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Fourth edition of TWTM...here's your chance to weigh in!


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And about science textbooks. I was under the impression that rhetoric stage sciences were set up more like science classes at St. John College - reading original texts. You can see my kids are young, so not much attention paid there. :tongue_smilie:  But I  saw the other day that in TWTM there are some textbook recommendations. If Apologia is recommended, why not include far superior Campbell's high school bio, or Hewitt's physics, or Conceptual Chem along with math based secular texts for those attempting to go into sciences. Unless of course you plan to stay away from science textbooks. 

 

Having TWTM recommend Apologia for High School biology over the excellent Campbell's would make me go  :blink:

 

Yikes!

 

Bill

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I could be speaking out of turn, but I was under the impression that Apologia was recommended due to ease of use for homeschooling. It was written specifically for the homeschooling parent to use at home.

 

Possible, but ease can't be the only consideration.  One look at the high school board is the proof that other textbooks are somehow equally accessible to parents. 

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I'm so excited about a fourth edition! My oldest child is just about to start third grade, so we're only going into our fourth year of homeschooling, but I can tell you that the third edition has been such an inspiration to me over the years! I refer to it constantly--not only when I need a practical refresher, but also when I need a motivational pick-me-up on the days I feel burned out. Your words (both your books and lectures) have really taught me to trust myself. I always walk away with the feeling that I can do this and I can do it well. (Thank you!) 

 

Honestly, I wouldn't change much besides updating some of the recommendations. I love having everything--recommendations and all--right there in the book. I especially rely on the end-of-chapter summaries. I love being able to flip to, say, the third grade summary and think to myself, "Okay...check, check, check...." It's a quick way for me to get started with my planning each semester. So, I love both the format and the content of the book. (I particularly appreciate that TWTM is pretty much all nitty-gritty substance and no fluff.)

 

If anything, I would love a new section that offers your general reflections on homeschooling now that most of your children are finished with their k-12 educations. (What might you do differently? What mistakes did you make? What are you thrilled that you did? What didn't end up mattering much? What did you waste time and effort on? What do you wish you did more/better/differently? What were your biggest challenges? What do you think is most crucial for current homeschoolers? And so on.) I would also welcome any advice you have on productivity and planning. I am constantly amazed by all you accomplish with your family, your farm, your writing, your speaking, etc. I would love to know any practical tips you might have on how you went about your homeschool planning for each child and how you managed to weave all that in with your day-to-day professional responsibilities.  

 

Thanks again; I'm really looking forward to the book!

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If I were a dictator, I'd require everyone to use Saxon Phonics.    Like your materials (WWE, WWS, SOTW), it's easy to implement thus it GETS DONE and it does a fantabulous (my word) job.    I credit it with my son reading so well so early (he was reading chapter books end of kindergarten/first grade).   He's just turned 9 and reads Tolkien (The Hobbit) easily (as an example).    I also credit it with his being such a stupentastic (my word) speller!        

 

 

 

 

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I'm probably repeating what others have said, but wanted to give my input as well.

 

Some of the resources that we have tried that just bombed for us and I would remove if I had the chance: Plaid Phonics, and Spelling Workout. Just really caused my child to hate the thought of putting a pencil to a page. They are just busywork workbooks imho. And my son really could not retain any of the lessons. They were just a waste of time and money. Other spelling programs that are a better fit are things like Sequential Spelling or the All About materials (All About Reading and All About Spelling).

 

Also Writing Strands. Even I started to hate writing when trying to use this with my oldest. I feel these resources are sort of outdated and out of touch with most homeschooler's desire to have a natural feel in their homeschools. 

 

Some resources that I think would be great additions:

 

Bravewriter. 

Pandia Press science options (just more quality secular options all around, especially in history, science, Latin, and logic)

The Human Odyssey (these are just great books and can be found without subscribing to K12)

Galore Park materials (especially for languages)

Math Mammoth

Kilgallon materials

BFSU science

 

I also find that a lot of the resources in the high school section are obscure. I just can't wrap my mind around what they are.  I'd like to see more current resources for high school. 

 

Also I would love some logic resources that were from secular publishers. Other than Building Thinking Skills, finding quality logic/critical thinking books has been difficult. My kids have been turned off by the workbook type busywork of CTP resources. 

 

Basically less workbooks, and more project-based resources. 

 

I would also love to see the preschool/Kindy section revamped without the unweildy activity books that are difficult to ever implement. Although I do like Mudpies to Magnets, it is a bit outdated.  Bravewriter resources such as Jot It Down or The Wand are great for this age. Also things like Five in a Row etc. There are also quite a few Montessori inspired online ebooks that can easily be implemented into a home without subscribing whole heartedly to the philosophy or the montessori school materials. There are a lot of resources for the younger ages.

 

 

 

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I think that Scott Foresman Art is as good or better than using Artistic Pursuits (despite the fact that I really like Artisitic Pursuits too). It's just that Artisitic Pursuits is so expensive, and you can usually find used copies of Scott Foresman Art for much cheaper on the internet. Scott Foresman Art has the textbook addressed to the student, including the project pages, so it is not as teacher intensive in the earlier grades.

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Susan, I can't remember when I read your third volume if you did this or not.  But please try to calm down over excited parents who are pulling their children out of the school system.  When we pulled our kids from the system they were in grades 2 & 4.  I made all the typical mistakes.

 

- tried to recreate school at home

- started my kids at the grade they were supposed to be in stead of assess to see where they actually were

- bought all the new shiny things and gave 3/4 of it away afterwards

- had my kids doing work from 9-3 everyday just like the school kids here have classes

- you name it I probably made that mistake.

 

 

 

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Oh yes, the old 'if a 7 year old child needs to spend 6 hours working on academics at school then they should be doing so at home' mistake.  Oy, I see that a lot.

