Friday, June 28, 2013

Classical Mamas Read - The Well Trained Mind: Chs. 6-7

Pin It

This post contains affiliate links to products that I use and love!

Welcome back to Classical Mamas Read!  I'm excited to be back here with you today to discuss chapters 6 & 7 of The Well Trained MindIf you want to take a look back at our previous discussions, click the picture above to take you to a list of each chapter we have talked about.

Ch. 6 - The Joy of Numbers: Math (grammar stage)

The four years of elementary math lay the foundation for the high-level abstract thinking required by algebra, trigonometry, and calculus later on. (page 87)

What you should cover in grammar stage math - 

  1. Addition & Subtraction
  2. Multiplication & Division
  3. Geometric Shapes & Patterns
  4. Thinking through word problems
  5. Relationships between numbers

My notes and thoughts on grammar stage math -  

  •  Start with manipulatives and use them again as you teach each new concept.
    • I really love the concept of teaching math by using manipulatives. We use Ray's Arithmetic, which teaches you to do the same thing.

  •  Move to mental arithmetic (picturing the manipulatives in your head instead of having to move them with your hands)

  • Finally reach abstract thinking (doing math by just using the numbers and symbols)

  • Math work should be done daily in the grammar stage.
    •  We have not typically done math every day.  I think next year I will aim for that (after seeing this recommendation)

  • Memorization
    •  Have your child memorize the math tables once they have reached the abstract thinking stage (after the manipulative and mental stages)
    • Do not allow the use of calculators until the math facts are memorized
    •  I have not have my kids memorize any math facts yet, but I was thinking about it since I know Classical Conversations starts it at age 4.  Now I'm thinking that I should wait. What do you think?

Do you have your children memorize math facts?  If so, what age do you start and why?


Ch. 7 - Seventy Centuries in Four Years: History and Geography (grammar stage)

History is not a subject.  History is the subject...A grasp of historical facts is essential to the rest of the classical curriculum. (pages 104-105)

My notes and thoughts on grammar stage history - 


  • History is a story and should be told from beginning to end.
  • Stay away from text books.  Rather use living books that tell the stories of history and use your library to supplement each topic!

 What main texts to you love to teach history with?

  • Cycle through history in each stage of the trivium, adding to the depth of understanding each time.  The book recommends a 4-year cycle.

  Do you follow a 4-year cycle?  3-year?  etc?

  • Keep a notebook (like they suggested for reading/writing/etc.) For each week/event, add...
    • Narration page (either write down your child's verbal narration or have them write their own)
    • Illustration (either a coloring page, or their own drawing of the story)
    • Map page (color in the area that they learned about on a blank map)
    • We do forms of all these things, but definitely not exactly like she laid it out.
  • After adding to your notebook each week, take a visit to the library to find more books to read on the subject.
  •  History is important, but it is not the most important thing in the grammar stage.  Learning to read and write is vital, so don't neglect those in favor of history.
    • I've been trying to do history a little each day.  They recommend studying history for a longer stretch (1 - 1 1/2 hours) only 2-3 times a week.  I think I will try this next year.

Do you do history every day?

  • Include memory work for history.
    • We have recently started using Veritas Press for history and I LOVE their memory songs.  I also created a history sentence for each week.  I really like it so far and plan to continue it next year.

What have you had your kids memorize for history? 


Next week we will be discussing chapters 8 and 9 which talk about grammar stage math and history.  Hopefully it won't be to much for one week, but I don't want this book to take all year to go through, so we will try!  It looks like a lot of pages, but a good chunk of it is resource suggestions, so I think we should be ok.

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)

If you are behind, feel free to still comment on chapters 1 & 2 or chapters 3 & 4.  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. I'm loving this series. It's always interesting to see what others pull out of the same book.

    In regards to your comment/question about Classical Conversations memorizing math facts beginning at age 4, the way the material is presented it is actually skip counting. Even though the kids are skip counting by 6s, for example, they only say 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, etc. not 6 x 1 = 6, 6 x 2 = 12, etc. WTM promotes skip counting, though only specifically by 2s, 5s, and 10s, at this early age. By knowing the skip counting, I think learning the the math facts of multiplication tables will be easier to learn later on as suggested.

    In regards to the 3 vs. 4 year cycle, I really think the 3 year cycle is too quick to cover the material adequately. However, I really love the Essentials and Challenge program within Classical Conversations (those materials are only available, if you are enrolled in the program) which runs on a 3 year cycle. We might start out doing the 4 year cycle during the early years and switch to the 3 year cycle when they are old enough to enroll in the programs.

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you are enjoying this series!

      Interesting about CC and skip counting. Thanks for explaining!

      I feel the same way about the 3 year cycle. I think 4 year makes the most sense (hitting each time period once in each stage of the trivium), but right now we're just moving along and however long it takes us is fine. Maybe I'll refine it as we go =)

  2. We have the kids start memorizing their math facts early, but I don't generally sit and drill until about 6 years old. Until then, it's a LOT of music. We like Kathy Troxel and Twin Sisters' Productions, and you can get them both on CurrClick or Amazon. I didn't make my big kids memorize their facts, and I really regretted that. It makes math SO much easier, when the facts are automatic. For math for my 6 year old now, we're using Ray's as our general guide, with Arithmetic Village (just got that, how CUTE!), and Math Made Easy (which is no longer being published, unfortunately). We also play games with him, Math Rider and Timez Attack. He's working on his addition facts now. Oh, and they learn skip counting with the CC iPad apps.

    For History, I LOVE the 4 year cycle!! As the previous comment said, 3 years is too quick. 5 is too long. 4 seems perfect--you get one cycle for each stage, and it just works SO well. We use Tapestry of Grace for that. I really love Tapestry of Grace.

    1. Glad to know you like the Kathy Troxel music. I am planning on using that next year. In fact, I'm hoping to incorporate a lot of music next year for memory work. Have you used Kathy Troxel's geography music? They look neat too.

      I'm sure you are right about the 4 year history cycle, but honestly we just haven't been that firm yet. It might take us 4 years, but it would be by chance =)

  3. blah. late as usual. My Chapter 5, ELA post:

    1. Ha! There's no thing as late...for this series anyways. =) I added your link to the link-up since I don't think you had. I'm going to keep all the posts in the link-up continue from week to week for the whole time we are talking about the WTM (unless it gets to be too crazy of a number). I'll head over and read your post in a while!

  4. We are memorizing things as they become relevant. I mean, we did skip counting, but not by every number, when he was in preschool. I know my child, he will balk at memorization without SOME point of reference... so we do things as we reach them (or discuss them). Luckily, he memorizes it all quickly (without songs... he can't STAND cute or silly songs... found that out in a kindergarten music class).

    Like science, we do history twice per week (with Fridays or weekends for movies or longer projects). We only have the first edition of TWTM, so we follow what they originally laid out in that one (roughly... many of our "spine" books are from different publishers than their recs). We are on a 4 year cycle. Just started first grade, so we just started Ancients. (Did continents and cultures in Kindy.)

    I love these posts!

    1. I think I just asked you about what you did on the opposite days of science on your other scratch that! I like the idea of a 4 day school week too. This coming year we will have a co-op on Wednesdays, so I'll probably make that our day 'off' or use it for things like music and art (because co-op is just every other week).

      Sounds like you guys are off to a great start! I'm glad you are enjoying these posts. Thanks for commenting!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...