Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education.

Our K-12 school system is an artificial product of market forces. It isn’t a good fit for all—or even most—students. It prioritizes a single way of understanding the world over all others, pushes children into a rigid set of grades with little regard for individual maturity, and slaps “disability” labels over differences in learning style.

Caught in this system, far too many young learners end up discouraged, disconnected, and unhappy. And when they struggle, school pressures parents, with overwhelming force, into “fixing” their children rather than questioning the system.

With boldness, experience, and humor, Susan Wise Bauer turns conventional wisdom on its head: When a serious problem arises at school, the fault is more likely to lie with the school, or the educational system itself, than with the child.

In five illuminating sections, Susan teaches parents how to flex the K-12 system, rather than the child. She closely analyzes the traditional school structure, gives trenchant criticisms of its weaknesses, and offers a wealth of advice for parents of children whose difficulties may stem from struggling with learning differences, maturity differences, toxic classroom environments, and even from giftedness (not as much of a “gift” as you might think!).

As the author of the classic book on home-schooling, The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer knows how children learn and how schools work. Her advice here is comprehensive and anecdotal, including material drawn from experience with her own four children and over twenty years of educational consulting and university teaching.

Rethinking School is a guide to one aspect of sane, humane parenting: Negotiating the twelve-grade school system in a way that nurtures and protects your child’s mind, emotions, and spirit.

Links to supplementary information mentioned in Rethinking School:

Published by W.W. Norton, 2018
ISBNs: 978-0-393-28596-3,

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, Fourth Edition

A step-by-step guide on how to give your child an excellent, comprehensive education, from kindergarten through high school: one that will train him or her to read, to think, and to understand. Instructions, methods, and curricula recommendations for every subject in every grade.

This classic has been revised and expanded with the most up-to-date book and program recommendations, along with new material on standardized testing, learning disabilities, online learning options, and college applications.

"Outstanding... should be on every home educator's reference bookshelf." Homeschooling Today

"Thorough and pragmatic." The New Yorker

"If you're a parent who has decided to educate your children yourself, this book is the first you should buy."Washington Times

Visit the official Well-Trained Mind website to find additional support and information for home schoolers, afterschoolers, and teachers.

Published by W.W. Norton, 2016
ISBNs: 978-0-393253-62-7,

The Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind series

A thorough, easy-to-use grammar program that gives students a soup-to-nuts grasp of the English language.
This follow-up to Jessie Wise’s classic grammar curriculum First Language Lessons takes students from basic definitions through advanced sentence structure and analysis—all the grammar skills needed to write and speak with eloquence and confidence. The innovative four-year program combines the three essential elements of language learning: understanding and memorizing rules (prescriptive teaching), repeated exposure to examples of how those rules are used (descriptive instruction), and practice using those rules in exercises and in writing (practical experience).

Published by Well-Trained Mind Press, 2017
ISBNs: 978-1-945841-02-6, 978-1-945841-04-0, 978-1-945841-06-4, 978-1-945841-12-5,

The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome

A lively and engaging narrative history showing the common threads in the cultures that gave birth to our own. This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history.

Dozens of maps provide a clear geography of great events, while timelines give the reader an ongoing sense of the passage of years and cultural interconnection. This narrative history employs the methods of “history from beneath”–literature, epic traditions, private letters and accounts–to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled. The result is an engrossing tapestry of human behavior from which we may draw conclusions about the direction of world events and the causes behind them.

The first in a multi-volume series covering the history of the world from ancient through modern times.

“Bauer’s elegant prose and her command of much of the material makes this a wonderful starting point for the study of the ancient world.” Publishers Weekly

“This succinctly formatted yet very informative and easily digested historical reference covers the rise and fall of all major ancient civilizations in Europe, Egypt the Middle East, India and China with just the right amount of detail for those of us who are not pursuing PhDs in ancient history. It is basically two college classes in one easy-to-read book.” United States Naval Academy Recommended Title

“Bauer’s annals, which span the millennia between the traces of Sumer and the Roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in 312 CE, are an attractive introduction to a subject vast in time and geography. She writes briskly and interpretively, and is attuned throughout to the challenge of rulers: appearing to the ruled as legitimate holders of power. This sensibility makes her narratives acutely interesting, as Bauer pierces the biases inherent in most ancient sources to discern the sincerity or the cynicism with which power seekers pursued their goals. Above, approval of the divine was invaluable; on Earth, a loyal army was indispensable. Acquiring both enabled lawgivers to make their writ stick, and Bauer’s chronicles exhibit the interaction of priestly, military, and legal powers as empires and dynasties wax and wane. This endows continuity to her accounts of polities as disparate as the Harappan civilization of the Indus River or the states that emerged from misty prehistory along the Yellow and Yangtze rivers to form China. Nonacademic and sometimes colloquial in composition, Bauer’s survey will spark the imagination.” Booklist

For details and reviews, visit the History of the Ancient World page.

