The Well-Trained Mind (TWTM), by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, was THE very first book that captured my attention when we first considered giving our kids an education at home. I was smitten with the concept of classical home schooling right away! I loved the vision and conversational style that Jessie and Susan offered, but years after first trying to fully implement their suggestions, I am convinced that the “trivium” as they teach it is impossible to achieve.
Overly ambitious, TWTM feels a lot like traditional school with harder subjects. Twelve years of math…twelve years of science…twelve years of grammar…argh! Add the “classical” subjects that I never had as a student (logic, latin, and rhetoric), and all of a sudden, “classical” home schooling felt like a huge task. At first, I tried to do everything they recommended, but over the years, I began to eliminate as many of their ideas as I embraced because they didn’t work for our kids, or they were just too tedious. I spent way too much money in the first few years purchasing various curricula that enslaved us (Abeka Grammar, Canon Press Logic II), and I felt such a burden because I was trying to follow TWTM and always fell short! I have talked to so many moms who were excited about classical homeschooling only to give up in frustration. Don’t give up. Authentic classical education is a lot less stressful. If you want, use The Well-Trained Mind as a resource for homeschool curriculum, but don’t use TWTM as a blueprint for authentic classical homeschooling.
Perhaps you are one of those parents who was initially excited about the concept of classical education, but somewhere along the way you lost your drive. Maybe you felt discouraged or wondered how you would get it all done! Through no fault of your own you have been operating under a false understanding of a classical Christian education which positioned you and your children for frustration. Now please don’t think I am suggesting that the leaders of the renewal movement are intentionally conspiring to deceive; that is NOT what I am saying. I am sure that they embrace their interpretation with a sincere heart. I greatly respect both authors, and I’m so glad that the Lord used their book to introduce me to homeschooling. I am merely suggesting that the current classical education renewal movement is operating under a faulty premise because the historical trivium was never meant to be taught the way we do it today. Experience the freedom of an authentic classical education.