 

I try to address that one tactfully. I have learned people get upset when you says things like 'Most of the time in a classroom is wasted'.  That doesn't go over well, lol. I have learned to say, "A classroom teacher has a lot of kids to manage and so things take more time. It takes18 second graders quite a bit of time to transition to reading from math. It could take one second grader about 2 minutes, so the day goes much faster."

 

Even parents who aren't that supportive of homeschooling see the logic behind that.

 

By the time my kids were in middle grades they did spend hours on academics, but not in those early grades. It grew organically

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Susan, I am so grateful to you for your work in the homeschooling world -- your books, this forum, your lectures -- and esp. for opening a discussion about WTM4.  Thank you so very much.  There are a few things I've been mulling over, RE the Well Trained Mind methods, for the past few years and I'm glad of the opportunity to bring them into the discussion.  This is my ...

 

Apologia for Classical Instruction in Mathematics.  In which the I argue that previous editions of TWTM do not provide children with maths training commensurate to their language training; that the 4th edition ought to provide for superior math education; and it can do so easily and without undue burden on the parent by using the classical tools of reading and writing. 

 

The Well Trained Mind gives a vision of, and a plan for, classical education grounded in language skills and aimed at rhetorical excellence in the mature student.   The provisions for teaching mathematics do not allow for math to be integrated into the goal of rhetorical excellence: math floats alongside as a practical skill (that is, necessary for getting into college and managing one's affairs), and as a field for exercising logical operations (that is, for developing skill in sequential and rigorous application of abstract operations).  If the fourth edition of TWTM were to bolster the already-strong rhetorical training with a sophisticated and integrated understanding of mathematics it would give students better practical skills, lend some horse-sense to their logical analyses, and hone their powers to persuade and to see through smoke-and-mirrors. 

 

In previous editions of TWTM,  it seems clear to me that math has gotten short shrift.  The robust classical footing of the writing, literature, history and science not extended to mathematics.  Beginning in the grammar stage, mathematics is relegated to learning facts and operations with no reference to the rich content of mathematical ideas.  Imagine that TWTM grammar stage reading were entirely phonics and decoding of graded readers, with no literature; or that grammar stage writing consisted of handwriting, spelling and formal grammar with no narration or summarization or even copywork of interesting, sparkling prose.  Such an education would be impoverished by comparison to the classical model. 

 

Consider the difference between reading & writing and mathematics: TWTM grammar-stage reading and writing prepare a child to reason, argue and express ideas.  TWTM grammar-stage math lays the foundation for the thinking required by algebra, trigonometry and calculus later.  There is a gravitas to the former lacking in the latter; there is an intrinsic importance to the world of ideas that you don't find in the world of math courses. 

 

In the logic stage, reading & writing will prepare a child to use language with precision and elegance; mathematical studies move to understanding how numbers relate and why, a goal with narrower scope and shallower capacity.  Rhetoric stage finds that the child's training in language (and in logic) comes to fruition as she learns to express herself with fluency, grace, elegance, and persuasiveness; her math education is fulfilled with basic math literacy & completion of the bare minimum of courses demanded for college admissions.   We ought to stop and reassess when we find "basic literacy" and "bare minimum" are standards in any subject central to classical education. 

 

Quite naturally, talk of teaching sophisticated math skills in the K-12 homeschool raises many parents' hackles and gives them the willies.  It suggests that what they are doing now, which is frankly their best, isn't good enough.  Furthermore, since many of us didn't have particularly good math educations ourselves, it suggests that parents need to obtain expertise of some kind in a field that is often intimidating and always demanding and for which they probably don't -- speaking frankly again --have the time they would need.

 

TWTM's mode of education lifts us gently and firmly out of the morass.  If children were simply required to read mathematical books, and to occasionally write about what they read, then by graduation they will have gathered an enormous amount of practice in: understanding mathematical arguments; the sensible application of mathematics to real-world situations and problems; math tools for garbage-detection; math tools for pulling out the essential and formalizing intuitions about reality; expressing mathematical arguments with clarity and power. 

 

The implementation can be a simple extension of TWTM principles.  On either a daily (as part of math time) or weekly plan the child reads math, and does an age-appropriate writing assignment at regular intervals.  In 1st grade the books can be read aloud; by 12th grade the child can be reading an adult non-fiction math book or two per year.  The writing assignments could be spaced more widely than those for science or history to prevent them from being onerous.  There are so many lists of living books at all age levels that generating a resource plan is feasible (I would be happy to help, or to develop a first-pass reading list) and it could be divided according to historical epoch if desired.  This plan is a light-ish one.  If a child read only a few such books a year her math education would be immeasurable enhanced. 

 

I wish I were better equipped to argue for the power such an education would bestow on the children's ability to reason clearly and to make convincing arguments, most especially  in the world we find ourselves in today and which they will inhabit tomorrow.  Math lets us bring out the underlying patterns and truths in our world: this is not a cold & heartless endeavor but a profoundly human and humane one.  Our public policies, our medical practices, and our choices in growing our children involve a sense for a real and measurable truth that ranges from the explicit to the intuitive.  In all these arenas, and many more, a sense for how underlying patterns and probabilities show themselves in the world we observe is a powerful tool for good in the hands of a good person.  Classically educated children ought to be equipped with it. 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix: a walk-through of mathematical reasoning in the real world.

 

The number of rhetorical & critical-thinking uses of this sort of math education is so large, and the length of this post so nearly unwieldy, that going through one particular example somewhat thoroughly seems my best strategy for showing its utility.  If it is useful I can provide other examples in other fields. My example comes from one of your lectures, Susan; I believe the one on Writing With Style in the high school years, in the science-writing segment.  I'm hesitant to use this example because it may seem like a personal criticism, as opposed to an opportunity to highlight the advantages of adding math skill to the rhetorical toolkit: please believe that my intention is to be constructive and to build up, not to tear down. 

