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Okay by request....my review of the Well-Trained Mind (extremely long)

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I want to begin with the explanation that this is my view of the book, that these are merely my opinions on the book.  I know there are many people who love this book and there are many who embrace the "classical education" approach.  I was asked to review the book when I finished it.  I have decided to review the first part of the book: The Grammar Stage because I will probably be putting the book away for a while.

I agree that history is a story and should be taught that way for the 1-4th grades, history should begin when our understanding of history began and progress to the present without jumping around and confusing children, children will learn very well being taught an earth-centric manner and slowly moving down to community and family centric instead of beginning in their community and expanding out to the world; science can (and should) be broken down into full disciplines instead of teaching bits of each discipline each year and growing ever deeper in their understanding;  phonics, reading and math are the most important subjects for the early learners and all else is icing on the educational cake at that age; and lastly we should be aiming for a well-rounded child who has at least an appreciation of all subjects.

Now for what I disagree with: her ideas on what exactly makes up appropriate reading materials for the grammar stage child, teaching Latin to 3rd and 4th graders, her ideas on the use of Computers and Videos, and lastly the vast amount of time she suggests for this young age.

I have 2 disagreements with this book on what is appropriate reading material for the grammar stage.  The first is that she actually has a rant against Goosebumps, Spinechillers, and Sweet Valley High.  She goes on for paragraphs lamenting that the child who reads those books (even for their "free read time") will turn away from "anything that makes his brain work too hard."  In my opinion, that is snobbery that is actually not based in reality.  As a former teacher I watched many, many children who raced their way through the entire shelf of Goosebump books somewhere near middle school and began to pull out the more gruesome tales of horror from Dracula to Frankenstein to Titus Andronicus.  I met many a girl who worked her way through the teenage-crush novels to move on to Emma and Wuthering Heights and The Taming of the Shrew.  It is hogs-wallop that a child will simply turn away from the longer sentences and double entendres present in more advanced books.

The second disagreement is that she seems to believe that all of the pieces of literature one selects should be part of the canon, so much so that in fact the first female author in her list is Jane Austen who was born in 1775 for goodness sakes!  I was very disappointed not to see any of the female authors I learned of and fell in love with: Bradstreet, Wroth, Wollstonecraft, and Abigail Adams!!!  Sigh.  As someone who railed against the canon in my classroom, I am certainly going to teach my children that women helped shape the world too.  Actually my very first criticism of the book came when I noticed how man-centric it was.  I had hoped we had left that behind.

Now teaching Latin to 3rd and 4th graders will teach them to think outside of their personal perspective; however, I believe children would be better served learning etymology than learning Latin.  Her argument is that [Latin makes up] "about 50% of English vocabulary."  This is simply not true.  English is made up of many languages: a good part of English is Greek (think phobias, anything beginning with angio- or ending with -gogue); Anglo-Saxon (like angry, hungry, birth and dead); Celtic (anything ending in ough); Norse (odd ones like berserk and kiosk).  Latin is awesome and if a child has a desire to learn it, then YAY!  BUT most children will be bored to tears with learning a language that they cannot talk to another living soul who speaks it.  Learning French, Spanish, German, Yiddish even will be much more well-received, especially if there is someone in the family or the neighborhood who can understand them!  Learning etymology is awesome and again if a child has a desire to learn it at this young age then...way cool.  But even with my love of linguistics, etymology is really not something a child will want to learn.  Yes, Yes I know that not everything needs to be fun, but I would much rather "force" mathematics, phonetics, grammar, and usable vocabulary than to force things that are so far outside the cultural norm.

Computers and videos definitely have their place in learning.  Her descriptions of a child watching Sesame Street were laughable.  My children almost never "sit slack jawed" while watching videos.  Their minds are constantly working.  They are noticing new vocabulary, yelling out suggestions to the characters, noticing characters we've covered (watching the Viking Apocalypse they noticed Ethelred the Unready and the Viking Leader Sweyn the Forkbeard).  Okay I'll admit that we watch some uncommon movies, but there are times and places for such things and I do not believe she gives them even that much credit.