Published by W.W. Norton, 2007
ISBNs: 978-0393059-74-8,

The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade

A masterful narrative of the Middle Ages, when religion became a weapon for kings all over the world.

From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T’ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled.

In her first volume, Susan Wise Bauer wrote of the rise of kingship based on might. But in the years between the fourth and the twelfth centuries, rulers had to find new justification for their power, and they turned to divine truth or grace to justify political and military action. Right thus replaces might as the engine of empire.

Not just Christianity and Islam but the religions of the Persians and the Germans, and even Buddhism, are pressed into the service of the state. This phenomenon–stretching from the Americas all the way to Japan–changes religion, but it also changes the state.

The second in a multi-volume series covering the history of the world from ancient through modern times.

“Bauer (The History of the Ancient World) continues her witty and well-written examination of world history with a volume that is rich in detail and intriguing in anecdotal information.” — Publishers Weekly

“Bauer parlays her capacious knowledge of history into the exciting and terrifying subject it can be.” — Booklist

“A quietly audacious tour de force.” — Book of the Month Club

 

Published by W.W. Norton, 2010
ISBNs: 9780-393059-75-5,

The History of the Renaissance World: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople

A lively and fascinating narrative history about the birth of the modern world.

Beginning in the heady days just after the First Crusade, this volume—the third in the series that began with The History of the Ancient World and The History of the Medieval World—chronicles the contradictions of a world in transition.

Popes continue to preach crusade, but the hope of a Christian empire comes to a bloody end at the walls of Constantinople. Aristotelian logic and Greek rationality blossom while the Inquisition gathers strength. As kings and emperors continue to insist on their divine rights, ordinary people all over the world seize power: the lingayats of India, the Jacquerie of France, the Red Turbans of China, and the peasants of England.

New threats appear, as the Ottomans emerge from a tiny Turkish village and the Mongols ride out of the East to set the world on fire. New currencies are forged, new weapons invented, and world-changing catastrophes alter the landscape: the Little Ice Age and the Great Famine kill millions; the Black Death, millions more. In the chaos of these epoch-making events, our own world begins to take shape.

Impressively researched and brilliantly told, The History of the Renaissance World offers not just the names, dates, and facts but the memorable characters who illuminate the years between 1100 and 1453—years that marked a sea change in mankind’s perception of the world.

“Another expertly clarified primer by Bauer organizes by themes the chaos of the medieval world into a semblance of cohesive law, migratory logic and religious fervor that would later explode into the Renaissance. The author has an excellent eye for presenting her subject in bold strokes, memorable themes and without undue clutter. Her work is grounded in the notion of the Renaissance (or, as she posits in the plural: renaissances) as gaining seismic steam in the 12th century...The debate between reason and faith was engaged, proving hugely subversive to central powers...This was the era of Genghis Khan, Frederick Barbarossa, Saladin, Richard the Lionheart, Osman, Robert Bruce and Mansa Musa of Mali, as well as the Magna Carta, Inquisition, the plague and the spread of the Portuguese slave trade into Africa. Already splintered, Byzantium would be eclipsed by the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, provoking new exoduses of peoples, west and east, “the seeds of new nations; the roots of new wars.” Bauer ably captures it all. A wide-angle, thorough world survey for students, complete with immensely useful timelines and maps.” Kirkus Reviews

Visit W. W. Norton’s History of the Renaissance page.

Published by W.W. Norton, 2013
ISBNs: 978-0-393240-67-2,

The Writing With Skill Series

The three levels of Writing With Skill prepare students for advanced high-school or college-level writing. These textbooks and student books combine time-tested classical techniques–the imitation and analysis of great writers–with original composition exercises in history, science, biography, and literature. The series is designed as the perfect next step for students who have completed the Writing With Ease series or an equivalent composition curriculum. Susan Wise Bauer teaches students the skills of outlining, research, paragraph and essay construction, literary analysis, proper documentation/citation, and more. The Instructor Texts provide detailed guidance so that the instructor can teach, assist, and evaluate each student with confidence.

