For comprehensive guidance, please see The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, 4th Edition by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, published by W.W. Norton, 2016. ISBN 978-0-393-25362-7
In this book, Susan Wise Bauer and her mother, Jessie Wise, make the following recommendations for a complete language arts program; for a visual representation of their suggestions, check out the Curriculum Map. You can download the Curriculum Map to get a hyperlinked version.
|Grades 1-4||Grades 5-8|
|First Language Lessons, Levels 1, 2, 3, or 4||Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind|
Writing With Ease Levels 1-4. The workbooks include both teacher and student material.
Use Diagnostic Tests to determine correct level. More information follows.
|Writing With Skill, Levels 1-3. Both Instructor Guide and Student Workbook required.|
|Learning to Read||The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading (phonics) and your library card. You can read more from Jessie Wise’ FAQ about Phonics and Reading|
|Spelling||Your choice; we recommend Spelling Workout,
by Modern Curriculum Press. Start spelling when
the student has mastered phonics.
You can learn more about all of these materials --
- By reading the product description on each product’s ordering page
- By clicking the Sample button on each product’s ordering page
- By looking at the FAQs in our Customer Help Center
- By looking at the articles and videos produced by Susan Wise Bauer and others. These provide further guidance about how the products fit together, and provide teaching tips and planning assistance.
You can purchase the curriculum from our webstore (by clicking on the links) and from many other vendors. PDFs are available only from Well-Trained Mind Press.
More About the Recommended Books and How to Use Them
First Language Lessons (FLL) and Writing with Ease (WWE) are designed to be used together, but you can mix and match with other vendor’s curriculum. FLL covers grammar, punctuation, and mechanics; WWE covers writing skills--narration, dictation and copywork. The exercises in WWE reinforce the concepts taught in FLL.
FLL includes dictation and narration in some lessons. If you are using WWE, you need not do the dictation and narration in FLL unless your student needs additional practice.
Student Placement--First Language Lessons: Start a first- or second-grader in Level 1. (Level 2 builds on Level 1, so start at Level 1.) Start a third- or fourth-grader on grade level (3 or 4) because Levels 3 and 4 repeat everything found the previous years and introduce new concepts. A 5th grader who has not had explicit grammar instruction will benefit from Level 4 before beginning Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind.
Student Placement--Writing with Ease: Start a first-grader in Level 1. For older students, use the WWE Diagnostic Evaluations to determine the correct level for your student. If you click the link, you will see a picture of hands holding a pencil. Scroll down to find the Mastery Diagnostic Evaluations.
Start with Year 1 on page 66. If your student passes it, move on to the next one(s), in order, until you find the right level for your student. Year 1 starts on page 66; Year 2 on page 108; Year 3 on page 155; Year 4 on page 215.
A student will not necessarily be in the same level of WWE and FLL, so it is important to use this diagnostic tool.
Based on the first years of customer feedback, Susan Wise Bauer updated some guidelines for using WWE and WWS. The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, 4th Edition reflects this customer feedback. If you have an older edition of TWTM or would like to see the updates all in one spot, here they are: Updated Guidelines 2014; Writing Program