Friday, June 7, 2013

Classical Mamas Read - The Well Trained Mind: Ch. 3-4

Pin It

Here we are again to take a look the next chapters in The Well Trained Mind. (affiliate link)  Today we will be discussing chapters 3 & 4.  Just as a heads up, next week we will be taking a break because I will be sharing with you all a week-long series called The Classical Preschool.  It happens to go along great with the chapters we are talking about today (even thought I didn't plan it that way =)

Today we begin to look at Part 1 - The Grammar Stage - Kindergarten through 4th grade

Ch. 3 - The Parrot Years

This chapter is a introduction to the grammar stage, sharing with us what the basis of this stage is and how to implement it.  Here are some parts and thoughts that I wrote down while I read it.  Please discuss and share your thoughts in the comments below!

  • 'Fact collecting' isn't a fashionable approach to early learning (self expression is what is popular now).
    • I've definitely always known that how I do things is not 'normal.'  I never really thought much about it, it just felt like the right thing to do.
    •  I loved the example of the sponge, that you can't squeeze anything out (creativity), without first saturating it (knowledge/skill)

  • These years are the time to fill your child's mind with as many stories, pictures, and facts as you can.  These will be mental pegs to hang more information on later.
    •  I know Classical Conversations talks about this too, and I really like it!
    • My husband and I have talked before about how when you get a new car, all of a sudden you start seeing it on the road everywhere.  It's not that it wasn't there before, but now you're familiar with it and are receptive to more information about it.  I think that concept translates perfectly to our children.  I know my son is delighted when he hears somebody talk about something that he is learning about or hears our pastor say a word that we have learned in school. 

  • Read! Read! Read!
    • Children are excited at this age to learn, they love repetition, and are easily engaged.
    • Sometimes reading is not convenient, but I'm trying very hard to never say 'not right now' when either of my children bring me a book!  I try to offer lots of time for reading, and a wide variety of books.  

  • Memorize! Memorize! Memorize!
    •  Tell your children the information and have them repeat it back.  Young children will memorize without taking the time to critique, which enables them to memorize large amounts.
    • We focused on memorizing Bible, poetry, and (only recently) history.  I want to continue adding to this next year.
    •  What do you have your children memorize?

  •  Prioritization - How do you fit it all in?
    • I always struggle with this.  There just never seems to be enough hours in the day to fit in all the great school resources I would like to, keeping up the house-related jobs (cooling, cleaning, etc.), and let the kids be kids and PLAY!  I'd love to hear what you prioritize and how you do it!

Ch. 4 - Unlocking the Doors: The Preschool Years

This chapter talks about what is needed and not needed during the preschool years, breaking it down into ages 0-3 and 4-5.  Here are some things I wrote down, parts I liked, and some of my own thoughts.  Please share yours in the comments!

  • 10 minutes/subject, moving up to 30 minutes/subject by age 5
    • I thought this was a very helpful guideline!  Personally, we have added more 'subjects' in each preschool year too, so that increases school time as well.
    • What do you do when your child lollygags? I make sure that each thing I ask my son to do should take him no longer than about 15 minutes, but he just doesn't have the drive to sit and get it done and it can take FOREVER.  Do you 'punish' your child by having them finish no matter how long it takes, or do you move on after the allotted amount of time, even if nothing got done? 

  • Ages 0-3

    • Immerse your little ones in language. "A torn book is a small price to pay for literacy." (page 27)
      • I've been thinking about this lately.  My son loves looking through the Little House series books that we are reading right now, and they are starting to get little creases and tears.  This bothers me, but I hate to squelch his desire to read!  I figure I'd rather have to buy a whole new set in a few years, than discourage him from reading.

    •  Reading/Writing
      • I start teaching letter sounds at age 2, and that seems to fit right in to what they are saying here.
      • Encourage even these little ones to hold pencils/crayons/etc. correctly
      • Draw circles with them, do dot-to-dots, anything to promote pre-writing skills.

    • Math 
      • Count items out loud with your little ones.
      • Point to written numbers in books, on signs, etc. so they learn number recognition.

  • Ages 4-5 

    • Remember that children can vary in learning style so much at this age.  Some children will enjoy writing, other gross-motor type activities, etc.
    •  Begin teaching them how to write.  Require only a little bit of writing, but make sure they do it really well!
    • For math, use manipulatives to demonstrate the concepts of addition, subtraction, etc.  Play games that require counting, matching, sorting, etc.  Talk about numbers in your daily life!  

What are you favorite resources for the preschool years?

In case you'd like to prepare, next week we will be discussing chapter 5 which talks about Spelling, Grammar, Reading, and Writing.  If you don't have the book already, you can look for it at your library or get it on amazon. (The Well Trained Mind affiliate link)

If you are behind, feel free to still comment on chapters 1 & 2.  If you want to be emailed when someone makes a comment, make sure to click "Subscribe by Email" right under the comment box (right hand side), so you won't miss out on any discussion!

Classical Mamas Read Link-Up

Did you write about these chapters on your blog?  Have you been reading and blogging about another book (for you, not a children's book)?  Do you have a book club going on at your blog (once again, not for a children's book)?  I'd love for you link up here so we can all be encouraged by each other and maybe find another great book to read!

I think I'm going to keep this link-up ongoing since there aren't going to be a huge number of posts and then anyone new will be able to be encouraged by the other book reading ideas and discussions.  If the number of posts gets too large, I will fix it.

Please note, all posts must be on topic (about a book you are reading) and appropriate (think family friendly).


  1. "A torn book is a small price to pay for literacy." (page 27) I love this!! This book seems really great! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. I love it too! I don't want my kids learning to be careless with books, but when they are truly using them, I definitely want to have that attitude!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...