currently ages one and three, I have been researching various methods of home schooling.  Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share with you some of the benefits I’ve seen in each of those methods.  If you are considering home schooling, this may help you decide where to start.  If you are already home schooling, this may provide you with some ideas to enhance what’s working well for you or re-work something that’s been a struggle.  To see all posts in this series, please click the tag “home schooling methods.”

Classical homeschooling, which includes Charlotte Mason’s method as well as programs such as The Well-Trained Mind, is an approach based on centuries-old methods of education.  It’s primary focus is on literacy, with a very traditional phonics method for teaching reading.  If you are not sure where to begin with homeschooling, or if your kids are naturally avid readers, The Well-Trained Mind may be the program for you.  It is very clearly structured and based on principles that have shaped education since the medieval universities.

One aspect of this approach to education that resonates with me is the Trivium, the three stages of education: grammar, logic, and rhetoric.  While I do not believe all children move through these stages quite so strictly as the classical system might imply, as a mother of very young children, I certainly see how my boys are in that grammar stage now.  During these early years, children are like sponges absorbing information from their environment.   The Well-Trained Mind does an excellent job of honoring this stage and seeking to give children lots of valuable material to absorb, including great literature and solid principles of phonics, grammar, and mathematics.

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