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The Well-Educated Mind

050947: The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You  Never Had The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had

By Susan Wise Bauer

I have a small confession to make. One of the reasons I homeschool is pretty selfish. I want to homeschool because it gives me the opportunity to learn so many things that I didn’t learn in my own years of formal education. Although I have always loved to read, I didn’t study many of the classics. I love history now, but learned very little about history in my school days. Foreign language? Let’s not even go there.

Trying to give my children a classical education without having one myself is both exciting and scary. So far, I’ve done a lot of learning alongside my kids. But that’s going to be harder to do as my children get older. That’s one of the reasons that a few years ago I purchased a copy of The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. The sub-title is A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had. That’s exactly what I need.

The book begins with an apology for reading and how the practice of reading helps you to train your mind. Bauer urges a set-time for reading. She then details how to read a book and keep a journal, as well as writing short chapter summaries. These recommendations are very detailed and specific.

The bulk of the book is devoted to what to read. Literature is divided up into 5 categories: the novel, the autobiography, the tales of historians, drama, and poetry. In each section, Bauer details how to read each type of literature. This is followed by lists of recommended works that include summaries of each book.  Each list is in chronological order by the approximate date written, since the “discussion’ should be read from beginning to end.

My husband and I are reading through the classics using The Well-Educated Mind as our guide. As I’ve looked back over the book, I have noticed that we haven’t been going through all the steps as detailed. However, just using Bauer’s list to select reading has been invaluable to us. I do intend to begin studying the books more thoroughly. I highly recommend this book as a resource for an adult or high school student who wants to learn how to read and analyze the Great books.

Written by Kristen, a relaxed classical homeschool mom of 4. Kristen blogs at A Day in the Life.

Kristen (21 Posts)

Kristen Hamilton and her husband, Kevin, have been home-educating their five children since their eldest’s birth in 1998. Kristen is Executive Assistant Manager of The Old Schoolhouse SchoolhouseTeachers.com and loves helping homeschoolers find educational resources. An admitted curriculum junkie, Kristen blogs about her homeschool experiences at Sunrise to Sunset (sunrisetosunsethomeschool.com). She also enjoys reading, crochet, and hiking with her family in her limited free time.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Rhonda@LivingWater November 24, 2009, 11:27 am

    I have had The Well Trained Mind for years but still have not read The Well Educated Mind. I really think I need that book, especially now that I have a Junior High school student.
    Thank you for sharing your great article on it.
    .-= Rhonda@LivingWater´s last blog ..Books Review and Giveaway: Our Winner is… TRUDY! =-.

  • Barb-Harmony Art Mom December 9, 2009, 7:58 am

    I have always appreciated this book but have not been able to implement it in my own life. I bought it thinking my boys would use it for high school literature but we haven’t done that either. I need to get it out and browse through it again.

    Thanks for the reminders.

  • Kayode Otukogbe November 3, 2010, 9:51 am

    Nice post. I am looking for where the books in the TWEM are discussed as I am about to embark on the journey of starting with the Novels. Perhaps, you can start one on this site. Kindly contact me if need be through my e-mail address. Thanks.

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