Lastly, I do not for one minute think that school should take more than 3 hours for a 1st grader.  Her minimum times add up to 19 hours of work per week; divided into 5 days puts a child at nearly 4 hours of work before gym and free reading is added into the mix.

by on Jan. 12, 2014 at 4:31 PM
Replies (31-40):
bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Jan. 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM


Quoting AutymsMommy:

As an aside... I've never been able to finish reading WTM. That particular brand of classical educatio doesn't fit my own preferences of classical education and I could tell that fairly early in the book. My own classical methodology leans more towards Latin centered and Jesuit methodology (also considered a classical model of education). My arguments against WTM mode of classical lean towards our personal preference for a heavier focus on religion, maths, and sciences than she suggests.

If I'm like COMPLETELY honest here, I'm not a huge fan of classic literature. I know, that's horrible of me, especially considering I'll force my children to read them at some point (and I won't tell them that I dislike them), but in my defense, I want to be fair to the literature - just because I don't enjoy it, doesn't mean they won't. I'm a fluffy kind of gal with my books. Me, desert island, Harry Potter, starbucks - I'm good.

I'm nearly the opposite about my reading selections.  Give me some good classics (like the Riverside Shakespeare or the Canterbury Tales) and a cup of tea and I'd be fine on my desert island!  LOL

But I'm a total snob in that I despise the adaptations.  I want the translations only.  You lose all subtlety and nuance when someone hacks up a classic into an insipid adaptation.  AHHHH honesty feels good!  :-)

I could not imagine holding out on science and technology as she suggests.  There are just too many very cool experiments out there that I need to squeeze in during these formative years.  Of course she does only suggest that you hold off if there is too much in the reading/math sections for your LO; but even that suggestion is heresy in our house.  (apologies if that is offensive).

And lastly...THANK YOU!!  I feel so much better about not finishing it right now.  I feel like I will probably pull it out and read more in a year or two, but right now....it's not for us so off the charts it goes.

bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Jan. 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM
1 mom liked this

Thanks, Tide!  I'm glad I didn't completely put you off the book.  As with every book I read, it did have some tips and tricks that might come in handy some day.

Quoting TidewaterClan:

Howdy Celtic!  :)   In defense of Blue, she'd had a post before Christmas about educational gifts folks had under the tree.  One of her presents was "The Well Trained Mind", and she was looking forward to reading it.  I asked her to let us know what she thought of it, and that's just what she did.  She gave her honest opinion, and that was what I (and others I'm sure) had asked.  I didn't see her view from the perspective of a person who wants to follow the classical method.  I saw it from the point of view of someone who is eclectic, and for me that was extremely handy.

I also thoroughly, and completely, enjoyed reading your presentation of the book.  Even though we're not (completely) following the classical method I can see from your reply where we are including much more than I thought, and that helps me conclude (between both of you) that adding it to my reading list would be beneficial.

JMO, but I love hearing what everyone thinks about a topic.  I always consider their background.  Honestly, that's why it's so great to have multiple reviews on a book/subject/??? because I identify with each person in a different way.  The more views, the easier my decisions become. :) 

Quoting celtic77dragon:



bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Jan. 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM
1 mom liked this

I thought the trivium was interesting as well.  I really don't agree with keeping it so compartmentalized, but I thought it was an interesting take on the intellectual growth of the typical child.

Yeah, much of what she said the kids "ought to know" by certain ages made me feel pretty sad, especially looking back at all the kids I taught in high school that were never on target.  Yikes.

I will never get angry for rambling, I can't seem to keep my responses short to save my life!  LOL

Quoting -Teeter-Totter-: Great review!

I think we had a very similar opinion of this book :)

As always, the idea thief in me found many neat tricks and tips and ideas within its pages, and did expand my perspective in directions I normally wouldn't go.

I definitely didn't agree with some things she presented, but she certainly laid out a wonderful amount to be devoured and squirreled away.

I found the trivium sequence fascinating, although ( for my littles), the depth which she goes into at early ages would be a bit much, I think. I think I might just naturally have the inclination towards more hands-on, living it out curriculum as opposed to one so deeply attached to book studies. (As in I'd probably favor teaching say, car maintenance, over Latin).

Nothing wrong with her approach, and not saying her children don't know how to work on cars because of it or anything ;p...I think I'm just more of a 'less is more' approach.

And I might be mistaken (I read it over a year ago), her intro left me a little pouty I think. Something to do with the terrible parents who don't ensure their children know all their letters or some such before kindergarden. :D

Because I'm definitely of the mind that if they want to learn their letters before 5, I'll teach them no questions asked...but if they're not interested yet, I'll wait until then to start. I was afforded that option and feel that since it didn't hold me back in any way, I'll offer the same to mine.

