Although I file this post as a review, I cannot really review The Well-Trained Mind: The Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and her mother Jessie Wise (third edition, 2009). I only read the Elementary chapters (Part I) in full and bits and pieces of Part IV since my son is only four years old.
As I have pondered my son’s next year and a half before he begins kindergarten, I’ve found myself rather concerned about the local public schools and I’ve been pondering home schooling or other options. Obviously, I don’t have to make any decisions right now, but The Well-Trained Mind gave me some ideas for how homeschooling can work right. This book is one extreme because it provides ideas for giving a fully Classical education at home — including heavy emphasis in memorization during the early elementary years, and teaching your third grader Latin. They also promote their own textbooks ad nauseum (textbooks which get horrible reviews on sites where they are sold). If I were to home school (again, jury is still out), this would be a fantastic place to start for ideas on what to teach: I’d probably find my own less expensive resources and modify the programs to be a bit less labor intensive on mother and child’s part. The authors indicate that modifications are to be expected depending on your teaching style and preferences. I appreciated their acknowledgement of the need for flexibility.
All that said, The Well-Trained Mind certainly delivered what it promised (at least for the parts I read): it guided a parent on how to begin the intimidating process of teaching your child the classics in a classic style at home and from a young age. This is something to revisit if I do decide to home school my son (or even if I decided to supplement his daily life with home lessons in addition to what he learns at school; I believe it can be done and can be fun).
If you home school, I’d be interested to know how you incorporate classical literature into your curriculum. What’s your home schooling style?