about the book
An educated mind is, as it were,
composed of all the minds

of preceding ages.
-- Bernard Le Bovier Fontenelle

Inaction saps the vigor of the mind.

-- Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)
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The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Classical Education for Homeschoolers

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, Copyright 2006

Classical Education is an approach to homeschooling that is based on the book, The Well-Trained
Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer which was, in turn, based
The Lost Tools of Learning, by Dorothy Sayers.  The recommendations in these books assume
a Christian world-view, but the approach can be adapted to a secular humanist world-view by
substituting secular materials, where preferred.

"The Well-trained Mind" (TWTM) presents a philosophy of learning which maintains that children's
abilities mature in prescribed stages that correspond to a "trivium" drawn from the Middle Ages -
grammar, logic, and rhetoric.  The Grammar Stage (K - 6th) focuses on memorization and general
"gathering" of knowledge in each subject,  The Logic Stage (7th - 8th) focuses on a child's developing
abilities to understand the abstract, see cause and effect, use formal logic, analysis and criticism.  The
Rhetoric Stage (9th - 12th) is when students concentrate on using their knowledge and reason to
express their thoughts in clear, eloquent writing and speech.

TWTM contains a complete list of resources (mostly books) to use for each homeschool year.  History
and science use "real books" not textbooks, and spiral thru 4 years of study.  TWTM is an intensive,
strenuous curriculum with lots of memorization, reading and writing (including a notebook for each
subject).  Latin is taught, beginning in 3rd grade.  Children must be reading fluently prior to 1st grade.   
For more ideas and guidance visit the
Well-Trained Mind Website

Here is a good "primer" on Classical Education, Understanding Classical Education, by
Foundations Academy in Boise, Idaho

Why study more than just math and language arts?  This article explains the advantages of a broader
curriculum -  
"The purpose of a Liberal Arts Education" by Robert Harris, Virtual Salt, March 14, 1991

Aztecs vs. Greeks:  Those with superior intelligence need to learn to be wise by Charles
Murray from WSJ.com

Curriculum Options and Other Resources:

The curricula listed below are generally based on the ideals of "classical education".  

Tapestry of Grace - (K-12) Christian-focused, a Classical Education that centers around a literature-
based, spiraling, chronological study of history...  provides weekly goals, and has lessons for all
learning levels (grades) combined in the same four guidebooks,  emphasizes discussion and writing,  
does not include math, grammar, high school science, or foreign language

The Noah  Plan - (K-12) Christian-focused, described as an "American" Classical Education approach
and curriculum,  easily adapts to unit studies, can be used to teach different grade-levels at same
time,   teaches French starting in K,  includes online support forums and mentors and an optional
online academy directed at teaching parents how to teach the curriculum.  

Sonlight Curriculum-  (preK-12) Evangelical Christian-focused, literature-based liberal arts
curriculum that discusses other beliefs in their "world studies" units,  some use Sonlight as the
foundation for a  "lower-stress" approach to classical education, provides "Instructor's Guides" to
implement daily lessons (minimizes parent prep time), complete and partial curriculum packages
available,  language arts includes copy-work and dictation,  offers a choice of three math curriculum
options, science consists of  pre-packaged science kits, an advanced reader option is available,   
doesn't require hands-on projects and activities, no quizzes or tests,  80% of the materials are
reusable with other students, samples of curriculum and guides available online

Online Support

WellTrainedMind Discussion -- online Christian-focused support

Well Trained Mind Secular -- online secular support group

Catholic Well trained Minds -- online Catholic-focused support group

Classical Lite -- online support for those taking a more relaxed approach to The Well Trained Mind
(and Charlotte Mason)

Classical Conversations -- a combination support community and online school, classes are
organized and conducted locally, to encourage student interaction, public speaking and debate, offers
parent support and retreats
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