Anyways, sorry for rambling, just wanted to say thanks again for your review, and to everyone on here for sharing their interpretations and opinions on the book, and schooling for that matter. You guys are great! ;)


Precious333
by Julia on Jan. 17, 2014 at 12:52 PM
Thank you! We do clasical education, but I consider ourselves a bit eclectic as well. You have some really great points.

We do teach latin, but also spanish and if they choose, other languages as well when they get older. I loved reading the history on the english language, so interesting!
bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Jan. 17, 2014 at 1:00 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Precious333: Thank you! We do clasical education, but I consider ourselves a bit eclectic as well. You have some really great points.

We do teach latin, but also spanish and if they choose, other languages as well when they get older. I loved reading the history on the english language, so interesting!

If you like reading about the history of the english language as a whole, you might enjoy Made in America: An informal history of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson.  Or his earlier book The Mother Tongue.  I loved both of them.  I am such a language geek!  LOL'

My oldest is learning Spanish and loves when DH speaks in German or I speak in French.  He's going to love languages!

TidewaterClan
by on Jan. 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Naw, just helped me prioritize when I'll read it.  I'm checking off items in Rebecca Rupp's "Home Learning Year by Year" and a few similar books.  I'll borrow WTM when I've finished those.  

Quoting bluerooffarm:

Thanks, Tide!  I'm glad I didn't completely put you off the book.  As with every book I read, it did have some tips and tricks that might come in handy some day.

Quoting TidewaterClan:

Howdy Celtic!  :)   In defense of Blue, she'd had a post before Christmas about educational gifts folks had under the tree.  One of her presents was "The Well Trained Mind", and she was looking forward to reading it.  I asked her to let us know what she thought of it, and that's just what she did.  She gave her honest opinion, and that was what I (and others I'm sure) had asked.  I didn't see her view from the perspective of a person who wants to follow the classical method.  I saw it from the point of view of someone who is eclectic, and for me that was extremely handy.

I also thoroughly, and completely, enjoyed reading your presentation of the book.  Even though we're not (completely) following the classical method I can see from your reply where we are including much more than I thought, and that helps me conclude (between both of you) that adding it to my reading list would be beneficial.

JMO, but I love hearing what everyone thinks about a topic.  I always consider their background.  Honestly, that's why it's so great to have multiple reviews on a book/subject/??? because I identify with each person in a different way.  The more views, the easier my decisions become. :) 

Quoting celtic77dragon:




bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Jan. 17, 2014 at 1:40 PM
1 mom liked this

Let me know what you think of HL year x year.  Not that I need to add to my list or anything. :-P

Quoting TidewaterClan:

Naw, just helped me prioritize when I'll read it.  I'm checking off items in Rebecca Rupp's "Home Learning Year by Year" and a few similar books.  I'll borrow WTM when I've finished those.  

Quoting bluerooffarm:

Thanks, Tide!  I'm glad I didn't completely put you off the book.  As with every book I read, it did have some tips and tricks that might come in handy some day.

Quoting TidewaterClan:

Howdy Celtic!  :)   In defense of Blue, she'd had a post before Christmas about educational gifts folks had under the tree.  One of her presents was "The Well Trained Mind", and she was looking forward to reading it.  I asked her to let us know what she thought of it, and that's just what she did.  She gave her honest opinion, and that was what I (and others I'm sure) had asked.  I didn't see her view from the perspective of a person who wants to follow the classical method.  I saw it from the point of view of someone who is eclectic, and for me that was extremely handy.

I also thoroughly, and completely, enjoyed reading your presentation of the book.  Even though we're not (completely) following the classical method I can see from your reply where we are including much more than I thought, and that helps me conclude (between both of you) that adding it to my reading list would be beneficial.

JMO, but I love hearing what everyone thinks about a topic.  I always consider their background.  Honestly, that's why it's so great to have multiple reviews on a book/subject/??? because I identify with each person in a different way.  The more views, the easier my decisions become. :) 

Quoting celtic77dragon:





celtic77dragon
by Member on Jan. 19, 2014 at 3:41 PM

 

Quoting bluerooffarm:
Quoting celtic77dragon: 

How is my take on the trivium too literal?  Too strict, maybe, but too literal makes no sense.

One of the defintions of literal is "to adhere too strictly". I am not a language expert so I apologize if that wording was not accurate. 

TV and computer times were their own chapter (chapter 10) in the Grammar Stage.  My children never watched tv or used a computer in the preschool years either.  But if a child in the Grammar Stage is not introduced to the computer then he or she will be behind in their education.

