Homeschooling Help

Common Core, Teaching Standards, and Homeschool

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Susanna Jarrett

If you are new to homeschooling or to our materials, you may wonder – do Well-Trained Mind Press curricula meet state and national teaching standards? 

Our Approach to Meeting Teaching Standards 

Well-Trained Mind Press curricula follow the principles of classical education described in the opening pages of The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition. The timing, content, and instructional methods often differ from those outlined in Common Core and other institutional teaching standards. The Well-Trained Mind Press does not attempt to match these standards. We focus on offering curricula that help parents (and schools) deliver a top-notch education for their students. In doing so, our curricula often exceed national or state teaching standards.  

In some subjects, like writing, our curriculum follows a different progression than is common in public schools. We lay the foundations for writing in the early years with copywork and dictation. Then, in the middle years, students learn to order their ideas with outlines. Finally, in the upper years, students learn to write and speak with force and originality. In contrast, schools often require first graders to organize paragraphs before they have learned to construct proper sentences. It’s like being asked to build a house before learning how to use a hammer! With our approach, students may not meet standards year by year. However, by aligning instruction with their developmental stage, they become confident and skilled writers in the long run. 

Another difference is that our curricula integrate skills and knowledge from across school subjects. In The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise connect students’ interaction with writing, literature, history, and science – not as separate subjects, but as bodies of knowledge brought forward together. Thus, standards might not map perfectly with our curricula. However, in the long run students learn what they need to succeed in life and on standardized tests. 

Well-Trained Mind Press offers scripted curricula targeting the abilities of children at each developmental stage. Dr. Bauer also recommends curricula from multiple vendors. We encourage families to choose the curriculum that will help them deliver a classical education suited to their unique children. 

How Can I Align Well-Trained Mind Press Curricula with My State’s Education Standards? 

You can find a curriculum map and view samples of the Well-Trained Mind Press curricula on our website. Each product has a sample that includes the table of contents as and some of the main pages. You can find even more information in our Help Center – FAQs, including links to Scope and Sequence documents. If you would like to compare our curricula to the set of standards you use in your homeschool, these resources help.

Whenever we divert from the pace and objectives of school system standards, it is because we have tailored our curricula to match the child’s developmental stage and capability. By writing our curricula with the student in mind, we are able to engage students instead of exasperating and over-stretching them. Because of this, students using Well-Trained Mind Press curricula are often better prepared than their public school counterparts for the rigors of high school and college.

Still have questions? The book Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education provides a reset in thinking about education and shows you how to make the most of all the available educational options.

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Susanna Jarrett


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