The Well-Trained Mind Extended Guide

Additional Curricula Recommendations

In The Well-Trained Mind, we offer our “top” recommendations for curricula: those that combine academic excellence, ease of use for the parent, clarity, and (when possible) affordability. But there are many books, programs, and resources that are compatible with the goals of classical education–even though we may have found them unnecessarily complicated, hard to find, overpriced, specialized, or quirky to list in the book itself.

The recommendations listed here are only a few of the many available. Visit our forums for even more suggestions.

Wondering about the latest edition of The Well-Trained Mind? Here, Susan walks through the updates and changes you’ll find in the fourth edition:

Additional Curricula Recommendations By Subject

Additional Curricula Recommendations By Stage

Help for Homeschool Beginners What About Socialization?

As soon as you tell your neighbors/friends/family that you’re home schooling, you’ll get the big question…

“But what about social development? Won’t keeping them out of school hinder their socialization?”

This is the most ridiculous question ever.

No, seriously. We mean it.

According to the dictionary, socialization is “the process by which a human being, beginning in infancy, acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of his society.” In other words, you’re being socialized when you learn habits, acquire beliefs, learn about the society around you, develop character traits, and become competent in the skills you need to function properly in society.

(Do you really want your child taught all this by a horde of seventh, or tenth, or twelfth graders?)

Agents of socialization include the family (both immediate and extended), the religious community, neighborhoods, tutors and mentors, the media (TV, radio, films, books, magazines all tell the child what’s expected of him, for better or worse), clubs (social or academic), the arts (both in observation and participation), travel, jobs, civic participation.

And formal schooling in an institution. (Only one of many agents.)

Taking the child out of school doesn’t mean that you’re going to remove him from all of these other “agents of socialization” that surround him. (It’s incredibly bizarre that we think of school, an educational institution, as the only vehicle for these very non-academic skills.)

Furthermore, think about the type of socialization that takes place in school. The child learns how to function in a specific environment, one where he’s surrounded by thirty children his own age. This is a very specific type of socialization, one that may not prove particularly useful.

When, during the course of his life, will he find himself in this kind of context? Not in work or in family life or in his hobbies. The classroom places the child in a peer-dominated situation that he’ll probably not experience again.

We live in an age in which people think a great deal about peers, talk about them constantly, and act as if a child’s existence will be meaningless if he isn’t accepted by his peer group.

But the socialization that best prepares a child for the real world can’t take place when a child is closed up in a classroom or always with his peer group. It happens when the child is living with people who vary widely in age, personality, background, and circumstance.

The antidote for peer-centered socialization is to make the family the basic unit for socialization—the center of the child’s experience. The family should be the place where real things happen, where there is a true interest in each other, acceptance, patience, and peace, as far as is possible.

And socialization doesn’t stop there. As a family, you should make a wide range of friends of various. Community activities, Little League, Scouts, band, clinics, music lessons, art classes, martial arts and dance classes, field trips, and the numerous events sponsored by local home-school support groups: by means of these activities, parents teach children how to live in society and how to relate to others.

Positive socialization is all about living in your world responsibly, fulfilling your potential, taking advantage of opportunity, making the lives of others around you better. You don’t need the institutional school to teach these values to your child.

Help for Homeschool Beginners Help for New Homeschoolers

If you’ve decided to homeschool but aren’t sure what your first steps should be, you’ll want to read this brief article on Getting Started.

You don’t have to teach your children every subject at once–that’s a recipe for overwhelming you and them! Instead, focus on the core subjects, which you can read about in this short description by nationally-recognized homeschool expert Dr. Susan Wise Bauer.

For hours of helpful and informative audio workshops and lectures about our approach, go here.

We know you have questions. We have answers:

I have Zero Teaching Background. Can I Use Your Materials?

Well-Trained Mind Press materials are scripted–in our writing, grammar, and math instructor guides, we tell you what to say, and what to expect as an answer.  The corresponding student workbooks give students the prompts they need to learn and practice the pertinent skills.  In our history curriculum, The Story of the World Activity Books provide you with teaching materials, review questions, assignments, activity ideas, maps, coloring pages, tests, and more.  We want you and your students to be successful.

What Curricula Should I Use with My Students?

Below is our quick-start answer; for comprehensive information, please look at The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition, by Dr. Susan Wise Bauer.  More on that later–but it does include instruction and resources for teaching the subject matter at each level, even if we do not offer that curriculum from our press.

You can learn more about our curricula from our webstore. We offer open-and-go textbooks and workbooks for History, Grammar, Composition/Writing, Math, and more, plus a large selection of audiobooks by master storyteller Jim Weiss.

Each publication’s page has a description and an extended sample so you can see exactly what you are getting.  If you have questions that are not answered in the product description, you can look at our Help Center – FAQ.

Download this helpful curriculum guide for free! It shows you which Well-Trained Mind Press products generally fit with different age groups.   

Well-Trained Mind Press Curriculum Chart

Additionally, in The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition, we recommend other curricula and supplements across all subject areas. These can be substituted for our own products, or used for enrichment with other publications.   

Skills build on one another and need practice and repetition.  These can be workbook-based. Content areas build knowledge of events and discoveries, times and places and form a foundation for further understanding of the world we live in.  Content is gained through story, experiment, engagement.  

Chapter 48 of The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition is called, “The Final Word: Starting in the Middle.”  This will help you know how to pick up where others have left off.

What About Other Resources — Do You Recommend Any Other “Advisors”?

Yes, we do.  Most of them are listed with contact information in The Well-Trained Mind.  Here are a few to get you started.  

  • The Well-Trained Mind Community Forums:  This is a very active and knowledgeable homeschool community–over 60,000 parents with years of experience in homeschooling, public schooling, and every combination in between. These folks are happy to share what works and what doesn’t (as well as recipes, laughs, and commiserations). Here are some of their best recent threads: a gold mine of information on homeschooling, bargains on textbooks, and more.

    I Need some Confidence…I Don’t Think I Can Do This.

    You can do this; we’re here to help.  Take a look at Susan Wise Bauer’s book, Rethinking School:  How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education.  Dr. Bauer’s thesis is that regardless of the delivery mechanism (brick-and-mortar school, distance learning, home school, private tutoring), you, as the parent, are in charge.  In this book, she opens up the multiple opportunities and options you have at your disposal.  You will find a lot of encouragement and information about how to move forward.  We have additional resources listed here.

    Why is The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition so Important?

    Well-Trained Mind Press’ curriculum is designed according to the goals and objectives of a classical education, outlined in Dr. Susan Wise Bauer’s book, The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition.  In her book, Dr. Bauer discusses the “why” of classical education and gives extensive guidance on how to implement it, including lists of books, texts, and other resources for each stage and subject area.  The Well-Trained Mind teaches the principles underlying all of our curriculum and our recommendations.  

    What About Online Instruction, Especially for Subjects I’m Not Able to Teach?

    We’ve got you covered! Our online course provider, The Well-Trained Mind Academy, uses classical methods and the best live-instruction technology to connect fantastic teachers with your student. They’ve got a wide array of courses. You can stay current with the The Well-Trained Mind Academy’s offerings by going to their website and signing up to receive their newsletter.