 Even skimming it you should have found the entire chapter on the matter.

That chapter (Pg198) was a page and a half long, which explains why it was difficult to find in a 800+ page book. Once you told me the chapter, I was able to find it easily - thanks. = )

She gives research to support her views on this (that the brain activitity is significantly different). I personally have read similar research in other places and it makes sense to me. I respect that not everyone will agree with the research though.

This chapter might be comforting to some parents who have a similar philosophy to education/parenting (since there are a decent number of people who limit these things in the early years).

I did not use the hours suggested for the entire grammar stage.  I used the humbers of hours she listed in the section: Part 1 Epilogue: The Grammar Stage at a Glance: the 1st grade section: and I added together the SHORTEST suggested times for the week for a 1st grader.

10mins spelling

15mins LA lesson

30mins reading and making notebook page

30 mins reading fun books

5mins writing

math 30mins

history 3hrs a week / 36mins a day

science - twice a week for 60mins /  24mins a day

= 180 mins / or 3hrs. My count included reading time. 

*I am not including religion, art or music. religion was 10mins, art had no time limit, and music had an hr a week if possible. Even if I did, it only adds another like 25+mins* 

Even if I counted this out to 4+hrs a day. It still doesn't change the fact that there is a quote (see previous comment of mine for exact quote) about how her schedules and curriculum choices are just suggestions and she does not expect people to follow this exactly. To do so, is to take this book too literal. 

She suggests that you not ask your child to make the easiest assertions of all:  What do you like about the story?  What do you not like about the story?  If you aren't even asking your child these easy assertions, then IMO that is saying that they have nothing to offer.  If you disagree, whatever.  But to say again that I am being too literal is (I must admit) a bit insulting.

No, she said not to "FORCE" these things. Pg23 "Don't force him to stop and reflect on it yet."

On Pg27 she says (in the preschool section) "After you read to your toddler, ask her questions about the story."

So I am not sure why you have the impression that you are not allowed to get any imput from the child.  

What I said that you took too literal was the stages. You do not seem to understand that the logic stage SHOULD be developing during the grammar stage. She mentions this on page14. "A student is ready for the logic stage when the capacity for abstract thought begins to mature." 

I am not trying to offend you. I am trying to explain by quoting the book how I personally feel you that you walked away from the book with some wrong impressions of what she was saying. If you disagree with me and the quotes, then that is fine too.  

"We are not impressed by 'child-led' education (waiting until the child brings you a book and begs for a reading lesson) for the same reasons that we don't let our elementary children eat exactly what they want..."   Condescending.  She is putting down another method of education by patronizingly equating it with a child eating ice cream until they are sick.

You see condescending - I see a woman that says simply that child led learning just doesn't jive up with her sensabilities. As well as showing how her philosophy carries over to other areas of life. --This is seen in a lot of homeschoolers. They are moms and teachers and the two intertwine into a philosophy that become almost one in the same. Unschoolers, Montessori, Waldorf... Even in a more general sense, I see a lot of similarities between parental styles and homeschooling styles.  

I have seen many homeschoolers say 'negative' things about differing styles than their own. I do usually take offense to it because I feel like they are trying to express their likes and dislikes - why those chose one over the other. I enjoy a good discussion about such things.


There are others, but I am not going to search them out here.  I also have college degrees in secondary education in English, history, math and Physics.  And I'm studying for a Philosophical Masters in Reading Education.  I taught in a public school for nearly a decade and have been homeschooling for a couple years.  So what?  

You called her condescending. So I mentioned her credentials because they are ALL specific to classical education. I just think that someone with a lot of knowledge and experience on a topic, has some level of authority on the subject matter (in this case; classical education). I would expect the same from someone who wrote a book on any area of expertise. I personally wouldn't consider it condescending though. 

I respect that your area of expertise is with education / public schools and I expect you to have a certain amount of authority in that area. 

It certainly doesn't make either of you always right or concordant to everyone else. 

I came in here to write a book review for people who asked me to.  I did not wait until I finished reading the second and third sections because I do not plan to continue reading it right now.  I was completely forthright and honest about BOTH of these facts right there in the OP.  There are many other eclectic educators in here that might be glad to hear what I have to say. I am seriously tired of going rounds with you over such silly and inoccuous things.  Want a better representation of the classical method?  Write a post yourself.  You are irritated that I found the author condescending, so you want to descend into name calling, that's on you.

