Why I Stopped Following the Well-Trained Mind

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The first homeschool book I read was The Well-Trained Mind.

I loved the premise of the classical education, the history cycle, and the wonderful books.

The method seemed like the perfect mix of reading, narrating, outlining, and writing.

I was sold!

I scoured the book and the forums for curriculum advice, and I dove in headfirst.

Well…..this year I’ve made a radical departure from my roots.

I no longer follow the Well-Trained Mind recommendations.

Why?

  • For one reason, it is very difficult to follow the amount of work and the timelines as prescribed in the book. When you have seven children, you need a bit more flexibility. I found many of the schedules to be overwhelming once I had multiple kids in various grades in our homeschool.
  • And if you have struggling learners, then you need to throw that timeline right out the window and forge your own path as directed by your children’s needs. I had kids that didn’t quite fit into certain grade levels and I found it more difficult to adapt to their needs while trying to stay on the scheduled pace as prescribed in the book.
  • While I appreciated all the book lists and resources recommended in the book, I found it difficult to put together our own curriculum and stay on task while simply following a book list. I needed something with more direction. I wanted a schedule. My kids enjoyed using textbooks and workbooks. And to be honest, I found a more traditional approach to be less time consuming for me to organize and plan.
  • I also found that after following the recommendations for several years, I needed a change. I was becoming bored with many of the resources. Many new resources are being published each year, and I needed to try a little something different to shake up our routine.

But the most important reason? I wanted a curriculum that focused on Biblical worldview and apologetics.

Many of the resources recommended in the Well-Trained Mind work well for Christian and for secular homeschoolers. However, I wanted to find something more decidedly Christian with a strong emphasis on apologetics.

So, with the huge shift in my mindset, I put aside the Well-Trained Mind. I am no longer very active on their forums. 

I so appreciate all I learned from both of these resources over the years that I started homeschooling. I gained a lot of confidence and learned about so many wonderful resources. I am so thankful for the strong start that we got from following many of these recommendations.

And it is possible to rework the recommendations to allow greater flexibility, to accommodate struggling learners, and to incorporate curriculum that is already planned for you.

However, for me, I found that I needed to make a complete change.

  • I wanted simplicity.
  • I wanted to reclaim the joy of learning and feel less stressed by trying to keep up with a history and science cycle.
  • I wanted to be able to explore rabbit trails and not feel guilty for getting off schedule.
  • I wanted to use textbooks and workbooks to keep things more manageable.

So now it’s time to move on. I’m searching for something slightly different for our family. And I’ve found that in unabashedly Christian resources from Master Books and Notgrass that are enhancing our homeschool journey.

While I want my kids to have a solid educational foundation with an academically-strong homeschool education, I place more value on their hearts and their faith.

Check out these articles for more homeschool thoughts and tips:

The Joy of a Classical Education

My Top 5 Homeschool Confessions

This Is the Very Best Homeschool Curriculum

Choosing Curriculum Wisely and Managing School Time

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