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Published: February 3rd 2017

by: Caitlin Jackson

A ClassicalHomeschool


Homeschooling withthe Trivium

A guide to giving your kids a classical education

Curriculum development has become a competition of the subjects. Each of the extra-curricula claims to be the key to developing well-rounded individuals. As a homeschooling parent, this can make planning out your child's school day an overwhelming task. With so many subjects and activities to choose from, how do you know you've chosen right?

'The Well Trained Mind'

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise is a guide to assist parents in these decisions. Rather than discussing how to teach each subject separately, the mother-daughter duo show how education can be done holistically.

Since Ancient Greece, education has followed a particular method, called the trivium, which consists of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric (in that order). The Trivium is taught during the 1st - 12th grades, After which the student can continue with the Quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music). The Trivium and the Quadrivium are considered to be the classical education. They have been followed for centuries and only recently have they been pushed aside and forgotten.

The three parts of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric do not simply refer to the subjects (though they are included), they provide mental tools to apply in the learning process. The Trivium teaches the foundation of learning, but also instills the process of learning that your child can take anywhere.

In The Well-Trained Mind, the three parts of the Trivium are described as a pattern in which "the mind must be first supplied with facts and images, then given the logical tools for organization of those facts and images and finally equipped to express conclusions."

The value of the classical education comes with it's focus on language. Children learn primarily through written and spoken word instead of visually. This might seem odd in an image dominating world, but it is not without reason. When you read or listen, your brain actively works to interpret the symbols and sounds into something meaningful. Visual cues do much of the work for the brain, making it a more passive exercise.

The nature of the trivium is not to teach this subject or that subject, but that everything is connected. Therefore, what you teach at any given time is interrelated. The education itself guides the values in your curriculum planning.

History is the core that brings it all together. Every lesson of each subject that is taught is tied into the history of humanity. As children learn biology, they learn the history of the time period it was developed. They discover as humanity discovered.

While The Well-Trained Mind applies the Trivium from kindergarten to 12th grade, it does not give you the teaching material directly. Rather, it's a collection of resources, textbooks, curricula and theory of the Trivium that you can apply throughout the 12 years. The authors have worked diligently to provide enough resources to get you going, but not too much to overwhelm. It's a just what any homeschooling parent could ask for.


To teach the trivium is to prepare your child for life-long learning.

  • Get your entire home-school plan in one place.
  • Teach the value and joys of self-learning.