 Amazon is more likely where I would leave my review of a book.

I will not be writing an entire new post (book review) just because you didn't like me adding to a discussion that you started on the subject.


If calling someone condescending (acting snobby / intellectually superior) is offensive and resorting to name calling, then why did you call the author that?! I was just making the point that if you were to call her that, it would make you the very same thing.  


Believe it or not, I have nothing against anyone in this group and I took the time to look up these quotes to clear up any misconceptions and hopefully help anyone who is genuinely looking into this method / book. Like most things, this has to be tailored to what works for your family. It certainly isn't a method that would work for every household.   




bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Jan. 20, 2014 at 12:36 PM

I was going to just let this all go; however, I hope that your truly do enjoy the discussions that we have and so in that vein there are some things that you need to know about me (and I have a feeling others are sharing the same thoughts about the tone you use in your responses).  I believe the tone you use elicits an emotional response from others.  Since you have stated that 

Quote  Celtic:

You can read my words with any tone, meaning, or the etc. It won't change the fact that I don't write anything with any disrespect meant towards anyone.


I would just like to show you that your tone does carry weight even in a fully written response on the internet.  There are a few places in your responses here that begin to elicit an emotional response (my friends IRL jokingly call it "flipping the b*tch switch").

For example, this paragraph:


Quote celtic:

 I thought the review was supposed to be helpful by being informative concerning what the book/method was about. However, maybe it was just to give your two cents on specific details within the book that you do and do not like. 


 says to the reader that if you thought a review was supposed to be helpful by being informative that you believe this review was unhelpful and uninformative.  Instead of admitting that you are unsure of the purpose of this review you make assumptions.  Since you didn't ever ask what the purpose of this review was, I decided to inform you that the purpose was to respond to a request from some like-minded homeschoolers on a book that is in their reading list.  I would not assume that I am their sole input on this book (that would be unimaginablly arrogant), but simply to discuss some of the things I liked and disliked about her approach to education.

You go on in the very next paragraph to come off a bit on the attack:

Quote celtic:

You misunderstand what the trivium is. You are taking it too literal. The child can ask questions and use logic. However, the FOCUS is on content during the grammar stage. The lessons and assignments should focus more on filling their minds with imagery and facts. Background knowledge.

Instead if you had written it about what YOU take it to mean, your tone would have stayed more neutral.  Telling another person that they do not understand is paramount to telling them tht they lack comprehension skills.  At this point, just 2 paragraphs into your response, I am sensing from your tone that you feel an affront to the fact that I would not use TWTM's vision of classical education.  When I was exposed to the topic of classical education in my college History and Philosophy of Education class, classical education was characterized as education given to many nobles in the middle ages.  It was a threefold path based on grammar (the building blocks of language), logic (the ability to formulate a theory about a group of facts), and rhetoric (the verbalization of an argument based on one's theroy).  Since the typical student of those mideival educators was often not a child, these stages could happen simultaneously.  So I was taken aback by her "stages" of education and how she melded the paths of a classical education to apparently conform to the developmental stages of a child.  I disagree with how she divides the classical education against the developmental changes of a child.  

And just as an aside, it should have been I took it too literally (it would be an adverb there, but I really hate to correct other's grammar because I do know that I use improper grammar at times too).

Again you expound on the times listed in the book for the 1st grader.  Here is your list:

Quote Celtic:

10mins spelling

15mins LA lesson

30mins reading and making notebook page

30 mins reading fun books

5mins writing

math 30mins

history 3hrs a week / 36mins a day

science - twice a week for 60mins /  24mins a day

= 180 mins / or 3hrs. My count included reading time. 

*I am not including religion, art or music. religion was 10mins, art had no time limit, and music had an hr a week if possible. Even if I did, it only adds another like 25+mins*

And here is where our numbers differed:  you state that she does not have a time limit for art and music, but that is not true.  She suggests that you do Drawing With Children, art projects, or picture study once or twice a week.  Taking that as a lesson in Drawing with children and one of the other items listed it adds: 25 minute warm-up and 25 minute drawing time Plus a 25-30 minute art project or picture study during the week.  I did add in the religion because for many homeschooling families Religion is an extremely important unit of study.  another 10 minutes per day.  And in music she suggests an hour of listening to classical music AND begin study of instrument if possible.  If it is "not possible" to begin instrument study that's another 60 minutes for the week.  If it is possible (and let's face it for most it is possible) that is another 60 minutes per week......

