Thursday, May 18, 2006

Classical Education and Susan Wise Bauer

Recently one of my brothers has decided to homeschool. And a good friend of ours has been homeschooling for a couple months. In giving advice to both we mentioned The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and her mother Jessie Wise. As I posted back in December, we really like this book. But we always warn people that even Susan Wise Bauer doesn't follow the book completely. The book is fairly structured. And a reader can come away thinking they'll never be able to do everything in the book.

So it is nice to have the full story. Susan Wise Bauer has written about some of her typical day. In her 1998 typical day one of the things she writes is:

"Daniel crawls into the middle of the table and tips Christopher's pencils over. I pull a chair up to the sink so that he can pour water in and out of cans. He pours water on the floor too, but I put a bathtowel under him and try to ignore it."

It is clear in reading her typical days that plans change on the fly, from the 1999 typical day:

"Christopher's ready to do his Writing Strands assignment. Today he has to do a Good Deed report, so I persuade Ben to get out of bed and bring his brother a little bowl of M&Ms. Christopher is supposed to write an account of this, but everyone now wants to eat M&M, so we have our snack break (way too early). ... Daniel is covered with red M&M goo. That 'Melt in your mouth, not in your hand' slogan is a LIE."

Like most of us her children aren't always sure their mom knows what she is doing, from the 2000 typical day:

"Emily is grousing again. I know she's not ready to get up, so I decide to wait a couple of minutes and see whether she'll go back to sleep. This drives Ben crazy. 'Mom,' he keeps saying, 'the baby is crying!' I get out his Phonics Pathways and tell him to think about his phonics instead. He’s reading me two pages a day, as a review of phonics and spelling rules. He reads the first two lines and then stops. 'Mom,' he says seriously, 'are you sure you know how to take care of a baby?'"

In the 2004 typical day we learn one of those things which wasn't in the book:

"Ben has done one of his eight sentences. I give him M&Ms. Sugar is a vital component of the successful home school."

If you haven't read these typical days, give them a try. They are a lot of fun, and help put The Well Trained Mind in perspective. (Oh, if you know of any more typical days by Susan Wise Bauer, please tell me.)


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1 comment:

Jessica (Mamma1420 and ClassicalMamma) said...

Hi! I love like-minded people. Please come check out the Well-Trained Mind forum on the Classical Homeschooling Message Board.

I really enjoyed your post!
Here's the forum's address: http://triviumacademy.17.forumer.com/index.php
Please come check it out!

I saw your blog listed on homeschoolbuzz.com! Mine's listed too. Mamma1420's Trivium Academy.

Read you later,
Jessica