 

The assertion I will discuss, and challenge, is this: that before the development of the IQ scale for measuring intelligence (in the early 20th century), no one had ever conceived that intelligence could be rated along some sort of a scale; after the invention of the IQ metric, no one can conceive of intelligence without thinking in terms of the IQ scale. 

 

Let's consider how a classical math training -- one not purely theoretical, but one that involves a multi-year project of formal math studies rounded by reading good math books and is paralleled by training in rhetorical techniques, logic and history -- how such a training can free a person from the tyranny of the IQ scale.  For indeed it can: I know people who are perfectly able to think of intelligence apart from IQ and to consider intelligence without IQ shoving into their musings. 

 

A mathematically sophisticated student who set to work on this problem can begin by extracting the essential element being discussed: the relationship of an intangible quality (intelligence) to a particular metric (the Intelligence Quotient).  Immediately it is clear that the IQ scale reduces something extremely complex to a single number.  Such mathematical operations on real-world phenomena are characterized by very predictable costs and benefits: on the one hand, a great deal of of information and complexity is lost; on the other hand, one is given a handle to use in grappling with a slippery and difficult-to-grasp intuition.  The student can proceed to ask: what kind of measurement is IQ? for what purpose was it developed?  what is it actually good for?  what are its limits?  what other tools are available to me in considering intelligence? 

 

1.  What kind of measurement is IQ?  IQ uses a test given to a broad sample of a population for the purpose of assessing intelligence, and the scores it produces are fit to a normal distribution (a bell curve) to produce a standardized test.  If that test is then given to other members of the same population, the scores of individuals will reflect (with some margin of error) those individuals' ranking relative to everybody else -- this is the essential idea, though not everyone would summarize it the same way.  The student who has read widely and studied maths will have read about and used bell curves as one statistical model, will know that bell curves make particular assumptions compared to other statistical models, and will have tools available to consider the limits and benefits of this approach.  He will also know that there are other ways to consider intelligence, not all of which are mathematical in nature, and that the other methods will often come to different conclusions. 

 

2.  For what purpose was the IQ scale developed?  The child with classical education is taught to look for motivations and biases, and if she is classically math-educated she will know that math tools are designed for specific purposes.  She will be equipped to ask exactly what IQ was developed to measure.  I believe that the original purpose of the IQ measure was to identify low-IQ children in order to provide them with enriched education and raise their cognitive abilities; the classically educated student who finds this immediately sees some irony in the use of IQ, which today is modeled as a fairly inflexible quality of a human a lifetime but was originally conceived as a quality amenable to intervention and experience.  It is clear that many current uses of IQ do not fall under the umbrella of its original purpose. 

 

3.  What is it actually good for?  In mathematics one learns that measures and operations are good for some things and not for others.  The classically math-trained student is able to pose questions about statistical correlations between IQ and measurable outcomes.  A bit of research will show that on the one hand, there does seem to be some use of IQ as a first-pass detection of students with unusual cognitive capacities (either low or high).  Something like IQ is also of clear practical use in entrance exams, for the military for example, and does seem to improve the military's ability to set incoming soldiers to training that is appropriate for them.  These are mathematical statements. 

 

4.  What are its limits?  Single numbers cannot fully represent complex qualities.  For example, in geometry a 3-dimensional object will cast a "shadow" on a 2-dimensional plane, and so a sphere can be represented by a circle.  In turn the 2-dimensional circle will make a 1-dimensional projection as a line segment.  By mathematical exercises such as these, accompanied by wide reading in how qualities such as "wealth" or "health" are measured, the mathematically trained student can deduce that whatever IQ may be, it is certainly not the same as the complex "intelligence" it means to measure.  Mathematically speaking, what IQ really is good for is knowing how well an individual does on a particular set of tests relative to others in a population, with some margin for error.  IQ will be limited in its accuracy and use by any factor other than intelligence that affects some measurements but not others (test prep of some students, for example) and by factors that affect functional intelligence but which the tests do not measure (persistence, creativity for example).  Statistically speaking, IQ accuracy will also be limited when the individual tested is not well-represented by the population the test was fit to (think ESL learners).  Since statistical measures are statistically, and not perfectly, valid, the student will expect some errors in IQ measure: if it is used to sort students, some unusual students will not be identified and some who are identified won't really be unusual; in the military, IQ rankings will result in some soldiers being assessed above or below their capabilities. 

 

5.  What other tools are available for considering intelligence?  This is where our math-trained student can shake off the shackles of IQ entirely.  She knows it is one limited tool among many.  First, there are other statistical measures for a population.  Next, there are other forms of testing and assessment.  She can also think of intelligence in terms of her personal experience.  She can research alternative measures of intelligence and the idea of "multiple intelligences".  She can turn to the corpus she has studied -- what the Greeks & Romans looked for in intelligence; what Augustine considered; what the American founding fathers believed.  She can go have conversations with other people and gather their perspectives.  She can step back and consider how important the very idea of intelligence is, for what it is relevant and for what it is peripheral, because a key element to analyzing problems is knowing when they apply and when they don't. 

 

While any particular student may not develop all these tools, one with a classically-informed math education will have many of them.  A classical education that embraces mathematics gives our children more freedom to step out of limits other people impose on their thinking, by enabling them to see and define those limits clearly and, therefore, to see what lies beyond them. 

 

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Well, I for one would love a short book list broken down by age. I have a 5th grader and would love just a few ideas for ages 10-14. We've never done any living books for math, beyond counting books etc when he was younger, so maybe take that into account.