So the totals are :

90 minutes a day for all language arts = 450 minutes per week

30 minutes a day for math = 150 minutes per week

3 hours per week of history= 180 minutes

2 hours per week of science = 120 minutes

10 minutes per day Religion = 50 minutes

75 minutes per week Art= 75 minutes

Music =60 minutes

Total= 1085 minutes...divided by 5 days = 217 minutes or 3.62 hours.  

In a public school when one divides out all of the between classes time, all of the technology time, the lunch time, and all of the gym time, a first grader typically spends less than 4 hours on these topics.  Just for some perspective. 

Now that we have an understanding where exactly each of us got our numbers, maybe we can move on from there?

The next portion of your post that had a rather attacking tone was:

Quote Celtic:

I do not think the problem was this books interpertation of the method, but instead, it likely was your interpertation of the book that was the problem. But hey, hopefully anyone who is interested in this method/book will educate themselves by reading it for themselves. The method certainly is not for everyone.

I don't really have a "problem" with the book, and I'm sorry if you had a "problem with" my interpretation of the book.  But this particular quotation makes you sound angry.

Which leads us to this qoute, where you say you are not trying to offend, but again you are attacking with the "you statements":


Quote Celtic:

I am not trying to offend you. I am trying to explain by quoting the book how I personally feel you that you walked away from the book with some wrong impressions of what she was saying. If you disagree with me and the quotes, then that is fine too.

You say "you walked away with some wrong impressions.  But instead of saying what your impressions are using "I" statements, you think it is better in a conversation to use "you" statements.  I have been teaching children for years that "you" statements are directives.  Your tone when you use them is acusatory/attacking.

Quote Celtic:

You called her condescending. So I mentioned her credentials because they are ALL specific to classical education. I just think that someone with a lot of knowledge and experience on a topic, has some level of authority on the subject matter (in this case; classical education). I would expect the same from someone who wrote a book on any area of expertise. I personally wouldn't consider it condescending though.

Now let me explain the condescension.  Yes I agree that it doesn't "jive with her sensablilities"; however, there were ways of stating that she disagrees with unschooling that are not condescending.  For example she could have said something like it is a rare child that will come to the parent in a timely manor and request a lesson on reading.  It at least admits that there are children out there that do fall into that category.  Her tone was condescending.  It has nothing to do with her credentials which is why listing her credentials elicited the response "so what" from me.  No matter how educated a person is in a particular area, I still expect them to at least have the humility to understand that someone who uses a different style of education shouldn't be put down.

When you stated:

Quote Celtic:

. Im never shy about being honest, and I think that coming in here to write a book review on a book you did not finish, for a method that you do not use - is more condescending than anything you read in that book.

I believe that you are confusing my tone with my purpose.  Again based on your responses, you seem to be under the impression that my purpose of this review was to lambast an entire book AND an entire type of education.  Since that was not my purpose, your assumption does make it sound as though my purpose is condescention or putting it down.  My purpose was (let me reiterate) to speak to likeminded individuals about the book and how they veiwed it.  I was nearly relieved when Aimee admitted that she has yet to finish the book.  Plus, I don't mind that you aren't shy about being honest, but I feel that sometimes you do it by attacking the poster.  

From your very first post, I was actually pretty excited to hear your thoughts about the book and the type of education in general, since you actually use it.  But from your second post on, I heard anger from you, as though I had hurt your feelings by not choosing to educate as you did and possibly that I had hurt your feelings by not writing a review of the book the way you would have, which is why I suggested you write your own post.

Quote:

I will not be writing an entire new post (book review) just because you didn't like me adding to a discussion that you started on the subject.

I could never be expected to write a review of the book as another author would.  I am me. It is not that I did not like you adding to the discussion, but it has to do with the way you add to the discussion.  You have expressed some bewilderment before in other posts by the way your posts come across, so instead of just dropping this post, I thought maybe you would like to hear what I hear when you post.  I really hope this helps you to understand my feelings about your posts, but also I'm not the only one who sees your posts from this perspective since, so often, other members jump in in defense of the original posters.  There must be a reason that Tide began a response to you with....

Quote Tide:

Howdy Celtic!  :)   In defense of Blue, 

I say all of this with respect and the hope that we can continue to have conversations in the future and that we can better understand each other.

celtic77dragon
by Member on Jan. 21, 2014 at 4:05 AM

Because of character limits, this had to be done in sections (more than one reply). This is the first one. 

