Introducing Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind

Introducing Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind!

After you’ve watched this video, check out our other videos for Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind: Teaching Tips for Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind and A Sample Lesson from Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind. [KEVIN link both articles]

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Transcript (with a few annotations):

I’m Susan Wise Bauer, and I want to introduce you to our brand new grammar program. It’s called Grammar For The Well-Trained Mind.  This has been in process for I think the last eight years and we’re so excited that it’s finally finished and ready to bring to you.

Grammar For The Well-Trained Mind is a four-year grammar program. You can start at any time after [THE START OF] fifth grade. Once the student has gone through all four years of it, they will have all of the grammar knowledge that they need to go on to the study of rhetoric, which is really just the application of grammar to written and spoken word. So each year of this program, you use four books.

The first book is the Core Instructor Text. This has in it all of the lessons that you will be teaching the student. These lessons are scripted. We give you dialogue so that you don’t have to figure out how to best teach the grammar concepts. We’ve already done that for you. You’ll use this same Core Instructor Text for each of the four years of study. So one purchase, you’ve got your core text for all four years.

The second thing you need then is a Student Workbook. This Student Workbook has in it all of the rules and examples that the student will be learning. And full practice exercises to drill every single concept that the student is learning.

Each Student Workbook comes with a Key. These Keys don’t just have the answers to the Student Workbook. They also have explanations for you, the parent, so that if something is a little bit ambiguous or difficult, you’ll have additional resources to explain to the student why it works the way it does.

So, Core Instructor Text for all four years. Each year a separate Student Workbook and Key. And then finally we have a Comprehensive Handbook of Rules.  So this is, again, a one time purchase that the student will use for all four years. It has all of the rules and examples in it for the student’s reference.

Now this grammar program is different than others because it is based on the three essential things that have to happen in order for our minds to really comprehend grammar.

First, there has to be repetition and memorization. One we reason why we use the same core handbook [Core Instructor Text] every year is that every year you can use the same words to explain the grammar concepts to the student. The same rules, the same examples, every single year.  That repetition will help build the information, really solidify it in the student’s mind. So the first thing is just memorizing the rules.

Second, whenever you memorize a grammar rule, because grammar is something that governs the way real language works, you need an actual example. So every year the student repeats the same examples that illustrate the rules. That way they always have a concrete example of how the rule works to link to the actual memorized rule in their brain.

The third thing the student needs after this repetition of rules, repetition of examples is just lots and lots of practice. So although each Student Workbook has the same rules and the same examples for every year, each one also has a full new set of exercises of practice for the student to go through.

These exercises are mostly drawn from real literature, from novels, from histories, from biographies, from science books. We really encourage the student to take the rules they’re learning and then look at how they operate in real literature. So, Grammar For The Well-Trained Mind, four years, all the grammar you need through high school. Each year you’re going to have the Core Instructor Text, one book for all four years. Each year you’re going to have a new Student Workbook and Key. And then the student is going use the same Comprehensive Handbook of Rules as a reference work all the way through.


Susan Wise Bauer

Susan Wise Bauer is an educator, writer, and historian. She is the co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (now in its fourth edition), and the author of (among others) The Well- Educated Mind, The Story of Western Science, the Story of the World series, the History of the World series, the elementary series Writing With Ease, and the pre-rhetoric series Writing With Skill. Susan was home educated through high school and has taught all four of her children at home. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English language and literature, an M.Div., and a Ph.D. in the history of American religion from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where she taught writing and literature for over fifteen years.


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