 

My kids really thrive with the classical method, and oy, is this kid in the annoying part of the logic stage, lol. Maybe the last thing I want to do is strengthen his ability to construct and argument :svengo:

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I would like to see a lot less specific resources. Maybe an online resource guide that can be updated and a code with purchase to access it. If you need some, just what you consider are the one or 2 best, and then maybe an appendix of alternatives. 

 

I have browsed through a friends 1st ed. I would like some of that back. The how to do it on our own. How to teach with resources and not hand holding curriculum. Things that would make it easier to take curriculum's and customize them.

 

I have heard you speak, the Homeschooling the 2nd time around. A chapter on that would be great if you and your mom felt like writing it. I liked what you said about not rushing to get kids into college young. Talk about the gap year between homeschool and college, about specializing. 

 

A chapter about how we don't need to do it all, to not be perfect. The cheerios anecdote would be great. You come across so perfect and ideal in TWTM, some stories of failures, or amusements when things didn't go right. Look at your conference presentations, if you could get some of that into the book. A chapter we moms can read, when we just need to know that not only someone else has been there, but that you were there. That it will be okay, and we aren't ruining our kids by homeschooling. (I hope that makes sense).

 

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So many great replies here!  Most of what we love has already been mentioned, but I wanted to add a plug for Barefoot Books. 

 

This little publisher produces beautiful retellings of many myths and legands from all over the world.  Written by (wait for it) actual writers...award winning writers and storytellers.  There are a great selection of myths from all over the world for the younger set (great for read-alouds in the grammar stage) such as Tales from India, Jewish Tales, etc.  And for the Logic stage there are beautiful retellings of the story of Achilles, Odysseus, 1001 Arabian Knights, Greek Myths, and on and on.  They aren't available on Amazon (they were, but got tired of being undersold, so pulled out), but you can buy them on book depository. 

 

Otherwise, thanks so much for all the work you and your team put into updating WTM...I am a fairly new homeschooler and was kind of stumbling along until I came across it last year and read it in exactly what my heart knew I wanted to do but couldn't express to my head :).  This last year was a great one and we're all excited to dive into the middle ages this year (Knights!! Vikings!!  Ninjas!!)

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I own the 1st and 3rd editions and have read the 2nd. I just checked both books I have and neither includes a section on adapting a classical approach for students with learning disabilities or other special needs. I love TWTM as a general framework and it's definitely had a huge influence on my homeschooling over the past 8 years. The specific materials you've recommended, however, are not necessarily the best "fit" for my kids. My youngest child in particular needs programs designed as interventions. OPGTR, FLL, WWE, etc. are all great programs for neurotypical kids (and I've used the latter two successfully with my older students) but they won't meet the educational needs for my youngest child. 

 

Recommendations I would like to see in the 4th edition under Special Needs Homeschooling:

 

Memoria Press' new "Simply Classical" program

Lindamood-Bell LiPS, Seeing Stars, and Visualizing & Verbalizing (available through Gander Publishing)

Barton Reading System

Dancing Bears (reading) and Apples & Pears (spelling) from Promethean Trust

Verticy Writing

From Talking to Writing by Terrill Jennings and Charles Haynes with the student workbooks (available from Landmark Schools)

Dianne Craft's dysgraphia resources

Ronit Bird's math

 

I'm still at the beginning of helping a student with extensive SN's so hopefully moms with more experience will weigh in.

 

I'm chiming in in support of adding more for adapting for special needs, too, especially for those starting in partway through the child's childhood & education.  Many of us started homeschooling (at least in part) because they found out/figured out somewhere along the way that their child simply can't learn well in a typical classroom environment.  Often it takes years to come to this realization because everyone (including the supposed experts in the schools) expect them to "grow out of it".  My eldest was entering 6th grade when we started homeschooling.  While your book gave us a blueprint to start with there was simply no way we could manage everything you suggested, especially since we were playing catch-up on so many things.

 

I would recommend looking at alternatives for diagramming sentences, and perhaps delaying starting outlining if needed until they are mature enough to see the purpose.

 

I would also appreciate seeing suggestions on how to modify the history progression to fit into a 3-year cycle instead of a 4-year cycle.  This could help parents who are starting TWTM partway through a child's education, or if they need to adapt things to cover history topics required by the state.

 

Would you also be able to discuss what could make a decent Good Citizenship line of study?  Texas is one state that requires homeschoolers to teach this, and there is no such thing as a "written curriculum" in "good citizenship".  This, therefore, is the category in which I'm trying to put in civics (layers of government from local to national), current world geography (knowledge of continents, countries, other forms of government, other cultures), and later economics and Personal Finances. 

 

This last is crucial -- finding outside sources to address the realities of managing one's own finances throughout one's life.  This stuff needs to be taught at the high school (or even junior high) levels, but so often it's not.  Not only do some teens really resist just taking Mom or Dad's word for it, but quite a lot of parents had to learn as they went and might not know many good ways to handle money early on in life.

 

I'll chime in more as I think of stuff.

 

Thank you, SWB!

 

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I haven't read all of the replies and I'm sure this has been mentioned in one form or another but I would really appreciate more information on homeschooling accelerated learners as well as children with learning challenges. Bonus points for talking about kids who fall in both categories. How does classical education work for these children? 

 

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I'm in the end game now, homeschooling my last high schooler two more years, but a few thoughts even though I probably won't buy the next edition.

 

I think that folks would benefit from a chapter on how to evaluate local paid classes.  We've had mixed experiences that way that were hard won, but know now what questions to ask.

 

Same thing with online classes, although these came later on, so I knew what questions to ask even though they're a little different.

 

And same with dual enrollment. As a community professor myself, I've seen the good and bad vividly.