Published by Well-Trained Mind Press, 2012-2014
ISBNs: 978-1-933339-52-8, 978-1-933339-53-5, 978-1-933339-60-3, 978-1-933339-61-0, 978-1-933339-73-3, 978-1-933339-74-0,

The Writing With Ease: Strong Fundamentals series

In Writing with Ease, Susan Wise Bauer lays out an alternative plan for teaching writing, one that combines the best elements of old-fashioned writing instruction with innovative new educational methods.

Published by Well-Trained Mind Press, 2008
ISBNs: 978-1933339-252,

The Story of the World series

Told in the straightforward, engaging style that has become Susan Wise Bauer’s trademark, The Story of the World covers the sweep of human history from ancient times until the present. Africa, China, Europe, the Americas–find out what happened around the world in the centuries before our own. This read-aloud series is designed for parents to share with elementary-school children, or for older readers to enjoy alone. Introduce your child to the marvelous story of the world’s civilizations!

Published by Well-Trained Mind Press, 2001-2007
ISBNs: 978-1933339-00-9, 978-1933339-09-2, 978-0971412-99-6, 978-0972860-33-8,

The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Public Confession in America

Whether you are a politician caught carrying on with an intern or a minister photographed with a prostitute, discovery does not necessarily spell the end of your public career. Admit your sins carefully, using the essential elements of an evangelical confession identified by Susan Wise Bauer in The Art of the Public Grovel, and you, like Bill Clinton, just might survive.

In this fascinating and important history of public confession in modern America, Bauer explains why and how a type of confession that first arose among nineteenth-century evangelicals has today become the required form for any successful public admission of wrongdoing–even when the wrongdoer has no connection with evangelicalism and the context is thoroughly secular. She shows how Protestant revivalism, group psychotherapy, and the advent of talk TV combined to turn evangelical-style confession into a mainstream secular rite. Those who master the form–Bill Clinton, Jimmy Swaggart, David Vitter, and Ted Haggard–have a chance of surviving and even thriving, while those who don’t–Ted Kennedy, Jim Bakker, Cardinal Bernard Law, Mark Foley, and Eliot Spitzer–will never really recover.

Revealing the rhetoric, theology, and history that lie behind every successful public plea for forgiveness, The Art of the Public Grovel will interest anyone who has ever wondered why Clinton is still popular while Bakker fell out of public view, Ted Kennedy never got to be president, and Law moved to Rome.

“Interesting, well-written, and well-researched, this book should have wide appeal. Who doesn’t want to read about sex and confession and how the mighty fall and, in some cases, get up again?”–Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know–and Doesn’t

“[A] very entertaining book. Reading this book is like putting the noses of these famous men . . . in the mud all over again. Bauer’s book, however, is more than a seminar in how to cringe with dignity. It is a lesson in how religious rituals, no matter how old they are, never die. Bauer is a skilled analyst of political rhetoric. She is also a terrific writer.” –Stephen H. Webb, Christianity Today

[E]legant in its simplicity and surprisingly persuasive.” Susan Bordo, Chronicle Review

“[A]n engaging, sophisticated and wholly persuasive account of how some public figures get away with transgressions and some do not….An elegant study, also useful for any aspiring public figure.” –Jurek Martin, Financial Times

 

Published by Princeton University Press, 2008
ISBNs: 978-0-691138-10-7,

The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory

(previously published as The Story of Science)

Far too often, public discussion of science is carried out by journalists, voters, and politicians who have received their science secondhand. The Story of Western Science (previously published as The Story of Science) shows us the joy and importance of reading groundbreaking science writing for ourselves and guides us back to the masterpieces that have changed the way we think about our world, our cosmos, and ourselves.

Published by W.W. Norton, 2015
ISBNs: 978-0-393243-26-0,

The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, Updated and Expanded Edition

Newly expanded and updated to include standout works from the twenty-first century as well as essential readings in science (from the earliest works of Hippocrates to the discovery of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs), The Well-Educated Mind offers brief, entertaining histories of six literary genres—fiction, autobiography, history, drama, poetry, and science—accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type. The annotated lists at the end of each chapter?ranging from Cervantes to Cormac McCarthy, Herodotus to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Aristotle to Stephen Hawking?preview recommended reading and encourage readers to make vital connections between ancient traditions and contemporary writing.

Published by W.W. Norton, 2015
ISBNs: 978-0-393080-96-4,