You wrote a long comment response here that criticizes how I respond within this group. Just so that we are clear; I will always be who I am. I will always be a person that is honest and yet harbors no hard feelings. I say everything with all due respect to another person. Not everything I say will sit comfortably with everyone. Not everyone will like me for being as upfront as I am. However, everyone WILL always know what I REALLY think! I will NEVER apologize for that.

I am busy with a ft job, a seasonal family business, being a mom of 3kids, and homeschooling. I come in here, shortcut a few things that look interesting, then reply as I have time to do so. I move on from the discussions without lingering thoughts/emotions.

It really sucks that my comments had to be taken so aggressively when they were not meant as such. I come in and say what I mean - there is NO between the lines.   

I read how you over analyzed my grammar, my word usage, my tones, and more. So many assumptions were embedded in there as well. I have never seen you do that to anyone else. I KNOW that I have seen worse offenses on all these matters by others in this group.  

We could have had a decent discussion here. There were a few things that would have been of great pleasure and interest of mine to explore further on. 

More specific replies to your comment are embedded below. 


Quoting bluerooffarm:

I was going to just let this all go; however, I hope that your truly do enjoy the discussions that we have and so in that vein there are some things that you need to know about me (and I have a feeling others are sharing the same thoughts about the tone you use in your responses).  I believe the tone you use elicits an emotional response from others.  Since you have stated that 

Quote  Celtic:

You can read my words with any tone, meaning, or the etc. It won't change the fact that I don't write anything with any disrespect meant towards anyone.



I would just like to show you that your tone does carry weight even in a fully written response on the internet.  There are a few places in your responses here that begin to elicit an emotional response (my friends IRL jokingly call it "flipping the b*tch switch").

For example, this paragraph:



Quote celtic:

 I thought the review was supposed to be helpful by being informative concerning what the book/method was about. However, maybe it was just to give your two cents on specific details within the book that you do and do not like


 says to the reader that if you thought a review was supposed to be helpful by being informative that you believe this review was unhelpful and uninformative.  Instead of admitting that you are unsure of the purpose of this review you make assumptions.  Since you didn't ever ask what the purpose of this review was, I decided to inform you that the purpose was to respond to a request from some like-minded homeschoolers on a book that is in their reading list.  I would not assume that I am their sole input on this book (that would be unimaginablly arrogant), but simply to discuss some of the things I liked and disliked about her approach to education.

I never said your review was not helpful or informative. I said it wasn't helpful and informative in a particular way --  

I was simply pointing out that the book review lacked ANY mention of what the method was. That seems like an important aspect. If someone read a Waldorf book and did a review; I would hope to see SOME mention of what the method is. I wouldn't expect anything indepth - I would read the book for that of course. However, I would want to see SOMETHING of it mentioned since it is what the book is about. 

I didn't need to ask what your purpose was for the review. I always understood that Kate asked you to do a book review of WTM.

You posted it to the group and not just to Kate. Which made it a public discussion / book review. Other people would read your review and I felt like pointing out that it lacked some informative details that might be helpful to others.

Not every homeschooler walks into these posts as informed as the old timers or more active members in this group.

Your last sentence affirms that I was correct in evaluation of what your review was - so where is the foul here?  

You go on in the very next paragraph to come off a bit on the attack:

Quote celtic:

You misunderstand what the trivium is. You are taking it too literal. The child can ask questions and use logic. However, the FOCUS is on content during the grammar stage. The lessons and assignments should focus more on filling their minds with imagery and facts. Background knowledge.

Instead if you had written it about what YOU take it to mean, your tone would have stayed more neutral.  Telling another person that they do not understand is paramount to telling them tht they lack comprehension skills.  At this point, just 2 paragraphs into your response, I am sensing from your tone that you feel an affront to the fact that I would not use TWTM's vision of classical education.  When I was exposed to the topic of classical education in my college History and Philosophy of Education class, classical education was characterized as education given to many nobles in the middle ages.  It was a threefold path based on grammar (the building blocks of language), logic (the ability to formulate a theory about a group of facts), and rhetoric (the verbalization of an argument based on one's theroy).  Since the typical student of those mideival educators was often not a child, these stages could happen simultaneously.  So I was taken aback by her "stages" of education and how she melded the paths of a classical education to apparently conform to the developmental stages of a child.  I disagree with how she divides the classical education against the developmental changes of a child.  