 

Outsourcing the teens for certain subjects saved my bacon though!  I could only go so far in Latin and other languages, and they've loved being in group classes for history/lit. My younger one is doing math with someone else next year because we hit a wall and needed outside help. For us at least, the cost has been reasonable and less than having to hire a tutor on an ongoing basis.

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Singapore Math, which you did mention - but make sure you recommend the Standards Edition. It's more rigorousr than the US Edition.

 

Latin for Children is good, as is Latin Alive.

 

 

More than the actual curriculum and literature book lists (which are essential and to which I still refer regularly), TWTM reassured me that I *can* homeschool. Don't change any of that. But people who are newbies and are literal learners think they have to do it EXACTLY like the curriculum is written - let them know that they need to relax. Their kids will go to college even if Mom has to dictate the passage 5 times instead of 3, as the curriculum instructs. You have helped me learn this in the many in-person and online seminars you've conducted (my eldest is going into his senior year, so I'm still trudging behind on all the trails you've blazed).

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I can't access my copy of TWTM, because it's in one of the 326 boxes of books yet to be unpacked....but....

 

I second the recommendations of Math Mammoth and Beast Academy.  Even though I did quite well through college level Calculus, even I have learned things by going through them with my kids.  Bravewriter and Galore Park Jr. was a good fit for us.  IF not mentioned, the BBC's "Horrible Histories" is highly recommended and entertaining.  

 

I also agree about talking about dual enrollment options, etc.  I would love more about realistically homeschooling multiple children, multiple ages.    

 

I would also consider apps as Bill suggested..... or as others have mentioned, perhaps sending them to a dynamic web page that can be updated.  "Presidents vs. Aliens", "Stack the States", and "Stack the Countries" are all favorites.  

 

What about learning computing languages such as Scratch, Java, etc.  YouthDigital, Khan, Code Academy, etc.   Typing.com for keyboarding.  

 

I think in today's day and age, knowing something about world religions is essential.  I do believe people should learn about a religion from those who practice it.  As an ex-Christian, I am always surprised by what some of my Muslim friends tell me Christians believe.  I am also surprised to read what people think I believe as a Muslim.  So for Islam, Reza Aslan's "No god but God" is a great book for high schoolers on up.  It goes into the Sunni/Shi'a split which is important to understand as it continues to relate to world politics today.   "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam" by Emerick  is an easier read.   In a more general light, National Geographic did a book with the 1001 project called, "1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilizations" which is good for upper elementary/lower middle.   They even have a teacher/parent guide at http://www.1001inventions.com/files/Awesome_Facts_Teachers_Guide_REL61212.pdf

 

Of course, there's "The Crusades through Arab Eyes" and other books, as well.  If people want an English translation of the Qur'an to read, Muhammad Asad is a good one.  

 

Wish I had read through this before purchasing three different levels of "Spelling Workout" to use this year. LOL

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Guest AmyDrorbaugh

We've used most of your recommended books for grades 1-7. The only one that we trule hated was Rod & Staff grammar. It was a fight every day trying to get my kids to do grammar. I would love to see FLL continued through the upper grades? :-)

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Aha. Well, it is keeping some nice company there in the Great Books section! I hate to suggest in some sense "demoting" it, but maybe it deserves a cross listing over in the science books section. As it stands it seems to be one of the few science related books over in the Great Books history and reading area, and I am not sure I would think to look in a history and reading section for things related to science if a bunch of titles did not make me realize that it would be a likely spot. Or perhaps let other books that might now be read mainly for their historical value such as Hippocrates' and Euclid's works also be listed under Great Books, not under the "science" section.

 

I would definitely continue to include Euclid, although not necessarily under science. It is required reading at St Johns College, and not for it's historical value - they use it as a teaching textbook for mathematics. That's a pretty good argument, in my opinion, for it's continued value as more than historical interest.

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I can’t remember if I have the 3rd edition, or the 2nd, so please forgive me if this is out of date, but… I love the suggested curriculum, and as a new homeschooler I really liked that you had specific suggestions, but I wish that there was a 100% purely secular option for every subject.  There are so many more secular programs out there that I don’t believe that there isn’t a single one that isn’t as good as the one that will find a way to make grammar Jesus-centric.  (Also a mention that I love the Galore Park materials, and Math Mammoth).

 
I also hated Slow and Steady.  I thought it was silly and waaaay too easy with my first toddler.  But if my second had been born first, I think I would have been really upset that it was much too advanced for him and maybe there was something wrong with him.  I like the idea, because I’m the regimented list-making sort, but I don’t think that there’s a way to make a week-by-week program for toddlers and preschoolers that presupposes ANYTHING about their development… it’s just way too broad of a range.  If you’re looking for preschool recommendations, The Survival Guide For the Preschool Teacher is an amazing resource.  It’s jam-packed (seriously… tiny print, few pictures) with games, activities, songs, art projects, recipes.
 
You might want to include more information about the various different types of classes and programs that seem to be developing.  I've heard so much about coops, but they seem to have faded in my area.  There are a couple all-day programs, basically like a private school you can sign your child up for as many days of the week as you'd like... these seem to be in most urban areas now.  There are a bunch of museums and sports centers who obviously thought "You know, we have this weekly after-school program already developed... we could double our money by offering it during the day for homeschoolers."  The next wave of homeschool classes seems to be former homeschooling parents, whose kids are older (in college, or went to high school) and now they're teaching classes in their homes for younger kids... I've heard of three such teachers setting up shop in the past few months.  I think it would be helpful for new parents to describe the different options, and talk about balancing outside classes with the work that needs to get done, and maybe provide some schedules for if you're only homeschooling-at-home 3 (or even 2) days a week.
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Also one of the typing websites you recommend for keybaording is now a pornography site. Just a heads up. :-)

Ha ha. I went and looked in my copy of the WTM to see which one this was. :-P The site still links to the software, but it appears to have been hacked.

