I have been on the waiting list at our library for the book The Well Trained Mind, written by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, for two months now, and it still has not come. I finally decided to purchase a copy on Amazon and I am glad I did. Although the WTM has a decidedly homeschooling bent, it is an excellent reference book for any parent who is interested in taking an active role in their child’s education.
Over the next few weeks I will be reading the WTM again for the second time, and blogging about my thoughts chapter by chapter. I want to be conscientious about not violating any copyrights, so I will not be including quotes from the book on my blog. I will however, be referencing specific page numbers from the third edition. I invite you to read along with me, and chime in your own thoughts in the comment section below.
Page 3: I had a big self-to-text connection with Jessie Wise’s experience teaching a classroom of second graders with no break. I never taught dawn to dusk, but when I was teaching in an impoverished district in Northern California there were no specialist teachers for art, PE, music etc. I had my students all day except for a 15 minute recess break, and 45 minutes at lunch. Once a week I also had recess duty, which meant the 15 minute break was gone. I definitely noticed the quality of my instruction declining throughout the day. I’m sure my students noticed too! This was a very grueling situation in which to teach.
Page 4: I really agree with JW when she says talks about making sure her children learn to read before school. That’s what my blog is all about!
Page 4: The experience of the author’s son Bob sounds textbook for a child who is possibly gifted. This is why I’m such a big supporter of gifted and talented programs, and feel that it is a shame that so many GATE programs have been eliminated.
Page 6: I am sure that I am going to offend a whole section of America here, but I have heard (strictly hearsay) that public schools in the south are in pretty bad shape. I think that some of the authors’ views might be different if they had lived in better school districts. There are really some wonderful public school districts out there. I live in a great school district myself, and had the privilege of teaching in one too. But if I lived in an area of America where there were no good school districts to choose from, maybe I would have chosen homeschooling too.
Page 8: Regarding Meme insisting on memorization… In my credentialing program we learned that memorization was the lowest form of understanding. I wonder if the authors would take offence to this. Of course, they use memorization at the beginning of the trivium, so maybe they would agree that it is the lowest form of understanding.
Page 10: Regarding the education level of parents who homeschool: My concern as a teacher is when you get situations like the Duggars in “19 Kids and Counting”. In that show the teenage girls who were home schooled (and home-churched!) are now homeschooling their younger siblings. I probably cannot express this in any way that will not offend homeschoolers, but as a teacher, the Duggar’s situation makes me nervous. Where is the outside world in that? Yes, they are probably having to check in with their local school district, but it is still like they are in their own educational bubble.