Review of classical curriculum books:
Teaching the Trivium
The Latin-Centered Curriculum
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum
If you are interested in classical education, then you’ve more than likely read The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise. So I won’t be reviewing that text, because it is kinda the classical education “bible”.
I picked up Teaching the Trivium from the local library. This book has pros and cons. Overall, I would suggest reading this book AFTER you have are certain on your personal philosophy of education, gender roles, and belief in women attending college.
It explains the trivium in great detail.
Offers a history on the development of the trivium and quadrivium.
Explains the trivium through the view of Charlotte Mason, scope and sequence, and other methods.
Highly biased on traditional gender roles with women having little say in family matters.
Does not take into consideration neurological, cultural, and scientific research.
Discourages “fast food” reading, which they describe as Babysitters Club or Nancy Drew mysteries. (If you are familiar with any research on reading and reading difficulties, you should never discourage reading. The exception is if it goes against your religious or moral beliefs.)
Children are not allowed to have a say in family matters. Children act out based on psychological reasons; they need to have some power and control over their own lives; without which misbehavior can occur. I’m not saying let them run amok but they have have some trivial say over their choices. When we gave our kids a little power and control over their day, we saw a major drop in disrespect and misbehavior.
My biggest complaint of this book is the statement “A girls goal is to be a homemaker” (p. 437). It is discouraged to teach a girl to live independently. A girl is encouraged to study “women’s traditional job roles” but nothing in he fields of science, engineering, etc.
Years ago I held this same belief and even “preached” it. However, we live in the real world. I’ve seen many women who after only living to be a homemaker be abused, husbands commit adultery, and some divorced with no ability to have a job beyond menial, minimum wage jobs. On page 438 it states, “There are plenty of things to keep a young girl busy learning while she waits for a spouse.”
Do not train your daughters to just be wives and mothers. Stop and think about this. Do you want your daughters to be trapped in an abusive marriage because she has no degree and no ability to raise her children.
Yes, I’m a “stay at home mom” but I also have an advanced college degree (and working on another) and I work from home part-time. While my kids are young, I will homeschool them. When my husband retires from the military, he will take over for their final teenage years.
My husband and I have equal say in all household rules, events, and choices. If we have a disagreement, we both present logical reasons for each side and we either work out a compromise or we go with the most rational and logical choice.
The other two books offer practical solid advice about curriculum. There’s limited opinions and a lot of facts. Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum has a lot of plans for biblical studies from a Catholic perspective. One downside to Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum is that it doesn’t teach you how to design your curriculum but gives recommendations for curriculum. This is good but it leaves out various curriculum that use different learning methods. Yet, it offers solid advice in other perspectives. There are some similarities between the advice and curriculum recommendations between the books and TWTM but the differences make them worth the read.