 

SWB, please have your team look at these free sites:

  • BBC Dance Mat Typing
  • typing.com

and these paid programs:

  • Read Write Type
  • Typing Instructor for Kids
  • Type2Learn
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Susan, I've read a lot of writing curriculum over the years and it took me so long to get a global system down for how to categorize them.  In the end I classified them along 2 axes: 1) based on content taught.  Does the curriculum focus on invention, arrangement, or style, or some combination of them? 2) the learning style of the student. Was the curriculum written to a parts-to-whole vs whole-to-parts learner?  So IEW focuses on arrangement and style for a parts-to-whole learner. It will not help a student who has nothing to say (invention) and will not work for a whole-to-parts learner. This classification system was incredibly useful to me and allowed me to more easily pick materials for my students' needs both in *what* they needed to learn and *how* they needed to learn it.  

 

The other thing I wanted to bring up was science. Although I like your experimental approach for middle school, not all kids are experimental kids.  In addition, not all experiments are even experiments.  I think that parents feel like they *need* to do weekly hands-on activities, but it really depends on the kid. And not all hands-on work is equally valuable.  I have written extensively about how to evaluate science activities in this thread http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/425932-science-activities-setting-goals-and-evaluating-usefulness-of-activities/ posts 2, 3, 4, 14 .  And in post 58 of the same thread I made a list of goals for primary, middle, and high school. Just something to read and ponder.  I know it is an impossible ask to be an expert on everything, so seek advice if you deem it appropriate to beef up the science section of the WTMe4.

 

Looking forward to it, as I bought the previous 3!

 

Ruth in NZ 

 

 

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Well, I for one would love a short book list broken down by age. I have a 5th grader and would love just a few ideas for ages 10-14. We've never done any living books for math, beyond counting books etc when he was younger, so maybe take that into account.

 

My kids really thrive with the classical method, and oy, is this kid in the annoying part of the logic stage, lol. Maybe the last thing I want to do is strengthen his ability to construct and argument :svengo:

 

Livingmath.net has great lists of books!

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I also thought that Building Thinking Skills was kind of just annoying busy work. I know I'm not the only one, I've read a lot of other posters who said the same thing.

 

:iagree: And boring, too. We threw our BTS out.

 

We get more mileage out of real, interactive games:

  • Chess
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Battleship
  • Thinking Blocks (online)
  • Blokus
  • Cribbage
  • Mancala
  • Backgammon
  • Sudoku & Colorku
  • Chinese Checkers
  • Connect Four
  • Flinch
  • Uno
  • Dutch Blitz
  • Othello
  • Yahtzee
  • Life
  • Monopoly
  • Scrabble
  • Apples to Apples, Jr. (removed a few cards, though)
  • Pictionary
  • Crossword puzzles & word searches
  • Dictionary drills
  • Upwords
  • Boggle
  • Bananagrams
  • Spelling Bee

And so on.

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I would love to see a chapter explaining the difference between TWTM and an ironclad guide, as I see too many parents who think they aren't educating classically unless they are doing something from the book :).  TWTM is the best homeschooling resource out there, IMHO, and following it's suggestions is clearly an excellent choice (blatant suckup) but you are failing your kids if you don't adhere to it 100% at all times.

 
A neat chapter might be one devoted to choices that lend themselves particularly well to group discussion classes-- I would include the Critical Thinking Company's "You Decide," "Philosophy for Teens" (and the other books in that series) and SWB's "Story of Western Science" in that category.
 
I would love to see a discussion on planning longitudinally for different learners-- it's okay to do WWS1 in 7th grade instead of 5th.   
 
I would love to see a page outlining why IEW works well. So many folks write it off as too mechanical.  They don't seem to grasp the idea of developing a writer's toolkit!  For example, I was working with DS14 to edit a paper, and I mentioned that he had employed too little variation in his sentence structure, and had too many short, stilted sentences.  He knew instantly what I meant and his edits were fantastic.  Practicing different sentence openers in a very structured way in IEW meant that he had no trouble employing them judiciously when needed later.  The idea of developing a writer's toolbox is too underrated in favor of letting kids just follow their bliss, IMHO.
 
I would love to see more explanation of WWE and how it can be useful for different learners; I had no idea it would be as fabulous for my kiddo with APD and dysgraphia.
 

I would lose Writing Strands as a recommendation.  There are much better choices now (IEW, WWS, Bravewriter).

 

I would have to highly recommend Michael Clay Thompson for vocabulary, grammar, and poetics.

 

I would love to see Math Mammoth and Beast Academy highlighted, and Life of Fred lifted from supplement to stand-alone status.  There are those for whom Fred does not work (it is quirky, and requires a lot of investment by the student) however my math professor husband and I love the results our sons are getting from Fred, the older (now in high school) using Fred as his sole math program (he has completed algebra I and II and is working through geometry).

 

 Some great math (and cross-curricular) books we have loved as supplements include Mathematicians are People Too (1st and 2nd volumes) Penrose the Mathematical Cat, and The Number Devil.  The Singapore Math upper division courses are also outstanding (yes, including the CC titles).  The upper level books come with a TM with the problems fully worked out, and the texts are pretty much written directly to the student.  It would probably help many moms to see a discussion of mathematics as being fundamentally about logic, not arithmetic.  Framing it in that manner removes much of the fear and misunderstanding about CC presentation (and Singapore Math for that matter).

 

I would love to see an expanded section on science, particularly emphasizing secular materials such as Campbell and Reece, Hoagland, and the Science Explorer series (bonus: older editions are very cheap on Amazon, and the content is not really updated for those cheap editions; the sections are merely in a different order).  You could find, with a little diligence, 4 years of logic stage science, including experiments practical for the home, for about $50.

