The Newest Edition of a Homeschool Classic

Susan Wise Bauer walks us through the differences between the 4th edition of The Well-Trained Mind and its previous versions. Text! Video! Bullet Points! Everything you need to navigate the extensively updated edition is right here.

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home has gone into its fourth edition! Here’s a list of the major differences in this most recent revision.

  • Each chapter has been separated into two sections: first, how to teach a subject (methods, goals, expectations, etc.); and second, what resources to use (recommended texts and curricula.) This makes the book even more flexible, since parents can use the principles of teaching even if they choose to use other specific texts or programs than the ones we suggest.
  • Completely updated book and curricula recommendations.
  • New guidance on dealing with learning challenges and difficulties. Children who struggle with learning disabilities seem to make up a much higher percentage of home educated students than in previous years, since schools often are unable to provide the support they need. As home education has become more visible and additional resources have become available, many more parents are reacting to these very individual needs by choosing to remove struggling children from the classroom entirely.
  • New online resources, including alternative curricula (not included in the book because they were too complicated, expensive, specialized or quirky—but all of which have enthusiastic support among many veteran home schoolers), additional help for struggling learners, apps and online learning games, and more.
  • Brand-new maths and sciences chapters. Classical education has often been criticized as stronger in the humanities than in the maths and sciences. Working with highly qualified experts and experienced teachers, we have overhauled our approach to provide a much more rigorous and coherent maths and sciences education.
  • Shift of quickly outdated appendices (list of suppliers and publishers, index of home education organizations, links to state laws, and other constantly changing resources) online, where they can be regularly updated.


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.


5 thoughts on “The Newest Edition of a Homeschool Classic

  1. I have 1999 edition of Well Trained Mind and it does not say to start outlines and timelines until 5th grade. However, the Activity Book I have for Volume 4 of Story of the World says to start outlines and timelines in 4th grade. Is this recommendation changed in later editions of Well Trained Mind?

    1. It depends on the student…we recommend starting outlines and timelines for history “in the logic stage,” which often starts around 5th grade but in some students begins in the 4th grade year.

      1. Thanks for your reply. I was mistaken, I have the third edition. Does the fourth edition of Well Trained Mind explain how to determine if your fourth grader is ready to do timelines and outlines? I’ve also got to say my 8 year old daughter loves to “play school” with Story of the World, already teaching her 3 and 5 year old brothers!

  2. I just purchased the newest edition and am very excited about the possibilities. However, I have a bright soon to be 7 year old who will be starting 3rd grade. How do I provide some catch up for the “first and second grade” education portion discussed in the book since I am just now starting?

    1. Sure! For Grammar, we’d suggest starting a 3rd grader on our “First Language Lessons, Level 3” even if he or she hasn’t had prior experience with grammar curricula. Here are some answers about that, as well as about composition and spelling:
      Here are a couple of other articles about “starting in the middle” in phonics, history, and literature:

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