You mention my TONE here and how I could have made it more neutral.

HOWEVER, I actually had shortened direct quotes out of the books (hence the no quotations marks as I normally have done thus far). I wanted to make sure that I was using the book for my source when having this discussion.

So any tone you heard, couldn't have possibly been there by me. 


Here are the EXACT quotes:

"After you read to your toddler, ask her questions about the story."  Pg 27

"The KEY (I used the word FOCUS) to the first stage of the triviums content, content, content."  Pg 23

"...you'll be filling your childs mind and imagination with as many pictures, stories, and facts as you can."  Pg 22

I did not say that you lack comprehension skills - nor would I. There could be a number of reasons of why you have inaccuracys of your understanding of what she was saying. You clearly do have misunderstandings when I can point them out with direct quotes from the books. 

Whatever "tone" you sensed that made you think that I am somehow "affront" with the fact that you didn't use the WTM's vision of classical education - is incorrect. I would LOVE to get into a deeper discussion concerning classical education - and some of what you said up above. However, it appears that you and I can not have such discussions without offense being taken.     

And just as an aside, it should have been I took it too literally (it would be an adverb there, but I really hate to correct other's grammar because I do know that I use improper grammar at times too).

And so your point in correcting MY grammar was... ???

In the prior comment you tried to correct my word usage which was indeed correct - so you decided to instead correct the grammar of that word. While in the same comment you discuss how 'I' come across to people as rude?! 

Again you expound on the times listed in the book for the 1st grader.  Here is your list:

Quote Celtic:

10mins spelling

15mins LA lesson

30mins reading and making notebook page

30 mins reading fun books

5mins writing

math 30mins

history 3hrs a week / 36mins a day

science - twice a week for 60mins /  24mins a day

= 180 mins / or 3hrs. My count included reading time. 

*I am not including religion, art or music. religion was 10mins, art had no time limit, and music had an hr a week if possible. Even if I did, it only adds another like 25+mins*

And here is where our numbers differed:  you state that she does not have a time limit for art and music, but that is not true.  She suggests that you do Drawing With Children, art projects, or picture study once or twice a week.  Taking that as a lesson in Drawing with children and one of the other items listed it adds: 25 minute warm-up and 25 minute drawing time Plus a 25-30 minute art project or picture study during the week.  I did add in the religion because for many homeschooling families Religion is an extremely important unit of study.  another 10 minutes per day.  And in music she suggests an hour of listening to classical music AND begin study of instrument if possible.  If it is "not possible" to begin instrument study that's another 60 minutes for the week.  If it is possible (and let's face it for most it is possible) that is another 60 minutes per week......

So the totals are :

90 minutes a day for all language arts = 450 minutes per week

30 minutes a day for math = 150 minutes per week

3 hours per week of history= 180 minutes

2 hours per week of science = 120 minutes

10 minutes per day Religion = 50 minutes

75 minutes per week Art= 75 minutes

Music =60 minutes

Total= 1085 minutes...divided by 5 days = 217 minutes or 3.62 hours.  

In a public school when one divides out all of the between classes time, all of the technology time, the lunch time, and all of the gym time, a first grader typically spends less than 4 hours on these topics.  Just for some perspective. 

Now that we have an understanding where exactly each of us got our numbers, maybe we can move on from there?

I was genuinely curious where you counted these hours up. I follow the WTM and I get this done within 4hrs a day despite combining the grammar and logic stage because I came into this with 4th graders. So this information was important to me. I know it has no value to you - but it did to me. I wantd to see what I was missing that was getting your number so high. 

When I mentioned one part of the book where I saw the hours and where she says to work towards the max hours. You sent me to another section of the book saying that it was where you got these figures. I again couldnt get the hours to add up to 4hrs (btw I DID count art, music and religion. I had two different totals. One was 3hrs and the other was 3hrs and 25+mins - the + being for art which now with your new info pushes it up to 3hrs and 50mins). Where you sent me, there was no hours recommended for art.  

So the total is 3hrs for core subjects and 4hrs including electives. The fact that this is too long  for some homeschoolers genuinely surprises me. I personally wouldn't consider that too much time. 

I think the public schools around here must do things very differently, because the elementary level goes to school for 7hrs a day, has block scheduling, and no changing of classrooms. Lunch, electives, and recess do not eat up a lot of that 7hr day here. Are the school days shorter elsewhere or something?

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