 

Excellent sources for science lab materials include Amazon, Nature-Watch, Home Science Tools, and The Home Scientist.

 

 

The K12 Human Odyssey books, Pandia Press History Odyssey, and Pandia Press Real Science Odyssey are outstanding, and free of any religious point of view.

 

Galore Park has great offerings for foreign language and a science spine for middle years.  And speaking of Galore Park (and Fred, AoPS, and Horrible Histories) Horrible Ray is a bookseller who should be supported by as many homeschoolers as possible.  He has outstanding customer service, and a great business model-- he offers a limited supply of titles, but they are sometimes hard to find.  His pricing is reasonable, and you don't pay until after you get your books and decide to keep them.  

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Oh!  I would love to see a discussion on deciding when to graduate your student.  I see quite a few homeschoolers who decide to graduate a kid pretty young, which may or may not work in a given situation.  I have two academically gifted kids, but neither will graduate early.  No matter the subject--math, science, history, writing-- you cannot possibly exhaust all there is to know about it, so graduating early "because they finished" may be squishy logic.  I also look at physical and emotional development, practical skills (laundry, home repair, cooking, handling a doctor appointment without an a parent present, understanding finances including mortgages, credit cards, loans, stocks, buying a car, and taxes) and more when thinking about graduation.

 

 

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Curricula we've loved that I don't think are in any of the earlier editions:

 

 

Getting Started with Latin

Galore Park latin

Hewitt's Conceptual Physics

Vocabulary Cartoons-sorry but True Confessions-my kids found the Vocabulary from Classical Roots series dry as dust

Hakim history and science books

 

 

 

Absolutely.

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How to tell the difference between an atypical learner and one who merely has to work harder?

 

I would suggest a formal assessment is in order for any kid who is asynchronous. This is not about labeling a kid, or casting doubts on any parent's ability to adjust and "know their child." However, some disorders with medical implications sometimes present first as academic difficulty. For example, a boy with trouble hearing everything you say, difficulty writing, and a hard time staying organized (jumps all over a worksheet, can't usually process more than 1-2 instructions at a time, and/or other symptoms) may have an extra X chromosome, something best diagnosed sooner rather than later, but only actually dx'd 25% of the time in childhood years.

 

Secondarily, for some issues such as dyslexia, there are proven strategies that work. Those strategies would be a waste of time if the child doesn't have dyslexia, or tremendously helpful to the child who does.

 

In short, if you see something unexpected, you aren't handing in your homeschool rock star card if you go get it checked out!

 

Jen, Mom to an XXY kiddo.

 

 

 

I can't figure out how to phrase this. I am sure there is a way to do it using SN vocabulary. Please, please don't mistake my lack of vocabulary for lack of sympathy if you are a SN family. I don't want to hurt anyone but I think it is important to say this. Myaybe someone can figure out what I mean and translate it into the proper language? Or maybe this just isn't generally important enough to anyone outside my family to bother... Anyway, here goes...

 

I have atypical learners. In a regular elementary school classroom, they struggled. They were bright enough verbally that teachers are puzzled by the struggle but not particularly worried about them. Or they didn't listen to them and thought they were lazy or unbright. As a parent, I knew they weren't brilliant, just sort of brightish, and also wondered why I was having to help so much with assignments. When we began homeschooling, some things in TWTM logic stage were difficult, if not impossible. We muddled through as best we could, with me just thinking I had children who were wired differently and there wasn't anything I could do about it. Then we arrived at the point where I had to teach study skills, college survival skills. And suddenly, I could see that TWTM had been teaching those skills all along. I just hadn't recognized them. If I had, I would have backed us up when we first began TWTM to the point where my children began to struggle and worked forward from there. (That's what I did in math. i did it with great confidence in math, convinced that no matter how unmathy one of my children was, there was no reason that with proper grounding, he couldn't get through precalc by the end of high school. He just needed his math thinking straightened out and he needed a ton of practice with the basic skills so he could use them easily and automatically.) The difference between our elementary school and TWTM was that TWTM TAUGHT those skills, whereas the elementary school just had the children start using them without actually teaching them. For many students, this seems to work fine; they figure it out and avoid a lot of dry drill. Mine needed TWTM approach. They will always be a bit different, one especially so. They aren't likely to be historians or anything else that requires one to use academic skills daily or especially quickly. They can manage, though. So - my question is this: How do you tell an atypical learner for whom struggling mightily through TWTM is the answer from one for whom TWTM just isn't going to work no matter how much effort is applied? I'd hate to see parents like me giving up on TWTM. (And for those who think I might have imagined all this, An educational psychologist confirmed the atypicalness of my most atypical learner and was thrilled with the results of my bumbling through TWTM with him. Astounded would be a better word for it.)

 

I know this is just one family's experoence, but surely we aren't alone in appreciating having a program that actually teaches those important academic skills, and does it in such a way that the child still gets to do fun, interesting things and have some say in what they are studying and learning, despite some things being a horrible struggle?

 

Nan

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Oh!  I would love to see a discussion on deciding when to graduate your student.  I see quite a few homeschoolers who decide to graduate a kid pretty young, which may or may not work in a given situation.  I have two academically gifted kids, but neither will graduate early.  No matter the subject--math, science, history, writing-- you cannot possibly exhaust all there is to know about it, so graduating early "because they finished" may be squishy logic.  I also look at physical and emotional development, practical skills (laundry, home repair, cooking, handling a doctor appointment without an a parent present, understanding finances including mortgages, credit cards, loans, stocks, buying a car, and taxes) and more when thinking about graduation.

 

:iagree:  Very much! My kids will not "graduate" until they are 18. If we get through 3 years of college level courses, so be it. 

