Archive for the ‘Conceptual: age 5 and under’ Category

Review: The Well-Trained Mind

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

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a review by the mother of a gifted homeschooler

I’ve now read TWTM twice and have had time to think about it a bit. I like SOME things about classical education in general and TWTM in particular, but others, I’m not too keen on.

First of all, Piaget’s stages of development have been known to be incorrect for years (even though they’re often taught in psych 101). They just aren’t true.

Having a true \”grammar stage\” would be acceptable to some students but just plain painful to most gifted ones–and beyond that, for math, at least, it is simply counter-productive. For example, TWTM predictably likes Saxon math, with its emphasis on rote memorization and the execution of algorthims as a substitute for actual mathematical thinking. While many gifted children will accept this, it is not a good idea. There is, quite frankly, a very good reason that Susan Wise Bauer did not major in science, mathematics, or engineering. Most classical education curricula provide a very poor background for these things. The prediction in TWTM that students will find upper level math and science \”hard\” is not representative of the difficulty of the subject so much as the completely lack of decent preparation.

Memorization of facts, which is an emphasis of a classical education, provides a framework around which everything else you learn can be hung. Whether it’s dates or mathematical facts (and this from someone who HATED memorizing math facts), there are certain tools that are important to build a body of knowledge upon.

Also, many schools now completely neglect all language arts, and classical programs usually offer a very good program for those. History is often dreadfully dull and incoherent as presented in schools, and most classical plans make it important, relevent, coherent, and at least fairly interesting. Primary sources are important, but they are not the be-all and end-all of math or science or history studies for very important reasons.

For a subject-by-subject critique of TWTM from my point of view, since it’s the most popular book on classical education, click here.

— Sophia

Book review: The Important Book

Monday, March 13th, 2006

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Author:Margaret Wise Brown
Reading Level (Conceptual):Children 5 and under
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Children 5 and under
Year of publication:1949

Doesn't rhyme so harder to memorize; not cutesy; some pretty hard words in surprising configurations

If you found this review helpful and/or interesting, consider supporting our book habit: Buy this book!: Important Book, The

Book review: Peter Pan

Monday, May 18th, 1998

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Full review by Miriam Devlin, age 11