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I may be late here, but since I have lent my copy of WTM out (for the 5th time at least!) if it isn't already in there, Harold Jacobs Math. I am the queen of math curriculum since I had to purchase and repurchase until I found a program that spoke to my son. He has done wonderfully with Jacobs Algebra and Jacobs Geometry.

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How 'bout a section that leads some parents into a deeper, more thoroughly classical approach to homeschooling, one that recommends really tough-nosed, vigorous learning in the language arts?  This would not be the most popular section of the book, but for some it would be the lifesaver that they have been looking for

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I guess I might get flamed for this. BUT...I found all the recomendations/booklists overwhelming and a distraction from the advice in all 3 editions. Perhaps a shorter rec. list with a plug for these forums for more would be less so and also make the book less HUGE which is a deterrent for many people. I do realize people need a short list to get started but then the book reads more like a book of curriculum reviews rather than a guide for classical education-- to me anyway. I would also suggest leaving out all the pricing and where to buy as Google will find anything. This would also reduce the size of the book.

 

Also, we have found the spelling recs rather...useless. Sorry...  :sad:

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It may me too late to weigh in but here are my thoughts.  I use TWTM almost exclusively to guide our homeschool.  I joke that out homeschool room looks like a mini Peace Hill Press store.  I own the 3rd edition of TWTM and my oldest is in the logic stage.  What I would really appreciate is clarification on the difference between narrations, summaries, reports, and essays.  I thought I knew the difference but when I tried to explain it to my student, my explanations all started to sound the same.  Under History for the Logic stage students are to "prepare summaries of information" (p. 76) but then on p. 363 when discussing schedules, the 6th grade student is to write a history or science "essay". Page 344, when discussing the reading block for the logic stage says that students are too spend the reading block "reading and creating narration pages and reports."  I've read these sections many, many, many times and I have a better understanding than when we first started.  I would still appreciate a clearer explanation on the difference. 

 

One last thought, because I'm a visual person the schedules and tables included in the 3rd edition have been very helpful.  If more detailed tables, charts, and schedules were to be included in the 4th edition, that would being a huge plus for me.  

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I would love to know why. Don't worry about my feelings, I have elephant hide by now. :)

 

SWB

 

I also got rid of later editions to buy the first. For me, the first edition described the method better without relying too heavily on prepared curriculum recommendations. In particular, I homeschool bilingually, and really love the WTM description of the classical education where you rely primarily on subject books from the library, because I can adapt that to my bilingual needs.

 

I think curriculum recs are great and all (and I'd love to see some mention of spalding in there, because I only found it after trying half a dozen phonics programs with my boy and having them all fail...), but I just felt that it got to be too curriculum focused.

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I also got rid of later editions to buy the first. For me, the first edition described the method better without relying too heavily on prepared curriculum recommendations. In particular, I homeschool bilingually, and really love the WTM description of the classical education where you rely primarily on subject books from the library, because I can adapt that to my bilingual needs.

 

This was also what drew me in. I could adapt to homeschooling bilingually during a time that many materials just were  not available. There still are only a few curriculum materials available in our language (as common as it is), so the method is still more important than the curriculum recommendations.

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I just pulled up an old thread to read through again and realized that linking to it here might be a good idea. This thread discusses why TWTM recommends some of the things it does. That was one thing I felt was missing from the book, of which I only own the 1st edition. It would be fantastic to have explanations of the reasons for narration, dictation, copy work, outlining, when to pause in math and solidify facts and understanding before moving on, why grammar is important, etc. The thread also discusses study skills, which would be a fantastic addition.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/254880-sonan-in-mass-come-and-elaborate/

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I am sure most people here are familiar online courses / MOOCs. There are a couple sites that aggregate available courses. One that might be usefully for home educators is https://www.coursebuffet.com It organizes MOOCs like a university courses catalog so one has a general idea if a course is a 101 type courses or an upper level course. This makes it easier to compare courses directly and plan learning. 

 

There are lot of intro course that higher school age students could take.

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I missed a lot of the great PHP materials when I homeschooled the older two and I've been excited to use them the second time around.  One thing I've noticed when I look at all the pieces that fit together (FLL, WWE, SOTW, science, etc...) is that there is a lot of narrations/copywork for all the different subjects.  If I am trying to follow each of the curriculum as written my poor little boys will keel over and die.  I would love to see (and, maybe somebody has done this and I just haven't been around for a long time) a lesson plan that combines them all so that the writing is streamlined a bit.   WTM probably isn't the best place to do this, but my dream would be to have lesson plans using all the pieces like this http://www.memoriapress.com/sites/default/files/products/samples/KindergartenCurriculum_Sample2.pdfbut with all the PHP resources.  (I know, I don't want much!) :-)  My boys are in K, so you have until September to complete the first grade plans.  No pressure!

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Susan, 

 

I'd love to see how you tweaked the ideal to fit your family, your kids. You've now graduated three, right? I know I've had to tweak based on what I could do with a big family, on what my kids were doing (debate sucked a few extras like logic for a few years), on what life handed us (hello grief and single parenting) and then on what some of my kids were needing. One needed to be outsourced and I needed to be only the cheerleader. I know you've talked about that. 

 

I think this could be done a bit generically without identifying any children or particular problems. But even after homeschooling yourself, teaching and parenting four different kids -- three high school graduation -- has to have caused you to rethink how this looks in the home. I'm all for ideal.  That's what I loved about WTM 17 years ago! It was an ideal with meat on the bones that I could start to implement in my home. But how and when and where to tweak when necessary? I know what we did, but I'd sure love to hear what y'all did and I know newer homeschooling parents would benefit from the perspective you now have. 

 

And while I'm at it and thinking back over our 17 years of home education so far, thank you for writing and publishing. Thank you all those weekends away from family speaking and thank you for you foresight to create this community which has been an invaluable resource. 

 

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